The Ultimate California Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Itinerary (2024 Guide)

Plan the ultimate itinerary for the famous California Pacific Coast Highway road trip highlights of the west coast!

The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the most famous road trips in the USA and one of the best places to visit in California! Snaking up the dramatic coastlines of California, Oregon, and Washington, the Pacific Coast Highway, or Highway 1, offers an incredibly scenic drive.

This article will outline an ideal California coast road trip that covers the highlights of the iconic Pacific Coast Highway. Though you can take the highway all the way up to Washington, we will just be focusing on California.

There is simply so much to see along the USA’s west coast that it’s easier to focus on one area at a time! So this Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary will cover the best places to stop from San Diego up to San Francisco and the Redwoods in Northern California.

So get ready for an epic road trip itinerary full of beaches, state parks, cities, wine countries, historic landmarks, and more.

From the wineries of Santa Barbara to the impressive Hearst Castle, to the stunning Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur, to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, you will get to see it all on this Pacific Coast Highway road trip!

Where Does The Pacific Coast Highway Start And End?

If you ask how long the Pacific Coast Highway actually is, you’ll see there are a few different responses.

The southern end of the Pacific Coast Highway begins in San Diego. But the northern point of the route is a little fuzzy. Some consider it to end in Northern California, and some consider it to end up in Washington in either Olympia or Seattle.

The entire Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary from San Diego up to northern Washington is around 1,600 miles long.

But because this article will focus on a California road trip up the Pacific Coast Highway, we’re covering a distance of about 780 miles from San Diego to the Redwoods just north of San Francisco. If you extend this California road trip further north into Oregon and Washington, you’ll of course cover more miles.

But just to keep it simple, we’re focusing on a PCH road trip itinerary that just includes California.

Find an alternative, 10-day California road trip itinerary here!

How Long Do You Need For This California Pacific Coast Highway Itinerary?

The time it takes you to complete this California road trip is up to you! It’s about 13-14 hours of driving time, so it just depends on how often you want to stop.

If you want to take your time and spend at least one night in each place, you could easily spend 2-3 weeks driving up the Pacific Coast Highway. But you could also do the drive in just a few days if you’re short on time.

To keep this California road trip itinerary flexible, we’ll just include the recommended stops. How long you spend in each place is up to you! You can stop in each place for a few hours, or you can stay overnight for a few days.

But the sweet spot for this Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary is about 1-2 weeks! This gives you plenty of time to stay overnight in hotspots like San Diego, Santa Barbara, Big Sur, and San Francisco. You wouldn’t want to rush this stunning road trip!

San Francisco
No PCH road trip is complete without visiting the magnificent city of San Francisco!

California Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Itinerary

Now let’s get into our ultimate Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary! We’ll be starting in downtown San Diego, where you should definitely spend a few days before you hit the road. There are lots of places to rent a car in San Diego as well!

This road trip itinerary takes you north up the coast towards San Francisco and the Redwoods. But you can also reverse the journey so you’re headed south instead.

No matter which direction you’d prefer to travel, here are all the recommended stops on a Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary!

Note: Check local websites for road conditions and closures before you embark on your road trip! For the Pacific Coast Highway, visit this website and see current closures for Highway 1. Road conditions are constantly changing in California, so it’s always smart to double-check before you travel!

The best way to get around is to rent a car and explore on your own! We recommend Rental Cars, which has the largest range of vehicles for the best value on the market.

San Diego

Begin your Pacific Coast Highway in the sunny city of San Diego. This vibrant coastal metropolis in Southern California offers a captivating blend of natural beauty and urban sophistication.

The city’s picturesque coastline stretches for miles, attracting surfers, sunbathers, and beach enthusiasts from around the world. From Pacific Beach and Ocean Beach to the lively Mission Beach boardwalk, there are endless opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation.

La Jolla Cove is a hub for outdoor activities where you can kayak through sea caves and spot sea lions lounging on the rocks.

San Diego’s vibrant neighborhoods, such as the historic Gaslamp Quarter and trendy North Park, buzz with a lively atmosphere, boasting an array of exceptional dining, shopping, and entertainment options.

Additionally, San Diego is home to numerous world-class attractions, including the renowned San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park’s museums and gardens, and the USS Midway Museum, offering visitors an enriching cultural and educational experience.

Whether exploring the historic architecture of Old Town, embarking on a harbor cruise, or catching a Padres baseball game at Petco Park, San Diego offers an enchanting blend of natural wonders, cultural treasures, and warm hospitality that leaves visitors and residents alike captivated by its charm.

