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
Miles: 60 | Number of boats in Newport Harbor: 9,000 | Surf shops in Huntington Beach: 13 | Lights on Santa Monica Pier’s Pacific Wheel: 160,000
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.
Miles: 110 | Weight of male elephant seal: 5,000 lbs. | Length of Bixby Creek Bridge: 714 ft. | Years of construction at Hearst Castle: 28 (1919–47)
Miles: 96 | Number of U.S. Opens held at Pebble Beach: 5 | Year people first surfed at Santa Cruz: 1885 | Top speed of Giant Dipper roller coaster: 46 mph
Highway 1’s route through San Francisco isn’t lovely. Downgraded to 19th Avenue, it’s 4 miles of red lights. But wait. Soon it pulls you across the Golden Gate Bridge, then on the Marin side twists west to bring you back to the Pacific. Here beside Tomales Bay is Northern California keeping nature and civilization in equilibrium: the $20 locally sourced salad balanced by the beach you stroll for free. The highway runs up the Sonoma Coast, following the San Andreas Fault, which has shaped the cliffs and coves it bends to. The world is wilder—steep green bluffs, coffee brown rocks, cold blue ocean with distant sprays from a whale’s spout.
Miles: 82 | Golden Gate Bridge Toll: $6 | Miles of trails at Point Reyes National Seashore: Nearly 150 recorded | Shipwrecks off Marin County: 100+
Miles: 90 | Most recent value of year’s catch from Fort Bragg: $6.8 million | Number of B&Bs in Mendocino Village: 46 | Steps up Point Arena Lighthouse: 145