Highway 1, or State Route 1, is one of the most important state highways in the United States. It goes along most of the California coast and it connects many of the State’s most beautiful places: these include the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, the city of Santa Barbara and many spectacular beaches. Highway 1 also goes through Orange County, the inspiration for the TV show OC. If you want to experience life “on the road,” then Highway 1 is perfect.
TRAVELLING IN STYLE
Of course, you don’t have to travel by car, although that is considered essential in California. You can also go by motorcycle, bicycle and, if you want, even on foot! But this isn’t a good idea if you plan to travel all of Highway 1: it is 655 miles (1,055 km) long! Visitors to California love Highway 1 and it generates billions of dollars for the State’s tourism industry.
If you start your journey in the south, then Laguna Beach is worth a visit . Here you can see surfers in action, but also artists painting the spectacular view. Moving north to the Los Angeles area, you will travel from Oxnard to Santa Monica. In 1932 Los Angeles hosted the Olympic Games and this section of the road was used for some of the road cycling events. Santa Monica itself has some wonderful beaches. You will also find many attractions on the famous Santa Monica Pier, which has provided the setting for many popular TV shows and movies. Next comes Malibu, the home of the stars.
Leaving the Los Angeles area and heading north, you will come to Santa Barbara. Here you could take a detour4 and visit the wine country that appeared in the film Sideways . Otherwise you could head north to Lompoc. This is home to an old Spanish mission, at “La Purisima State Historical Park.” People often forget that California was once a Spanish colony. This is why there are so many Spanish names, like San Simeon, your next stop. Here you can visit Hearst Castle, which was the model for Xanadu in Orson Welles classic 1941 movie, Citizen Kane . From here on the scenery is spectacular. Big Sur, for example, inspired Jack Kerouac. It is a “must,” as is Point Lobos State Reserve. Next comes Carmel, the rich town where Clint Eastwood was once mayor , then Monterey, which is famous for its aquarium, its pop festival and the author John Steinbeck.
And if that’s not enough , then there’s always San Francisco, one of the world’s favourite cities. The scenery north of San Francisco is also memorable. And if you liked the wineries near Santa Barbara, then there are more here. At Sea Ranch, for example, there are free tastings. And when you reach Rockport you can end your trip with a visit to the Shalin Liu Performance Center. Here you can enjoy concerts and cultural events in a stunning acoustic and dramatic setting.