The place to Cease Alongside a California Coast Highway Journey


No journey to the west coast is full with out an epic highway journey journey alongside California’s lovely coast.

Assuming you’re on this for the journey (you’re taking a California coast highway journey in any case), you need to plan on spending not less than every week exploring to see what the completely different locations California’s Northern, Central and Southern areas have to supply and get the complete expertise.

Prepare for an exhilarating, cliff hugging, home windows down, music loud California highway journey!

See additionally: Attention-grabbing Information About California

Mostly requested questions on California coast highway journeys

Is it higher to drive up or down the California coast?

Personally, we expect it’s finest to begin North and head South. This weblog is organized so as of cities you’ll hit driving on Route 1.

What number of miles is California’s coast?

California’s coast spans over 800 miles!

How lengthy does it take to drive California’s coast?

With out stopping, it’ll take you between 10 – 12 hours to drive your complete California coast from begin to end. Nonetheless, this highway journey is about making these superb stops! So, plan accordingly.

Northern California coast highway journey itinerary

Your California journey begins on Pacific Coast Freeway, higher generally known as “PCH”.

The ocean views from above are so beautiful that you simply’ll have to drag over to take all of it in. You don’t wish to drive off the cliff. 😉

Alongside the highway, driving on the California Hwy 1, you’ll additionally encounter the attractive Navarro River Redwoods State Park which has a novel, prehistoric really feel, virtually like a scene from Jurassic Park, with ferns peaking by means of the thick, stalky Redwoods.

See additionally: Greatest Seashores in Northern California

Humboldt County: “The Redwood Forest”

Humboldt Redwoods State Park

The Redwood Forest is each bit as epic because the photographs you see in magazines and Instagram, solely 10x higher. It’s important to see it in individual. You’ll see the Redwoods just about till you attain San Francisco. Have your digicam prepared!

Avenue of the Giants

That is the place a number of the largest and tallest Redwood timber on the earth are.

From Avenue of the Giants, you’ll drive on California Hwy 1 which ultimately turns into PCH. These are a number of the most unbelievable views you’ll see in your California coast highway journey.

You’ll additionally wish to cease in these cities for the complete expertise:

Meyers Flat

Cooler in idea than in actual life. Max dimension is 7’ x 7’. I watched as a Tesla barely made it by means of. Alternatively, my SUV didn’t stand an opportunity.

If you happen to actually wish to drive by means of a tree, you possibly can strive the “Chandelier Tree” in Leggett whose opening has match SUVs.

That is an lovable treasure. It felt so practical, at any given second, I used to be anticipating to see an elf come out of the door.


Enter to the left of Dyerville Overlook for secluded views of the water. It’s a pleasant place to park your automotive and gather your ideas or have a snack.


Try the Victorian fashion structure on this 19th c. seaport city.

  • Carson mansion
  • Discover Previous City Eureka & waterfront
  • Drive throughout bridge to Woody Island

The place to eat


On this unassuming little city recognized for its backdrop in some huge Hollywood motion pictures, you’ll get to take pleasure in some odd curiosities like a store housed inside a former financial institution and California’s oldest pharmacy.

  • Rings Pharmacy (Rexall Medicine)

California’s oldest, constantly working drug retailer

  • Humboldt’s Hometown Retailer

You’ll be able to even step contained in the financial institution’s vault which is fairly superior. Then, stroll by means of the room that’s devoted to Meals Community Star, Man Fieri, who was born proper on the town.

Superbly stored fairytale-like backyard with a life-sized doll home and a hidden backyard walkway fabricated from vegetation.

Fort Bragg


You don’t wish to miss this lovely seaside city overlooking Goat Island and Cypress. It provides the vibes of a Mediterranean coastal city.

  • Mendocino Headlands State Park

Standing on the bluffs searching to sea is essentially the most calming feeling because the waves are crashing and wind blows throughout you.

