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San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles

What to see along Highway 1?

Suggestions on places to stop between San Francisco and San Diego for a quick trip down highway 1?

9 Answers

answered first by
Josh from Baton Rouge

Awesome drive!  I would start on the California 1, the PCH, and then at some point you may want to go back on the main interstate.

Have you done this drive before?  If not, you're in for a treat!  You have to check out 17 Mile Dr.

Some of the greatest golf courses, Pebble Beach,Cypress Point Golf Course,

in the world and the best scenery in the country.  

So many spots to stop and taking absolutely stunning pictures.

If you have time, be sure to stop in Carmel which is my favorite small town in America.  Lots of cool little art shops, great cafes, and wonderful scenery.  The Sunset Lounge is a great place to grab a drink, watch the sea otters play and just take it all in.

As you head further south toward Los Angeles, two other small towns that I really like are Ventura (kinda a surfer town) and Laguna Beach.

One word of caution, when you are coming down the PCH south of Carmel maybe around the Big Sur area there are very few gas stations and gas is very expensive.  So be sure you fill up around Carmel.

Have a great time!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. California 1 (attraction)
  2. 17 Mile Dr (attraction)
  3. Pebble Beach (attraction)
  4. Cypress Point Golf Course (attraction)
  5. Carmel (attraction)
  6. Sunset Lounge (restaurant)
  7. Los Angeles (city)
  8. Ventura (attraction)
  9. Laguna Beach (city)
  10. Big Sur (city)
1 thanks

answered by
George from San Francisco

Try a Lobster Roll or Clam Chowder at Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay, delish.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Sam's Chowder House (restaurant)
1 thanks

answered by
Peter from Bloomington (Indiana)

If you're going to stop in Big Sur, have a drink and a snack (or a meal) at Nepenthe. A seat on the upper deck level is worth a wait if there is one. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Big Sur (city)
  2. Nepenthe (restaurant)

answered by
Benjamin from San Francisco

For a quick trip, I would go to either Big Sur or Carmel and stay the night in one of the little hotels.  Big Sur is one of the most beautiful places in the world.  Then, I would head to Santa Barbara for a second night and stay downtown.   You can't go wrong. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Big Sur (city)
  2. Carmel (attraction)

answered by
Eric from New York City

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Barbara (city)

answered by
Wm from Mountain View

If you are traveling in the winter months, be sure to stop at either Piedras Blancas (near Hearst Castle) or Año Nuevo (North of Santa Cruz) to see the elephant seals. Amazing.

Instead of the 17 mile drive, I'd go to Carmel River state beach (sea otters), or Ocean View Blvd / Sunset Drive in Pacific Grove.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is worth a visit too.

Big Sur has lots of things to see, including McWay Falls and Hearst Castle (expensive!).

Again in the winter stop to see the monarch butterflies in Pacific Grove (Monarch Grove Sanctuary) or Santa Cruz (Natural Bridges State beach).

In San Luis Obispo stop at the Madonna Inn and use the men's room (you get to pee into a waterfall!)

comments (1)

answered by
Kristal from San Francisco

All the answers are great suggestions, to add a few more to your list, I think Hearst Castle is a nice stop. Morro Bay is very nice as well! I second the 17 Mile drive suggestion as well as Big Sur.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Hearst Castle (attraction)
  2. Morro Bay (attraction)
  3. Big Sur (city)

answered by
Matt from Orondo, Washington

If you can check out San Luis Obispo's Thursday Farmer's Market, you're bound to have a good time! Great produce, good music, tons of barbecue and other food, beautiful place. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Luis Obispo (city)

answered by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

Hi Belinda!  It depends on what you mean by a "stop"-if you mean to drive a few hours then stay for the night-I highly recommend Carmel-classically charming seaside town, with a great walking atmosphere, excellent restaurants and fun pubs.  Pismo Beach is another fun town to stop for a break.

If you are just looking for a stop for an hour or so, make sure to take a tour of San Simeon-William Randolph Hearst's castle just past Big Sur.  Also, highly enjoyable to pull off in Big Sur to watch the surf crashing on the shore.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Carmel (attraction)
  2. Pismo Beach (city)
  3. San Simeon (city)

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