Make sure you take time to soak it all in before you head off on your PCH road trip!

Consider booking the San Diego CityPASS to save money on some of the city’s top attractions!

Dana Point

  • Driving time from San Diego: 1 hour and 10 minutes

After exploring San Diego, you can continue your road trip up the Pacific Coast! The city is truly packed with fun things to do. But once you’ve had your fill of San Diego, head north up the Pacific Coast Highway to your next destination: Dana Point.

Nestled along the beautiful coastline of Southern California, this picturesque seaside city embodies the epitome of coastal living. Located in Orange County, Dana Point is renowned for its stunning beaches, enchanting harbor, and laid-back atmosphere.

The city’s most iconic feature is Dana Point Harbor, a bustling marina that serves as a gateway to endless ocean adventures. From here, visitors can embark on whale-watching excursions, fishing trips, or simply take a leisurely stroll along the waterfront, admiring the colorful boats and enjoying the fresh sea breeze.

In addition to its natural beauty, the city offers a range of recreational activities for outdoor enthusiasts. Surfers flock to the famous Doheny State Beach, known for its excellent waves and pristine sand. The surrounding cliffs and bluffs provide picturesque hiking trails with breathtaking ocean views.

It’s a truly gorgeous spot along the Pacific Coast Highway that deserves a visit, whether it’s a full day or a few hours. Next, continue north towards the world-famous beaches of Los Angeles!

Read next: 25 Best Things To Do In Southern California

Laguna Beach

  • Driving time from Dana Point: 20 minutes

As the Pacific Coast Highway travels along the coast of Los Angeles, there are so many beaches to stop at. Though every Southern California beach is beautiful, we’ll only recommend the ones that have the most to offer!

Laguna Beach is definitely one of the best beaches in LA, so it’s worth spending a day or two here. Nestled between majestic cliffs and crystal-clear waters, Laguna Beach offers a picturesque backdrop that has long captivated visitors and artists alike.

The city is dotted with pristine beaches, such as Main Beach and Crescent Bay, where sunbathers can relax on the golden sand or explore the tide pools teeming with marine life.

The iconic Heisler Park showcases meticulously manicured gardens, scenic walking paths, and breathtaking ocean views, making it a favorite spot for locals and tourists to immerse themselves in the area’s natural splendor.

Laguna Beach has fostered a thriving arts community that has earned it the title of an artist’s haven. The city is home to numerous art galleries, showcasing a diverse range of styles and mediums. Visitors can wander through the quaint streets of Laguna Village, where they’ll discover unique shops, boutiques, and coffee houses.

Find more things to do in Los Angeles here!

Newport Beach and Huntington Beach

  • Driving time from Laguna Beach: 30 minutes

From Laguna Beach, continue north up the Pacific Coast Highway. Your next stop is Huntington Beach, known as “Surf City, USA”, but you may want to stop in Newport Beach on the way up. It’s only a 10-minute drive in between Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, so you can choose where you’d like to spend your time!

Newport Beach, situated along the stunning Orange County coastline, is a picturesque seaside city renowned for its amazing beach, upscale shopping, and a vibrant harbor filled with luxury yachts. Newport Beach is also known for its excellent whale watching!

Huntington Beach is more known for its consistent surf breaks and rich surfing culture, attracting surfers from around the world. If you love to surf, this spot is a must-visit on your PCH road trip.

Huntington Beach boasts a laid-back atmosphere, charming beachfront neighborhoods, and a bustling downtown scene. Both towns are truly captivating and perfect for beach lovers!

Spend as much time soaking in the sun here as you please, and then continue up the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Monica!

Santa Monica

  • Driving time from Huntington Beach: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Next on your Pacific Coast Highway itinerary is the gorgeous city of Santa Monica. Located on the edge of the Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica seamlessly blends beachside relaxation with a lively urban atmosphere.

The iconic Santa Monica Pier serves as a centerpiece, offering a myriad of attractions, including thrilling amusement park rides, delicious dining options, and sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean.

The bustling Third Street Promenade, a popular pedestrian-only shopping district, features a variety of upscale boutiques, restaurants, and entertainment venues, making it a haven for shopaholics and culture enthusiasts alike.

Beyond the beach, Santa Monica boasts an abundance of recreational opportunities. The picturesque Palisades Park, overlooking the ocean, offers a serene escape and breathtaking views, while the Marvin Braude Bike Trail attracts cyclists and walkers who wish to traverse the stunning coastline.

