Love to Travel: California Coast Road Trip

August 05, 2020

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

San Diego

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.


Lifeguard Tower Sunset Photo Art Print

Tower 2 by Lee Sie


La Jolla Cove Beach Photo Art Print

Seaside Promenade by Lee Sie


Torrey Pines Ocean Sunset Photo Art

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.


Black and White Lifeguard Towers Photo Art

Hibernation by Roy Kerckhoffs


Hermosa Beach Photo Art Black and White

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.


Road Trip Framed Photo

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! 


Framed Coastal Photo Art

Platform by beachradish images


Morro Bay Photo Framed

Marina Life by beachradish images


Big Sur

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. 

Big Sur Photo Art Print

Neverland by John Scanlan


Bixbi Bridge Big Sur Photo Art

Pacific Blue by Pete Scheu


Big Sur Beach Photo

Waves of Time by Pete Scheu


Black and White Coastal Photo Art

Pacific Key by Pete Scheu


See a photo art print you love but not sure how it will look in your home? Learn about our free service creating a staged image of a chosen piece of art on your actual wall at home.  Click here to find out more


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 Tree Coastal Photo Art

Cypress Sunset by John Scanlan



California Coast Road Trip: Northern California

San Francisco

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!


San Francisco Photo Art

Golden Gate by Roy Kerckhoffs


Golden Gate Bridge Black and White

Suspended by beachradish images


San Francisco Modern Photo Art

Golden Gate Bliss by Lee Sie


San Francisco Photo Art Modern

Iconic by Sandra Kourah


Point Reyes

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. 


Nautical Coastal Framed Art

ShipWrecked by beachradish images


Tree Tunnel Photo Art

Tunnel of Light by Lee Sie


Black and White Coastal Photo Art

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!


If you fell in love with any of the Photo Art in this article and would like to see how it looks in your home, click below to download instructions to have a free staged image created for you by our graphic designers!

Staged Image Instructions


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