Pacific Coast Highway
And you’re here. The quintessential California drive. Start with the 17-mile drive, and stop at the scenic viewpoints along the way like the Lone Cypress.
You’re at the Pacific by now and should be hitting Carmel, a beautiful little seaside town to grab some brunch and stroll the streets. Stop at Point Lobos State Reserve for the best up-close view of the rugged coastline and blues of the Pacific too beautiful to be real (pictured above).
After a short pit-stop, drive on towards Monterrey, and the ultimate – Big Sur. If you can, I’d highly recommend you spend a night at Monterrey and wake up to a sunrise with the Pacific crashing against the cliffs at your doorstep. Highway 1 is here (take a picture of the signpost, of course!) and you’ve got to make the classic stops – Bixby Creek Bridge and McWay Falls.
A Photographer’s Protip : For the best pictures of Bixby Bridge, drive a little past it and take the side road leading slightly uphill, stop on the side and walk into the shrubbery to get the above shot of the bridge. Another great point is about 5-7 miles past the bridge, where you’ll see plenty of cars stopping to get the below shot of the Bridge against California’s rugged terrain and the Pacific.
Drive onward and you’ll hit the seal beach at San Simeon, which does sound absurd, but the sight of it will stun you.
Haven’t eaten yet? Don’t fret, now’s for the gastronomical pilgrimage that everyone makes when they get to California – burgers at In N Out; and get the animal sauce! Even better, grab it to go and drive to Pismo Beach on the way for a scenic lunch.
Santa Monica is your last stop on this drive, and a fun one at that. Hit the boardwalk and visit the iconic Santa Monica Pier. Walk deep down the pier and look back for one of the best snaps of the Ferris wheel against the Santa Monica coastline.
So, there you have it. The road trip of all road trips – and, might I add, a pilgrimage for surfers and beach-lovers.