Additionally, the city is home to the iconic Santa Monica Mountains, providing ample opportunities for outdoor adventures, including hiking, horseback riding, and even wildlife spotting.

With its unbeatable combination of natural beauty, cultural attractions, and a laid-back yet energetic vibe, Santa Monica offers visitors a quintessential California experience that captures the essence of coastal living.

If you need a change in scenery while staying in Santa Monica, walk over to Venice Beach, another iconic LA coastal neighborhood. Check out the Venice Beach Boardwalk or Venice Beach Skatepark, or just absorb the melting pot of creativity.

Santa Monica and the surrounding attractions like the mountains and Venice Beach could easily entertain for days on end. When you’re ready to continue on your California road trip, head back to the Pacific Coast Highway and venture up to Santa Barbara!

Santa Monica
Santa Monica is one of LA’s most vibrant neighborhoods!

Santa Barbara

  • Driving time from Santa Monica: 1 hour and 45 minutes

Santa Barbara is a must-see destination on any California coast road trip. Nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, Santa Barbara is a picturesque coastal city on the central coast of California.

Known as the “American Riviera,” Santa Barbara offers a stunning combination of natural beauty, Spanish colonial architecture, and a thriving cultural scene. The city’s red-tiled roofs, white adobe buildings, and palm-lined streets exude a charming Mediterranean vibe.

Stearns Wharf, the city’s iconic pier, provides panoramic ocean views and is dotted with seafood restaurants and boutique shops. Santa Barbara’s beaches, such as East Beach and Butterfly Beach, are ideal for sunbathing, surfing, or simply taking a leisurely stroll along the shoreline.

If you’re looking for a more adventurous activity and you plan to spend at least a full day in Santa Barbara, consider a kayaking day trip through the neighboring Channel Islands!

Aside from its natural beauty, Santa Barbara is also home to a vibrant wine country. The Santa Ynez Valley, located just a short drive from downtown Santa Barbara, is renowned for its wineries and vineyards. Visitors can indulge in wine tastings, tour the picturesque vineyards, and savor delicious farm-to-table cuisine.

Whether it’s exploring the urban charms of the city or venturing into the idyllic wine country, Santa Barbara captivates with its natural beauty, cultural treasures, and relaxed yet sophisticated ambiance.

Find more things to do in Santa Barbara here!

Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo

  • Driving time from Santa Barbara: 2 hours

Next, your Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary continues north into the Central Coast of California. Pismo Beach is a great place to stop for a few hours or overnight. This charming coastal town beckons visitors with its pristine beaches, coastal bluffs, and laid-back atmosphere.

Known for its sandy shores and huge sand dunes, Pismo Beach is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and beach lovers. The iconic Pismo Beach Pier offers breathtaking ocean views and is a popular spot for fishing and strolling. Along the bustling Shell Beach Road, visitors can explore local shops, quaint cafes, and seafood restaurants, indulging in the coastal town’s delectable cuisine.

After enjoying Pismo Beach, you’re heading north to Morro Bay. But it’s well worth stopping in San Luis Obispo on the way! It’s only a short drive of about 15 minutes from Pismo Beach to San Luis Obispo, so the two could be considered one stop.

With its charming downtown, lined with historic buildings and a bustling farmers’ market, San Luis Obispo offers a delightful blend of small-town charm and urban amenities. Enjoy a quick visit here and then continue up to Morro Bay!

Morro Bay

  • Driving time from Pismo Beach: 30 minutes

Another beautiful place to stop on any Pacific Coast Highway road trip is Morro Bay. This picturesque seaside town is renowned for its iconic landmark, Morro Rock. Rising majestically from the water, this volcanic plug attracts visitors with its striking presence.

The town offers a charming blend of natural beauty and coastal charm, with its pristine beaches, scenic coastal trails, and a bustling waterfront filled with fishing boats and sailboats.

Outdoor enthusiasts can explore the rich marine life of Morro Bay National Estuary through kayaking, paddle boarding, or embarking on a wildlife cruise. With its relaxed atmosphere, stunning vistas, and abundant recreational opportunities, Morro Bay is a coastal gem that captivates visitors with its unspoiled beauty and coastal charm.

Continue up the dazzling Pacific Coast Highway towards San Simeon and its fascinating Hearst Castle – a highlight of any California coast road trip!

Morro Bay
Morro Bay is a tranquil and majestic spot.

