California is the third largest state in the US located on the west coast of the Pacific Ocean and populated with people of various nationalities. Along with a mix of different cultures, California is known for its beautiful sceneries, picturesque mountains and breathtaking ocean views.
Highway One or Pacific Highway is one of the most impressive sights of the western coast and probably the whole continent. The famous Highway One stretches along the entire Pacific coast of the US, but its most beautiful part lies in California.
It is simply impossible to pass one of the most stunning coastlines in the world on a bus. Driving a car will allow you to stop at a variety of spots, admiring ocean views and taking tons of pictures. In fact, this part of the highway is not difficult at all. Even a novice driver can easily cope with it: the lines a wide enough and there are no dangerous turns.
In this article, we will tell you about one of the most popular routes, which stretches along the Pacific coast from San Diego to San Francisco passing Los Angeles and a dozen of other little interesting places.
The main struggle of this journey is probably timing. It is very easy to forget about the schedule, especially if you stop every 5 kilometers to capture the view. Usually, it takes about 7 to 10 days on this route to get the maximum portion of happiness and many gigabytes of photos and video.
You can travel this route from both ends and we will tell you about the most picturesque spots on your way.
San Diego is a real Californian dream. Relatively warm ocean, endless coastline, overall security and Hispanic-Mexican culture attracts tourists all year round. It is believed that San Diego is one of the best cities with the year-round weather. The temperature here does not exceed 21 degrees Celsius for more than 200 days a year.
Among the main attractions are the huge San Diego Zoo, Wild Animal Park, Sea World and Balboa Park. San Diego is a very green city with about 190 parks, 26 of which are located along the ocean. Local beaches occupy most of the 70-mile coastline.
Stop in one of the most famous and beautiful neighborhoods of San Diego – La Jolla and head to the next destination on the route.
Huntington Beach is a small town known as a city of eternal summer and a paradise for surfers. The beach here is famous for its fine yellow sand and impressive size of 15 km length. People from all over Southern California come here, but don’t worry there is always enough space for everyone.
In addition to surfing, you can ride a bike along the ocean, play beach volleyball or visit local surf shops, which are the main cultural attractions in Huntington. Take a walk to the pier and head to Los Angeles, which is about 60 km away.
Los Angeles is a city where something is happening 24/7. The main tip on visiting the city of angels is careful planning. The city does not have a particular center and main attractions are spread all around. Among the main sights are architectural monuments (Union Station, Grauman’s Chinese Theater), Hollywood Walk of Fame, Kodak Theater, Griffith Observatory, Disneyland, numerous museums, galleries and concert halls and, of course, beautiful beaches.
Complete your stay with a stop at Universal Studios, head to the Malibu coast and towards Santa Barbara.
The area of Santa Barbara is often called the California Riviera due to its pleasant weather conditions, colorful Mediterranean architecture and magnificent seaside location.
In addition to many kilometers of excellent beaches (West Beach, East Beach, Butterfly Beach) and the green mountain slopes, you can visit Santa Barbara County Courthouse with a 24-meter clock tower, the majestic Franciscan monastery and Santa Barbara Mission. Botanical garden and zoo also deserve your attention.
Move further north to appreciate the Californian wine at the Santa Ynez Valley.
Santa Ynez Valley
The Santa Ynez Valley is a perfect place to relax with a glass of local chardonnay or pinot noir. Santa Ynez is an American Toscana with hills, vineyards and ancient oaks along the horizon. Locals often recommend Sunstone Winery to spend the night. You can also buy a wine pass from the Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country Association. After enjoying Californian wine head to the magic Hearst Castle.
Hearst Castle is a national landmark located on the central Pacific coast of California. The castle was designed for a media tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Nowadays Hears Castle along with its significant collection of art and antiques is open to public tours.
During the 1920s – 1930s, Hears Castle was considered as the secular center of the world elite. Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, Clark Gable, James Stewart and even Winston Churchill were among its guest list.
After the Hearst Castle, return to the Highway One and make the next stop at Paso Robles.
After the Ragged Point turn south on Highway One to the place called Piedras Blancas – a beach within just 8 kilometers from the Hearst Castle. Here you will meet elephant seals, which live on the beach.
After the beach, turn left on the Highway One and continue your trip to the Paso Robles – winery and brewing region. This is a popular place for those who enjoy wine tasting, beer, mineral springs and agro-tourism.
Probably the most famous city landmark is one of the world’s best marine aquariums Monterey Bay, visited by almost 2 million people annually. Here you can see thousands of animals, plants, jellyfish, sea otters and fish.
In the downtown of Monterey, you’ll find perfectly preserved buildings from different periods. Follow the signs on yellow tiles to walk the Path of History.
The 47-kilometer coastal path of Monterey Bay offers bike rentals in several places. Stunning views of the bay and Carmel can be seen in the Jacks Peak Park – the highest point of Monterey Bay.
It is believed that it was the town of Santa Cruz where the Californian surf movement was born. The coastline here is located in such a way, that there is always a high wave, which attracts many surfers. Due to constantly cold water, they have to wear special protective waterproof suits to stay in the water.
Apart from surfing, Santa Cruz entertains guests with shopping and delicious food in local restaurants.
Moving on to our last stop on the route – San Francisco.
Congratulations, you’ve made it to San Francisco – perhaps the most beautiful city in the United States. Many tourists recommend parking the car and explore the city by foot or a bicycle.
The most popular places here are the park near the Golden Gate Bridge the bridge itself and Alkatras prison. Drive along the winding and steep Lombard street and get to the top of the Twin Peaks to enjoy city panorama. At night head to the street of Valencia and enjoy city’s nightlife at various bars and local parties.