California’s coastal highway is a national treasure. This wondrous, 1,000-mile driving route weaves through long stretches of rugged, natural scenery the likes of which you won’t find anywhere else on Earth, punctuated by historic towns and, of course, the state’s cultural capitals.
This is the ultimate guide to the unrivaled experience that is Highway 1.
We have parsed the route into 6 unique regions, each with its own character and flavor, and spotlighted 153 must-see stops, landmarks and towns along the way. Here you’ll find a mix of the coast’s greatest hits, boutique stopovers and under-the-radar experiences to help you plan your perfect coastal getaway.
Select a region below to see recommended destinations for each segment of coast, from the Oregon border south to San Diego. Then use the interactive map to create a personalized list of your favorite places, viewable in the “My favorites” section.
Editing and reporting by Gregory Thomas. Reporting by Alissa Greenberg, Leilani Marie Labong, Jill K. Robinson, Robert Earle Howells and David Ferry. Visuals by Clara Mokri. Photo editing by Emily Jan. Editing by Deb Wandell. Design and development by David Deloso / Hearst DevHub and Danielle Rindler / Hearst DevHub. Project management by Brittany Schell / Hearst DevHub. Copy editing by Andrea Behr.