San Simeon

  • Driving time from Morro Bay: 30 minutes

Just 30 minutes north of Morro Bay is the historic and charming town of San Simeon. If you’re looking for something a little different as you drive the Pacific Coast Highway, San Simeon offers unique attractions other than the classic dramatic coastal views.

The crown jewel of San Simeon is undoubtedly Hearst Castle, the opulent mansion built by newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. The architectural marvel of Hearst Castle showcases stunning Mediterranean Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival styles, with lavish interiors and expansive gardens.

Visitors can take guided tours to explore the grandeur of Hearst Castle, immersing themselves in its fascinating history and experiencing the breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and the Pacific Ocean.

Beyond the iconic Hearst Castle, San Simeon offers a wealth of natural beauty and outdoor activities. The nearby Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery is a must-visit, where visitors can witness hundreds of elephant seals in their natural habitat, lounging on the beach and engaging in fascinating social behaviors.

Elephant Seal Vista Point in San Simeon is one of the best places on the California coast for viewing elephant seals! Once you’ve seen enough seals and castles, you can continue north from San Simeon up to Big Sur, a highlight of this PCH road trip!

Looking for more epic US road trips? Check out our Las Vegas to Los Angeles road trip guide!

Big Sur

  • Driving time from San Simeon: 2 hours

Continue north until you reach the crown jewel of the Pacific Coast Highway: Big Sur. Situated right in the middle of the California coast, Big Sur is a breathtaking region known for its rugged beauty and dramatic landscapes. This iconic stretch of coastline stretches for approximately 90 miles and is characterized by towering cliffs, beautiful beaches, and lush forests.

Big Sur is home to several state parks, including Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, which offer a plethora of outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and wildlife spotting. Pfeiffer Beach, in particular, is a gorgeous spot, with huge cliffs and rock formations scattered across the sand.

In addition to its natural wonders, Big Sur also boasts a vibrant arts and cultural scene. The region has long been a source of inspiration for artists, writers, and musicians, who are drawn to its ethereal beauty and peaceful ambiance.

Numerous art galleries and studios can be found throughout Big Sur, showcasing the works of local artisans. Big Sur is also home to the renowned Esalen Institute, a retreat center known for its workshops, hot springs, and breathtaking coastal views.

The serene and unspoiled environment makes Big Sur an ideal retreat for nature lovers, artists, and those seeking a tranquil escape from the bustling city life.

And because Big Sur is centrally located on this Pacific Coast Highway road trip, it’s a convenient place to stop for a few days. Grab a hotel in Big Sur and chill out for a few days as you admire this gem of the Pacific Coast!

From Big Sur, continue north over the Bixby Creek Bridge as you head towards Pebble Beach and Carmel by the Sea. Make sure you stop and snap a few photos at Bixby Creek Bridge, as this is an iconic landmark on the famous California highway! The bridge is about 10 miles north of downtown Big Sur, or a half hour drive from Pfeiffer Beach.

Carmel By The Sea and Pebble Beach

  • Driving time from Big Sur: 40 minutes

Another one of the best Pacific Coast Highway stops is Carmel By The Sea. Known for its storybook-like architecture, flower-lined streets, and pristine white-sand beaches, Carmel by the Sea offers a unique blend of natural beauty and artistic charm.

Carmel Beach, with its azure waters and stunning views of Pebble Beach and Point Lobos, is a haven for beach lovers and a perfect spot for picnics, sunset strolls, and even dog-friendly adventures.

Pebble Beach is undoubtedly a highlight of this Pacific Coast Highway road trip. Pebble Beach boasts one of the most prestigious golf courses in the world, Pebble Beach Golf Links. Golf enthusiasts flock to this legendary course to experience its breathtaking oceanfront holes and challenging greens.

Aside from golf, Pebble Beach offers a plethora of recreational activities, including scenic drives along the iconic 17-Mile Drive, which showcases awe-inspiring coastal vistas, dramatic cliffs, and the iconic Lone Cypress.

Visitors can also explore the enchanting Del Monte Forest, where hiking trails wind through beautiful landscapes and offer glimpses of local wildlife. With its blend of natural beauty, luxurious resorts, and world-class golf, Carmel by the Sea and Pebble Beach create an irresistible destination that combines relaxation, outdoor adventures, and a touch of sophistication.


  • Driving time from Pebble Beach: 13 minutes

Situated right next to Carmel By The Sea and Pebble Beach is Monterey, another quaint seaside town that is a beautiful place to stop on any California road trip. You can explore all three of these stunning locations in one day, or stay in the area for a few days to really soak it all in.

Monterey is one of the best places along the California Highway for whale watching. March through November offers excellent whale watching in Monterey. Look out for gray whales, humpback whales, and even seals, sea lions, sea otters, and more.

Or visit the iconic Monterey Bay Aquarium, which showcases a mesmerizing array of aquatic creatures and educates visitors about marine conservation.

Other highlights of Monterey include the historic Cannery Row. Once a bustling sardine canning district, this area has been transformed into a lively waterfront area with charming shops, restaurants, and wine-tasting rooms.

Monterey’s rich history is reflected in attractions such as the historic adobe buildings of Monterey State Historic Park and the storied Monterey Old Fisherman’s Wharf. Once you’ve made the most of this amazing area, head north toward Santa Cruz!

Santa Cruz

  • Driving time from Monterey: 50 minutes

Continue along the stunning Pacific Coast Highway for about an hour until you reach Santa Cruz. Travelers in Santa Cruz can soak up the west coast sunshine at the city’s beaches such as Main Beach and Natural Bridges State Beach.

The iconic Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, a historic seaside amusement park, provides a delightful mix of thrilling rides, arcade games, and delicious treats, making it a favorite spot for families and thrill-seekers.

Nature enthusiasts in Santa Cruz can head to the majestic redwood forests of Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, where they can hike through towering trees, spot wildlife, and even take a ride on the scenic Roaring Camp Railroad.

Santa Cruz also has a vibrant downtown, with its eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, and street performers. Pacific Avenue is a bustling hub of activity, lined with boutique stores, art galleries, and cafes, providing a haven for shoppers and art enthusiasts.

With its stunning coastal scenery, diverse outdoor activities, and lively cultural scene, Santa Cruz captures the essence of California beach living and welcomes visitors with open arms.

From Santa Cruz, continue your journey along the Pacific Coast Highway as you make your way toward San Francisco. Consider stopping at the Pigeon Point Lighthouse shortly after you leave Santa Cruz for an extra special viewpoint!

Read Next: Don’t forget these great things to do in Santa Cruz!

Santa Cruz Boardwalk
Soak in the excitement at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk!

Half Moon Bay

  • Driving time from Santa Cruz: 1 hour

On the way to San Francisco, make sure to stop in Half Moon Bay! This picturesque town has gorgeous beaches, dramatic cliffs, and idyllic coastal views. It’s just an hour from San Francisco, so here is where you can enjoy some peaceful vibes before you hit the city!

Half Moon Bay is a beautiful coastal gem perfect for surfers and nature lovers, and it’s a highlight of any California road trip. Surfers flock to Mavericks, a legendary surf break known for its massive waves, while beachgoers can relax and unwind on the pristine shores of Half Moon Bay State Beach.

The town’s charming Main Street is lined with quaint shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes, inviting visitors to stroll and explore the local charm. Take all the time you need to relax here, as your next stop is the bustling San Francisco Bay!

Read next: The 25 Best Things To Do In Northern California

San Francisco

  • Driving time from Half Moon Bay: 50 minutes

Next on this California road trip is the mighty city of San Francisco. Often referred to as the “City by the Bay,” San Francisco is a vibrant and iconic metropolis nestled along the northern part of the California highway.

Known for its hilly streets, cable cars, and artistic culture, San Francisco boasts a unique charm that captivates visitors from around the world. The city offers a wealth of cultural experiences, from exploring the historic neighborhoods of Chinatown and the bustling shops of Union Square to indulging in the diverse culinary scene and vibrant nightlife.

Visitors can take a ferry to the infamous Alcatraz Island, wander through the picturesque streets of the colorful Victorian houses in the Painted Ladies, or take in panoramic views of the city from Twin Peaks.

Of course, no visit to San Francisco is complete without seeing the Golden Gate Bridge. The Golden Gate Bridge is a breathtaking architectural marvel that spans the entrance of San Francisco Bay.

Another quintessential San Francisco experience is checking out Fisherman’s Wharf. Located on the northern waterfront of San Francisco, Fisherman’s Wharf has delectable seafood restaurants and iconic attractions like Pier 39 and Ghirardelli Square.

With its iconic landmarks like Fisherman’s Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge, to its rich cultural diversity and progressive spirit, San Francisco truly embodies the essence of the American West Coast. It’s a must-visit on a California road trip, and it’s worth spending at least three days here!

Find more things to do in San Francisco here!

Muir Woods

  • Driving time from San Francisco: 45 minutes

It’s common for a PCH road trip itinerary to stop in San Francisco. If you’re looking to fly back home from the end of your road trip, then ending in San Francisco is convenient as there is a major international airport here.

