PCH – you may have heard of it before but if you have not, it is one gorgeous and scenic route in California. If you want to hit up some hot spots in Cali then this is the perfect way to do it. Not only are there beautiful views, but it is a fun way to road trip through California.
Let’s talk about the length of the the Pacific Coast Highway and where it starts and begins before I dive into some spots I would recommend checking out. The Pacific Coast Highway or PCH as some call it, starts in San Diego and goes all the way to Northern California’s border to Oregon. If you want to do the whole highway, it would take you about 10 hours to complete it all and that’s if you are not making any stops which would be a big mistake. The stops along the way are what makes this so great.
I personally, did not do the whole trip, so I will touch on only the spots I have been to and my suggestions. I started out in San Diego and the furthest I have made it was up to LA area. Below are the places I stopped and some of my favorite things about each area:
Best stops along Pacific Coast Highway:
Start: I started out in San Diego since I was staying there that weekend. It was the best way to start because it is the start or the end (whichever way you look at it) of PCH. You do have to drive about 30 mins before you do get to PCH, as it is not in the downtown of San Diego.
1st Stop: Laguna Beach – this is one of my favorite places in the US. You know that feeling when you go somewhere, and you just feel at home; that is what Laguna does for me. It is a charming coastal town with beautiful beaches, amazing views, and this small town feel that I absolutely love. Make sure to go check out the beach, there will be many places along PCH where you can stop and walk down the steps to the beach or you can go to the main beach by the lifeguard stand. Check out Nick’s as well! I had breakfast there and it was delicious.
2nd Stop: Newport Harbor – another great coastal city. You can stop and check out the beach, or go by the harbors and watch all the million dollar yachts. If you are trying to splurge, check out Nobu which is on the harbor so you get some spectacular views and delicious eats.
3rd Stop: Huntington Beach – this place is a lot less chill than Laguna and Newport are. It is more touristy and has a strip of hotels along the beach. Make sure to stop and check out the beach or catch a wave as it is a hot spot for surfers.
4th Stop: Venice Beach/Santa Monica – I lumped these two together because they are right by each other and can be seen in one visit. Venice Beach is pretty iconic as well as Santa Monica. I am sure you’ve seen picture of the Venice Beach sign as well as the Santa Monica Pier as those are some the most popular spots there. Take a stroll down the pier and then hit up the many restaurants in Venice beach for some delicious food.
5th Stop: LA – this a pretty big city so stopping here might not be the most convenient as everything is a little bit all over the place. I would recommend driving up to the Hollywood sign for a break from driving and to enjoy some pretty views. If you want to go into the city, you can check out Santa Barbara as that is the best area to see in my opinion. There are plenty of shopping and restaurants to check out. West Hollywood is really popular for nightlife as well, if you find yourself staying the night.
6th Stop: Malibu – this is another really pretty seaside town. Worth checking out the beach and grabbing a bite to eat by the water for some spectacular views. If you have a couple of hours, I would recommend going on a Malibu Wine Safari Tour. I went there for a Bachelorette party and it was so much fun to check out some animals and try the local wine.
If you continue… below are some other spots that I have heard are great to check out along the way:
San Francisco – I recommend staying here a couple of days as there is sooo much to do and see. Check out my post on San Francisco here!
I know I will definitely be back in California and really hope to hit up some other spots so I can share some more with you. Have you been to any of the places mentioned? Let me know in the comments 🙂
Happy Travels – xoxo Dre <3