Long considered one of the United States’ “dream drives,” the Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Hwy 1 or simply PCH, is practically synonymous with California. The road actually begins two states north in Washington but is best known for the stretch of road that travels along California’s rugged coast, hugging the Pacific Ocean along the way. A few of the many not-to-miss sights seen along the way are below.
Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
Heading south on PCH from San Francisco, the first amazing sight is driving over the famed Golden Gate Bridge. Plan the trip right by choosing a hotel in San Francisco and exploring the city a little before heading south. Fisherman’s Wharf and Union Square are worth a visit.
Half Moon Bay/Ano Nuevo State Park
Driving down Hwy 1 from San Francisco, you’ll soon see the crescent-shaped bay known as Half Moon Bay. Stop and take a picture from the cliff edge before driving just a little farther south to Ano Nuevo State Park. The marine park here is home to plenty of elephant seals.
Bixby Bridge/Big Sur
Travel over Bixby Bridge, a sight to see as one of the tallest single-span concrete bridges in the world. It is 714 feet is some of the most photographed on the West Coast. From Bixby Bridge, head to Big Sur, which is full of lookout points at McWay Falls, Pfeiffer Beach, Ragged Point and Point Sur State Historic Park. With so many sights to explore, stay a day or two in a Big Sur hotel.
Known as the coastal home for the rich and famous, Malibu is as beautiful as you’d expect. From PCH, follow the signs to Point Dume to explore the area’s cliffs, rocky coves, sandy beach and, of course, huge weekend beach estates that have to be seen to be believed. Leave Malibu via the Topanga Canyon before continuing down the coastline. A little detour on Route 27 will lead to Topanga Overlook and its awesome views of the San Fernando valley below.
There’s no better place to end a trip down the coast than in San Diego. The Pacific Coast Highway ends in San Diego’s gorgeous, waterfront downtown area. From here, you can check into a trendy San Diego hotel overlooking the water and explore Balboa Park, Old Town and the downtown area. A tour of Point Loma is much more than a good workout – head to the top to check out Cabrillo National Monument and take a gander at some breathtaking views of the entire San Diego Bay area below.
A trip down the Pacific Coast Highway won’t soon be forgotten. Not when the sights to see and experience include seaside villages, breathtaking beach views and even unspoiled redwood forests.
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