But if you have more time to spare, it’s worth continuing north from San Francisco to check out the natural beauty of Northern California. Just 45 minutes away from downtown San Francisco is Muir Woods National Monument. For nature lovers, you won’t regret adding this spot to your Pacific Coast Highway road trip!

Muir Woods is a tranquil and awe-inspiring destination that immerses visitors in the majesty of towering ancient redwood trees. This breathtaking national monument, named after renowned environmentalist John Muir, allows visitors to marvel at the colossal redwoods that have stood tall for centuries.

The peaceful trails winding through the woods provide an opportunity for contemplation and connection with nature, allowing visitors to witness the grandeur and beauty of one of the last remaining old-growth redwood forests in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Muir Woods is not only a natural wonder but also a place of reflection and appreciation for the incredible resilience and magnificence of these ancient giants.

Muir Woods
Walk amongst the redwoods in Muir Woods.

Humboldt Redwoods State Park

  • Driving time from Muir Woods: 3 hours and 45 minutes

After checking out Muir Woods, it’s a bit of a trek up to Humboldt Redwoods State Park. If you’ve seen enough redwoods already and you’d rather return to San Francisco and wrap up your PCH road trip, that’s fine!

But if you do want to admire even more magnificent old-growth redwood forests, Humboldt Redwoods State Park is well worth the trip. It’s a popular weekend trip destination from San Francisco, and it’s a highlight of the Pacific Coast Highway.

Spanning over 53,000 acres, this awe-inspiring park is home to some of the tallest and oldest living organisms on Earth, including the famous Avenue of the Giants, where visitors can drive or hike through a scenic 32-mile stretch surrounded by towering redwoods.

The park offers a variety of trails, from leisurely walks to challenging hikes, allowing visitors to explore the peaceful serenity of the ancient forest, witness sunlight filtering through the dense canopy, and listen to the gentle whispers of nature.

In addition to its majestic redwoods, Humboldt Redwoods State Park also boasts picturesque rivers, lush fern-covered meadows, and abundant wildlife. The park offers opportunities for camping, picnicking, fishing, and swimming, inviting visitors to fully immerse themselves in the natural splendor of the surroundings.

Visitors can also learn about the rich cultural history of the area by visiting the park’s visitor center, which provides insights into the indigenous peoples who have long revered the redwoods and the logging industry that has shaped the region.

Humboldt Redwoods State Park serves as a haven for those seeking solace, tranquility, and a deep connection with nature amidst the awe-inspiring grandeur of ancient redwood forests.

Additional Ideas for A Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Itinerary

Though this PCH road trip only covers the California coast, there is much more to see and do further north!

We’ve covered the California coast road trip from San Diego up to the Redwoods, including highlights like Santa Barbara, Big Sur, Hearst Castle, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and more. But the Pacific Coast Highway does continue past Northern California and into Oregon and Washington.

If you have time, take the Pacific Coast Highway all the way up the Oregon Coast! Stop in stunning state parks and maybe make a detour to the artsy and inviting city of Portland.

Then continue up into Washington and check out Seattle and the majestic Olympic National Park. If you’re extending your Pacific Coast Highway road trip itinerary all the way up to Seattle, you should definitely leave yourself at least a few weeks.

You may need to cut some of the stops from the California coast if you want time for all the locations in Oregon and Washington, or you may need to carve out more time for your road trip.

Or if you have time for more inland travel, consider blending this PCH road trip itinerary with some day trips to iconic places like Yosemite National Park near San Francisco or Death Valley National Park near San Diego.

Either way, from the east coast USA to the west, there are few road trips that are more memorable than the Pacific Coast Highway!

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Alesha and Jarryd

Hey! We are Alesha and Jarryd, the award-winning writers and professional photographers behind this blog. We have been travelling the world together since 2008, with a passion for adventure travel and sustainable tourism. Through our stories and images we promote exciting off-the-beaten-path destinations and fascinating cultures as we go. As one of the world's leading travel journalists, our content and adventures have been featured by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, CNN, BBC, Forbes, Business Insider, Washington Post, Yahoo!, BuzzFeed, Channel 7, Channel 10, ABC, The Guardian, and plenty other publications. Follow our journey in real time on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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2 thoughts on “The Ultimate California Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Itinerary (2024 Guide)”

  1. This is a great itinerary! I’m definitely going to try it out!

    • Thanks so much. All the best with trying it out. 🙂

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