Pacific Coast Highway & California

Drive the Pacific Coast Highway

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Ahh, the West Coast of America. The epitome of the American Dream. The home of golden Pacific Ocean sunsets. And the site of America’s irresistible Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip.

The incredible 951 km Pacific Coast Highway launched in the 1930s, in the midst of the motor car frenzy of the 20th Century.

Hugging the Pacific coastline, this road trip is widely agreed to be one of the most stunning road trips in the world. If you love the open road, and are inspired by the vast expanse of the ocean, this one’s for you.

From end-to-end, without stopping, the Pacific Coast Highway takes about 10 hours to complete, but nobody does it like that. Take your time, best to take about a week, and stop off at these amazing destinations.

The route stretches from San Diego in the South to Seattle in the North. You’ll quickly realise why they say that the West Coast is the Best Coast. Here are five highlights from the Californian stretch of this magnificent road trip.

San Diego

San Diego, Gaslamp Quarter, California

The southern tip of the Pacific Coast Highway is in San Diego, right by the Mexican border. San Diego is the often-overlooked cousin of Los Angeles, and has a rich Naval history.

When you’re in town, visit the old USS Midway, moored right in the heart of the town.

The city’s Balboa Park is a gorgeous 1,200-acre park to the north-east of the downtown, dating back to 1915. Whilst enjoying the park, get yourself tickets for the San Diego Zoo – one of the world’s largest zoos, nestled within the park with a huge collection of animals.

Los Angeles

Los Angeles, California, Walk of Fame

Two-and-a-half hours north of San Diego is the tourist hotspot of Los Angeles. America’s inspirational home of show business sprawls in the shadows of giant mountains, and boasts a beautiful park that gives New York’s Central Park a run for its money.

Of course, while you’re in the area, it would be rude not to take your picture on the globally-recognised Walk of Fame. And take a trip slightly out of town to capture that blockbuster view of the Hollywood sign standing proud in the hills.

Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara, California

The route continues with a beautiful 100 mile stretch of coastal road until you reach Santa Barbara.

Smaller than Los Angeles and San Diego, this picturesque city has a unique atmosphere and charm. Known colloquially as the American Riviera, Santa Barbara is best known for its expansive sandy beaches, and glorious weather.

There’s a real Spanish colonialist feel in downtown Santa Barbara, and you’d be forgiven for thinking your three-hour drive from LA had led you to the Mediterranean.

San Francisco

San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge, California

A lengthier seven-hour drive takes us to San Fransisco, famous for its incredible Golden Gate Bridge and dramatic seven hills. This city is one of a kind, so take some time here before you get back on the open road.

If you’re into Chinese food, you’ll love San Fransisco’s Chinatown – the oldest Chinatown in North America, and the largest outside of Asia.


We’re covering some ground in these middle stretches of the Pacific Coast Highway, and by the time you arrive in Eureka you’ll have traversed the entire coastline of California.

Eureka is the capital of Humboldt County, CA, and is a key location in a stretch of coastline known as the Redwood Coast. It’s obvious to see why, the area is brimming with impressively redwoods – the world’s tallest trees.

The city is noted for its Victorian architecture and quirky culture. Check out Opera Alley, which features colourful murals from the city’s first ever Street Art Festival.

And then take a trip to Stinky Beach – not so stinky anymore, but it earned its name thanks to the positioning of a sewer treatment plant nearby. Thankfully, the smell has gone… and so too have the crowds. This beach is blissfully secluded and will be all yours.

Enjoy the journey! 

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