Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) is a portion of State Route 1 (SR 1) running along most of the Pacific coastline of the U.S. state of California. It is also part of the larger Pacific Coastal Highway that extends along the Pacific coast of the entire Americas.It’s heralded as one of the most scenic drives in USA.
This asphalted state highway runs along some of the most beautiful coastlines in the world, leading to its designation as an All-American Road.It's very intense because there are no guard rails at the edge and there is little room for error if on coming traffic swerves in your direction. Also called Highway 1, it takes about five hours to drive the PCH. The highway sees the most traffic in July and August. Avoid these times if you want to take a leisurely drive. In the winter seasons, drivers must be aware of danger from mudslides as well. Always check local advisories before embarking on your journey. The road often takes hairpin turns with narrow shoulders and steep drop-offs, so you must be alert at all times. Don't forget to pull over in safe places to really enjoy the vista.
The journey offers an exhilarating driving experience. It's advised to drive this trip outside the regular holiday season and especially not during weekends to avoid those snails-on-wheels. Because gazing at the views while driving is not a good combination, the highway features many strategically placed vista points allowing motorists to stop and admire the landscape. Traveling above waves crashing into windswept cliffs, over dramatic bridges anchored in rugged outposts, the spectacular drive that hugs the California coast is a journey like no other.
The road's winding design, providing stunning panoramic views, is very curvy and fun for a leisurely ride, so it pays to take it slow. Drive north to south if you're able to choose. That way you're on the coast side of the highway, which means better views, and it's much easier to pull off into the best viewpoints. Allow plenty of time. There are lots of viewpoints, official and unofficial. The Pacific Coast Highway is a state of mind. It’s one of the most beautiful road trip drives in the United States, so do as much of it as you can in the time you've got available. There are some great beaches and seaside towns that require you to get off the highway and explore them. Likewise there are some state parks and gorgeous areas.
The surface of the road is asphalted. Don't run out of gas. They tend to get less frequent the further north you go. Even in one of the most famous and most beautiful stretches of the road, Big Sur, gas stations are pretty spread out. Don't take chances. It’s a road to avoid if heights are an issue. The drive is known for its stunning coastal views and steep drop-offs from the California cliffs into the ocean. The winding two-lane highway also traverses numerous bridges, including the Bixby Bridge, which soars 280 feet above the Bixby Creek Gorge in Big Sur.
The road encompasses miles of stunning views. The drive is definitely worth it. There are many excellent photo opportunities here. Don’t forget your camera! As you drive along the PCH, make time for stops. You'll pass through Big Sur, with its majestic redwoods. In Monterey Bay, lucky visitors will get a peek at sea otters playing in the water. The PCH also winds through wine country, including Sonoma County.