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Pacific Coast Highway (SR1) Road Trip - Seeking Your Input

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Old 02-14-2017, 01:54 PM   #1
Maxie2U
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Default Pacific Coast Highway (SR1) Road Trip - Seeking Your Input

I'm planning a coastal trip for this summer. The plan is to drive the coastal route from Oregon via US 101 down the California coast. I plan to switch from US 101 to SR 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) in Leggett CA then travel SR 1 (Pacific Coast Highway) down to Orange County then switch over to US 101 then switch back to SR 1 to Long Beach CA.

So here's my ask, what are the MUST SEES, MUST VISIT along the CALIFORNIA COAST. I really would like your insights in order to get the most out of this road trip.

Road trip will be 14 - 17 days.
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Old 02-14-2017, 03:24 PM   #2
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Mendocino and Bodega Bay are my favorites.
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Old 02-14-2017, 04:08 PM   #3
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The Hearst Castle is a must-see. In Oregon, stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory (best ice cream ever and a great tour.) The Sea lion Caves are a draw, but not so much. You could skip it. Monterey Fisherman's Wharf. The Aquarium in Monterey, too. Done it several times.
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Old 02-14-2017, 04:11 PM   #4
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I drove the opposite direction(San Francisco to Otis, OR and then diagonal over to Portland) on Hwy 1 and 101.

We left San Francisco early on a Sunday morning and the fog was really heavy. Got on Hwy1 shortly after crossing the Golden Gate bridge. Had to drive slow as there were hundreds and hundreds of people on bicycles on Hwy 1. There was some sort of biking thing going on as every little town along Hwy 1 was filled with them. Some streets blocked off in the little towns.

I just enjoyed cruising along at a medium speed seeing the overall scenery. I pulled off so many times to view the ocean, I about wore my starter out. I didn't have any planned stops except for spending the nights along the way.

I'm a big rail fan, so stumbling onto a neat railroad museum in Coo's Bay was a treat for me. Oregon Coast Historical Railway Museum. It was closed that day but a guy was there working on some of the rail cars, and he let me in.

At one pull off. I walked down a long wooden ramp to the water's edge and a local volunteer had a large telescope set up. She had it aimed on large rock and was telling me about the birds nesting on the rock, etc. Spent about 30 minutes just talking to her. Also made several pull offs that are well known for whale sightings, but I didn't get to see any. http://visittheoregoncoast.com/whale-watching/





The day we spent in San Francisco was a huge waste of time. Fisherman's wharf was nothing but loads of bird crap everywhere. Chinatown was disgusting.

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Old 02-14-2017, 04:17 PM   #5
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Also made several pull offs that are well known for whale signings, but I didn't get to see any.
Wow. I didn't realize they gave autographs. I'll have to try that.
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Old 02-14-2017, 04:24 PM   #6
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Wow. I didn't realize they gave autographs. I'll have to try that.
Getting a whale's autograph would have been a bigger deal than when I got Elvis's autograph(and had a short conversation with him) on a plane ride from Nashville to Memphis in 1969(day before Thanksgiving).

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Old 02-14-2017, 04:25 PM   #7
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It might be worth a stopover in Santa Cruz. The downtown and wharf are nice, and the Boardwalk is cool; sort of old fashioned. They have the biggest wooden roller coaster. You have to go in the summer though, to visit the Boardwalk while it's lively. Also, the Big Sur area is always good for breathtaking views, and if you're into it, lots of hiking and even camping if you're making a stopover. Of course, the drive on the coast highway through Big Sur is excellent in a performance vehicle like a Corvette!
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Old 02-14-2017, 05:03 PM   #8
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From Leggett south is quite a windy road and steep (heading south) for down bound traffic. You will love driving through the overhang of trees once you hit the towns on Hwy 1 below Leggett. Someone else mentioned Hearst Castle. This is a must see if you've never done it before. They offer different tours but it can get quite crowded during the summer. Be sure and make reservations online.

Monterey is quite nice, there is a nice motel on the coast called Borg Hotel. They are just inside Pacific Grove next to Monterey. Take in the Monterey Aquarium, its interesting.

Big Sur area is very scenic too. Santa Barbara/Ventura area is nice and so is Malibu. After that coming south it does not impress me but just my opinion.
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Old 02-14-2017, 05:22 PM   #9
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Carmel is a great spot. If you do Big Sur, Nepenthe restaurant has great views and the banana cream pie is the best.
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Old 02-14-2017, 05:28 PM   #10
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Maxie, I haven't been that route and can't help on sites. Just wanted to say this is one of our "must do's", and I'm looking forward to your pictures. Have a safe, and fun trip.
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Old 02-14-2017, 05:33 PM   #11
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I made this trip from SF to BC in 1976 during a Spring Break. I was driving my TR7, which really handled very well on those very twist roads along California's north coast.

