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The Best of California's Pacific Coast Highway

Travelblog Gone with the Wine Blog

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.

The Best of California's Pacific Coast Highway

Paula Gaston

All these pictures are from my Instagram account. You can follow me @paulagaston

So many travellers have a dream to drive down the California Pacific Coast Highway or State Route 1. Many drive only a part of it, but you can also do a longer version. While living in California, we drove parts of PCH from time to time, and I have written articles about each place we visited. Now it is time to wrap them all up into one post which tells you everything you need to know about California Pacific Coast Highway.

Most of my travels in Southern California happened when I didn't have a blog yet. But in recent years, we have driven the northern parts a few times, so here is some information about them. I added the San Francisco Bay Area as a separate section since so many people stay here for a few days. Once I get down to Southern California again, I will add more articles on the list. And please, post some questions and wishes about what I should cover!
 

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA


Many people start their drive on Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco or they end their trip there. Don't under estimate the north parts of PCH though. There is still plenty to see if you drive up north from San Francisco. Enjoy the redwood forests, national parks or Glass Beach in Fort Bragg. State Route 1 merges into 101 in Leggett, but if you continue your drive it will follow the coastline soon again, and you can drive all the way up to the Oregon border. The views are great! Along the way is the Avenue of GiantsRedwood National Park, and right after the city of Eureka, a place that was disturbed by many tsunamis, Crescent city.

Glass beach in Fort Bragg

Glass beach in Fort Bragg

Drive Thru Tree in Leggett.

Drive Thru Tree in Leggett.

SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA
 

For a visit to the San Francisco Bay Area you want to reserve multiple days. Like any big city, there is plenty to see. There are of course the most known sights that everyone should see, but there are also many other places worth a visit. Because San Francisco is located right by the bay, you can hike along the coastline with amazing views, or rent bicycles and ride along the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin Headlands. All this is part of the national park system, Golden Gate National Recreation Area

Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge

Sunset in Sutro Baths

Sunset in Sutro Baths

SOUTH OF SAN FRANCISCO


Many start their drive on Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco. Even though you will be able to drive all the way to Los Angeles in one day, I recommend reserving at least one or two nights on the way. There are vista points and other stops all along the road, and so many things to see or do from nature activities to historic sites. Route 1 merges with I-5 in Dana Point in Orange County. 

Morro Rock

Morro Rock

Inside pool area in Hearst Castle

Inside pool area in Hearst Castle

Have you driven Pacific Coast Highway? How was your experience?