Thursday, April 28, 2016

10 Places You Must see along the Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway was probably the most exhilarating and most beautiful part of our road trip to the USA back in October 2015. When you plan your trip down this iconic road that winds down the most gorgeous shorelines, it does become a bit daunting on what to see and what to do. It's not just one place, it's a lot of places dotted along a journey that takes 2-3 days. We did our research thoroughly and I think we managed to see most of the important places. So without further ado here are 10 Places You Must see along the Pacific Coast Highway.


 

10 Places You Must see along the Pacific Coast Highway


1. Santa Barbara




Santa Barbara will enchant you immediately as you enter the city premises. The big pier (Stearn's Wharf) over looking the bay is both historical and entertaining. But venturing into the city has its flavors as well. It's a modern and stylish place. We had breakfast at Sambo's Restaurant and drove a bit through the city. It was a wonderful start for our road trip.


2. Pismo Beach


Pismo Beach is a bit stuck in time, but that's not a bad thing. It oozes charm and flavor. From the huge (mostly lonely) pier to the streets filled with bright yellow and orange houses, huge palm trees, and amazing beaches and rocky shorelines. Photography fans will rejoice here, and those who want to see some authentic California towns will be fulfilled as well.


3. Morro Bay





Morro Bay is a very quiet place, just what we needed after a whole day of driving. We made a stop for the day here. It's a fisherman's town with a lovely harbor and great seafood restaurants. The town's most striking feature is Morro Rock, a 576 foot high volcanic plug which stands at the entrance to the harbor and is a protected bird reservoir.


4. Elephant Seal Vista Point




You can't miss this one. The beautiful and cute seals come to two places along the shores of the Pacific Ocean in California to rest and this is one of them. The vista point is located just a couple of miles north from Cambria, but you won't miss it, since there are a lot of people here parked and taking photos.


5. Juila Pfeifer Burns State Park


This is not a place where you'll stay long (simply because there is not much to do here), but you have to come for the beautiful (and protected) crystal clear water that rushes to the beach, with a waterfall emerging from the cliffs and going in directly into the ocean. Park on the side of the road (which is actually not allowed, but everyone does it) or park inside the park which costs 10$ (we were not about to do that).

 

6. Bixby Bridge



The bridge is one of the most photographed features on the West Coast due to its pleasing aesthetic design and because of its location along the scenic Central Coast of California. When we got there fog started rolling in from the ocean. I suggest you park behind the bridge since you will get a better view of it.


7. Carmel By The Sea - Crossroads Shopping Center



I know, I know, I'm including a shopping center into this list, but let me explain. First, you'll need a place to get lunch while you're driving, and there is a great burger joint here called R.G. Burger which has amazing food. Second, this charming shopping center is located just along the Pacific Coast Highway, you don't need to enter a city or go off the map. The little houses in which the shops are located if worth stopping alone. The brands are local with some bigger chains being there as well. We loved taking a break here.


8. Natural Bridges State Beach


We arrived here just as the sun started to set. Natural Bridges State Beach is named for the naturally occurring mudstone bridges that were carved by the Pacific Ocean into cliffs that jutted out into the sea. The beach is small and sheltered which gave me a really great opportunity to take photos. When the ocean water goes down, you will see the holes in the rock formations, for which the park got its name.


9. Pigeon Point Lighthouse



I will redirect you to my main post for this place right away for more coastal lighthouse pictures, but let me just say that I still dream of this place. The freedom and happiness we felt here was unbelievable. Even though you can't go inside the lighthouse (since it's not in use), you can still roam around and chill out back on benches overlooking the wast, open ocean. Make sure to be here at sunset.


10. San Francisco



I know that this is a bit grand for a stop and also a obvious choice, but the Pacific Coast Highway actually goes through the city, over the Golden Gate Bridge and moves on further north towards Oregon. You can read more about our time spent in San Francisco here, with detailed instructions on what to do here. 


These suggestions were all in chronological order going south to north from Los Angeles to San Francisco.


 I hope that this post will be of use to the future traveler and if you are interested in out big travel series to the USA click here to view it!





40 comments:

  1. wonderful pictures of beautiful places.
    Very nice
    best regards
    susa

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    1. Thank you Suza. Glad you liked the images and places shown.

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  2. i have made that journey years ago but unfortuntately did not have as many stops because we were headed for Vancoouer. Each destination you stopped at was marvellous and thanks for compliing this list for us Mersad.

