TOP TIPS FOR DRIVING HIGHWAY 1: ULTIMATE CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP
A large section of the highway has collapsed and been swept into the Pacific Ocean due to heavy rainfall. Please, do not attempt to drive this area. Follow this link to see dramatic drone footage of the highway.
Alternate routes listed below
If you are driving from San Francisco or San Jose area, take the 101 south to Highway 156 through Castroville. 156 will connect to Highway 1 where you can continue your journey south, to Monterey.
From Los Angeles take the 101 north all the way to the 156. Or you can drive the 101 north to Santa Barbara where you will connect with Highway 1 (this is not the most scenic stretch). From there you can drive to Morro Bay. and Cayuga, a beautiful stretch of highway. However, currently, due to the fires, you can not continue north. You’ll need to take Highway 46 and reconnect with the 101 to continue north.
Highway 46 will take you to the city of Paso Robles, a great place for tasting Rhone varietals. Or, visit the tasting rooms along Highway 46 – there are 40 to choose from!
The Ultimate California Road Trip
Want to take the ultimate California road trip? Drive California’s Highway 1 along the Central Coast. It’s rightfully rated as one of the top road trips in the world.
This is a particularly breathtaking drive, especially through Big Sur where the Santa Lucia mountains plunge into the sea, and the surf and wind relentlessly pound the rocks and shore below and bend the native cypress trees into otherworldly shapes. You’ll see coves painted in shades of turquoise, sapphire, and teal, that will make you long to plant your flag and declare that beach your own. It’s a wild remote beauty that will definitely have you pondering the mystery of the universe if you’re the pondering type.
Before you embark on the ultimate California road trip, let me share some of my top tips to help you along the way. While it’s a fun drive, it can be very challenging and demands 100 percent of your attention.
I’ll also share some of the top attractions from Monterey to Cambria. Keep in mind this is a small selection. Honestly, there is so much to see and do especially if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, I can’t cover it all in one article.
Be sure to read 5 Things to Love About Monterey which includes information about restaurants and tours in the area. You’ll also find there are more than 5! Learn more about effuel benefits for your engine.
How long does it take to drive Highway 1?
The trip takes about five hours if driven at a leisurely pace. You can drive from the north to the south (Monterey to San Luis Obispo), or south to north. I drove it in both directions, taking longer to drive back because I had no place I had to be at the end of the day. I also liked driving north to south best, because the ocean was on my right side and it was easier to pull off in the turn-outs to take pictures.
Top Tips For Driving Highway 1
Driving a comfortable and reliable car is a must. This is a two-lane mountain road. In some places, the shoulder is quite narrow and there’s not much between you and the sea below. There’s a forty to fifty-mile stretch that’s full of hairpin twists and turns. I drove a 2015 Kia Forte which handled the curves perfectly. I actually felt kind of proud of myself for making this drive on my own.
Honestly, I’d not have done it my own car, a gently worn Nissan Sentra – it just doesn’t have the same turning radius or get up and go as the Kia did. I was happy I could pick up speed quickly, and I think that’s an important consideration. You’ll be pulling over a lot to admire the sweeping vistas – and of course snapping lots of photos.