Beach vacation guide

From all-to-yourself islands to hidden beach towns to iconic coastal experiences, the West has the beach vacation of a lifetime in store for you

30 iconic beach experiences

Ignite your love for the shore with these classic beach icons. From boardwalks to bonfires, here are our favorite ways to dive in

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Top-down drives
Thomas J. Story

Top-down drives

Our 4 favorites:

Santa Barbara to San Simeon, CA. Carmel and Big Sur get all the ink, but this stretch of rugged coast on Highway 1 (pictured) is every bit as epic. Stop for the Lawrence of Arabia–size dunes at Montaña de Oro State Park.

Florence to Lincoln City, OR. This 74-mile stretch of U.S. 101 on the central Oregon coast weaves among rocky cliffs, empty beaches, and dense woods. Pull over at Cape Perpetua for miles of views.

Southeast Oahu. Turquoise surf and black lava await on the drive from Koko Head to Kailua via Kalaniana‘ole Highway. Stop at Waima-nalo Beach County Park for a swim.

Redwood Coast, CA. Between redwood forests and crashing waves, the 110-mile stretch of U.S. 101 is Redwood Coast territory. Orick to Trinidad is the most scenic, with must-stops at Patricks Point State Park and Seascape Restaurant for old-school seafood. 

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