Coast Highway 1: Perfect for Your Bucket List
Making a road trip up or down California’s Highway 1 should be on everyone’s bucket list. This iconic ribbon of asphalt is admired for its breath-taking scenery with its dramatic coastline in the north and its sandy beaches to the south.
Something for Everyone
This curvaceous All-American Road follows along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the USA starting in the north in the Redwood forests, winding through historic towns, and ending at the sandy beaches in the south. This world class road trip has something for everyone!
Many simply call this road the Coast Highway. However, as you go north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, its official name is Shoreline Highway. The Shoreline Highway weaves its way through scenic Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties as it passes along some of the most dramatic coastline. It is the pathway that will lead to our favorite rest stop, Abalone Bay in The Sea Ranch.
The road eventually disappears north of Rockport as it turns inland towards Leggett.
A Love-Hate Relationship
As much as it is loved for its beauty, it is also a roadway filled with dread. In the south there’s its traffic that never seems to let up. To the north its winding hairpin turns, steep drop offs on one side, and in-your-face grassy hills rising up on the other may make you think twice about this trip. And let us not forget to add the inevitable landslides when there is rain occasionally rendering it impassable.
Speed limits along the Shoreline Highway are often 15-25 mph. It may even be slower when driving behind an 18-wheeler or recreational vehicle. But there are also sections where it’s perfectly safe to go 60.
If you as a driver or passenger are unaccustomed to mountainous driving and much prefer the wide lane freeways or secure suburban roadways, you may consider this a ‘scary’ or dangerous trek. And for those prone to car sickness or have a fear of heights you may wish take your Dramamine before you set off.
Pack Your Tunes to Listen to While You Wait
As you travel north near The Sea Ranch, you may encounter a few road obstacles as well. One of the more unique ones you could run into is the random cow or two trying to find that perfect patch of grass on the other side of the .
During the summer months you may also encounter CalTrans repairing damage caused by the earlier winter storms. For those cases just make sure you pack your favorite tunes, especially as radio and mobile phone reception in your car is often sketchy.
During the rainy winter season, especially with El Niño rains, you’ll want to be sure your car is in tip-top shape. You’ll also want to keep an eye out for any falling rocks. This road hazard frequently happen along the coastal mountains road between Jenner and Fort Ross.
You’ll also need to be vigilant of tree branches that may have snapped off. This frequently happens farther north in the area between Stillwater Cove and Stewart’s Point.
To learn more on how to prepare your car for travel in El Niño’s rainy conditions click here.
Take a Picture as You Take a Breather
But there’s no worries with all the turnouts along the way. Just pull over to the side to recapture your breath, steady your nerves, and take incredible photos to record this drive of a lifetime.
For many car aficionados and motorcyclists alike it is the thrill-ride of a life time carrying them to paradise!
|Motorcyclists lean into hairpin curves that give others white knuckles|
It is certainly a drive that requires your attention. Be ever mindful to your speed and willing to pull over to allow the more experienced to pass. It is definitely not the road to be taken when tired or after enjoying a sampling of the region’s wine or craft brews along the way!
Share your tips and memories
Have you taken this drive before? What are you memories or favorite tips for the first-timer about to set out? We’d love to have you share them in the comments below.
And the next time you travel the Shoreline Highway consider booking your rest stop at at Sea Ranch Abalone Bay!BOOK NOW