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    1. That must have been a long trip towards Vancouver. But you did manage to travel most of the road then

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  3. they indeed seem worth visiting... for me, every other country is that and i love how the participants on abc take me everywhere, thank you


    Have a nice ABC-Wednesday-Day / - Week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

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  4. Some wonderful photos. I haven't experienced that stretch of the highway. In the 90s as part of a cross country camping trip we drove from San Francisco north. Both my husband and daughter get carsick and the windy nature of rt 1 was getting to them so we went inland for a time. It was also incredibly foggy. Farther north once we got back to the coast and experienced lovely views in northern CA then Oregon and Washington.

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    1. I can only imagine the natural beauty of the coastlines further north from San Francisco.

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  5. Wunderschöne Bilder, und trotzdem stehen noch nicht auf meiner Reisewunschliste, da mich erst andere Orte mehr anziehen.
    Liebe Grüße

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    1. Ist für jeden anders. Aber dafür können wir dan verschiedene Orte auf der Welt auf unseren Blogs sehen

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  6. Thanks for the tour. Each spot looks delightful
    !

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  7. quite a variety of rural and rough seascapes to more humanly populated scenes. very nice.

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  8. Thanks for the trip and tips. Looks gorgeous.

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  9. Thank you for sharing this photos and texsts. It's so good to travel via someone else's blog to unknown countries and places. The photo with the crystal clear water I find so intriguing. Such blue water I've never seen in the Netherlands.

    http://momentsfrozentime.blogspot.nl/

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    1. It's the next best thing to traveling yourself I find :)

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  10. Hello, they all look like gorgeous places to see in California. Wonderful collection of trip photos. Thanks for sharing your visit and tips! Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

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  11. Mersad you are still presenting some of the bests photos I get to see. the Bixby Bridge is my favorite.

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    1. Thank you Peggy for your kind words.

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  12. All great places, all well photographed---

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  13. Was für großartige Bilder wieder! Also ich meine besonders 1,3,6,und 9. Die könnten auch echt von National Geographic sein! Wahnsinn, wie gut du das hinbekommst! Hut ab! Liebe Grüße Anne

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  14. Have heard of all these places, but only been to one, San Francisco. I was not too impressed with it.However, I enjoyed the tour with you.

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  15. I last drove that Highway in 2004. It was a wonderful experience.

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  16. Thanks for the tour! I've explored a bit of far Northern California, but never ventured any further south. Someday I'll have to see it for myself. (By the way, the Oregon coast is fabulous too)

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  17. they are 4000 miles away so i will just enjoy your visit. and if i could go to only 1 it would be the Burns state park and if 2 it would be Carmel to see if i could run into Clint Eastwood

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  18. Such beautiful photos you shared, Mersad!! You have a wonderful talent.

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  19. Looks incredible! Next summer I want to take a train trip down the pacific coast of the States. San Francisco is of course on my list, but maybe Santa Barbara might just have to be added.

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  20. Awesome coastal shots. Loved the Lighthouse shot a lot. - Hope if you ever get the chance you travel up the OR & WA coastlines too.

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  21. So neat to see all those seals!

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  22. Great choices, Mersad.
    The Oregon Coast is equally die-for gorgeous.. next trip!

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  23. Beautiful images and places to visit. Come further north next time and see stunning scenery along the west coast of Canada.

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  24. I've been to SF, but not to most of the others. VERY nice.

    ROG, ABCW

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  25. I have lived very close to California State Route 1 (the official name) for 15 years and I never get tired of it. You might think that it gets "old" when you see it all the time, but it doesn't. I love many of the places you mentioned here - Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, Carmel and, of course, San Francisco. My favorite stretch is from San Francisco to Mendocino - the Northern California part. That's probably because I LOVE Northern California - it's my home by choice.
    If you go further North, when CA 1 merges with US 101 and travel through Oregon and Washington it's getting more beautiful by the mile.

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  26. These photos made me want to take another trip up the coast. There is so much beauty there and you captured it beautifully.

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  27. A very informative post, Mersad! I would love to travel the coast. I have only been to SFO.

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  28. Beautiful pictures! And yor're ricght, POismo beach is a bit stuck in time. I spent the New Year there and couldn't find a nice place to celebrate....

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  29. Karta kupljena. Sad krećem sa listanjem tvojih postova da vidim šta još da ubacim na listu. Juila Pfeifer Burns State Park mi je favorit s ove liste.

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    1. Drago mi je čuti. Ako budeš imao pitanja slobodno se javi :)

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