The West's best road trips

Satisfy your wanderlust with a Western classic--a great road trip. Get ideas for the best routes and where to eat along the way

Ultimate California Highway 1 road trip

Drive. Dine. Walk. Gawk. Find joy. Explore 735 gorgeous miles of the iconic road with these essential stops along the way

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Malibu to Lompoc
Thomas J. Story

Malibu to Lompoc

In Malibu, Highway 1 opens up and achieves escape velocity from greater Los Angeles. It is the Southern California of beachfront celebrity homes, towel-wrapped surfers shimmying out of wetsuits by the roadside, and lyrically named beaches: Zuma and Surfrider and El Matador. Soft light makes the Pacific shimmer and paints Santa Barbara’s mountains with oranges and violets. Beyond Santa Barbara, Highway 1 turns inland as it crosses Gaviota Pass. You’ve left the ocean behind. But the final run toward Lompoc has its own appeal, as Highway 1 winds through the golden hills of the 13,000-acre Rancho San Julián—a working cattle ranch for 200 years.

Miles: 119 | Malibu’s most expensive home sale: $75 million | Year Stearns Wharf built: 1872 | Size of Santa Rita Hills wine region: 100 sq. mi.

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