Home California Top Tips For Driving Highway 1: Ultimate California Road Trip

Top Tips For Driving Highway 1: Ultimate California Road Trip

written by Penny Sadler



Highway 1 is open! However, due to the nature of this road, you should always check for updates on possible road closures before embarking on your road trip. Recent rains temporarily closed a section of the highway. You can always find updates here


 Now may be one of the best times to enjoy the Ultimate California Road Trip!

UPDATE, 28, October 2019 

You can also find updates for the entire area on the website for See Monterey.



Top Tips Driving Highway 1 Ultimate California Road Trip

Photo courtesy of See Monterey

Want to take the ultimate California road trip? Drive California’s Highway 1 along the Central Coast. It’s rightfully rated as one of the top road trips in the world.

This is a particularly breathtaking drive, especially through Big Sur where the Santa Lucia mountains plunge into the sea, and the surf and wind relentlessly pound the rocks and shore below and bend the native cypress trees into otherworldly shapes. You’ll see coves painted in shades of turquoise, sapphire, and teal, that will make you long to plant your flag and declare that beach your own. It’s a wild remote beauty that will definitely have you pondering the mystery of the universe if you’re the pondering type.

Before you embark on the ultimate California road trip, let me share some of my top tips to help you along the way. While it’s a fun drive, it can be very challenging and demands 100 percent of your attention.

I’ll also share some of the top attractions from Monterey to Cambria. Keep in mind this is a small selection. Honestly, there is so much to see and do especially if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, I can’t cover it all in one article.


The Ultimate California Road Trip

The trip takes about five hours if driven at a leisurely pace. You can drive from the north to the south (Monterey to San Luis Obispo), or south to north. I drove it both directions, taking longer to drive back because I had no place I had to be at the end of the day. I also liked driving north to south best, because the ocean was on my right side and it was easier to pull off in the turn-outs to take pictures.

 top tips driving California Highway 1 Ultimate Road Trip @PennySadler

Top Tips For Driving Highway 1

Tip: 1
Driving a comfortable and reliable car is a must. This is a two-lane mountain road. In some places, the shoulder is quite narrow and there’s not much between you and the sea below. There’s a forty to fifty mile stretch that’s full of hairpin twists and turns. I drove a 2015 Kia Forte which handled the curves perfectly. I actually felt kind of proud of myself making this drive on my own. Honestly, I’d not have done it my own car, a gently worn Nissan Sentra – it just doesn’t have the same turning radius or get up and go as the Kia did. I was happy I could pick up speed quickly, and I think that’s an important consideration. You’ll be pulling over a lot to admire the sweeping vistas – and of course snapping lots of photos.

 Kia Forte on the beach from Ultimate California Road trip

Asilomar Beach, Pacific Grove


Top Tips For Driving Highway 1 the Ultimate California Road Trip

There’s plenty of room for passengers if you don’t fancy traveling solo.

Tip 2:

Go in the offseason. The main reason to go in the offseason is probably obvious, but let me be clear: driving this road with heavy traffic would make it that much more challenging. The distance from Cambria to Big Sur is only 60 miles but it takes at least two hours depending on how many stops you make.

California gets plenty of sunshine, and it’s not that cold in the winter; even in the off- season, the weather is temperate. I was there the first week of the year and it was chilly in the mornings but sunny, and warmed as the day went by. Just be sure to dress appropriately and layer.

If you go during the off-season, the only activity that you may miss out on is working on your tan. You can still surf, hike, go whale-watching, and enjoy everything else that makes California so popular.

There is one possible drawback to the winter season – that’s the rainy season. Be sure to check for updates on the road conditions. Excess rain in California can mean road closures due to mudslides.

Here’s a great article from USA Today about whale watching on the California coast.

Tip 3:

Be sure you’ve filled up the car with gas before you hit the road. Between Cambria and Big Sur, there are 40 miles of highway – and no gas stations.

Tip 4:

If you need to use the bathroom, don’t wait. Again, there’s no place to stop, even on the roadside. The only places to pull over are turnouts, where there will be other tourists. No privacy.

Tip 5:

Don’t rush it. This drive is truly one of the bucket list experiences that people dream about. Take your time. Smell the ocean air, notice the natural beauty around you, stop and look for whales migrating up the coast, and feel the tension leave your body as the relaxed California atmosphere permeates every cell. Do you feel it?

The Pacific Ocean near Big Sur, from, Ultimate California Road trip @PennySadler

Just a typical view along California’s Highway 1

Tip 6:

Make sure you have a great camera with you, and that you have a fully charged battery and plenty of memory on the card. Be sure to ask someone to snap a photo of you in that stunning scenery. I saw plenty of people with selfie sticks, a trend I won’t imbibe in, but it is an option if you’re traveling alone.

Tip 7:

If you suffer from carsickness, be the driver. Once you enter the Big Sur area, the road is a bit of a roller coaster. If for some reason you cannot drive, be prepared with some non-drowsy Dramamine; you don’t want to fall asleep and miss all the gorgeous scenery.


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Sunshine on the Pacific Ocean, from, Top Tips for the Ultimate California Road Trip @PennySadler 2015

Top attractions

Hearst Castle

About twenty miles north of San Luis Obispo is San Simeon and Hearst Castle. Once the home of publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst, the castle is now a state park and a vacation destination in itself. Hearst and his father spent a lot of time camping on this land and when young William Randolph inherited the land from his mother, the story goes that he told the architect, Julia Morgan, he wanted to “build a little something.”

Hearst Castle exterior with Palm trees  @PennySadler 2015

Hearst Castle

Beautiful table with decoration inside San Simeon, Heart Castle, from Adventures of a Carryon

I took the Grand Rooms tour when I visited this time.Though the house is a magnificent example of Mediterranean and Gothic architecture, and filled with antiquities from all over the world, my favorite part of the tour remains the indoor Roman pool. From the exquisite blue tile work to the beautiful soft ambient lights and the mirror reflection of the water, this pool begs you to lose yourself in its deep blue calm.

I love the stories of famous personalities, frequent guests at the castle, sneaking out to the pool after hours for a little romantic interlude in one of the many secluded corners. Cary Grant was quoted as saying “The Roman pool is a great place to get to know someone just a little bit better.” I wouldn’t mind meeting up with him there at all.

indoor pool at Heart Castle @PennySadler 2014

The Roman Pool at Hearst Castle

You’ll want to book a castle tour in advance. After the tour, you can wander around the grounds outside to your heart’s content. Plan to spend at least two hours here.

To book online and more information visit the website: www.hearstcastle.org

Elephant Seal Viewing Area
Just past Hearst Castle is the Pieras Blancas Elephant seal rookery. These animals are actually quite ugly, but interesting to watch. They’re also really noisy, especially during mating season. The shore area is dotted with large lava rock, and it can be hard to distinguish the seals from the rocks when they are in the water. The day I drove past, there was a backup of cars waiting to get into the parking lot. This is another good reason to go off season, or a weekday.

Elephant seals near Cambria California @PennySadler 2015

Elephant seals on the beach near San Simeon.

Attractions in the Big Sur Area

Bixby Bridge

This may be the most photographed bridge in California, aside from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Bixby Bridge is a single-span concrete arch more than 260 feet high and 700 feet long. You can park at a turn out at either end to take photographs. Bixby Bridge, along with Garrapata and Rocky Creek Bridge, were built in the 1930s and paved the way for tourism to come to Big Sur. The only road prior to Highway 1 was the Old Coast Road. It remains an unpaved road and not suitable for standard passenger automobiles.

 Top Tips for Driving Highwy 1 Ultimate California Road Trip; @PennySadler 2015

Imagine building bridges along this road.

Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park

A great place for hiking, this park is best known for McWay Falls, a 100-foot waterfall that cascades from an 80 foot high drop off into the cove below.

The trail to get there is quite easy and it’s such an iconic spot, you really do have to see it. Don’t park on the side of the road. You’ll see that a lot of people do, but I think it could be dangerous; there’s plenty of parking in the park itself, at least in the off-season.

The falls used to drop into the ocean, but due to a landslide several years ago, now drop on the sandy cove. It’s an idyllic spot and one that makes you wish you could actually get to it. There is signage everywhere warning against it. Be smart and admire safely from afar.

McWay Falls, Big Sur, California @PennySadler 2015

McWay Falls, a top attraction in Big Sur


Nepenthe is an indoor/outdoor restaurant best known for its views, but it also has an interesting history. The restaurant and surrounding land has been in the family for over 50 years. It’s still a popular spot with locals and tourists alike. There’s a very nice gift shop with handcrafted jewelry, unique fragrances, books, and children’s gifts carefully curated from around the world.


Nepenthe Big Sur California Ultimate Road Trip @PennySadler 2015

The view from Nepenthe, Big Sur

North of Big Sur

After you pass Big Sur it’s about thirty or forty minutes to Carmel by the Sea. Carmel is also known as “the little town in the forest by the sea,” which is a lovely and quaint description. It has a bit of a European feel because it’s really a place to walk. There are many unique shops, galleries, and great restaurants. The beach there is known as one of the best places on the Monterey Peninsula to watch the sunset.

Carmel was voted #2 Best Small City in the USA by Conde Nast Traveler last year.



Pretty street with colorful leaves on the trees in  Carmel by the Sea

Carmel by the Sea

Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary
From wikipedia:

The black-and-orange butterflies spend much of the fall and winter in the local Monterey Pine trees, roughly from Halloween until Valentine’s Day. Residents of Pacific Grove help the butterfly’s habitat by planting purple and yellow flowers, such as lantana, yellow aster, Pride of Madera, and Mexican Sage, in what are called Butterfly Gardens.

Point Pinos Lighthouse

Since 1855, the Point Pinos Lighthouse has been a beacon for ships on the Pacific coast. It’s the oldest continually operating lighthouse on the west coast, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Need to know: the hours of operation are Thursday – Monday 1:00 – 4:00 pm.

A personal side note: I left a ring in the bathroom at the lighthouse and didn’t realize it until I was back in my room several hours later. I miraculously thought to check if they had a Facebook page. Lo and behold, they do! I left a message about leaving the ring in the ladies room and asked if it had been found. The next morning, I was on my way to pick it up. You might say the lighthouse cast some illumination on how to best make contact with them, thereby reuniting me with my ring. Ok, it’s a stretch, but I will never forget the lighthouse.


Pinos Point Lighthouse, From, Top Tips Highway 1 Ultimate California Road Trip

From there you’re just minutes from Monterey and the world-famous Monterey Aquarium and Cannery Row.

Monterey Bay Aquairium jellyfish @PennySadler

Monterey Bay Aquarium opened in 1984 and quickly became one of the most visited aquariums in the world, receiving over 2 million visitors per year. Located on the north end of Cannery Row, it’s on the former site of the Hovden Cannery, the last cannery to close, in 1973.

Cannery Row, originally Ocean View Avenue, is famous largely due to John Steinbeck’s novel for which the street is named. The book was the basis for a film named Cannery Row, featuring Debra Winger and Nick Nolte. One of the main characters, Doc, was a real person – a scientist- named Edward F. Rickets. His lab still exists and across the street is a Chinese-American owned store, also mentioned in the novel.

(I am reading an excellent book about Steinbeck and Monterey by author Susan Shillinglaw, A Journey Into Steinbeck’s California. You can purchase this book at the Aquarium or the Steinbeck house in Salinas. You can also obtain a copy through Roaring Forties Press).

Today, Cannery Row is filled with shops, restaurants, and hotels, and is a tourist attraction in Monterey.

Where To Stay

The Monterey Bay area has a good selection of places to stay from bed and breakfasts to cottages and modern hotels. If you want to be in the middle of it all, stay in Monterey.  You are five to ten minutes from Carmel, twenty from Big Sur and only two hours from San Francisco. I stayed at the historic Casa Munras, one of the Inns of Monterey. Located just off the 101, it’s an excellent location for walking downtown and to the Fisherman’s Wharf. 

If you truly want to be in the thick of it, or you just want a hotel with a more modern flair, stay at the Intercontinental on Cannery Row. 

Just Go!

Great weather almost 365 days a year, a laid back attitude, and scenery that has inspired romantics, creatives, explorers, and adventurers for centuries – any time of year is a great time to take the Ultimate California Road Trip.

