Drive. Dine. Walk. Gawk. Find joy. Explore 735 gorgeous miles of the iconic road with these essential stops along the way. (Editor's note: The Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge, connecting north and south Big Sur, is currently closed due to storm damage. For more information on how to enjoy Big Sur this season, check out our planning guide.)
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.