No journey to the west coast is full with out an epic street journey journey alongside California’s lovely coast.

Assuming you’re on this for the journey (you take a California coast street journey in any case), it is best to plan on spending at the very least per week exploring to see what the totally different locations California’s Northern, Central and Southern areas have to supply and get the total expertise.

Prepare for an exhilarating, cliff hugging, home windows down, music loud California street journey!

See additionally: Interesting Facts About California

Mostly requested questions on California coast street journeys

Is it higher to drive up or down the California coast?

Personally, we expect it’s greatest to start out North and head South. This weblog is organized so as of cities you’ll hit driving on Route 1.

What number of miles is California’s coast?

California’s coast spans over 800 miles!

How lengthy does it take to drive California’s coast?

With out stopping, it’ll take you between 10 – 12 hours to drive all the California coast from begin to end. Nonetheless, this street journey is about making these superb stops! So, plan accordingly.

Northern California coast street journey itinerary

Your California journey begins on Pacific Coast Freeway, higher often called “PCH”.

The ocean views from above are so attractive that you simply’ll have to drag over to take all of it in. You don’t wish to drive off the cliff. 😉

Alongside the street, driving on the California Hwy 1, you’ll additionally encounter the attractive Navarro River Redwoods State Park which has a singular, prehistoric really feel, nearly like a scene from Jurassic Park, with ferns peaking by the thick, stalky Redwoods.

See additionally: Best Beaches in Northern California

Humboldt County: “The Redwood Forest”

Humboldt Redwoods State Park

The Redwood Forest is each bit as epic because the photographs you see in magazines and Instagram, solely 10x higher. You need to see it in particular person. You’ll see the Redwoods just about till you attain San Francisco. Have your digicam prepared!

Avenue of the Giants

That is the place a number of the largest and tallest Redwood bushes on the planet are.

From Avenue of the Giants, you’ll drive on California Hwy 1 which ultimately turns into PCH. These are a number of the most unimaginable views you’ll see in your California coast street journey.

You’ll additionally wish to cease in these cities for the total expertise:

Meyers Flat

Cooler in concept than in actual life. Max dimension is 7’ x 7’. I watched as a Tesla barely made it by. However, my SUV didn’t stand an opportunity.

In the event you actually wish to drive by a tree, you possibly can strive the “Chandelier Tree” in Leggett whose opening has match SUVs.

That is an cute treasure. It felt so practical, at any given second, I used to be anticipating to see an elf come out of the door.


Enter to the left of Dyerville Overlook for secluded views of the water. It’s a pleasant place to park your automotive and acquire your ideas or have a snack.


Try the Victorian fashion structure on this 19th c. seaport city.

  • Carson mansion
  • Discover Outdated City Eureka & waterfront
  • Drive throughout bridge to Woody Island

The place to eat


On this unassuming little city identified for its backdrop in some large Hollywood motion pictures, you’ll get to take pleasure in some odd curiosities like a store housed inside a former financial institution and California’s oldest pharmacy.

  • Rings Pharmacy (Rexall Medicine)

California’s oldest, repeatedly working drug retailer

  • Humboldt’s Hometown Retailer

You’ll be able to even step contained in the financial institution’s vault which is fairly superior. Then, stroll by the room that’s devoted to Meals Community Star, Man Fieri, who was born proper on the town.

Superbly stored fairytale-like backyard with a life-sized doll home and a hidden backyard walkway manufactured from crops.

Fort Bragg


You don’t wish to miss this lovely seaside city overlooking Goat Island and Cypress. It offers the vibes of a Mediterranean coastal city.

  • Mendocino Headlands State Park

Standing on the bluffs looking to sea is probably the most calming feeling because the waves are crashing and wind blows throughout you.

The place to eat

Insider Tip: On the drive down, you’ll inevitably be passing well-known websites like Big Sur’s Bixby Bridge. It’s all a part of the California coastal street journey! Pull over to the aspect to snap some epic photographs. However, no matter you do, don't cease in the course of the street. Sure, I've seen this executed. It’s a security hazard to your self but in addition, everybody round you.

Wine Nation

In the event you take pleasure in wine, take a tour by wine nation and check out totally different Californian wines. You’ll discover plenty of enjoyable, interactive experiences at totally different vineyards and wineries alongside the way in which.

We’re going a bit of inland right here, going from Route 1 to the 128, however with many wine producers positioned only a quick drive off the coast, you possibly can hop from vineyard to vineyard and see what totally different wine rising areas have to supply.

Napa County


In the event you haven’t seen the film “Bottle Shock”, you’ll wish to earlier than heading to wine nation. That is the place California wine turned heads worldwide and began being taken severely.

Good Learn: Learn the e-book the movie was (loosely) primarily based on explaining the large California win that modified wine eternally: Judgment of Paris: California Vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine.


Napa is probably the most well-known of the wine areas. Put together for a Disneyland chaos form of vibe. At the least that’s what it felt like at Domaine Carneros. There are additionally different spots price testing.

Listed here are a couple of nice Napa experiences to check out:

Discover the attractive grounds which features a backyard whose recent produce is utilized in most of the dishes served on property. It’s also possible to dine right here, take pleasure in a self-wine tasting expertise and discover their museums and study extra about wine and cooking inside.

Just a few extra locations to take a look at in Napa:

  • Napa Mill
  • Retailers, eating places. Cease into Classic Candy Shoppe for some wine and decadent truffles.
  • Napa Welcome Signal

The place to eat

CIA at Copia has some superb eating places.

Brunch: The Grove

Dinner: Le Petit Chef 3D Expertise

A whirlwind of an expertise! Undoubtedly to not be missed. This can be a really magical night. It’ll actually transport you to a unique world.