It's a beautiful drive.
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Old 02-14-2017, 05:40 PM   #12
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bixby bridge, second on nepenthe, Pfiffer state park, lobos state park. Carmel, http://davidsdigitalvision.zenfolio.com/p363693383 for t all my pictures:










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Old 02-14-2017, 05:52 PM   #13
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^^^ Incredible pics...thanks for posting.

Last edited by Steven Bell; 02-14-2017 at 08:32 PM. Reason: No need to re-quote the previous post, especially if you're the next person posting.
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Old 02-14-2017, 06:00 PM   #14
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Bixby bridge has been on my driving bucket list. Looking forward to seeing it for the first time then driving over it. Heck, I may turn around just to drive over it again!

Thank for the pics...getting excited already!

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Old 02-14-2017, 06:16 PM   #15
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Done the trip many times. You might have to modify these recommendations do to time constraints. DO NOT expect to ring out your 'vette because you will be stuck behind every sort of speed blowing mode of transportation ever invented (i.e. Huge RVs with novice drivers, bicyclists who believe they are above you and your hydrocarbon consuming planet wrecker, and a great selection of under powered and slow mini vans.)

Must See:
Skunk Train Fort Bragg to Willits (a must for rail enthusiasts)
Point Arena Light House (thought to be windiest place in lower 48)
Bodega Bay (Hitchcock filmed The Birds here, and not much has changed)
Point Reyes (some of the best oysters produced in America)
The City (although San Francisco can be a trip unto itself)
Santa Cruz (serial killer capital of America, google Edmond Kemper and Herbert Mullin. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is an absolute must for any old-time seaside amusement park fan. Ride the Giant Dipper roller coaster and the original Loof carousel WITH actual brass rings.)
Monterey (very historic former Capital of California... 17 mile drive too)
Big Sur (stop at any pull out for amazing views. You'll recognize the Bixby Bridge over Malpaso creek.)
San Simeon Hearst Castle (an absolute bucket list location)
Elephant Seal Rookery (just south of Hearst Castle)
Morro Bay (poor man's Monterey and you can't miss 'The Rock')

Spend the night in San Luis Obispo, a quintessential coastal college town where I did my undergrad work. Lots of great bars and restaurants. South of SLO, you are starting to get into the metropolitan areas, which start to lack charm. Pismo Beach just to say you've been there. Great Pinot Noir and Chards in the Santa Maria area. Santa Barbara is nice but a bit pretentious. I would avoid PCH through Malibu, unless you've never been and just have too.

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Old 02-14-2017, 06:20 PM   #16
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PCH is a great trip. We've done it a dozen times. Here are my recommendations. The Oregon coast is occasionally fogged in and there aren't a lot of places to visit. However, once you're in California heading south I'd recommend checking out Redwood National Park and Trees of Mystery, Eureka, Bodega Bay, the Napa Region, Sausalito. South of SFO I'd definitely plan on a couple of days in Carmel (Carmel Mission Ranch, Pebble Beach, 17 Mile Drive, Monterey Pier), then head south on "1" through Big Sur, and check out the Hearst Castle, Cambria, Moro Bay and if you have time take HWY 46 to Paso Robles (300 wineries and a great town). South of there you are on 101 so stop at Pea Soup Anderson's or the Madonna Inn for lunch and spend the night in Solvang. From there it is Santa Barbara, Malibu and into L.A. Have fun!
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Old 02-14-2017, 06:38 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dashotgun View Post
bixby bridge, second on nepenthe, Pfiffer state park, lobos state park.
Excellent photography Dash---thanks for posting, really enjoy that good work

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoesC5 View Post
Getting a whale's autograph would have been a bigger deal than when I got Elvis's autograph(and had a short conversation with him) on a plane ride from Nashville to Memphis in 1969(day before Thanksgiving).
bet that was much more than memorable Joe---if you didn't get a pic, I know you still kick yourself

Last edited by Steven Bell; 02-14-2017 at 08:34 PM. Reason: Merged Posts-use the Muti Quote button (the middle icon) in the lower right hand corner of each post to make your replies look like this!
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Old 02-14-2017, 07:53 PM   #18
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bet that was much more than memorable Joe---if you didn't get a pic, I know you still kick yourself
Didn't get a picture, but, even after 46 years, it's still very clear in my mind.

When I got home, I gave the autograph to my 5 year old daughter(who loved Elvis) and told her to not lose it.

On my daughter's 13th birthday, Elvis died and my daughter was quite shook up over his death. I told her at least you have his autograph, and she said she didn't. I asked her where it was, and she said "Momma threw it away".

Boy, was I pissed at my wife.
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Old 02-14-2017, 08:21 PM   #19
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Winchester mystery house outside San Jose is cool. Solvang is decent and swing by downtown Ventura.

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Old 02-14-2017, 08:29 PM   #20
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Boy, was I pissed at my wife.
Oh man...
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