Love to Travel: California Coast Road Trip
From San Diego to San Francisco and beyond, a road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway will not disappoint. You will find a treasure trove of beautiful views, fun towns to explore, and adventure to be had. Those of us who call somewhere along the California coast home, we all seem to have our favorite spots. Inspired by photographs in our gallery collections, we put together a Highway 1 virtual road trip with some fun facts, complemented by beautiful photographic images!
California Coast Road Trip: Southern California Coast
We would be remiss to not start this tour in our idyllic hometown, San Diego. The beauty and allure of this laid-back beach town seem to have no end. Some stops on our highlight reel in San Diego include the La Jolla tidepools and sea caves, walking along Sunset Cliffs in Ocean Beach, the hike and view from the Torrey Pines bluffs, and biking the boardwalk in Mission Beach.
Tower 2 by Lee Sie
Seaside Promenade by Lee Sie
Pacific Eruption by Evgeny Yorobe
Orange & L.A. Counties
Making your way north, you pass by the picture perfect beach towns of Orange County from San Clemente to Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. Go a bit further and consider stretching your legs on the interestingly colorful Venice Beach boardwalk.
Hibernation by Roy Kerckhoffs
Ponderando by Roy Kerckhoffs
California Coast Road Trip: Cruising the Central Coast
With L.A. fading in the rear view mirror, this road trip starts to feel more like a vacation.
There is something about this part of Highway 1 that is intoxicating. Perhaps it is the year round cool seabreeze and the endless road ahead hugging the ocean cliffs, the feeling that you are far away from congested freeways, or the nostalgia of childhood summer breaks. Whatever it is, the carefree feelings come pouring in.
Central Coast Road by Janelle Maas
Santa Barbara & Morro Bay
For us, some essential stops along the Central Coast include lunch and wine tasting in Santa Barbara and trekking slightly inland to the historic Danish town of Solvang to indulge in a freshly baked pastry.
Continuing north, the quiet and unassuming town of Morro Bay is a favorite. Look for sea otters in the bay near the ancient volcanic rock!
Platform by beachradish images
Marina Life by beachradish images
As the trip continues north, we begin fantasizing about Big Sur. Turquoise and rich dark blue water, powerful waves crashing on the pristine coastline, lush green cliffs above… there is something magical about this part of the coast. Though countless travelers pass through Big Sur on a daily basis, the protected beach still appears to be untouched, as if frozen in time. The 10 minute hike down to McWay Falls from the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is an absolute must.
Neverland by John Scanlan
Pacific Blue by Pete Scheu
Waves of Time by Pete Scheu
Pacific Key by Pete Scheu
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Carmel & Monterey
Next on the list is stopping to explore the charming Carmel-by-the-Sea and check their many art galleries and local shops. Try to save room for fresh clam chowder on the pier in Monterey before hopping back in the car to cruise the scenic 17-mile drive through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach.
Cypress Sunset by John Scanlan
California Coast Road Trip: Northern California
San Francisco is not exactly a pass through city, so if your journey allows, plan to spend some extra time in this wonderful city. Highway 1 takes you over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. We couldn't decide on our favorite photograph from our collections of this beautiful bridge, so we included them all!
Golden Gate by Roy Kerckhoffs
Suspended by beachradish images
Golden Gate Bliss by Lee Sie
Iconic by Sandra Kourah
Just north is the protected coastline of Point Reyes, with so much to explore, including wide expanses of rugged coast and wilderness, a cypress tree grove, a coastal cliff waterfall and a famous lighthouse.
ShipWrecked by beachradish images
Tunnel of Light by Lee Sie
Silent Mist by Lee Sie
We choose Point Reyes as our last stop on this visual journey, though Northern California’s beauty does not cease all the way up to Oregon. We hope this collection of fine art photographic prints featuring the beauty of the California coast sparked your sense of adventure and perhaps you will be planning your next trip up Highway 1 to soak in the sights!
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