If you visit this part of the United States, I recommend you not to choose the shortest route between the cities, but always go on the scenic route. Although it will take longer, the beauty of this route deserves all the time and effort.
I’ve talked about the itinerary and the most important stops along the route in some of my previous articles, but this time I’ve put together a list of 10 things that you should consider before getting here. Because a Pacific Coast Highway road trip will always stay in your memory.
1.The best time to visit
In terms of California, temperatures are permissive throughout the year, especially in the southern part of the state. Still, from San Francisco to Oregon, it may be a bit cold in the winter, and the road could be closed in some parts.
I also recommend you avoid the busiest months from June to August. I think the best time to visit is between March-May or September-November.
Considering the temperature differences from North to South, you might want to bring some extra layers of clothing.
2. North to South or South to North
The Pacific Coast Highway does not lack breathtaking landscapes throughout its length. So, you should position yourself as close as possible to where the dramatic coastlines of California meet the powerful waves of the Pacific Ocean.
In the States, the driving is on the right side of the road, so I recommend you make the North-South route, no matter where you go and where you stop.
I picked the San Francisco to San Diego route, and I did not have the ocean sight blocked at any other time by other cars. Instead, if you’re going from the South to the North, you’ll have the other lane between you and the ocean.
3. How many days to spend
It depends on you, on your wishes, on what you want to see, and how much time you want to spend in each place. In any case, if you want to take the San Francisco-San Diego route, you need at least a week to get a little out of every place.
I don’t advise you to be in a rush because you will not have enough time to fully enjoy everything.
4.Where to stay
In smaller towns along the road, such as Santa Barbara, Monterey or Santa Cruz, it is more difficult to find accommodation and can be a bit more expensive. I recommend you to find hotels in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego, all of which are large cities that require at least 2 days of visiting and have a plethora of hotels, within any budget.
Same for the car fuel. The more distance you take away from the main cities, the higher the price. Therefore, don’t forget to fill the tank where it’s more convenient for your pocket.
5.Where to stop
I have already written about this in the Best 15 stops on the Pacific Coast Highway article. Shortly, they are: San Francisco, Montara Beach, Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Santa Cruz, Camel-by-the-Sea, Monterey, Bixby Bridge, Big Sur, McWay Falls, Seal Beach, Laguna Beach and San Diego.
You can find out more about them in that article. Besides this, you can also find important information in the following articles: What to visit in San Francisco in less than a day, 3 days in Los Angeles, Sunset Beach, a childhood dream come true and A taste of San Diego.
Of course, there are many other places you can stop, like Malibu or Hearst Castle. Depending on how many days you have at your disposal, you are free to extend your itinerary, adding as many attractions as possible.
6. Check the state of the road
Because it is quite old and built on steep ribs, the danger of collapse is quite high, especially when adding precipitations to the equation. For this reason, it often happens that parts of it are shut down for long periods of time.
Before you begin planning the itinerary for your long-awaited journey, make sure the road is not closed, and if it is, you should inform yourself about it. For this, https://www.pacific-coast-highway-travel.com/ can keep you up to date on the current road state.
Moreover, in the warm season, almost every year, California is covered by fires in certain portions. Inform yourself about all these issues before heading off.
7. Choosing the means of transport
If you do not live in the American realms and cannot go on this road trip in your own car, the best choice is to rent one. Assuming you’re going to land at an airport, go to the representatives there, check the prices and the brands of cars they own and make a choice.
Perhaps the experience is more beautiful at the wheel of a red convertible Mustang or a white Dodge Charger, but that doesn’t mean that the landscapes will be less stunning with any other car. In order to help you outline a budget idea for renting a car, I can give you my own example.
Toyota Corolla, 10 days, about $ 400, leased from Hertz, at Las Vegas Airport. If you have technical problems, you can change your car to any of the Hertz representatives anywhere you are.
P.S. I have no collaboration with this company.
8. Make sure you have enough guidance resources
Though hard to believe, you have to find out that on the Pacific Coast Highway the phone signal will be almost inexistent most of the time.
So, don’t just rely on Google Maps, instead download an offline map in advance, so there’s no chance of getting lost.
9. Bring some food supplies
As in the case of the signal, restaurants do not grow like mushrooms on the route, and even more, they are concentrated mainly around the cities and we already know that the distances in the US are very big.
Don’t forget that the beauty of a road trip also consists of picnics, so some food on the back seat or in the trunk will be of great help when you will get hungry next to a gorgeous panorama.
Instructions: Stop the car, stretch the blanket and start eating. That’s that, lunch with a view!
10. Make a playlist with your favorite tracks
As with the Internet, you can not rely too much on the radio. In fact, it should not even matter if it works or not. A trip on the Pacific Coast Highway, the most scenic North American route, would not be the same without your favorite tunes in the background.
Don’t forget to add to your playlist some specific songs from the state where you are, in order to make sure you’ll have an authentic experience as possible.