Highway 1 California Road Trip Guide

Highway 1 California Road Trip Guide

A sponsored post.

Planning a summer road trip?

One of our favourite adventures is the drive along the California coast between San Francisco to Los Angeles. Paul and I flew into SFO and were able to hire a car that we later dropped off in LA at the end of our trip. It’s a great way to get on the ground and make stops whenever you like.

But what should you see? What shouldn’t you miss?

Here are 6 unique stops for your Highway 1 California Road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles!

Santa Cruz Boardwalk

1) The Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz

The Boardwalk features an oceanfront amusement park with a vintage vibe and a skyway chairlift ride that runs along the Pacific Ocean. It’s definitely worth a visit! Plan a beach day and explore the local shops in Downtown Santa Cruz.

pebble beach

2) 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach

Take your time navigating the gorgeous scenery along a 17-mile stretch overlooking the cliffs of Pebble Beach. Make sure to snap a pic of the Lone Cypress Tree and take a peek at the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course.

treebones yurt glamping

3) Yurt Glamping in Big Sur

Rent a glamping yurt overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Treebones Resort in Big Sur. Read more from our visit here! Bathrooms are shared, but there are hot showers, a sushi bar and hiking trails to explore nearby. Book early as they have limited yurts and they fill-up quickly!

hearst castle

Photo via Hearst Castle

4) Hearst Castle in San Simeon

Ooohhh and ahhh your way through William Randolph Hearst’s not so humble abode at Heart Castle. There’s a main visitors centre that anyone can visit, but a tour bus will transport you to the main estate where the home can be viewed by guided tours only. Reserve in advance to guarantee a spot at your preferred time. Tours were almost sold-out on the day we arrived.

Santa Barbara

5) Food + Wine Tour in Santa Barbara

The best way to experience Santa Barbara is to eat and drink your way through it! See our Santa Barbara Travel Guide for lots of ideas. I recommend renting a bike and hopping from place to place on your own self-guided food and wine tour before getting back on Highway 1.


6) Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles

Our final stop brought us to the iconic Santa Monica Pier. There are lots of great restaurants to check out like this seafood place or this taco crawl. See our Santa Monica Travel Guide for even more ideas.


Thanks to AVIS for sponsoring this post. You can find more California Road Trip ideas for Highway 1 on their blog here!