California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 50

CENTRAL CALIFORNIA ROAD TRIP

LIGHTHOUSE
FIELD STATE
BEACH,
SANTA CRUZ

ELKHORN SLOUGH

PACIFIC
GROVE GATE

Highway 1 traces the West Coast for more
than 700 miles, from the tiny town of
Leggett in Mendocino County all the way
to San Diego. But the 100-mile stretch from
Santa Cruz through Big Sur is arguably the
most iconic, zig-zagging past rocky cliff s,
turquoise waves, and the twisted silhouettes
of Monterey cypress trees.

MONTEREY
POINT LOBOS
STATE NATURAL
RESERVE

As seaside towns give way to redwoods, you'll pass famous surf

POST RANCH INN

breaks, otter-filled estuaries, and vineyards ruffled by ocean breezes.

JULIA PFEIFFER
BURNS STATE
BEACH, BIG SUR

Pack a bathing suit and a puffy jacket, and heed the call of the coast.
Your journey starts on Santa Cruz's West Cliff Drive, where
runners and cyclists wind along the water from the city's neon

bend in the road produces new and breathtaking scenery, you can

boardwalk to Natural Bridges State Park. Take a break at Lighthouse

enjoy every last bit of it from the comfort of your vehicle-especially

Field State Beach to watch surfers dance atop swells at Steamer

at places like Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, where even a waterfall

Lane, then descend from the bluffs to wiggle your toes in the sand.

is visible from the road.

Extending seven miles inland off Monterey Bay, Elkhorn Slough is
a tidal estuary where wildlife sightings are all but guaranteed. Rent

Wind down your trip at Big Sur Bakery with a homemade pizza
baked in the wood-fired oven. Then splurge on a night at the Post

a sit-on-top kayak-no experience necessary-and paddle past sea

Ranch Inn, where Big Sur-style pampering means morning yoga,

lions sunbathing and Southern sea otters romping alongside your

nighttime stargazing, and infinity hot tubs that look out over the

boat like aquatic puppies. Just be sure to save some energy for the

Pacific. Settled into a glass-walled suite, the most memorable view

way back; the onshore breeze makes the return trip a workout.

of the entire journey may be the one from your bedroom.

Hungry? Head for Monterey, home to a booming sardine canning
novel Cannery Row. Today Cannery Row has been reborn as a
shopping and dining destination where you can peek into shacks
that once housed factory workers, then dig into Monterey-style
seafood cioppino at the C Restaurant + Bar.
As Highway 1 cuts inland, detour onto 17-Mile Drive, a private road
through prime real estate that charges $10.50 per vehicle, cash only.
It's worth the fee for the sights along the way; keep an eye out for
the dramatic rocks at Point Joe, hundreds of cormorants perched
on Bird Rock, and the iconic Lone Cypress, a 250-year-old Monterey
cypress tree that's made an improbable home on a particularly
scenic outcropping.
On the other side of the far gate is Carmel-by-the-Sea, a former
artist colony that drew the likes of Ansel Adams and Jack London after
the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Today, visitors to the charming
village bounce between wine-tasting rooms of local vineyards and
snap photos of the fairytale cottages built by Hugh Comstock in the
1920s. Spend the night at the boho chic Hotel Carmel or opt for La
Playa Carmel, a 1905 mansion with grand gardens.
Rise, shine, and leave civilization behind. Stroll the 0.8-mile Cypress Grove Trail at Point Lobos State Reserve through one of only
two surviving Monterey cypress stands in the world, then continue
south into Big Sur, where Highway 1 snakes atop towering cliffs, and
cyan waves evoke the Caribbean, only colder. (Note: Services are
limited on this remote stretch of road.)
The ecosystem that surrounds you is one of the most beautiful-
and most fragile-anywhere. Treading lightly and driving safely are
mandatory in Big Sur, and easy enough to do. Since nearly every

50
VISITCALIFORNIA.COM

MON TER EY CA N N I N G COMPA N Y

PHOTOGRAPHS: (MONTEREY CANNING COMPANY) RYAN DONNELL, (POST RANCH INN) LARRY DALE GORDON

industry in the early 1900s, immortalized in the John Steinbeck


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California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

Contents
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover2
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Contents
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