Pacific Coast Highway - California's Dream Drive

Although there are a couple of ways to drive between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Pacific Coast Highway is the one you want to take. ...

Although there are a couple of ways to drive between Los Angeles and San Francisco, the Pacific Coast Highway is the one you want to take. The reason is simple - it's the most scenic coastal drive I have ever seen. But make sure you devote at least two days to drive it to fully appreciate its beauty and enjoy its dozens of scenic pullouts and lookouts. 

Many people would suggest you take the Pacific Coast Highway from north to south - from San Francisco toward Los Angeles. In my opinion, it does not matter whichever direction you take it given the number of vista points where you can stop and enjoy the view.  
Pacific Coast Highway is only a segment of California Highway 1 which stretches for 655 miles (1,055 km) from Dana Point in Orange County to Leggett in Mendocino County. Officially, the Pacific Coast Highway runs only between Dana Point to Oxnard, which is located just north of Los Angeles. Yet its name is commonly used to refer to the full stretch of the California Highway 1. 
As I said earlier, allow enough time to drive the Pacific Coast Highway. The last thing you want to do is to rush through it without stopping. However, 2-3 days seems reasonable to drive it, unless you live in California and can spend your entire vacation the Pacific Coast Highway, because you know you can always return and visit other places in California later on. 
We focused on the Pacific Coast Highway's stretch between Morro Bay and Monterey. 
Let's start with Morro Bay. The main attraction in this beautiful small town is the Morro Rock, a 581 feet (177 m) high volcanic rock which guards the harbor. 
The power plant (which is now closed) is an eye sore of Morro Bay. 
A large sandy beach sits next to the Morro Rock. The Pacific Ocean is never warm in California, but this time of the year it was particularly cold (about 53 F / 12 C). 
Morro Rock is a safe nesting site for many birds, including endangered peregrine falcon.
Pacific Coast Highway runs along the coast almost all the time. What a surprise!
However, there are some inland sections as well.
Don't miss out this remarkable place - Piedras Blances Elephant Seal Rookery. Hundreds of elephant seals (especially young pups) spend a big chunk of the year here learning how to swim and dive. 
In April - May they also start molting (as seen on some of the pictures below). 
The bloodiest month is December where males arrive and fight for dominance. Elephant seals are known to be fervent fighters. 
Pacific Coast Highway was recognized as All-American Roads, the title given to the most scenic byways in the United States.
The segment of the highway between Morro Bay and Big Sur is mostly flat with some small grassy hills.
However the landscape significantly changes once you've entered the Big Sur area. 
This is where you want to spend the most of you time on the Pacific Coast Highway.
One of the most beautiful places in Big Sur is the Bixby Creek Bridge.
This bridge was constructed with the help of prisoners and opened in 1932. Its height is 280 feet (85 m) and the total length is 714 feet (218 m). 
The cellular phone coverage is not reliable on the Pacific Coast Highway, that's why many emergency telephones are installed along the road.
Mini-van with a bed inside is a traditional way hippies travel in the US.
A number of state parks and the national forest are located along the highway where you can stretch your legs while enjoying the views.
Or you can even try to chase a rabbit.
The views on the coast are simply staggering.
We picked the right season to travel as wild flowers are blooming everywhere in California. 
Beautiful hills of the Garrapata State Park.

My other posts from the Trip to California:

Log Angeles from the Sky
Point Lobos - The Crown Jewel of the California State Parks
Google vs. Facebook - Which One Is Better?
Point Bonita - The Best Place to Photograph San Francisco Bay
Coast Redwoods - The Tallest Trees In The World
Overwhelming Beauty of Yosemite National Park
Hiking to Vernal and Nevada Falls in Yosemite
Giant Trees in Sequoia National Park
Kings Canyon - One of the Deepest Canyons in North America The Hottest Place on Earth. But Is It Really Dead?

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