Written by guest blogger Sydney Calhoun from Simply Sidney.
I have driven along the 101 by myself, 10 years ago in 2007 when I did my exchange semester in the US. And I am excited a Californian blogger tells us why this needs to be on your list of road trips.
#1 It's California's Hawaii
As waterfalls like Big Surf, and viewpoints like Pfeiffer Canyon cascade over the rocky coast, it fits the mirror image of Kauai. In addition to the blue water, The Scenic Highway obtains plant life that opens a window to the similar greenery on the Big Island. One of my favorite things to do is jump off The Pacific Grove ledge. This hidden beach is my Hawaiian escape when traveling with a bunch of tourists. Now, of course we don't have traditional Luaus, but the 101 embodies a rich history of its own.
#2 The Historic Go Tos
Yes, everyone is a tourist on this road trip, regardless of age barriers. Though, History is not my favorite subject I seem to find myself at the historic landmarks when driving the coast or anywhere for that matter. For example, walking the enchanting grounds of Hearst Castle will transform you into a palace wannabe by the end of the tour and I guarantee you'll spend an hour just in his rose gardens.
My biggest piece of advice would be to settle in for the night in San Francisco, simply because there is so much to see. Personally, my favorite thing to do is dance around to the Full House theme song, enjoying the architecture of "The Painted Ladies" at Alamo Square Park. In addition, Clam chowder on Pier 39, hopping on a cable car, and chocolate at Ghiradelli are my favorites! You could even walk over the iconic bridge from San Fran to seaside town, Sausalito...the possibilities are endless.
#3 Charming Pitstops
Along the Highway 101, one of my favorite things to do is stop at each California beach town. While stopping in the seaside town of Cambria, be sure to pick up an ice cream cone at Mojo's Village Bean, the calories are worth it.
Then travel 10 minutes from Pismo CA to Avila Beach...where exploring is a must and eclectic boutiques are hard to ignore. When you arrive, walk to the far left end of the beach where you'll reach a number of sea caves. Climb in an channel your adventurous side, all while in the great state of California! Next on my list of favorites is dining in San Luis Obispo (SLO). Now, The Madonna Inn is a must for a dramatic lunch; you are greeted by medieval decor and smiling fudge makers. Among these two, I challenge you to find your own pitstops!
#4 The viewpoints
As you journey along this interstate, you'll feel a need to pull over at every viewpoint. As you reach Big Sur and Carmel-By-The-Sea, pull over along the highway and spot the waterfall lookout and endless horizon. By driving farther north about 1 hour, I suggest a round of golf at Pebble Beach, where you can begin the world famous 17 mile drive, a scenic and self guided joyride (or bike ride if you're feeling adventurous). Along this road stop at Huckleberry Hill and breathe in the pine trees and their front row seat to the ocean waves. At sunset, stop at the Lone Cypress and pull out a picnic basket, put on your favorite pandora station and capture the moment with your iPhone or Nikon...whatever works.
California simply would't be as golden without the Pacific Coast Highway and its windy roads. If you ever find yourself in need of a road trip, get yourself on the 101 and don't look back!
Sydney Calhoun is an ambitious 17 year old ready to see the world. Being born and raised in San Diego, California she pretty much lives and breathes the Pacific. From Burritos to Acai, she's your typical SoCal girl. In addition to her sun kissed hair, she also prides herself on being an avid coffee consumer, VOGUE obsessed and photography junky. Near or far, she has a passion for all things travel and fashion. Sydney write on her blog Simply Sidney about.
You can also follow her on Instagram.
Have you ever been to California? And did you take the road trip along the 101? Or is it still on your bucket list? Let me know in the comments.