No matter when you go, California’s Highway 1 is the Ultimate California Road Trip.

sunset at McWay Falls from, Top tips driving highway 1 ultimate california road trip @PennySadler

Looking north from McWay Falls, Big Sur.

My road trip was sponsored by Kia and See Monterey. However, all content is editorial and I am under no obligation to write anything at all.

Like the images you see? Please be respectful. If you’d like usage just shoot me an email.


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john March 3, 2019 at 8:28 pm

thank you

john March 3, 2019 at 8:28 pm

place me on your email list

Cindy February 21, 2019 at 11:13 pm

Thanks for the tips. My sister and I are planning this drive from Seattle in March. We are so excited! Glad to hear the road is clear through Big Sue!

Penny Sadler February 22, 2019 at 1:14 pm

You will love it. Be sure to read my other article Reasons To Visit Monterey, California. There’s more info, not the same …

Margie Miklas October 30, 2018 at 8:19 pm

Awesome post, Penny. Very informative and helpful. I’ll be going to Monterey next week and plan on driving along this coast. Thank you so much for all the fantastic tips.

Penny Sadler October 30, 2018 at 8:45 pm

Glad to know that you found it helpful. That’s what it is all about!

Rob Hudson October 8, 2018 at 10:11 am

Hi Penny, Just want to say I enjoyed this report as Im in California 4 weeks today for a 24 day holiday. Travelling from Spain where I live now.
So looking forward to the drive down the PCH isn´t fully booked yet as trying to cram so much in.
We have 4 days in San Francisco booked (Tues to Sat) then pick up hire car and move to Vallejo (six flags) for 2 days(Sat and Sun). next booked in at Santa Cruz for a night (Mon)and next day booked in at Monterey(Tues).
Now we have nothing booked until we arrived in Downtown L.A (Sat to Sat).
Obviously we don´t want to rush but would lo love to be in San Diego by the Friday before heading to L.A Saturday afternoon.
So we´re thinking as leaving Monterey (Tues), next night stop Cambria or San Luis Obispo(Weds) , then next stop Santa barbara or Ventura (thurs) and travel to San deigo on the Friday morning.
In your opinion do you think we have given us enough time to see everything or are we cramming too much in?
San Diego isn´t a must but would love to see it. Would it be safe to just drive and book when we want to stop?
After L.A. we have two free days to get to Las Vegas where we drop off hire car and have booked 4 nights before heading home.
Any help would be appreciated. Regards Rob and Kike.

Penny Sadler October 9, 2018 at 11:25 pm

Hi Rob,
I’m afraid I’m not clear exactly what you’re doing but I can say that I would spend at least 4 days in the Monterey/Big Sur area. Have a great time!

Dakota July 12, 2018 at 7:44 pm

How many beaches, state parks, and national parks did you visit along your trip? I am debating buying a California Explorer Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass ($195) and/or a National Parks & Federal Recreation Lands Annual Pass ($80). Do you think it would be worth it or should I just plan to pay as I go?

Penny Sadler July 12, 2018 at 8:43 pm

Hello Dakota, I can’t really say if you’d find it worth it or not. I didn’t actually visit that many because I had limited time. If you’re going to have more than a week or two it may be worth it to you. Maybe decide where you want to go and add up the costs individually compare to the passes?

Lisa Maria July 2, 2018 at 12:15 am

Amazing tips for highway driving. Thaks for share for fantastic this tips.

Penny Sadler July 12, 2018 at 8:46 pm

Thanks Lisa!

Lavanya December 29, 2017 at 6:08 pm

Loved ur writing!! Question for you? I have done the Carmel to big sur route in the past and have to agree it’s truly amazing! I am heading to Napa now and want to do the northern shore (1 North) – is it as good as this one? Ocean on one side and mountains on the other? Thanks!

Penny Sadler December 29, 2017 at 6:27 pm

Hi there, I can’t really comment. I’ve only been as far north as River’s End at Jenner Beach. However, my friends from the area say yes! Enjoy your trip!

