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“Amazing” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Pacific Coast Highway - Route 1

Pacific Coast Highway - Route 1
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2-Day Monterey, Carmel and Pebble Beach Tour from...
Activities: Driving, Biking
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Owner description: Running along the northern California coast, this highway has some of the best views of any in the United States.
Hadleigh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
163 reviews
39 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 104 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 24, 2012

We drove from Point Lobos to Pismo Beach on day one. Day two we did Pismo down to Oxnard. Day three morning only we drove from Oxnard down to LAX
Day one was one we will never to forget. There are so many awesome views and we kept stopping We had lunch at Rocky Point and the views and food were great. Highlight of the drive was a walk down to see the waterfall at Julia Phefer (apology for spelling). The best view we have ever seen. We saw a large group gathered at one pull over and decided to have a look at what was going on. We found out that these were bird watchers. To our amazement we discovered that they were looking at two Condors. The group kindly invited us to look through their very expensive binoculars and explained all about the Condors. By all accounts they are often in this area so look out. This drive took us nearly 6 hours with the amount of stopping we did. A very long day.

Day two was another great drive but we spent a long time at Santa Barbara which we really enjoyed walking around the town and the pier. We were so exhausted from the day before we did not want to spend too much time and just got to Oxnard to our hotel. We satyed at the Hampton Inn and it was great. We had a harbour view room The harbour itself was really nice ad we walked round in the evening to the other side and had a nice Italian meal.

Day three was a bit of a rush down to LAX via Malibu We wished we had more time to stop at some of the beaches.

We rented a Mustang convertible which definitely made the driving experience even more enjoyable.

Be sure to take a jacket with you as te weather changes all the time.

This was a lifetime experience for us and the drive is not to be missed. Make sure you drive north to south as this means that you are the coastt side all te way down.

Please do not miss this drive and ensure that you have plenty of time

Ensure that you keep your car filled as petrol stations are far and few between and very expensive.

Visited September 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Los Gatos, California
Level Contributor
108 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
“One of the things you must have on your "Bucket List"”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 22, 2012

The Pacific Coast Highway drive is something you should have on your "Bucket List."

We have been blessed to do this drive numerous times both Southbound as well as Northbound. Our first trip was in 1988 and we have been coming back annually ever since.

These days we typically start our trip at SFO and then head south for 4 or 5 leisurely days stopping at Los Gatos, Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur and when we get to San Simeon will either continue south to Cambria or turn east and go inland to some of the finest Central Coast Wineries. On some trips we will just keep going and return home from LAX. There are so many things to do and see that it is impossible to do it all in one trip.

On our most recent trip we did some whale watching. On another trip we took a bright yellow Corvette and enjoyed the curves as we headed southbound. If you do that, watch out for CHP because they will be watching out for you as you approach San Simeon from the north.

Make a point to stop and see the Elephant Seals on the beach just north of San Simeon. It is truly amazing.

Needless to say Hearst Castle is at San Simeon and you should make an appointment and see it at least once in your life.

Visited June 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 10
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlotte, North Carolina
Level Contributor
34 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Go. Just Go!!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2012

Everyone should do this ride at least once in their lives. We went from San Fran to Pismo Beach, about 400 miles down right between San Fran and LA. We went in late August because school would be back in for most of the Country and the trip would be more leisurely and it was. The other bonus was weather was perfect all the way!

We stayed in San Fran a few days and then drove over to Half Moon Bay to hop on the 1 and start our trip from there. From the very first stop at HMB, we were mesmerized and hooked. We meandered and stopped first night in Monterrey CA which was sooo beautiful. Great little town and we were able to meander and enjoy it without the crush of tourists. We had a great dinner in the Cannery Row area then walked the beach and took some sunset pics. They have so many great views of the water that we skipped the "17 mile scenic view" which cost a toll to take. They have a very long walking path that hugs the coast and you can walk, ride bikes, jog and it was beautiful.

We picked up next morning and stopped in the very rich yet quaint Carmel-by-the-Sea -worth a drive down the main rode but we didn't stop there. Next stop was Point Reyes National Seashore. A variety of hikes await you with views to die for, including a terrific view of the elephant seals.(It cost $10 to get in). We swung by Hearst Castle for a tour (very touristy and pricey) and ended that day in Pismo Beach. We drove back up the 101 to San Fran.

The real views were everything in between. I can't pick out a drive highlight-too many of them. I did not expect to see water so clear, turquoise & crashing. Historic lighthouses, mountain views, tunnels, bridges, curvy curvy Big Sur stretch (take your time, be careful-it's 20mph for a good # of miles). Do not be in a hurry--no point going if you are. Leave time in your schedule for meandering.

My advice: Go in off seasons to avoid crowds. Plan at least 4 days. Have your camera ready-a real camera, not your phone! And have charger (or batteries) because you're going to need it. Wear comfy clothes-you'll be in and out of car. Wear sneakers in case an impromptu hike comes up or if you want to dare your way close to an edge to take a shot off a cliff. Use your aux settings to plug up your iphone/mp3-you won't have a radio station most of the way. However, it's a great time to just talk, forget the music. Pack a picnic.

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 17
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Golden, Colorado
Level Contributor
128 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
“Everyone needs to take the time to do this!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 1, 2012

So we tried to stay on it as much as we could from San Diego to San Fran. It changes up a bit depending on where you are, so check it out before you go. The fun starts from Morro Bay on up to San Fran. You see so much! It is just amazing. Gas up before you hit Gordo, the gas there was $6.59! We paid $4.59 in Morro Bay. This is a must do!

Visited July 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Olympia, WA
Level Contributor
66 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 93 helpful votes
“Big Sur Coastal Highway”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 29, 2012

This has to be one of the most beautiful drives in the United States. From Monterrey and the Carmel Valley in the north to San Simeon in the south, there is plenty to do and see over a day or two (or three!!). We made the drive three times over a three-day period and saw some (not all) of what there is to see.

--Start your trip with a visit to Cannery Row in Monterrey to get a sense of the history and beauty of the area.
--Don't rush as you head south on Highway One. Take the time to pull over and take in the wild flowers and amazing coastal vistas. Some are hard to find. Pfieffer Beach, for example, can be easily missed. The nondescript gravel road that leads to this jewel is located a quarter to a half-mile south of Big Sur's main Ranger Station. Follow the narrow and primitive road two miles to the beach entrance (a park station). Then, hike an easy 600 yards to this beautiful beach.
--Most of the coastal vistas are easy to see. Just pull off on the side of Highway One and enjoy! The historic Bixby Bridge is one of the sights worth seeing.
--Visit some of the galleries along the way. We enjoyed the Big Sur Coastal Gallery, built from two round wooden water tanks. The choice of art is eclectic and the facility itself is fun to explore. There is an espresso bar and restaurant on the second floor.
--If you are camping, there is a nice campground across the road from Sand Dollar Beach. Arrive before noon and you may be able to get one of the non-reservation camping spots.
--Sand Dollar Beach is a great place to spend a few hours. The half-moon shaped bay has two small child-friendly caves worth a quick look, as well as rock formations.
--Just south of Big Sur, just before you get to San Simeon, there is a wonderful viewing station for elephant seals. Several dozen seals reside there 365 days a year.
--The elephant seals viewing area is near the turn-off to Hearst Castle. After viewing all of the amazing nature, consider spending a few hours at Hearst Castle. It is the opposite of all that nature has to offer along Big Sur.

Finally, a camera with telephoto lens and/or binoculars will come in handy. If you love to take photos, consider making the trip early in the morning or near sunset for the best lighting.

Visited August 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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