The coronavirus pandemic, which had thwarted the summer activities, is finally showing signs of slowly calming down. Road trips have been long overdue! As signs of pre-COVID-19 pandemic days are starting to show up, it is high time that we discuss road trips once again. Instead of just focusing on the key road trip routes and destinations, why not take a detour and travel from one coast to the other. A California road trip that develops into an American road trip through the United States. Starting from the west coast at San Francisco, the Californian road trip first touches Los Angles, travels through multiple cities and the heartlands before concluding with the East Coast. Starting from San Francisco, the journey we will take on will hopefully cover all of the major landmarks and destinations across all the cities. This includes the areas where we’ll take a pitstop along the road trip. So without further ado, let’s start the San Francisco road trip to Los Angeles through the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway. No need to be worried about where to park when you park at these pitstops. We have you covered with plenty of San Francisco city parking spaces.
Welcome to California State Highway 1 (The Pacific Coast Highway!)
Enjoy driving through 380 miles of scenic roadways with the west coast peeking at you through the hills and forest cover. If that’s not magic, I don’t know what is! What’s even better is that you don’t need anything more than a car, a focused mind, and of course, a companion or two, and you are all good to go. Make sure to bring in some quality music along with you for the car stereo. Without pitstops, the entire trip can be completed in less than seven hours. However, for those taking the road trip through the Pacific Coast Highway, it is always best to plan your pitstops to enjoy the complete experience of traveling through the Pacific Coast Highway. Let’s divide these pitstops into two and start our San Francisco road trip from Half Moon Bay. Regardless of whether you have been there before or not, it’s always fun to stop at these exciting pitstops before you leave San Francisco behind. Oh, and don’t worry about parking. We have you covered with plenty of parking along the way!
Half Moon Bay
It would be unfair to start your journey through the gorgeous Pacific Coastal Highway without stopping at probably the prettiest piece of a coastal patch of land in the entire stretch. Half Moon Bay, located just 30 miles south of San Francisco, is a haven for the naturalists and romantics. The Halloween season is always the best time to visit Half Moon Bay as the Pumpkin Festival hosted every October is truly an amazing experience to witness.
You can never get enough of the coastal experience from a short visit to Half Moon Bay, and that’s why you need to follow this up with a visit to Monterey. Located around 66 miles away from Half Moon Bay, Monterey used to be the hub for canneries (sardine canneries, to be precise). Monterey still features numerous seafood restaurants. However, Monterey’s highlight spots every visitor falls in love with are the Pebble Beach and Monterey Bay Aquarium. Ensure not to miss aquatic wildlife like dolphins and sea lions diving, resting, and swimming along the coast.
If you have enough time to make a pit stop in between Half Moon Bay and Monterey, consider stopping at Santa Cruz. Located just around 48 miles from both Half Moon Bay and Monterey Bay, Santa Cruz Wharf is one of the United States’ longest piers. The majestic Purisima Formation, a natural bridge rock formation (one of the last existing ones), is an iconic location to take amazing photographs.
Big Sur is like the halfway point of your road trip to Los Angeles. If you had enough driving, it would be best to stop at Big Sur for an overnight stay. There are plenty of places to visit across Big Sur, which offers beautiful hiking trails and campsites. If you intend to go on a road trip with minimal stays at lodges or hotels, Big Sur is ideal as you could spend the night at the many campsites on offer. It would also be a good idea to consider getting a quick check-up and car wash done at Big Sur. If you are unsure about car wash vendors in the area, you can look up websites like Way. If your extra days to spare on your road trip, consider stopping at places like Caramel by the Sea, Mile Drive, and San Simeon. All these are popular attractions along the Pacific West Highway.
Santa Barbara is probably the last stop you will be making before entering Los Angeles County. By now, you would have noticed that the west coast highway shifts its nature from beachside towns filled with mountains, hiking trails, and beaches to a much more serene atmosphere. Santa Barbara is a classy small town full of vintage architecture. There are plenty of nightlife activities across the shopping district of Santa Barbara – State Street! There are still mountains surrounding Santa Barbara and Solvang. If you have plenty of time on hand, consider stopping at the Denmark of the United States – Solvang, which features a mix of American and Danish culture in every nook and corner of the town. It’s a quick drive from Santa Barbara, so feel free to drive back even if you missed Solvang.
Welcome to the city of angels. We’re sure you enjoyed the entire San Francisco road trip, which started from Half Moon Bay a while ago and stopped at most of the mentioned spots. Now, it’s time to let the beautiful and majestic views of Santa Monica Pier sink in. If you are unsure about where to park your car in Los Angeles, the answer is just a click away when you log into Way.com. The adventures do not stop here. We‘ll continue from where we left off in part II of this blog, which will be focused on the adventures of Los Angeles from where we will travel towards…well, you’ll just have to wait and see! Leave your comments below if you enjoyed the first part of the great American road trip from the West Coast to the East Coast.