The place to eat

Insider Tip: On the drive down, you’ll inevitably be passing well-known websites like Large Sur’s Bixby Bridge. It’s all a part of the California coastal highway journey! Pull over to the aspect to snap some epic pictures. However, no matter you do, don't cease in the midst of the highway. Sure, I've seen this accomplished. It’s a security hazard to your self but additionally, everybody round you.

Wine Nation

If you happen to take pleasure in wine, take a tour by means of wine nation and check out completely different Californian wines. You’ll discover loads of enjoyable, interactive experiences at completely different vineyards and wineries alongside the way in which.

We’re going just a little inland right here, going from Route 1 to the 128, however with many wine producers positioned only a brief drive off the coast, you possibly can hop from vineyard to vineyard and see what completely different wine rising areas have to supply.

Napa County


If you happen to haven’t seen the film “Bottle Shock”, you’ll wish to earlier than heading to wine nation. That is the place California wine turned heads worldwide and began being taken significantly.

Good Learn: Learn the e-book the movie was (loosely) primarily based on explaining the large California win that modified wine without end: Judgment of Paris: California Vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine.


Napa is essentially the most well-known of the wine areas. Put together for a Disneyland chaos form of vibe. Not less than that’s what it felt like at Domaine Carneros. There are additionally different spots price testing.

Listed below are just a few nice Napa experiences to check out:

Discover the attractive grounds which features a backyard whose recent produce is utilized in most of the dishes served on property. It’s also possible to dine right here, take pleasure in a self-wine tasting expertise and discover their museums and be taught extra about wine and cooking inside.

Just a few extra locations to take a look at in Napa:

  • Napa Mill
  • Outlets, eating places. Cease into Classic Candy Shoppe for some wine and decadent truffles.
  • Napa Welcome Signal

The place to eat

CIA at Copia has some superb eating places.

Brunch: The Grove

Dinner: Le Petit Chef 3D Expertise

A whirlwind of an expertise! Undoubtedly to not be missed. It is a actually magical night. It’ll actually transport you to a distinct world.

St. Helena

Sonoma County

Napa is legendary for its wine but additionally a bit crowded and overdone if you happen to ask me. Strive a number of the lesser recognized areas right here in Sonoma, the true deal.

Be a part of a guided vineyard tour with picnic lunch within the space!


  • Alexander Valley Winery

Santa Rosa

If driving by means of a winery on a bar bike whereas sampling grapes off the vine and sipping on completely different varietals seems like a enjoyable California afternoon to you, you’ll love St. Francis whose historical past is simply as attention-grabbing as its fortunate escape from the California hearth that attempted to take them down.

San Francisco & Sausalito

Take Freeway 101 North throughout the Golden Gate Bridge until you’ve entered San Francisco, the land that wants no introduction.

We’re all conscious of the issues that made SF famously all the way down to earth and funky. However, if you need one thing just a little extra particular, be unique and spend a while in Sausalito, SF’s lovable little sister. She’s simply as nice and…you gained’t need to battle vacationers for a very good picture.

For the adventurers, begin in SF & journey throughout the bridge all the way in which to Sausalito. Take the ferry or bike again. I’ll warn you, it’s a little bit of a distance. I used to be exhausted after going 1 means.

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Central California

Now you’ll get again on Route 1 and proceed down the coast coming into the middle of California which is an ideal mix of the Northern and Southern areas its sandwiched between. You’ll get just a little little bit of all the things… nature, journey, ocean, metropolis, culinary delights and extra.

Santa Cruz

  • Amusement Park
  • Pizza & drink sail to see the seals, Chardonnay Charters is a superb firm
  • Stroll the pier and watch seals

Monterey & Pacific Grove

The place to eat

Not solely does this restaurant have unbelievable views, it has scrumptious seafood! Seize a desk exterior and take all of it in. You’ll be able to even watch kayakers, birds and seals from above.

