P&C Dream Trip: Pacific Coast Highway, California

Jaw-dropping landscapes await around every bend on the highway between LA and San Francisco on the legendary byway known as U.S. 1.

By Rainer Jenss
May 14, 2013



May 14, 2013

What You’ll Do
Drive at a leisurely pace as you admire the rugged coastline, sheer cliffs, and dramatic seascapes. Stop for picnics and hiking at highlights such as Butterfly Beach in Santa Barbara, Point Lobos State Reserve, and the beach at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (home of awesome rock formations and coastal redwoods).

When to Go
Peak season is July and August. Book campsites well in advance! The weather is pleasant almost year-round, but check the long-range forecast first. Heavy rains, while rare, can make the narrow road hazardous.

Where to Stay
There are tons of RV campgrounds along the way. Choose yours based on the sites you want to see: Outside of San Francisco, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, with its awesome display of marine life; the Big Sur region and its dramatic scenery; and Sea Lion Point Trail, where harbor seals bask on the rocks, are highlights. Farther south, the Malibu beaches just north of L.A. are famous locations for films and TV shows. In L.A., check out Universal Studios or the famous Santa Monica amusement pier.

Insider's Tip
Some travelers choose to drive south to north so they can stay on the inside lane and keep more distance between road and cliffside.


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