The pacific coast highway is one of the most stunning strips of road in the entire world. Spanning along the Californian pacific coastline, drivers can see anything from happy sea lions, to the breathtaking California wine country. Renting an RV and making the 650 mile trek is something that every road trip lover should do at least once.
RV rental California road trips are a great way to see all of the different sights, sounds, flavors, and experiences that the sunshine state has to offer. If you want to experience California in all its glory, an RV hire California road trip is the way to go. Here is your incredible 10-Day itinerary for the pacific coast highway!
Day One/Two: Getting Started
The southernmost entry point into CA-1 (the pacfic coast highway) is just outside Orange County, Los Angeles. That is why your trip is going to start in LA. However, if you wish to start in northern California, you can simply work this itinerary backwards.
Most likely, you are going to be landing in LAX. However, it is possible that your flights might take you to Burbank. Either way, you are going to have to immediately grab the keys to your RV, and get yourself situated. Day one/two are going to be spent exploring LA, and it is a
massive city. You will want to take at least two days to fully experience the magic of Los Angeles.
LA is filled with endless places to explore, sights to see, and things to do.You could easily spend an entire week here and not get bored. However, in a pinch, it’s always fun to see Hollywood Blvd, the Hollywood Sign, Venice Beach, and other famous sights. For those looking to avoid ‘tourist’ spots, try posting up in South Bay. It is a great place to unwind, relax, and see the city away from all the hustle and bustle before you head off.
Day Three: Ventura
The pacific coast highway isn’t very long with all things considered. The entire trip could be made in a single day if you really wanted to (about 8-10hrs). That is why your road trip is going to be broken up to really get the most out of it. So on day three, you are going to skip just outside LA to Ventura.
Historic Ventura is excellent for those who love the classic California architecture and history. In addition, it is perfect for those who love water sports, and some of the most breathtaking sunsets in the world. Spend the day exploring Ventura and its historic center, as well as the endless boutiques and ‘mom ‘n pop’ shops.
Day Four: Santa Barbara
Day four will take you north to the lovely Santa Barbara. Here you will have the chance to visit the world-class Santa Barbara Zoo, as well as the famous Botanic Garden. Santa Barbara has the classic California look across the board–many who imagine California, are actually thinking of Santa Barbara itself.
Santa Barbara is filled with endless beaches, palm trees lining the streets, and exotic spanish style architecture. This is the quintessential California destination for those who want to experience true southern California. It’ll be easy to spend an entire day exploring the beaches and architecture of gorgeous Santa Barbara. Make sure to visit the famous East Beach and Stearns Wharf!
Day Five: Solvang
You will begin the fifth day of your trip by heading up and making a small pit-stop at the little down of Solvang. Solvang will immediately become a highlight of your road trip, because it is just so exotic! Founded by Danish settlers, this little village is a slice of Denmark in California. You will experience Danish cuisine, architecture, and culture all in a single trip. Make sure to eat lunch here as the dining options are outstanding!
Once you have taken your pictures and had your fill of Solvang, you will be making the 1hr drive up to Pismo Beach. Pismo beach is perfect for anyone who wants to take a surfing lesson, experience towering sand dunes, and see some of the most striking scenery in all of California. Make sure to visit the monarch butterfly grove, and rent an ATV for riding the dunes! You can either park up in Pismo Beach, or up in San Luis Obispo for the night before taking off
bright and early.
Day Six: San Simeon
Day six will have you heading up to San Simeon. This breathtaking town in San Luis Obispo Co,. will be a step back in time. Here you will visit the Hearst Castle with 250,000 acres of wild nature, gardens, and cottages. Hearst Castle is a must see destination for everyone
making the pacific coast highway trip.
After exploring the castle, you will make your way to Moonstone beach in Cambria. Here you can experience the exotic and wild ‘moonstones’ all along the beachfront as well as the gorgeous ocean scenery. Make sure to make a stop in downtown Cambria for some shopping and dinner as well! Madeline’s Restaurant & Wine Tasting is always a great option. Also, make sure to stop at the Elephant Seal Hookery to see some cute elephant seals in their natural habitat!
Day Seven: Big Sur
Day seven is going to be one of the most stunning, and ‘picturesque’ days throughout the entire road trip. You are going to head out from San Simeon, and take the pacific coast highway up to the stretch of roadway known as the Big Sur. The Big Sur is one of the most shockingly gorgeous stretches of roadway along the California pacific coast. You are going to be stopping every half an hour to take pictures and see something new.
Along the Big Sur you will want to stop at the Point Sur State Historic Park, Pfeiffer Beach, and Ragged Point. These are some of the most gorgeous look-out points along the roadway.
After you have taken the time to fully explore the Big Sur, you are going to end your day at the lovely city of Monterey. In Monterey you will be able to take part in tons of amazing and exotic activities such as whale watching, kayaking, and other water adventures. Also make sure to visit the Fisherman’s Wharf, and go shopping along Canary Row. Monterey is one of the most unique and fun cities in all of California, make sure to make the most of it!
Day Eight: Santa Cruz
Day eight is going to take you to Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz is a place that has been locked in time, and feels straight out of the 1960’s. The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is a classic testament to Americana, and is filled with exotic muscle cars and diners from the past.
You will want to visit the Wilder Ranch State Park during the day for some amazing hiking. Then you will finish your night on the Wharf with some dinner, before heading to either the Palomar for some fun salsa dancing, or the Rio Theatre for live music. Santa Cruz is one of the most magical cities in all of California, and will bring a full day of excitement, energy, and smiles.
Day Nine/Ten: San Francisco
Day Nine is going to take you up to the Golden Gate city of San Francisco. Here you can take the time to explore a bit of San Jose, as well as San Francisco as you see fit. You will experience the abandoned prison of Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge Park, the Union Square,
and much more.
If you can, you should take the time to explore the famous ‘Silicon Valley’, where tech giants such as FaceBook, Google, and others got their start and worked their magic. The entire San Francisco area is a great place to enjoy a coffee and unwind in the ‘hipster’ scene. Don’t forget to visit the San Francisco Zoo, one of the largest and most famous in the world!
On day ten, you are going to branch out into the Mendocino valley and the striking natural scenery there. You will make a 1,5hr trip up to the town of Mendocino, and there you will take the time to experience this cute little coastal village. Here you will head over to Jackson State Forest to see the redwoods in person. These natural giants must be seen to be believed; and the towering wonders will be the perfect way to end your 10-day road trip before driving back to San francisco to fly back home.
The beautiful part about the pacific coast highway is that it can be experienced as quickly, or as slowly as you wish. There are endless amounts of sites, sounds, flavors, and experiences along the way. Despite only being 650 miles of coastal highway, the possibilities are endless. That is why making the drive along the pacific coast highway is a must for RV rental road trip enthusiasts around the world.