Carmel by the Sea

It is a little storybook coastal village if I ever noticed one! Right here, you’ll benefit from the one among a sort really feel that’s uniquely Carmel. Discover quaint retailers and fairytale-like houses then, hit the seaside and go for some lunch at one of many city’s bistros with previous world attraction.

  • Carmel Seashore
  • Get your golf on at one among Carmel’s many cutting-edge golf programs
  • Do the 17 mi. drive, cease at Pebble Seashore
  • See the storybook homes which have completely different names as a substitute of numbers


  • Stroll the boardwalk of Moonstone Seashore and dip your toes within the ocean
  • Predominant Road retailers, eating places & historical past
  • Hearst Fortress
For one more enjoyable cease additional inland, go to a captivating village named Solvang, higher generally known as the Danish capital of America and the city the place the wino film Sideways was filmed.

Southern California

Then, you’ll get onto Freeway 101! That is once you’ll actually begin to really feel these surfer, seaside vibes which might be quintessential to SoCal.

Right here, you’ll discover beautiful artist colonies, surf spots and seashores made well-known on TV sequence like The OC, Laguna Seashore, The Hills and each Seashore Boys track.

See additionally: Greatest Climbing Trails in Southern California

Santa Barbara

Right here, we enter the Northernmost level of SoCal.

  • Take a browsing lesson
  • Go to Previous Mission Santa Barbara inbuilt 1786
  • Stroll down one of many longest deep-water piers between LA & SF – Stearns Wharf

The place to eat

  • In-N-Out of Course! It’s a Californian staple.

Huntington Seashore

Welcome to “Surf Metropolis, USA”!

  • Lease a surrey bike at Zack’s Rental. It’s loads of enjoyable to journey previous the seaside! Simply be careful for the pedestrians.
  • Go to the surf retailers for some nice beachwear
  • Stroll the Boardwalk

The place to eat

Laguna Seashore

Whereas Laguna Seashore is after all recognized for its seaside, I encourage you to skip it (not the prettiest, I do know, I grew up right here) and as a substitute, take a look at these different spots…

  • Stroll to Hesler Park gazebo, look out to the ocean, see an artist portray the scene

See Paegaent of the Masters which is a superb present! Stroll round and see completely different artwork galleries. You’ll be able to even paint a vase and take it residence with you.

  • See St. Francis by the Sea- Guiness E-book of World File’s smallest cathedral on the earth

The place to eat

Sit exterior for beautiful ocean views. The seafood was recent and attractive.

La Jolla

Speak about a enjoyable spot! It is a basic Cali beachtown with a mixture of upscale and lowkey retailers and eating places with the seaside as the middle focus. You’ll know you’re in the proper place once you hear the seals!

  • Stroll Avendida de la Playa
  • Seashore sundown
  • Go kayaking at La Jolly Cove
  • Birch Aquarium

The place to eat


If you’d like a style of glamour and lovely seashores, head to Malibu.

  • Stroll Malibu Pier, a lot of retailers & eating places
  • Level Dume
  • Matador Seashore
  • Surf at Zuma Seashore

The place to eat

Don’t depart with out testing this superb restaurant! Reservations are extremely beneficial. I watched the enormous waves do their very own little present and bought sprayed with sea mist whereas sipping cocktails earlier than diving into a tremendous 8 course seafood & sushi meal.

San Diego

It is a lovely location away from the remainder of the town.

  • Stroll round (or keep at) Historic Resort de Coronado
  • Have a drink and hearken to dwell music on the seaside
  • Sea World
  • Balboa Park
  • Level Loma
  • Previous City San Diego

Some nice spots to hit are Previous City San Diego Historic Park and Whaley Home.

  • Woflie’s Carousel Bar
  • Breakfast & Bubbles
  • Rockin Baja Lobster

See additionally: The way to Plan an Epic Baja California Trip

And there you could have it! The place to cease alongside a California coast highway journey! Hopefully you get some concepts to your upcoming highway journey!

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