The Pacific Coast Highway is a stunning drive from San Francisco all the way to San Diego and is one of the most scenic trips in North America. This route takes drivers through some of the most iconic spots in the state where visitors can stop to check out great little roadside café’s, shopping centers, museums, art galleries, wineries and other great indoor places. You’ll also be able to connect with nature with beautiful forest land, majestic mountains and some of the most incredible coastal areas found in the world.
If you are planning a North America road trip on the west coast and will be coming from overseas or from another area of the United States, A-1 Auto Transport, a California based auto transport company suggests having your personal vehicle shipped ahead so you can drive it on your road trip or to plan to rent a car if you want to save on the wear and tear of your own vehicle.
Let’s check out five places that travelers love to stop and check out while road tripping down the Pacific Coast Highway as they travel through the State of California.
- San Francisco
San Francisco has seen its fair share of tourism over the years thanks to epic sites like Alcatraz, The Golden Gate Bridge and Golden Gate Park and other great places that the tourists love to flock to. This iconic city has been featured in films including The Rock, The Maltese Falcon and Mrs. Doubtfire and television shows including Charmed and Full House and even South Park. Once you make your way across the Golden Gate Bridge, be sure to stop in Union Square and grab a quick bite to eat or hang out and check your email at one of the local coffee shops. There is so much to do in San Francisco and you may want to book a room for a night or two, so you can enjoy all the shopping venues and fun attractions throughout the city. You’ll find fun little café’s and lounges as well as hot night spots to unwind after driving around or walking through the city all day.
- Santa Cruz
Once you wrap up in San Francisco, be sure to plan a stopover in sunny Santa Cruz to continue your west coast adventure. In the heart of Santa Cruz, you’ll find the infamous Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk where scenes from the 1980’s vampire hit, The Lost Boys was filmed. It’s a great place to have fun riding roller coasters and playing carnival games. Santa Cruz is also known as ‘surf city’ so be sure to bring your board along or check out a local beachfront rental shop to grab a board and take on a few waves during your time in this beautiful coastal city. The beach in Santa Cruz is amazing so take time to sit back, soak in the views of the Pacific Ocean and check out the lighthouse on the beach or the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum where you can find memorabilia that dates back over 100 years to showcase the local surfing history. Santa Cruz also offers fun things to do on a budget including free art shows at The Pajaro Valley Arts Council Gallery and guided tours of local attractions. Throughout the summer, you can find free movies on the beach as well as free concerts where you can listen to the biggest hits from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s all while relaxing on a blanket or dancing in the sand. Santa Cruz is also a great place to take in some of the woodland hiking trails or have a little fun in one of the local parks.
- Big Sur
Surrounded by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the beautiful Santa Lucia Mountains on the other, Big Sur is a magnificent spot to check out while on your west coast road trip. You’re going to find yourself stopping frequently once you hit this area because there are so many great places to hop out of the car and check out the scenery around you. It’s also the perfect location for those who love to take pictures and remember some the most beautiful places in the world. When you’re road tripping through Big Sur, it’s a good idea to book a hotel for a few nights so you have plenty of time to really get to see the area. This is truly an unforgettable area and one that you’ll want to fully experience. Starting with the Bixby Creek Bridge, which is one of the most famous bridges in California and spans 714 feet across and 280 feet above the Pacific Ocean, you’ll want to stop and snap a few good shots before you cross. Big Sur has ample hiking trails and picnic spots to stop at as well as museums, spas and much more to enjoy during your time in the area.
- Los Angeles
Los Angeles has long been a magnet for tourists from around the world. Thanks to the film industry and the chance of running into a celebrity, people from all walks of life love to visit Los Angeles when they are venturing out on a road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway. From the famous Hollywood sign on the hill overlooking LA to the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Santa Monica Pier and Rodeo Drive where you can find the worlds best shopping, you can spend weeks in Los Angeles and still not see everything in the city that stays on the move. On top of the shopping outlets, museums and star-studded activities including guided tours to the stars home, you will also be able to spend a great deal of time in the great outdoors camping, hiking, swimming and checking out the local wineries and restaurants. Los Angeles is a great city to visit during your road trip. Be sure to make plans to stay for a while so you’ll have time to really get to know the area and see the best attractions. Don’t forget Disney Land in Anaheim is just down the road!
- San Diego
Winding up your road trip down the Pacific Coast Highway is sunny San Diego where you can again enjoy the waves and the sand while venturing out to one of the beaches that lines the more than 17 miles of coastline in San Diego County. You can also check out Balboa Park and Point Loma where you will find great photo ops for some pictures of some of the most beautiful scenery on the west coast. Be sure to head downtown for a bite to eat or to stop and have a cold drink after a long day of driving. The San Diego Zoo should be on the itinerary as it is a world-famous zoo and one that warrants a visit. You’ll find a wide array of food from around the world in San Diego as well as plenty of places to shop for souvenirs and necessities during your trip. Be sure to check out downtown to find museums, park tours and places to take a cruise around the harbor. You can also go bicycling, jogging or hiking along some great nature trails or take a leisurely stroll to see some amazing turn of the century Victorian architecture in homes, businesses and monuments throughout San Diego.
North America has many road trip adventures waiting on you to check out. Once you get a taste of the west coast, you’ll find yourself being drawn to check out the Midwest and the east coast of the United States as well to see what adventures await you in the rest of the country. Nothing beats a road trip through North America. What are some of your favorite drives in the U.S.?