Mix miles of scenic highways hugging a rugged coast with romantically
foggy villages, world-famous golfing, and one of the most famous drives
along the Big Sur coast and you will know why this region brings
visitors back time and again.
Heading south from San Francisco and the Bay Area, Santa Cruz and its
family-friendly Beach Boardwalk amusement park is the first big stop.
The Santa Cruz Mountain ridge divides the coast from the valley and I-5
interstate highway is filled with deeply wooded hiking trails on the
Farther south, on the drier side across from the Salinas Valley is
Pinnacles National Monument, a playground to spelunkers. Hikers can
also skip the caves and stick to the many daylight trails in the park.
Monterey, Carmel, Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove attracts hundreds of
thousands of visitors with the Monterey Bay and its namesake Aquarium.
There is also whale- and sea otter-watching, fine shopping and dining,
beachcombing, cycling, golfing (seaside or in the Carmel Valley) and
even driving the 17-Mile Drive where the very rich charge a fee for us
to share their views momentarily. Add to that one of the prettiest of
the California Missions on a hill with a view of the ocean.
Experience the windy and wild coast south of Point Sur all the way to
San Simeon. The crowds (and choice of services and lodgings) diminish
and nature reigns. Take your time and stop to enjoy the parks and
beaches along the way.