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Pacific Coast Highway: A Road Trip Guide

The Pacific Coast Highway, also known as California State Route 1, is a scenic roadway that runs along the coast of California and offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. It is a popular destination for travelers looking to experience California’s natural beauty and indulge in outdoor activities, visit must-see places, and discover unique local tips. This guide will explore some of the top things to do and see while traveling along the Pacific Coast Highway.

Outdoor activities

Explore the great outdoors by enjoying activities on Pacific Coast. From surfing on the beach to hiking through parks, there's something for every adventure seeker to enjoy.

Surfing

Surfing

The Pacific Coast Highway is home to some of the best surf spots in California. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, there are plenty of waves to catch along the coastline. Some popular surf spots include Huntington Beach, Malibu, and Santa Cruz. Be sure to check the surf conditions before heading out, as the waves can be unpredictable.

Hiking

The Pacific Coast Highway also offers a variety of hiking trails, from easy coastal walks to challenging mountain treks. Some popular hikes include the Montaña de Oro State Park, where you can hike to scenic overlooks and explore tide pools, and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, which features a beautiful waterfall and a hike to the beach.

Hiking

Must See Places

Explore the top attractions along the PCH, from scenic beaches to historical landmarks. Don't miss out on these must-visit destinations during your trip.

Big Sur

Big Sur

One of the most popular and scenic stretches of the Pacific Coast Highway is Big Sur, which offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia Mountains. Visitors can stop at various scenic overlooks, hike to waterfalls, or camp along the coastline.

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara is a charming coastal city known for its Spanish colonial architecture, beautiful beaches, and lively downtown area. Visitors can explore the city’s many shops, restaurants, and art galleries or take a stroll along the coast.

Santa Barbara

Unusual Tip

Uncover the hidden gems of Pacific Coast. This unusual tip will let you turn your travel into an unforgettable experience.

Hearst Castle

Visit the Hearst Castle

The Hearst Castle is a stunning mansion located just off the Pacific Coast Highway that newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst built in the 1920s. The castle features a variety of architectural styles, including Spanish Colonial Revival and Mediterranean, and is filled with art and antiques. Visitors can tour the castle and its grounds, including a pool, a movie theater, and a zoo.

Hidden Wonders

These two places will surely add a unique and offbeat touch to your Pacific Coast Highway trip. Always check these places' opening hours and access rules before visiting.

The Madonna Inn

Located in San Luis Obispo, the Madonna Inn is a unique and eccentric hotel that features 110 individually themed rooms, each with its unique decor and amenities. From the “Caveman Room” to the “Jungle Rock Room,” each room offers a one-of-a-kind experience. The hotel also features a variety of amenities, including a bakery, a spa, and a swimming pool.

Madonna Inn
Drawbridge Town

The Abandoned Village of Drawbridge

Drawbridge is an abandoned ghost town on an island in San Francisco Bay. The village was once home to a thriving community of shantytown residents. Still, as the area became industrialized, the village was abandoned and now serves as a unique and eerie destination for visitors. The village can only be accessed by boat and is only open on weekends.

Drawbridge Town

Accommodation Suggestions

These are just a few suggestions for accommodations along the Pacific Coast Highway, but keep in mind that many other options are available depending on your preferences, location, and budget. Remember to research and book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.

Budget:

The YHA hostels are a great option for budget-conscious travelers. The hostels offer shared dormitory-style rooms and private rooms and are located in various locations along the Pacific Coast Highway, such as Santa Cruz and San Francisco.

Mid-range:

The Pacifica Beach Hotel is a mid-range option located in Pacifica, just south of San Francisco. The hotel offers comfortable rooms with ocean views and an outdoor pool and hot tub.

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Luxury:

The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay is a luxurious option located in Half Moon Bay, just south of San Francisco. The hotel offers elegant rooms and suites, as well as a spa, a golf course, and a variety of dining options.

Unique:

The Treebones Resort is a unique option located in Big Sur, offering yurts, tents, and a human nest as accommodation options. The resort is a perfect blend of luxury and nature, featuring outdoor hot tubs and various outdoor activities and amenities.

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In conclusion, The Pacific Coast Highway is a must-see destination for travelers looking to experience California’s natural beauty. From surfing and hiking to visiting must-see places and discovering unique local tips, there’s something for everyone along this scenic roadway. Remember to plan ahead and check the surf and weather conditions, pack accordingly, and always be aware of the rules and regulations of each place you visit.

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