Feel the irresistible call of Monterey, Big Sur & Santa Cruz
You won't forget California State Route 1, AKA the Pacific Coast Highway 1, in a hurry. This famous American highway takes you through some of the most beautiful coastlines in the entire nation as well as being the major route into and out of the Greater Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Areas. This is one genuinely epic experience, the perfect location for the road trip of a lifetime.
Discover historic Monterey, arty Carmel, mountainous Big Sur, Hearst Castle and delightful Morro Bay.
Perfect salt-washed fishing villages, sleepy and quaint. The remarkable Glass Beach, made from stunning sea-washed glass waste. Fine dining and fine wines. The legendary Highway 1 takes you to them all. 500 miles of exhilarating driving is yours for the taking on one of the nation's most scenic roads, incorporating the extraordinary Big Sur Coast Highway and the epic San Luis Obispo North Coast Byway.
San Luis Obispo County
Wind your way through all three and you'll get the full flavour of this legend of a road, so beautiful it'll haunt you... in the best possible way!
Pacific Coast Highway 1 From £1509.00 (inc flights and hotels)
Weave your way through quaint fishing villages and witness California’s most recognisable scenes, including the stunning cliffside vistas of the Big Sur and the iconic Bixby Bridge. An extraordinary meeting of land and sea, this coastal drive is simply spectacular.
Point Lobos State Reserve has 550 acres of coves, headlands and tidal pools, plus a 750 acre undersea ecological reserve with 70 foot high undersea kelp forests. Look out for 250 species of birds and mammals. Discover Garrapata State Park, the Old Coast Road, Carmel-by-the-Sea, the Nepenthe restaurant with spectacular views from 800 feet up, San Simeon and Cambria, all en route.
Search for magical moonstones and California Jade on Moonstone Beach
Visit Hearst Castle, home of William Randolph Hearst
Marvel at Bixby Bridge. At 260 feet high and 700 feet long, this is one of the most photographed icons in California
At Big Sur the highway clings closely to the dizzyingly steep coastline, remote, wild and unpopulated for a full forty miles except for the little towns of Lucia, Plaskett, Gorda and Ragged Point.
Compared to the famous Big Sur coast, the serpentine stretch of Highway 1 up the North Coast is more challenging.
Visit the quirky Bigfoot Discovery Museum, run by the charmingly eccentric Michael Rugg. It's free. Spend down-time in Santa Cruz, a place that has adopted a friendly eccentricity of it's own. Take to the seas at Steamer Lane, one of the best surfing haunts on the entire West Coast and a firm favourite with surf dudes and chicks. Fall in love with Carmel's famous hippy vibe at Earthbound Farm, home of totally yummy all-organic foods. Discover Big Sur, once a haven for beatniks and now a wealthy place packed with artists and spa-lovers. If you're here in winter, you can spend hours watching the huge elephant seals in action at Piedras Blancas. Or experience the 'anti-Hearst castle' at Nit Witt Ridge, built from rubbish.
Here, the breathtaking landscapes bring out your inner romantic. Visit the enormous, endless, sandy Pismo State Beach, a key winter breeding ground for the legendary orange and black monarch butterflies, millions of which migrate thousands of miles every year. Then stop off in wine country to sample some of the finest quaffs on the planet. Whatever you like to do, whether it's lounging around doing very little at all or taking on one of the biggest wilderness adventures of your life, this unbelievably varied and fascinating road takes in the lot. Don't miss it.
Dedicated California experts with a passion for the Golden State and the USA
Our team have all had their own California adventures, ask them for a few stories!