Planning a Trip: Driving up CA Route 1 Classic/The Scenic Pacific Coast Highway

Planning trips is a lot of work! 

Before we travel Europe for a bit & then head to Ireland, Joe and I want to visit his family in their new Floridian house and see where my family is living in San Francisco. Since he's into cars, and I'm into looking at pretty things, when we visit CA, we're planning a drive up Highway 1 Classic from Los Angeles to San Francisco. 

Here's our itinerary (subject to change!):

Day 1

  • Flight to LAX
  • Pick-up rental car & stock supplies for the road trip
  • Explore LA for the day - we haven't totally decided what we're doing while in LA, but here are some ideas:

Day 2

  • Drive through Malibu & Ventura to Santa Barbara
    • Walk around State Street & Stearn's Wharf and pick up lunch-to-go
  • Drive to Old Mission Santa Barbara
    • Have picnic lunch on the Mission grounds
    • Have a self-guided tour of Old Santa Barbara Mission, which is an active community of Franciscan friars established in 1786
  • Drive to Santa Ynez Valley Wine Country
  • Drive to Cayucos-by-the-sea to check into our B&B and get dinner in town

Day 3

  • Drive to Hearst Castle
    • 10:00 Tour of Upper Suites
    • Stroll around the gardens for a bit
  • Drive to the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery to see the Seals on the beach
  • Drive Big Sur's scenic Pacific Coast Highway
    • Stop at Nepenthe Restaurant in Big Sur for a late lunch, cliffside
    • Stop at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to see McWay Falls
  • Drive across Bixby Bridge to Monterey 
    • Check in to B&B in Monterey
    • Visit Cannery Row
    • Try to fit in the Monterey Aquarium
    • Get dinner in town

Day 4

We're really excited. This trip should be wonderful.

Have any tips for things to do in LA, SF, Santa Barbara, Cayucos, Monterey, or Solvang?