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Emilia April 27, 2017 at 12:17 pm

Thank you for sharing all this info of this wonderfull place! I’m from Brazil and planning driving from San Francisco down to LA next year with my boyfriend, but we can only go by the end of March. Could you please tell me what to expect in this time of year? We’ll probably be in SF on March 20. I’ve read a lot about the weather but nothing conclusive…I understand it’s in the very beggining of spring and can still be a little cold for brazilian references. It’s not the cold we are worried about but the cloudy days! Can you please help me? Thanks!

Penny Sadler April 27, 2017 at 12:30 pm

Hi Emilia, Unfortunately it is very hard to predict. This year California had a lot of rain but next year, who knows. The end of March should be ok. There could be fog in the mornings and sunshine in the afternoon. Ultimately, does it matter? Go and have a great time enjoying the beauty – never mind the weather!

Emilia May 3, 2017 at 9:13 am

Hello Penny, thanks for the feedback! Actually that’s what everyone says right? It’s beautiful no matter when! We are thinking perhaps we should postpone the trip and go on september or novemeber, would it be better?

Penny Sadler May 6, 2017 at 6:16 pm

It might be warmer but I don’t know what to tell you. Go when it works best for you. Off season will be less expensive. Maybe that’s a factor?

Emilia May 10, 2017 at 11:45 am

Well it could be! I’ve done a little research and people say it’s the best time to visit… I think we will stick to September! Thank you!

Lara Jack February 25, 2017 at 4:51 am

It’s really a cool and helpful piece of information. Thanks for share.

Penny Sadler March 5, 2017 at 6:59 pm

Thanks Lara

Meagan Browno October 10, 2016 at 1:50 am

Amazing and informative road tips about California! I did not know most of them. Thanks dear for sharing with us.

Penny Sadler October 11, 2016 at 9:48 am

So happy to hear you found the information useful. Best wishes to you

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Mary @ Green Global Travel March 8, 2015 at 3:46 pm

Your post brought back wonderful memories of a girlfriend’s road trip I did back in the day. I’d love to do it again and this time focus on the outdoor activities instead of just the drive.

Penny Sadler March 8, 2015 at 4:10 pm

Those are exactly my thoughts Mary. It’s a lot to see and the drive is only part of the experience, or it can be the entire experience.

Lillie March 8, 2015 at 10:22 am

What a dreamy area! It’s definitely one of those places where renting a car makes full sense. We’ve got to head back there soon!

Penny Sadler March 8, 2015 at 1:28 pm

Highly recommend. 🙂

Tawanna March 5, 2015 at 11:40 am

When I was in undergrad, I drove that highway from Stanford to L.A. Solo. Got a ticket on my way back but it was such a wonderful expression of freedom at such a young age, I’m baffled thinking about it. THanks for the trek down memory lane.

Penny Sadler March 8, 2015 at 1:29 pm

So glad you enjoyed it and it brought back good memories.

Jack from Eyeflare Travel March 2, 2015 at 5:17 pm

Love this part of the world.

One tip though, go from Carmel / Santa Cruz in the north to the south. This way, the passenger is overlooking the ocean without another lane in the way (and all those cars in high season) and the driver has a better view too.

For those moments when a glimpse can be snatched while driving that road!

Stop for food at the Big Sur River Inn or Fernwood Resort (also a nice place to stay, they even have cabins in among the Redwood trees).

Penny Sadler March 2, 2015 at 9:17 pm

Hi Jack, I totally agree with you, the drive from north to south is the easier and prettier for caching a glimpse or pulling over. I stayed at the Big Sur River Inn but did not eat there. Interesting place right on the river. Unfortunately it was too cold to enjoy sitting in the river, but the atmosphere and location were perfect.

Bethaney - Flashpacker Family March 2, 2015 at 2:12 pm

America really is the best country for road tripping! We went to Monterrey on our trip from Seattle to Vegas and I have to say I didn’t enjoy it. Left after a night!

Penny Sadler March 2, 2015 at 2:45 pm

Hey Bethaney Sorry you had a bad time. I have to wonder where exactly you were. The entire area which includes Big Sur, Carmel by the Sea, Pacific Grove and lots more, is stunning. But if you stayed near Cannery Row or some other more urban touristy areas then I can’t really comment. If you’re ever back in the area go to Big Sur. I’m sure you will love it.

