Cruising with the top down and the wind blowing, you’ll find yourself hugging the curves and pulling over every opportunity for another photo opp. Each corner opens up with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean crashing into the rocks just off the edge of the road. Known as one of the world’s most scenic road trips you’ll find yourself engulfed with everything from nail biting cliffs to dense forests to sandy beaches that appear to go on forever as you take the journey down Highway 1 along the coast of California.
There are many options when it comes to planning your California coastal road trip but here are a few highlights I wouldn’t skip over!
San Francisco – The City by the Bay has a lot to offer in its relatively small seven by seven mile area. The city is known for its youthful energy, waterfront location, great dining, and culture. Spend an afternoon and hike up to Coit Tower to witness stunning views of the city, check out the crookedest street in the world; Lombard Street, eat like a local and check out the many vendors in the ferry building located in the Embarcadero, indulge in some of the best clam chowder or warm up with an Irish Coffee at Buena Vista Cafe (one of the first places Irish Coffee’s were introduced in the US). If you’re into a big city stop this is the place to do it!
Napa and Sonoma – California is known for its great wineries, so expand your palate and head out to the country. Only 45 minutes from San Francisco this is a great diversion for a day or two. Napa and Sonoma have over 800 wineries (with new ones popping up all the time) so leave it to us to arrange a car and driver for the day and match you with the wineries that complement your style and taste.
Big Sur – In the words of Henry Miller: “The face of the earth as the creator intended it to look.” Big Sur is by far the most dramatic stretch of coastline on this route – 90 miles of switch backing road with hairpin turns leaving you anxious to see what is beyond the next corner. Each pullout is a picture perfect post card setting! You’ll pass over Bixby Bridge – which you’re sure to recognize from postcards, TV or car ads. During your time here don’t miss visiting Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and hiking to the trail that leads to the view of McWay Falls — a long and narrow band of water that plunges into the curve shaped cove. You can’t walk directly down to the beach but the views from above are truly stunning.
Santa Barbara – Once you leave Big Sur the beauty continues on your three hour drive down to Santa Barbara. You’ll wind through the coastal town of Morro Bay and eventually reach Santa Barbara. With miles of gorgeous coastline, sea-scented air and the location being tucked between the Santa Ynez Mountains this is a special city and destination in and of itself. Santa Barbara is not a large city but is known world-wide by its nickname “The American Riviera.” It is here where the wealthy came to retire and the young attended the University of California at Santa Barbara. The scene today is a dynamic one and worth exploring. If the city alone isn’t enough and you’re curious to try some local wine, the Santa Ynez Wine Valley is just outside the city.
With a variety of stops, accommodations and directions you can go with this itinerary, leave it to us; the experts to put together a road trip down the California coast where you’ll be exploring by day and retreating to luxurious comfort by night. So pack your bags, charge your camera, work on your road trip playlists and get ready to feel the wind on your face…
For more information on California’s coastline, please contact Michelle Pragnell: firstname.lastname@example.org