Most people will tell you to take Highway 1 north to south, so you can be closest to the ocean. I will admit it’s way easier to get in and out from the scenic stops, but there are places where you are super close to the edge, and that’s just not my cup of tea. Plus, if you have the time, you can keep on going all the way to Oregon!
Don’t miss the elephant seals in San Simeon
After touring Hearst Castle, we had to stop by the Elephant Seal Rookery at San Piedras Beach. It’s crazy to see so many seals in one place, and when we were visiting, there were a lot of babies! There was a guide on the beach who told us 23,000 seals came to the six-mile stretch of beach during the 2014-2015 season.
Stop at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park deserves its own post (check it out here) because of its beauty. It was stunning to see the McWay Falls, one of two waterfalls in the area that flow into the ocean. I could have stayed there all day.
Go in the spring
We took our Pacific Coast Highway road trip in March, and the timing was perfect! It wasn’t as crowded as it would have been in the summer, and the weather was amazing. (Plus, it meant we got to see some of the California poppies at Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve!).
Don’t rush the experience
Sadly, we only had a week for our road trip, so we had to do the Highway 1 drive in one day. Someday, I would love to stay at a hotel in Big Sur and take it all in for several days. Even so, we tried to make the most of our time in the area. Drive slowly. Stop often. Make amazing memories. Take lots of photos.
Catch up on our California road trip: