The Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Highway 1, is America’s most famous highway. The official Pacific Coast Highway, according to California State legislature, is only 130 miles long from Oxnard to Dana Point in Southern California. But regardless of official road names, the stretch of highways, rural roads, and city streets from the Olympic peninsula to the southern tip of Baja California running along the coast is usually referred to as the Pacific Coast Highway, more than 2000 miles in length.
This coastal highway had become famous due to its beautiful sceneries and variant experiences that you could have when you travel this famed highway. Depending on your available time and your willingness to go the miles, you can spend two days up to ten days driving through the Pacific Coast Highway. It took me 7 days to do this trip. Regardless you may start from the south and head north, or from north to south, whichever is convenient. I chose south and headed north. Maybe I’m just cool like that.
Some would really just drive through the Pacific Coast Highway, without stopping to see as much places as they can, but it is always enjoyable to do some stops to experience the real Pacific Coast Highway. Of course I did stop and party the night away in many hot spots. Hey you got to do this if you’re going to road trip man. Stop points include Big Sur, the most famous. In Big Sur, you can view the cliffs and waterfalls along the coast, redwood forest, view the local wildlife, enjoy outdoor activities from horseback riding, camping, to scuba diving, or investigate historical connections. You can also do wine tasting.
Inverness was one of my favorites. If a small quiet town full of green and neat little beach huts sounds relaxing to you then you can’t miss a stopover in Inverness. I really loved it here and the people are so friendly.
Be sure not to miss Monterey. There, you can visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, eat in Fisherman’s Wharf, which may even be better than the one in San Francisco. It’s got a neat village feel to it. Pay a visit also to the Hearst Castle in San Simeon, now being run by California state government as a tourist attraction.
The Heritage House Inn is a nice place for fine wine and dinning overlooking the ocean before Fort Bragg and Mendocino. It’s got a very warm and homey feel to it so you are sure to be comfortable.
Santa Barbara is another spot not to be missed, where you can see millions of Monarch butterflies or relax in Pismo Beach. Great concerts there as well. I saw velvet revolver when I met up with my buddy Sandro Marino. We had a blast!
What is a road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway without a stop in good ole San Francisco? This definitely one of my favorite cities. Go on the bus tour of the city if it’s your first time here. There are many great stops including the park and the tea house. Drink your tea its good stuff man. Once you leave San Francisco you must stop at Mill Creek and Stinson Beach. I won’t tell you why but I assure you that if you do you will know why I said that.
Generally, you can drive through the Pacific Coast Highway anytime of the year however you would enjoy it more during spring or summer time when the sun accentuates the beauty of the coast and the beaches. During these seasons also, you will enjoy most of the nature trek available. Best of luck on your trip believe me it’s definitely worth it.
© 2008, Joe Loiacano
Available for free reprint in original content only.
Joe Loiacano is an avid outdoors enthusiast who enjoys exploring all that nature has to offer. He combines his love of the great outdoors with writing to share with others natures hidden gems that so few even realize were right there under their nose all along. For a great website to meet others with a passion for adventure visit http://www.outdoorsclub.org