PCH is possibly one of your favorite drives. I’ve spent the last five years traveling throughout California’s Golden Coast. This summer, we drove Highway 1 from San Francisco to Los Angeles for the first time.
This well-known road connects major cities and seaside towns. Float past redwood forests, typical California coastal towns, lighthouses, wine districts, marine life, Spanish colonial vistas, outdoor adventure, state parks, and Hearst Castle. The Pacific Coast Highway is dotted with stunning natural landscapes that will make you stop and take photos.
First, Point Reyes.
Point Reyes National Seashore is a must-see along Highway 1. Northern California. This huge protection area protects 130 km of coastline.
Drakes Beach is a popular weekend destination for San Francisco Bay Area residents, where we were engaged while standing near an elephant seal. This has charm.
Come spend a day exploring the trails, beaches, coves, and historic places. Visit the Bear Valley Visitor Center near the entrance to learn about the park, hiking trails, and events.
If you just have a day, go to Alamere Flows, wander along a beach, and see Point Reyes Lighthouse. Alamere Island’s Alamere Falls is a popular tourist destination (if open).
San Francisco’s second.
San Francisco’s diversity of things to do depends on your time and interests. Start early from Union Square to ride the historic cable car to Fisherman’s Wharf, then take a boat to Alcatraz, and then walk or take a bus to tour other areas (Chinatown, Castro, Haight-Ashbury, etc.) or a museum (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, de Young Museum, The Disney Family Museum, etc.).
If time permits, walk or ride across the Golden Gate Bridge. Given San Francisco’s food, arrange a walking tour of other districts. Consider one of these choices.
Golden Gate Park features museums, historical landmarks, gardens, and sports facilities. I love walking through Golden Gate Park. The park is also a great location to host a luxury picnic in San Francisco because you’ll get aesthetic vibes all around you. Situate yourself close to the Dutch Windmill or Japanese Botanical Garden!
Third, Santa Cruz.
Santa Cruz is recognized for its surf culture, progressive politics, and seaside boardwalk. UC Santa Cruz is also there.
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk (with amusement park, arcade, and other family-friendly attractions), downtown (particularly if Farmer’s Market is on), and Natural Bridges State Beach are all good options. Natural Bridges State Beach is another option.
The city has some of the greatest waves in the country, so surfers should visit. Along West Cliff Drive are the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum and To Honor Surfing Monument.
If you have additional time, explore the Santa Cruz mystery place, take a picturesque train trip, hike, or visit a local brewery or winery. My favorite neighboring park is Big Basin Redwoods State Park, California’s oldest. I recommend visiting if you’re nearby.
Monterey comes in fourth.
The canning industry in Monterey, its proximity to Pebble Beach, and its status as a city with a world-class aquarium all contribute to the city’s popularity as a tourist destination.
Cannery Row and Fisherman’s Wharf, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, a seafood dinner, and a drive down 17-Mile Drive, which features breathtaking scenery, golf courses, and the Lone Cypress, are all excellent starting points for a day excursion. As you amble down the beach or the water’s edge, keep a sharp lookout for marine mammals such as whales, sea otters, harbor seals, jellyfish, and seabirds.
Fans of John Steinbeck should definitely check out the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California (17 miles from Monterey). Young people and those wishing to have a good time will like the Dennis the Menace Park, which is located close to Lake El Estero.
In addition to being home to the oldest lighthouse on the West Coast, Point Pinos is also known for its Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. I like to have lunch in Pacific Grove whenever I’m in the Monterey area (during late autumn and winter months only).