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There is an amazing range of things to see on Pacific Coast Highway in California, one of the most scenic drives in the world. On our recent 3-week road trip, we drove part of the Pacific Coast Highway from Monterey to Los Angeles. This stunning drive did not disappoint, with sheer cliffs, rugged coastline, untouched forests, elephant seals laying about in the sun, and even a waterfall on a beach!
Here is a list of our 10 favourite things to see on Pacific Coast Highway from our road trip:
Home to the famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, we thought this coastal town was gorgeous! After visiting the aquarium, we enjoyed dinner with ocean views, and a stroll along Cannery Row at night, before heading back to our hotel – Holiday Inn Express Monterey Cannery Row.
With pine-lined beaches and European-inspired cottages, this pretty little seaside town is full of shops, restaurants and art galleries.
Located along Big Sur, Bixby Bridge is one of the tallest, single span concrete bridges in the world.
Another one of the beautiful sights along Big Sur is McWay Falls. This cliffside waterfall drops 80 feet onto the beach below.
We chose to pull off at Ragged Point for lunch, and are so glad we did! We enjoyed our meal among the beautifully lanscaped grounds, perched high up on the cliffs above the crashing waves.
Limekiln State Park
Named after the historic limekilns located in the park, here you’ll find stunning coastline views, towering redwood trees, and more waterfalls!
This hilltop castle was designed by architect Julia Morgan, and boasts a stunning pool, impressive art collection, and sprawling grounds with ocean views.
Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery
Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery covers around 6 miles of coastline, with plenty of viewing points to watch these giants sleeping and sunning themselves on the sand.
After a full day of driving and sightseeing, we decided to stay the night in Pismo Beach at the Shorecliff Hotel. Here we finally saw wild sea otters playing in the water, and witnessed the thousands of Monarch butterflies that migrate to Pismo Beach every year at the Monarch Butterfly Grove.
Before we arrived back at the bright lights and bustle of Los Angeles, we enjoyed our last stop in Santa Barbara. The beautiful Stearns Wharf was the perfect place to stretch our legs and enjoy the sea air!