The Pacific Coast Highway, with its stunning views and unique sites, is the ideal backdrop for a scenic road trip. The trip from San Francisco to Big Sur is one in particular that is likely to be unforgettable. This gorgeous road is a monument to the amazing splendor of California’s coastline, including a plethora of coastal communities and magnificent landscapes.
Stop #1: Pacifica
The very first stop along your Big Sur trip from SF will offer you to savor a meaty quesadilla whilst watching surfers catch waves. Aside from boasting the finest Taco Bell in the nation, Pacifica also houses a variety of fantastic coastal hiking routes, including Devil’s Slide.
Because it is the most popular option, this trek might get a little congested. Nonetheless, the breathtaking vistas are well worth the effort. If you prefer fewer frequented trails, the Pedro Point Headlands walk is for you.
Stop #2: Half Moon Bay
Half Moon Bay is the next stop on your journey from San Francisco to Big Sur. This little coastal community, about 15 minutes from Pacifica, provides magnificent views of the ocean as well as a few gastronomical wonders. If you like seafood rather than Taco Bell, Sam’s Chowder House is a must-stop for a substantial bowl of chowder.
After you’ve satisfied your hunger, continue exploring the various things you can do in Half Moon Bay by heading to the city center, where you’ll discover a selection of stores, galleries, and artisan stores. Take a photo with the massive rusty metal dinosaur statues in Spanish Town for something really unusual for your IG feed.
Stop #3: Pescadero
It’s reasonable to assume that you’ve been on the road for too long by now. So why not spend the night at Pescadero’s Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel? The renowned lighthouse is one of the highest in the country and unquestionably one of the most photogenic.
If you’re lucky, you could even see seals in their native environment. This coastal location also has a number of hiking paths and a secret beach, and it’s located within a “Dark Sky” preserve, making it ideal for stargazing.
Stop #4: Santa Cruz
A drive along the Pacific Coast Highway would be incomplete without a detour at Santa Cruz. This legendary surf town is well-known for its lively beach atmosphere, natural beauty, and notably, the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.
This busy oceanfront strip is dotted with arcade games, amusement park attractions, traditional arcades, and cafes. Try going for a stroll at Wilder Ranch State Park or enjoying the unusual rock formations at Natural Bridges State Beach once you’ve had your fill of adrenaline and munchies.
Stop #5: Capitola
The ever-charming Capitola coastal enclave known as the Venetian Court is not far from the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. This gorgeous village, covered with a mosaic of pastel-colored cottages strewn over turquoise seas, is undoubtedly something for your IG account, especially at sunset.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, there are several eateries to choose from, such As the Wharf House Restaurant and Pizza My Heart. Make room for dessert since Marianne’s Ice Cream offers more than 50 varieties to select from.
Stop #6: Carmel
This upscale seaside town is known for its cobblestone walkways and picturesque city center, as well as a variety of premium stores, art galleries, and gourmet restaurants. When you’ve had your fill of shopping and dining, walk over to the state beach and gaze out at the spectacular ocean. With its unrivaled charm, it’s no surprise that Carmel is brimming with things to do and is a favorite choice for romantic vacations.