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California Pacific Coast Highway in the Rain

Travelblog Gone with the Wine

Travelblog and lifestyleblog. Life under the Californian sun - Gone with the Wine. Trips, food and wine from all over the world. Solo and family adventures.

California Pacific Coast Highway in the Rain

Paula Gaston

Many people dream about driving down the Pacific Coast Highway, or Highway 1, or California State Route 1. Sun is always shining and ocean is beautiful and blue. On the other side you will see occasional mountains, little towns and even redwoods. The drive is long but mostly because you will have to stop so many times to take pictures, or to do a little stroll on the beaches or just to admire the view. Everyone of course will have a pit stop at Big Sur. One can do a hike in the nature or just stop for a quick lunch by the river. Everywhere you go on highway 1, you will be close to the nature. You will hear and see some little birds while you're lunch break on the outside patio. There is even chairs in the river where you can sit and chill your feet in the water and enjoy the famous every day California sun... yes, but not always! We just drove the California Highway 1 in pouring rain.

This is what it should look like and has been on our previous drives:

Big Sur 3 pieni.jpg

When we left for our drive from Pebble Beach, California it started drizzling almost right away. Some point it changed into a real rain and everything in between those two. Well, we didn't have to stop all the time. And we didn't have to take pictures either. So we decided to just keep driving and hoped that it would eventually stop raining. It didn't. At some point we saw a snow removal vehicle driving by. They were removing falling rocks from the road. And there was plenty of those. So many in fact, that I started to get a little worried if driving on the rain was that safe.

Pretty much the only stop along with a bathroom break in Big Sur was a top at Bixby Bridge. I wanted to take a picture of this famous bridge build in 1932. It is one of the tallest single-span briges in the world.

Few pictures from the rainy Highway 1:

Right before our destination Morro Bay we hit a little town called San Simeon. San Simeon is a home for hundred of Elephant Seals and they have pretty much taken over a whole beach right next to the route. They moved here in 1990 and at some point an over look to the beach build to protect the seals and to make it easier for visitors to see them. These seals are pretty funny to watch and it is great little stop especially with kids. These pictures are from the next day when the rain stopped. We decided to stay the night in San Simeon since we were interested in visiting the Hearst Castle which is also along the Highway 1.

Hylkeet pieni.jpg


  • California State Route 1 goes all the way from north to south of California along the coastline. It is 655.845 miles long so choose where you want to start and where to end your drive.
  • Be prepared that most of the drive you might be out of the cell phone reach and whitout internet connection. Plan where you wan to stay the night beforehand and make the necessary reservations before your trip.
  • Highway 1 is very popular especially during summers so most of the hotels and motels are full, they are also more expensive so even the motels have hotel prices.
  • Reserve enough time for your drive. Most likely you will want stop many times to check out little beach areas and viewpoints.
  • Read the signs so you know how far are the next services. Some parts of the road are rural and there is no gas stations. When you finally find some gas it is more expensive than in the bigger towns.
  • Keep plenty of water and some snacks in your car since it might take a while to find the next restaurant or store
  • If you decide to walk down to one of the beaches, it is always better park where you see other cars. If your car is the only one at the parking lot, don't leave anything expensive in the car while enjoying the beach.

Enjoy the California sun (or rain)!