St. Helena

Sonoma County

Napa is known for its wine but in addition a bit crowded and overdone should you ask me. Strive a number of the lesser identified areas right here in Sonoma, the actual deal.

Be part of a guided winery tour with picnic lunch within the space!


  • Alexander Valley Winery

Santa Rosa

If driving by a winery on a bar bike whereas sampling grapes off the vine and sipping on totally different varietals seems like a enjoyable California afternoon to you, you’ll love St. Francis whose historical past is simply as attention-grabbing as its fortunate escape from the California fireplace that attempted to take them down.

San Francisco & Sausalito

Take Freeway 101 North throughout the Golden Gate Bridge until you’ve entered San Francisco, the land that wants no introduction.

We’re all conscious of the issues that made SF famously all the way down to earth and funky. However, if you need one thing a bit of extra particular, be unique and spend a while in Sausalito, SF’s cute little sister. She’s simply as nice and…you received’t must struggle vacationers for a very good photograph.

For the adventurers, begin in SF & journey throughout the bridge all the way in which to Sausalito. Take the ferry or bike again. I’ll warn you, it’s a little bit of a distance. I used to be exhausted after going 1 method.

The place to eat

Central California

Now you’ll get again on Route 1 and proceed down the coast getting into the middle of California which is an ideal mix of the Northern and Southern areas its sandwiched between. You’ll get a bit of little bit of the whole lot… nature, journey, ocean, metropolis, culinary delights and extra.

Santa Cruz

  • Amusement Park
  • Pizza & drink sail to see the seals, Chardonnay Charters is a good firm
  • Stroll the pier and watch seals

Monterey & Pacific Grove

The place to eat

Not solely does this restaurant have unimaginable views, it has scrumptious seafood! Seize a desk exterior and take all of it in. You’ll be able to even watch kayakers, birds and seals from above.

Carmel by the Sea

This can be a little storybook coastal village if I ever noticed one! Right here, you’ll benefit from the one in every of a sort really feel that’s uniquely Carmel. Discover quaint outlets and fairytale-like houses then, hit the seashore and go for some lunch at one of many city’s bistros with outdated world appeal.

  • Carmel Seaside
  • Get your golf on at one in every of Carmel’s many state-of-the-art golf programs
  • Do the 17 mi. drive, cease at Pebble Seaside
  • See the storybook homes which have totally different names as a substitute of numbers


  • Stroll the boardwalk of Moonstone Seaside and dip your toes within the ocean
  • Principal Avenue outlets, eating places & historical past
  • Hearst Fort
For one more enjoyable cease additional inland, go to an enthralling village named Solvang, higher often called the Danish capital of America and the city the place the wino film Sideways was filmed.

Southern California

Then, you’ll get onto Freeway 101! That is while you’ll actually begin to really feel these surfer, seashore vibes which might be quintessential to SoCal.

Right here, you’ll discover attractive artist colonies, surf spots and seashores made well-known on TV sequence like The OC, Laguna Seaside, The Hills and each Seaside Boys music.

See additionally: Best Hiking Trails in Southern California

Santa Barbara

Right here, we enter the Northernmost level of SoCal.

  • Take a surfing lesson
  • Go to Outdated Mission Santa Barbara inbuilt 1786
  • Stroll down one of many longest deep-water piers between LA & SF – Stearns Wharf

The place to eat

  • In-N-Out of Course! It’s a Californian staple.

Huntington Seaside

Welcome to “Surf Metropolis, USA”!

  • Lease a surrey bike at Zack’s Rental. It’s plenty of enjoyable to journey previous the seashore! Simply be careful for the pedestrians.
  • Go to the surf outlets for some nice beachwear
  • Stroll the Boardwalk

The place to eat

Laguna Seaside

Whereas Laguna Seaside is after all identified for its seashore, I encourage you to skip it (not the prettiest, I do know, I grew up right here) and as a substitute, take a look at these different spots…

  • Stroll to Hesler Park gazebo, look out to the ocean, see an artist portray the scene

See Paegaent of the Masters which is a good present! Stroll round and see totally different artwork galleries. You’ll be able to even paint a vase and take it dwelling with you.

  • See St. Francis by the Sea- Guiness Ebook of World File’s smallest cathedral on the planet

The place to eat

Sit exterior for beautiful ocean views. The seafood was recent and engaging.

La Jolla

Discuss a enjoyable spot! This can be a basic Cali beachtown with a mixture of upscale and lowkey outlets and eating places with the seashore as the middle focus. You’ll know you’re in the best place while you hear the seals!

  • Stroll Avendida de la Playa
  • Seaside sundown
  • Go kayaking at La Jolly Cove
  • Birch Aquarium

The place to eat


If you need a style of glamour and beautiful seashores, head to Malibu.

  • Stroll Malibu Pier, plenty of outlets & eating places
  • Level Dume
  • Matador Seaside
  • Surf at Zuma Seaside

The place to eat

Don’t go away with out testing this superb restaurant! Reservations are extremely advisable. I watched the large waves do their very own little present and acquired sprayed with sea mist whereas sipping cocktails earlier than diving into a tremendous 8 course seafood & sushi meal.

San Diego

This can be a lovely location away from the remainder of town.

  • Stroll round (or keep at) Historic Lodge de Coronado
  • Have a drink and take heed to stay music on the seashore
  • Sea World
  • Balboa Park
  • Level Loma
  • Outdated City San Diego

Some nice spots to hit are Outdated City San Diego Historic Park and Whaley Home.

  • Woflie’s Carousel Bar
  • Breakfast & Bubbles
  • Rockin Baja Lobster

See additionally: How to Plan an Epic Baja California Vacation

And there you have got it! The place to cease alongside a California coast street journey! Hopefully you get some concepts to your upcoming street journey!

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