California is one of the most popular destinations in the United States for travelers across the globe, and for good reason. It has miles of beaches, beautiful scenery, countless attractions, and major cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Your Road Trip Guide to the Coast of California
One of the best ways to experience this gorgeous state is a road trip up Highway 1, which winds along California’s breathtaking coastline. Check out our favorite picks below to start planning your getaway to The Golden State.
San Diego and Chula Vista
Start your California road trip in San Diego and the neighboring town of Chula Vista. San Diego is home to many attractions including miles of pristine beaches, the world-famous San Diego Zoo, LEGOLAND® California, and much more.
If you’re looking for something to do off the beaten path, we recommend a La Jolla Kayak adventure where you can kayak on a guided tour of the La Jolla Sea Caves. You’ll get the chance to spot leopard sharks, seals, beautiful fish, and even dolphins if you’re lucky.
After a busy day of activities, rest your head at Chula Vista RV Resort or Sun Outdoors San Diego Bay. At either of these outdoor destinations, you can park your RV in a full hookup site and enjoy the resort amenities provided to make your stay more enjoyable. Sun Outdoors San Diego Bay also offers fully appointed vacation rental options as another way to stay.
Next up on your coastal tour is Venice Beach. No trip to California would be complete without a visit to this iconic stretch of sand. This area offers so much to do. Soak up some sun on the beach, enjoy walking or biking on the waterfront, explore the local shops, or watch the local (and often professional) skateboarders at Venice skatepark.
You may even be able to catch one of the famous Kogi BBQ taco trucks owned by chef Roy Choi. Their specialty, the short rib taco, is what put Kogi into the history books, but you really can’t go wrong with any choice on the menu.
When you’ve seen everything there is to see in Venice Beach, Santa Barbara is waiting. This beautiful seaside town is home to a number of attractions. Visit the sights at Stearns Wharf for a relaxing walk out over the Pacific, take a stroll through Santa Barbara’s Botanic Garden, or tour the historic Old Mission Santa Barbara, where you need to quite literally stop and smell the roses.
You’ll have a lot of sights to see in this area, so spend your down time unwinding at El Capitan Canyon, or Ocean Mesa, our premiere California RV resorts catering to all ages. If you’re looking for a unique stay next to the Santa Barbara coast, these resorts offer options like safari tents and adventure yurts for an upscale camping experience.
San Luis Obispo
After Santa Barbara, you’ll reach a point on California Highway 1 where the road starts to head inland for a small stretch. Thankfully, it’ll take you directly through San Luis Obispo.
This historic town is home to a lush farmer’s market and the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, which was founded in 1772 and adopted as the town’s namesake. There are also a number of wineries, and the famous bubblegum alley where visitors stick gum to the brick walls. It’s a must-visit destination on your California coast road trip.
Remember what we said about heading inland? Sometimes you have to go off the beaten path to find the best in life, and Paso Robles is more than worth the stop as you’re heading up Highway 1. This popular California wine region boasts over 45 wineries, and tasting experiences for locally produced beer and olive oil.
This stop is also home to our locations at Wine Country, Vines, and Cava Robles, all amazing outdoor vacation destinations. Each offers a unique style and experience where you can park your RV, or choose from available cottage and chalet rentals.
Head north from Paso Robles to Big Sur for your final stop. This area is known as one of the most beautiful stretches of land in the whole country.
The drive alone is simply stunning as you wind around rugged cliffs and drive over the Bixby Creek Bridge – a concrete arch bridge that’s nearly 90 years old. Big Sur has countless hiking trails and is fairly remote, so you’ll enjoy some peace and quiet.
A lot of attention is paid to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, but its northern neighbor, Andrew Molera State Park, is a stop you won’t want to miss. There’s a trail that leads you through a campground on your way to Molera Point. The trail opens up when you get closer, crossing through the Big Sur river to miles of remote sandy beach.
That concludes our favorite stops along Highway 1 for the ultimate California coast road trip. We hope this helps encourage you to see where the road takes you. You may even plan a few of your own stops along the way. No matter which destinations and attractions you choose, you can’t go wrong seeing California gorgeous coastline.