For those of us in California, we know the famed Pacific Coast Highway as either PCH, State Route 1 or Highway 1. It runs along most of the California coastline. The southern end point is Dana Point in Orange County. The northern terminus is at Leggett in Mendocino County. The Golden Gate Bridge is part of the PCH. For this, and many other reasons, it is called the All American Road.
The image we have is the bright red convertible cruising down the coast, with cool ocean breezes, lots of tempting places to stop, and no timetable for a stop or destination. Travel experts call it the classic American route, and that it belongs on everyone’s bucket list. If you have never driven the entire route, I strongly suggest it, with or without the red convertible.
A weekend from LA to SF or reverse is not enough time to savor the many things the PCH offers. In fact, a week may not be enough, if you want to play golf for a day, go wine tasting along the central coast, or take an excursion out to one of the islands dotting the coast. One thing for sure, you will not get bored, as the terrain changes dramatically no matter where you start or stop.
This is not a complete list, but some places that I have been. You could stop for a few hours, or for a day, that is up to you.
1. Ferry Building, San Francisco All kinds of good things here, famous Blue Bottle Coffee, artisan cheeses, wine bars, Hog Island Oysters, and other tempting places to eat. The view is pretty darn good too!
2. Fisherman’s Wharf, Monterey Lots of choices for great seafood, my favorite being the walk up seafood counter at Abalonetti’s on the Wharf. Chowder, calamari and chips, and some slaw make a great lunch. (preferable to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, much less tacky!)
3.. Bixby Bridge, Big Sur Just about everyone stops here for a photo op. You should too. Impossible to take a bad photo here!
4. Central Coast wine region Look at this as Napa and Sonoma Valley back in the 50s or even 60s. Very low key, unpretentious, and welcoming. It is my new favorite place to go wine tasting. And they are winning lots of awards. Leititia Vineyards, with a decent section of champagnes in Arroyo Grande is just off the 101.
5. Make sure you have dinner at Ember in Arroyo Grande. This is perhaps the best restaurant we have dined at in years!!! We are going to eat there both tonight and tomorrow night.
5. Any bakery and coffee, Santa Barbara This place could pass for Seattle due to its coffee culture, but the weather is hundreds of times better. And the place is much more relaxed.
6. Getty Center, Los Angeles A slice of heaven in the middle of Los Angeles, this museum not only has great exhibits, it might have one of the best views of the Pacific Ocean. And the admission is FREE!
7. Farmer’s Market, Los Angeles Completely updated, but still full of charm and great food stalls. And check out the hipster places along Third Avenue. One of the best things to do in LA!
8. Old Town, San Diego Why not continue down the coast to San Diego? Old Town offers some authentic Mexican food, and a relaxed vibe. Then head up the hill to Cucina Urbana, a really great find, an eclectic Ital-Cali cuisine. Take the trolley up to Petco Park for a Padre game.
We have so much to do and be thankful for here in our home state. The weather, and our diverse geography are just two of our main features. And I have not even mentioned our National Parks, Disneyland, or Lake Tahoe!