The legendary Pacific Coast Highway offers some of the most astounding scenes of ocean and coastline in the world. Although you can complete the journey by a 10-hour drive but to have a wholesome experience, it needs to be traversed slowly. You will encounter stunning coastal views, seaside villages, farm-fresh foods, local wine, expansive beaches, and endless sky while on the trip.
There are several ways in which you can plan this drive depending upon the number of days and number of stops you want to make. Here are recommended some spots which may include in your list-
1. San Francisco
This is one of the popular starting points from where you can embark upon your journey. Start your trip from the Golden Gate Bridge, the jewel of San Fran and spend some time at some of its famous places like Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz Island, and Japanese Tea Garden. Explore the city via San Francisco tram and make sure to have a stroll through the crazy Lombard Street and then head to North Beach to have a taste of Italian culture. Close to North Beach, you will find North America’s oldest Chinatown where you can enjoy some mouth-watering delicacies. Tease your taste buds by having the famous Irish coffee at Buena Vista or head to the twin peaks to enjoy the mesmerizing view of the city.
2. Santa Cruz
While driving from San Francisco through the Pacific road Highway, you will encounter the stunning Half Moon Bay, a small coastal town and Devil’s Slide, a scenic walking path in Pacifica. Before entering Santa Cruz, refresh at watering hole Monty’s Log Cabin in nearby Felton. Finally, when you enter Santa Cruz, shortlist the spots where you want to go according to your time.
It is a friendly beach town with a ’60s Americana vibe. Drive along the West cliff for scenic views of gorgeous redwood trees and reach out to the Santa Cruz Boardwalk to enjoy the amusement park, an arcade and of course its famous roller coaster. Check out the lighthouse on the beach and have a stroll around the downtown area and if you have enough time, then take a steam train ride through the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park.
3. Big Sur
Three hours away from San Francisco lies the Big Sur. Before reaching Big Sur, you have to pass through the Monterey Bay. But Big Sur is the place where the actual fun begins. It is a gentle uphill drive from the Monterey Bay where you get to travel on the most photographed bridge of the West Coast and one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world, the Bixby Bridge.
This rugged coastline which can’t be properly called a town has some of the amazing sites to visit. You can camp within the forests, explore the nearby Henry Miller Memorial Library, dine on classic California cuisine at Nepenthe, and enjoy natural hot spring baths at the Esalen Institute. When you drive along the coastline, you get stunning views of the Pfeiffer Beach, Point Sur State Historic Park, McWay Falls, and Ragged Point. You just can’t get enough of this place in a single day.
4. Los Angeles
On the way to LA, you will pass through some amazing locations such as San Simeon which is famous for elephant seals, Cambria, the Danish town of Solvang, and Santa Barbara.
It is the last major city on a drive through the Pacific Coast Highway Road. It is a sprawling South Californian city and is the center of the nation’s film and television industry. The place has a never-ending list of attractions that you can explore like the Getty Centre, the Kodak Theatre, Griffith Observatory, Universal Studios, etc. Numerous beaches and boardwalks can also be found along the coast.
5. San Diego
Here you come to the end of your journey! San Diego, known for its world-famous zoo is a border city famous for its Mexican food. Explore its Balboa Park, Old town and Downtown and to get an incredible view of San Diego and the Bay, go up to the Cabrillo National Monument at the tip of Point Loma. It is surely a perfect way to mark the end of your trip.