Often referred to as one of America’s most scenic routes, the Pacific Coast Highway spans 655 miles starting from California’s northern border with Oregon and stretching all the way to San Diego.
By road trip standards, it’s not the longest drive you’ll ever take but what it lacks in length it sure does make up in awesome natural beauty.
The highway gently carried me along the curves of the Californian coastline and it is probably one of the easiest road trips I’ve done so far. If you’ve never been in the driver’s seat on a road trip, this would be a great one to start off with. To get the most out of this trip, I would suggest doing it during the summer months but try and avoid the high season when tourists are out in full force.
Along the way, you’ll experience stunning coastal views and pass through a few interesting towns which are well worth a visit. You can even get lost in the jewel green expanse of untouched Redwood forests and enjoy fantastic food and wine while making your way through the region’s wine-making districts.
Much like my favourite real moneys slots there’s really not much I don’t like about this stretch of road and I would strongly recommend this route for beginner-road trippers. If you’re keen on taking to the road for a little adventure, I’ve listed a few must-see pit stops you should add to your Pacific Coast Highway itinerary:
1. San Francisco
I decided to start my Pacific Coast High adventure in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and suggest you do so too. What better way to begin a road trip than by driving over the Golden Gate Bridge?
Depending on how much time you want to spend on your road trip you might want to consider doing a few touristy things. You can take one of San Fran’s famous trams, visit Alcatraz Island or take a walk down Lombard Street.
2. Santa Cruz
Coming from San Francisco along the Pacific Coast Highway you’ll pass Half Moon Bay, which is well worth a stop to take a quick photo. If you want to see Elephant Seals, be sure to visit the marine centre at Ano Nuevo State Park.
From here it takes about 90 minutes to reach Santa Cruz. Here you can enjoy a slice of old school Americana and take a stroll along the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.
Just an hour outside of Santa Cruz you’ll reach Monterey Bay. Be sure to check out Point Lobos State Nature Reserve while you’re here.
If you’re tired of sitting in the drivers you can go kayaking, hire a sailboat or go whale watching.
4. Big Sur
Big Sur boasts a bunch of scenic points of interests that include McWay Falls, Pfeiffer Beach, Ragged Point and Point Sur State Historic Park.
This was one of my favourite stretches of road on the trip.
5. Santa Barbara
Keeping along the coast you’ll come across Stearns Wharf and East Beach.
If you’re an animal lover be sure to make a stop at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
This is the place to be if you want to get your surfboard out and ride a few waves.
There are also some great vintage stores and café’s to explore if you prefer spending your time on land.
7. San Diego
San Diego marks the end of the road but before you say your final good byes do yourself a favour and make your way up to the Cabrillo National Monument where you can enjoy incredible views of the bay.