Driving the Route 1 of California is the way to go if you want to take the quintessential American road trip. The most scenic part of it is designated as the famous Pacific Coast Highway, which includes steep cliffs, deep- blue ocean views, crashing waves and tranquility.
The construction of State Route 1 began in the Big Sur section of the highway in the 1930s, throughout the years, the other parts were built and eventually connected. In 1964, the State officially recognized it as Highway 1. The Big Sur section which runs from San Luis Obispo to Carmel is an official National Scenic Byway due to its breathtaking natural views. Route 1 starts in the south of California in Orange County and ends in the north in Mendocino County and is 655 miles (1,055km) long. This famous highway doesn’t only serve to connect the coastal towns along its path, it also provides access to beaches, parks, scenic views and other attractions, which makes it an extremely popular tourist route.
What to see and do along Route 1:
Famous Californian Beaches
Along Route 1, you can visit many famous beach towns such as Santa Monica, Redondo Beach, Huntington Beach, Malibu, and Laguna Beach. Many of these beaches are where famous American Hollywood films, TV series and reality shows are filmed. You can soak up the sun at the beach, surf or admire the amazing mansions that line the shores. Santa Monica is home to the famous pier where you can ride roller coasters while taking in views of the Pacific Ocean.
Santa Barbara is an example of a typical Californian town, with white sand beaches, gorgeous blue water and a view of the Santa Ynez Mountains as the backdrop of the city. Enjoy the variety of shopping options, go out to eat seafood at a restaurant overlooking the sea, or take a stroll along the shore. Santa Barbara also has a great zoo with a wide range of animal species. Santa Barbara is just one of many picturesque towns that you´ll find along the Route 1 of California.
The most famous city of California and the second-biggest city in the United States, is packed with things to do and see. It is a city famous for its film industry and countless television studios. In Hollywood you can take behind-the-scenes tours of the studios, see the famous Hollywood sign, or stop by the TCL Chinese Theater and see the hand and footprints of the most famous celebrities of all time. Enjoy shopping and trying new restaurants. Take a tour up into the hills to see where the celebrities live, maybe you’ll even get to see one in person!
The best section of Route 1 for ocean views is the Pacific Coast highway which extends 90 miles between San Simeon and Carmel Highlands. This part of the highway passes through Big Sur, California, known for its incredible plunging cliffs, sprawling views of the water and giant crashing waves. In this area, you can take a rest at Garrapata State Park which is a good place to stop for beach access. If you want an authentic California experience, you must visit Big Sur!
Cross the Golden Gate Bridge
While making your way up the coast from the south you can stop at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is considered as one of the best in the country. Then continue north and finish your road trip by crossing the iconic Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco. San Francisco is without a doubt one of the most gorgeous cities in all of the United States. Its hilly landscape, ocean views, Victorian-era houses and famous cable cars make it a unique American city.