California’s Most Scenic Drives
California is one of the most inherently beautiful states in the country. It’s located on the coast, so it has myriad beautiful beaches and miles of jagged coastline. It also has large, world-class cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, home to some of the most beautiful homes and man-made structures in the world. Northern California is home to the Napa Valley, with miles of vineyards and rolling countryside as well as the beautiful, inimitable redwood forests and the famous Muir Woods. No matter what type of landscape appeals to you, from desert to cityscape, the Golden State has something for everyone.
It makes sense that California is one of the most beautiful places in the U.S. to travel through — by foot, by boat, and definitely by car. California is unmatched for a road trip, offering beautiful sights and long roads to get lost on, in the best way. If you’re interested in taking a road trip in California, there are many highways you might want to cruise. To learn more about the most scenic drives in the state, check out the list below.
The Pacific Coast Highway
Perhaps the most famous drive in California, the Pacific Coast Highway is — as its name suggests — the highway that stretches from the top of California to the bottom, mostly along the stunning Pacific Coast. Officially called Route 1, the PCH allows drivers to make the trip from San Francisco all the way down to Los Angeles. If you drive the PCH, no matter which way you do it, you’ll see stunning vistas along the way. Wind around curves that reveal majestic views of the Pacific Ocean and coastal cliffs. Venture into cities like Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, or Carmel, which have lovely local culture and offerings all their own. If you like the ocean or mountains, or just want to get a taste for coastal California towns, this is the perfect drive for you.
The name of this California valley might sound scary, but in reality it’s one of the most beautiful places in the state for a drive. Located near the border of California and Nevada, Death Valley National Park is the driest and hottest place in the entire United States. When you drive through Death Valley, you can take in stunning dessert sights. The area is known for its beautiful sunsets, with gorgeous skies that change throughout the evening. When you drive through Death Valley, you’ll go through the Mojave desert, and you can take in some of the tallest sand dunes in the entire country. If dry, seemingly endless landscapes and open sky sound appealing, then a Death Valley road trip is the perfect journey for you.
If you’re looking for an unequaled, upscale experience on your scenic drive, there’s no better place to travel through than Sonoma and the Napa Valley – aka Wine Country. Drive on California’s Route 29 and you’ll pass by some of the world’s most revered and beloved vineyards. Stop into the wineries and pick up a bottle for later or a bite of the food, or stay overnight at one of the luxury resorts in the area — they’re some of the nicest hotels in the entire world. The best road trip for foodies is through Sonoma. Start in Calistoga and journey through St. Helena, Oakville, and more of the valley towns until you reach the ultimate destination — Napa itself.
These are just a few ideas for an incredible California road trip. Get out there and explore this beautiful state.