Let’s read about Pacific Coast Highway road trip stops in California, and these all must be included in your Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary. Let’s start the Pacific coast highway road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco. You can do the reverse as well. Read more on Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Itinerary – the 6 best places to stop on Pacific Coast Highway.
Pacific Coast Highway – One of the world’s best scenic drive-throughs, and therefore, there are numerous stops on the Highway for a quick photoshoot or a lovely stopover with your family, children, or partners. There are multiple stops on Pacific Coast Highway 1, but I would select the topmost and some best places to stop on the Pacific Coast Highway road trip.
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Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Itinerary – 6 best places to stop On Pacific Coast Highway LA to San Francisco Itinerary
Pacific Coast Highway 101 is also known as California State Route 1. While starting from Los Angeles the Pacific Ocean will face on driver’s side and towards the right side, you will have the view of cliffs and towns.
There are many beautiful beaches and enchanting stopovers in between LA to Santa Barbara, but as a formal stopover, I would stop at Santa Barbara as a first stop from LA towards San Francisco.
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Distance of Santa Barbara from LA – 95 Miles (1.30 hours approx.) – via US 101 N
Why Santa Barbara – A famous beach town of California with upscale beach resorts, rustic restaurants & bars, peaceful and picturesque town.
Santa Barbara is also known as Californian Riveria / American Riveria, famous for its beautiful Mediterranean climate. It has several pretty beaches, Mediterranean architecture, and palm trees. Also, it houses the famous California mission, and State Street shops with laidback quaint vibes.
Things to do in Santa Barbara
- Chromatic Gate
- East Beach
- Old Mission Santa Barbara
- Whale Watching Tours –
- Santa Barbara Zoos/Ostrich Farms
- State Street
- El Presidio de Santa Barbara
- Arroyo Burro Beach County Park
- Stearns Wharf
LA to Santa Barbara road drive video
Distance of Morro Bay from Santa Barbara – 107 Miles (1 hour 50 min approx.)
Why Morro Bay – For beach nature lovers and surfers.
Morro Bay – Gibraltar of the Pacific is known for surfing, beautiful coasts, sandy beaches, and a perfect coastal holiday spot for nature lovers.
Things to do at Morro Bay
- Morro Rock
- Morro Bay State Park
- Morro Bay National Estuary
- The Embarcadero
- Morro Strand State Beach
- Morro Bay Skateboard
Distance of San Simeon from Morro Bay – 32 Miles (30 minutes approx.)
Why would San Simeon – Marine life and beach lovers love this place.
One of the most beautiful spots on this highway and not to be missed during this drive. Exotic coastal cliffs and vast ocean views are worth turning off Highway 1 with elephant seals lying across beaches in their natural habitat.
Things to do in San Simeon
- Hearst Castle
- Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop
- Piedras Blancas
- Piedras Blancas Light
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Distance of Big Sur from San Simeon – 65 Miles (1 hour 35 minutes approx.)
Why Big Sur – Romantic Nature destination with a wonderful coastline along mountains. Forest lovers would also love this place.
The dramatic coastline of Big Sur with the rugged mountainous region starting from San Simeon till Carmel by the Sea on the Central Californian coast where Santa Lucia mountains meet the deep blue Pacific Ocean is a genuinely enchanting romantic getaway in California. It is one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, with an unforgettable picturesque backdrop.
This region is full of the tallest trees, Redwoods forest, and waterfalls along the rugged coastline, it is the perfect spot for couples and therefore labeled as the most romantic getaway on the western coast the USA. The drive across Big Sur Coast also topped the world’s best road trips.
Things to do in Big Sur
- Pfeiffer Beach
- Bixby Bridge
- Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
- Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
- McWay Falls
Monterey or Carmel by the Sea
Distance of Monterey from Big Sur – 28 Miles (40 minutes approx..)
Distance of Carmel by the Sea from Monterey – 5 Miles (10 minutes approx..)
Why Monterey or Carmel by the Sea – Quaint, laid-back mountainous beach towns with lovely dining scenes. Romantic – fairy tale towns with the perfect backdrop of hills and coastline.
Monterey Bay is known as the Serengeti of Marine life. With a vibrant Pier and amazing marine life, Monterey attracts ocean lovers. Not only Monterey but its nearby cities like Carmel-by-the-Sea too attract people a lot.
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A visit to Carmel-by-the-Sea is a truly romantic experience with laid back & quaint fairy tale village nestled along California’s Central Coast. Though this town is one mile long still a perfect place to spend a romantic getaway from hustling, bustling city life. Romantic cafes, fairytale houses, an enchanting coastline, and the hilly backdrop are the ideal ways to relax here. Not only would fairytale settings enchant you, but shopping too here is worth doing. Carmel by the Sea is one of the best places to stop on Pacific coast highway California.
Distance of Santa Cruz from Carmel By The Sea – 47 Miles (50 minutes approx..)
Why Santa Cruz – Surfers, beach lovers, and amusement park lovers.
A famous beach town of California and a hot favorite amongst surfers. This place is for sun, sand, and surfing. You will find amazing beaches, surfing opportunities, amusement rides, beer, and T-shirts related to surfing. So soak yourself into the sandy beaches and get some tan under the sunny town of Santa Cruz during a weekend road trip from San Francisco.
Things to do in Santa Cruz – Must do in Santa Cruz
- West Cliff Drive
- Santa Cruz Beach Broadwalk
- Natural Bridges State Beach
- Wilder Range State Park
- Roaring Camp Railroads
- Mystery Spot
- Please point Beach
Santa Cruz is the closed stopover from San Francisco. San Francisco is approx. 60 to 70 miles from Santa Cruz.
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Facts and General tips – Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Itinerary – 6 best places to stop in California
- Pacific Coast Highway is the longest state route in California.
- It is also popularly known as California State Route 1 – PCH
- It was constructed in 1934 and took 15 years to complete.
- It runs for nearly 656 miles in California; therefore, the major beautiful part of the Pacific Coast Highway is spread on the western coast of California.
- It is one of the most scenic road trips in the world and one of the most visited highways in America.
- The Pacific Coast Highway passes through three states of the U.S. – Washington, Oregon, and California
- The route of 1585 miles from start to end would take approximately 32 hours with an average speed of 50 miles per hour.
- This highway has numerous enchanting stopovers and famous cities, starting from Seattle and ending in San Diego.
- Due to its maximum presence in California, the Pacific Coast Highway trip is categorized into 3 parts – the Northern Pacific Coast road trip, Central Coastal Pacific Highway no 1 road trip, and the Southern Pacific Coast Road trip.
- Many times near Big Sur in central coastal California, this highway gets mountainous – so drive carefully.
- All Vista points are alerted in advance or set your Google map accordingly so you can know where to stop.
- There are not many Gas or fueling pumps on the scenic route Pacific Highway 1 of California, so better to fill your vehicle with full gas when you leave your previous destination.
- There are always steep curves and slopes on Highway no 1, so drive carefully and also these curves are worth photogenic but don’t carry away by beauty so much that you lend yourselves to a danger on road.
- Spring to Summer is the busiest tourist season for this Highway no 1.
- Southern Pacific Coast Highway 1 is amazing throughout the year.
- Pacific Coast Highway in California is a toll-free road – especially the whole scenic part – so enjoy nature without paying extra tolls
PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY 101 VIDEO LA TO SFO – California road trip stops
I hope you loved reading about the Pacific Coast Highway Itinerary and will soon plan a Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary, including all these beautiful stopovers. Please share Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Itinerary – the 6 best places to stop on Pacific coast highway with your friends and loved ones #VisitCalifornia #travelwithme247blog #travelwithme24x7.
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