Cat of Sunshine and Siestas March 2, 2015 at 10:17 am

We’re considering this for a mini moon before heading back abroad – great article, and our other ideas have some serious competition!

Penny Sadler March 2, 2015 at 2:42 pm

thanks Cat!

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Henry | @fotoeins February 24, 2015 at 7:25 pm

I haven’t been on the PCH-1 in a long time. Many years ago, we drove out from Malibu on the 1 in an attempt to arrive in the South Bay Area later that very same day. Riiiiiggghht; yeah, no. Of course, we underestimated the driving time by a ridiculous amount. We decided by committee, and “surrendered” by heading inland at San Luis Obispo, with cuts back to 101 then up I-5 the rest of the way north.

Years later, I’m on a big coach/bus for a comfortably reclined 7-hour ride from Santiago, Chile to the small coastal resort town of La Serena. The drive takes place on Ruta-5 (Route 5), also known as the Carretera Panamericana or the Panamerican Highway. Much of the Chilean Pacific coastline is very similar to scenery along the PCH-1.

Penny Sadler February 24, 2015 at 7:40 pm

Wow that is really interesting. South America is appealing because no time zone change! LOL. I also underestimated this drive because my GPS kept saying it’s only 60 miles. I didn’t factor 60 miles of switchbacks!

Marilyn E Hasson February 21, 2015 at 1:34 am

Highway 1 through Big Sur is indeed a spectacular scenic drive. Thanks for the great tips & article.

Penny Sadler February 21, 2015 at 7:57 am

Thank you for the comment!

Penny Sadler February 21, 2015 at 9:20 pm

Thanks for stopping by Marilyn.

Steve February 20, 2015 at 11:51 pm

Very nice article! I would like to add that gasoline is available in Gorda.

Penny Sadler February 21, 2015 at 7:59 am

Steve, thank you very much! I remember passing through Gorda. How far is it from Cambria?

Cathy Sweeney February 20, 2015 at 2:29 pm

California road trips are near and dear to my heart and the Central Coast is amazing. You’ve captured it brilliantly in your photos. Great tips, too. There are so many wonderful places to visit along the way — Hearst is definitely a must. Love your pic of the indoor pool – that’s one of my favorite places in the castle, too.

Penny Sadler February 21, 2015 at 7:59 am

Cathy I envy you living there. I hope to be able to spend most of my summer there.

Molly February 20, 2015 at 11:53 am

I have done this road trip a few years ago. Unfortunately when I visited in August it was quite misty and the views weren´t as clear.
It is a beautiful landscape and the perfect drive.
It is great to see yoour photos of the trip

Freya February 20, 2015 at 3:42 am

I have done quite some Road Trips in the US but I have never done this one. It looks like a stunning trip with lots of attractions along the way. Definitely added to my list, thanks for the great tip !

Penny Sadler February 20, 2015 at 9:19 am

The US is a great place for road trips. My family used to drive from Texas to California often enough when I was a kid. Now that’s a road trip I could have done without out! LOL

Nancy February 21, 2015 at 12:34 am

I’ve been top to bottom and bottom to top on the PCH — When people ask me for vacation recommendations — this is number 1 for sure. Nothing like it anywhere!

Sandra Piddock February 20, 2015 at 2:25 am

California is one of thos places I am determined to get to, and this post makes me want to do it even more. Carmel looks like my kind of place, although it all looks lovely.

Penny Sadler February 20, 2015 at 9:18 am

California is “one of those places.”

Matthew Hirtes February 19, 2015 at 5:23 pm

Love the look of Carmel, Penny. This sounds like a road trip best experienced from the passenger seat. I knew there was a reason I still haven’t got my licence.

Penny Sadler February 20, 2015 at 9:17 am

Ha! I hope you have a good driver!

Meg Jerrard February 19, 2015 at 12:55 pm

Awesome post, we’re actually leaving for the Highway 1 April 10 so these tips are great! Thanks!

Penny Sadler February 20, 2015 at 9:17 am

Glad you find them useful.

