Roadtrip down the Pacific Coast Highway

After spending some time in San Francisco, we decided to do a Pacific Highway Roadtrip with my sister. I’ve always wanted to this and I was really happy we finally got the chance. And I’m finally putting our trip guide to paper!  Some planning Tips:

  • if you can, definitely go North to South, you get the better views and its much easier to stop for pics without crossing other cars.
  • Check for PCH updates. We were lucky enough that we got through it but the day after we arrived to LA  12 miles of the highway near Ventura were closed due to a Mudslide. Better to check beforehand .

Here’s our itinerary and all the great pics!

DAY 1 SAN FRANCISCO  TO MONTEREY 

Stop no. 1: Santa Cruz. We had a great lunch at the Picnic Basket. We had a delicious gluten free turkey sandwich and then we were off to a walk down the really picturesque  Santa Cruz boardwalk. I really enjoyed the boardwalk and it has some great history: first roller coaster and merry go round.
Second Stop: Monterey.
First, up Walking down the pier:

for those who like me watch Big Little Lies, this might seem familiar: 
Next up Cannery Row and the Aquarium It’s weird and interesting, in general those would be the two adjectives for Monterey. The sunset was quite beautiful though:f987c668-699a-4f73-94c6-ab064459fce3

Afterwards, dinner at the Alvarado Brewing Company.

DAY 2 – MONTEREY TO BIG SUR 

stop 1: We started of the day taking the 17 mile drive in Pebble Beach. A beautiful drive that is gorgeous and totally worth the small detour and price of admission. My favorite vista points in it where Point Joe…

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…and the Lone Cypress

img_0018foto 3other great pics of the drive: foto 2img_0024img_0014 (1)stop 2: Carmel by the Sea. The charm of this town is absolute incredible. It’s hard to capture in a photo how picturesque it is (that’s a bit of an irony jajaja) but I tried!. As it was our first stop we had some wonderful breakfast at Katy’s Cafe. Apparently it’s the longest breakfast menu in the west coast.
After a stroll through the town (and finding the cutest store that had some great golf gifts) it was off to the road again.
Stop 3: Bixby Bridge- a perfect photo stop.
Stop 4: Pfeiffer Beach. This is a must stop on a PCH ride. The rainbow was a nice visitor.


Stop 4: A little coffee break at the Big sur Bakery…


… and off to our hotel the gorgeous Post Ranch Inn.

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at night we had dinner at the Sierra Inn Restaurant at the hotel. I wasn’t a fan. I mean it’s perfectly ok food, but for the price it was just not worth it. Also as a hotel restaurant just having a 4  course menu as an option I feel is shortsighted to what people might want. I understand there are room service options but sometimes you want to sit on a table to eat not in your bed!

DAY 3 BIG SUR TO SAN LUIS OBISPO
After a gorgeous breakfast at the Sierra Inn it was off to a long ride down the PCH. Such peace and tranquility in the beauty that is nature.

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Stop 1: last stop during Big Sur was at Ragged Point. It’s a quick stop but it’s a worthy stop. Get some coffee and do a little walk around the path. Some of the pictures:


Stop 2: the really cute elephant seals in San Simeon.

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Stop 3: It is off to Hearst Castle. Logistical note: make sure you book your tickets on their website with enough time in advance. We did the big room tour and it was a great introduction. Also note that the tour is more or less 2 hours to coordinate in your plans.


Stop 4: Cambria for lunch. Not the most recommended spot but it’s cute and serves the purpose although in off hours there are not a lot of options to eat so we basically had some fast food at Firehouse grill.

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Stop 5: final travel stop of the day was Morro Bay. It’s nice enough but you get the feeling without even having to leave your car. A pit stop if you might call it that.


Then it was off to our resting spot for the evening, one which I was very excited about: Madonna Inn. This place has to be seen to be believed. Kitschy and wonderful. This was our pink explosion of a room, the tall and short (they have over 100 rooms all decorated differently). You have got to see this hotel/ Inn for yourself do go!
The lobby interiors live up to the weirdly vibe as well.

Some exterior pics


We had dinner at the steakhouse and it was surprisingly really good. Live music and all.

DAY 4 SAN LUIS OBISPO TO SANTA BARBARA
Stop1: Since we didn’t go into town when we arrived to the Inn, we started the day going into San Luis Obispo downtown to check it out. The requisite spot: bubblegum Alley.

Although interesting, a bit disgusting and really somewhat of a letdown.

Stop 2: Pismo Beach. Sadly another let down of our spots. Maybe we had had such wonderful luck in all our spots that we were bound to be disappointed eventually.

Stop 3: A drive through spot in Los alamos – quick picture from the car.

Stop 4: The really weird but really cute Danish style city of Solvang. This is a must stop in my book. The day started with breakfast at Paula’s Pancake House and then we just walked through the city checking out all the weird and cool buildings.

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Stop 5: A quick but cool spot at Ostrich Land , where you get to check out and feed the ostrich and emus

Stop 6: Santa Barbara for the night. Some of the must stops:

  • Sterns wharf:

  • State street and the State Courthouse

  • Wine at Wine Therapy -a really cool (Although too dog friendly for me) wine space in State street

  • Our hotel for the day was the newly renovated Hotel Californian. It was gorgeous, both the outside and the interior designs. 
  • views from out rooftop pool:
  • Dinner was at the fabulous Sakana. Really some, if not the best sushi I’ve had in a LONG time. I am not exaggerating. We came here because my sister had come 14 years ago and it was still as good, and still ranked number 1.

DAY 5 SANTA BARBARA TO L.A.
Stop 1: Ventura Beach. A little bit of a disappointment but the main city building was architecturally beautiful. But if you do not have time this is definitely a stop to miss.

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Stop 2: Malibu (and some pictures of the fires entering the city)

We had lunch at Nobu Malibu and it was such a disappointing. After having the best sushi at Sakana the night before Nobu let us down. Overpriced and worse of all we were both food poisoned! Do not go, so much overhype. It was not even worth giving you a picture. After the Malibu spot we finally got to LA. Now for all the LA adventures, that’s going to be a whole other post.

 

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