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The Californian Coast (State Highway 1 ) between Los Angeles and San Francisco is a stunning road to journey on. This iconic coastal route hugs the Pacific Ocean and highlights the marvels of modern engineering, with towering bridges hovering over the rough seas below. The shear contrast between the Redwood forests and mountain ranges also adds to the allure of the region. The Spanish history of the area has influenced most of the quaint coastal towns on your journey. We have hand selected a few wonders of the region below for you to discover.
Often called the American Riviera, Santa Barbara has long been a favourite stop on many Californian coastal journeys. The pleasant mediterranean climate of the region make this a great place to stop and expore. With the Santa Ynez Mountains to the east and the glistening Pacific Ocean to the west, not only does Santa Barbara have natural beauty, the city has many facinating buildings dating back to the Spanish and Mexican periods which add to its charm. Some highlights are a visit to the Old Mission, which is a beautiful and historical destination on its own or visit Stearns wharf - which is California’s oldest working wharf - It is a great place to sample the regions freshest seafood. Tip: We recommend arriving in the morning to beat the crowds.
Famed as a place where adventure meets relaxation, and where the pines meet the sea. This rugged coastal town is a wonderful place to escape. There is no shortage of magical beaches to spot migrating humpback whales if you are travelling between May – October. A visit to Cambria is not complete without touring the National historic Landmark of Hearst Castle, This impressive building shows the extreme wealth of its original owner Media Mogul, William Hearst. With over 56 Bedrooms, 61 Bathrooms, a Movie Theatre, Airport and Roman Bath complex are a few of the highlights here. The reminiscence of the Castle's old Zoo can still be seen with a herd of Zebra that to this day still call the area home. The Cambia region is also home to many wineries, making this a great place to stop at a cellar door and try a drop of famed Californian Vino.
Big Sur State Park
Big Sur is famous for is dramatic mountainous scenery. It has long been praised as one of the most beautiful coastlines anywhere in the world. Travelling through on this isolated stretch of road gives you the perfect vantage point to see the wildlife that call this wilderness home. Keep your eyes peeled to see raccoons, skunks and deer and even the occasional black bear. Another highlight is to see the magnificent Redwood /Sequoia Pine forests. A few places worth a stop to take in the rocky coastal charm of the region are McWay Falls and Raggard Point.
The dramatic rocky coastline of Monterey is a nature lovers paradise with it's endless beach trails, and ocean outlook. Monterey is the perfect place to explore. Monterey’s natural allure also serves as an artist’s muse, many gifted artists and writers have flocked to the area since the late 19th Century. Monterey is best known for historic Cannery Row where old sardine-canning factories still stand to this day.
Half Moon Bay
The sleepy town of Half Moon Bay is a home to the world famous surf break ‘Mavericks’. This bay can produce some near perfect monster waves. It is a great place to watch skilled surfers try tame the wild pacific swell. The Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is home to Harbor Seals and a fun place to explore tidal rock pools. If your tummy is grumbling, a visit to Barbara’s Fishtrap is famous for having some of the best Fish and Chips in all of California. Or pop into Sam’s Chowder house and try their famous Lobster Roll Sandwich.
The City of San Francisco can be the start or end of your Californian coastal adventure. This City has it all. From the moment you lay eyes on the Golden Gate Bridge to the hustle and bustle of the tourist hub that is Fisherman’s wharf. Why not venture up or down the worlds steepest street. Catch a ferry to the world’s most famous prison, Alcatraz. Or catch an iconic tram around this beautiful harbour city - there truly is no other city in the world quite like San Francisco.