Nancy February 21, 2015 at 12:36 am

There is a place just south of Nepenthe – very rustic place to stay – Lucia Lodge. We have stayed there several times. No frills, but breathtaking views!!!

Penny Sadler February 21, 2015 at 8:00 am

Nancy, I stopped at Lucia because they have a little market there. I hoped to get a look at some of the rooms but they were all booked. I agree it’s in an amazing spot. I’d love to go back and stay there a couple of days though you aren’t close to anything except nature so you have to prepare. 🙂

Leigh February 19, 2015 at 10:11 am

This post brought back great memories. I’ve only done a few of the side trips – elephant seals and the Monterey Aquarium and for the beauty alone it’s a drive worth repeating. I don’t know if there is a foggy time of the year but that’s the only time I’d really not want to go.

Penny Sadler February 20, 2015 at 9:17 am

Leah, good point! There is a foggy time of year and I believe it’s summer. Definitely would not be a fun drive in the fog!

Dana February 18, 2015 at 7:58 am

ooooh lovely! These photos brought back some wonderful memories of when my friend and I made this tour. We got super lucky at the car rental place, and they upgraded us to a convertible for only $20 extra per day, so that really made the trip and view amazing. We drove from LA up to Carmel-by-the-Sea and then back down the same way we came. Beautiful shot of the jellyfish, by the way! Love that color contrast.

Penny Sadler February 18, 2015 at 10:57 am

Hi Dana, Yes I did the drive both ways. It’s not easy but worth it. A convertible would be fun! I had a sun roof, not quite the same. 🙂
thanks for the compliment on the photo. I loved the jellyfish!

mari moneypenny February 15, 2015 at 5:40 pm

We just did the coast road trip at Christmas time, It was an amazing trip.we were heading to San Diego. I’m surprised that you didn’t go to” Point Lobos ” It is my favorite place to visit. it also has the beautiful rugget landscape. it was also the setting for alot movie scenes.”A Summer Place”one of my favored movie.

Penny Sadler February 15, 2015 at 8:20 pm

Moneypenny that is also one of my nicknames. 🙂
I now will have to watch a Summer Place.

Tom Bentley February 16, 2015 at 7:51 pm

Penny, check out “The Sandpiper” w/Liz Taylor and Richard Burton for another Big Sur-locale film. It will take you back to a 60s vibe (which still exists in some ways in the area). Nice article and good shots!

Penny Sadler February 16, 2015 at 9:44 pm

I agree. And thanks for the film tip.

Shalanna Collins (Denise Weeks) February 15, 2015 at 3:49 pm

VERY top tip: do not head north from LA towards Pacific Grove/Big Sur on Hwy 1 after dark! We left LA around sunset. The lady we were to meet in Monterey/Pacific Grove called to ask where we were, as we should have arrived around 4 PM. I told her we were coming up Hwy 1. She asked if she might suggest an alternative route. I said we’d wanted to see the water and wanted to do this. She wished us luck. Now, back when E-Systems sent me to Stanford to attend an AI seminar for two weeks, I drove *south* from Palo Alto to the Monterey peninsula on Hwy 1, and it was beautiful. Thus I did not expect the AAAAAAA experience of having the sheer cliff dropoff to the ocean on the left and the mountains on the right. Hubby drove this, including the Bixby Bridge (XOXOX), in the pitch blackness with no moon and other cars on the two-lane road coming the other way. He said he enjoyed it and that it was like the first-person videogames he has played. I think my mother began her decline as she clung to the sides of the back seat of the van because she could actually see the ocean. I was looking straight ahead and willing the oncoming vehicles to go more slowly and NOT come into our lane, as there was NOWHERE to go. Man! We arrived at our host house around midnight. Do not do as we did. Do the drive during the day when you can be properly terrified!

Penny Sadler February 15, 2015 at 8:21 pm

Too Funny. You’re right though, very good tip, drive during the day! Otherwise, what’s the point.

Wandering Educators February 12, 2015 at 2:56 pm

Just gorgeous! And what fantastic (and useful) tips – thank you!

Penny Sadler February 12, 2015 at 8:12 pm

Thanks Jessie.

Penny Sadler February 12, 2015 at 8:12 pm

Thanks Tawanna and don’t forget to vote.


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