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Trip List by serialtraveler

Highway 1 Revisited

12 May 2006  23 years of living in the Golden State
4.0 of 5 stars based on 9 votes

I've driven and bicycled this most beautiful stretch of coastline in California many times and each time, I am awed by the physical grandeur of Big Sur, the quiet little towns in what can be the most frenzied, hi-tech place on Earth, the food showcasing the best of California agriculture and that sense of easy, casual living that permeates the State. It's always about summertime and the living is easy.

  • 1. Gayle's Bakery and Rosticceria
    Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria, Capitola, California

    Great way to start your morning, start your trip, end your day and end your trip. In other words, it's great anytime. Fresh, baked goods are a specialty. We also enjoy the fast, delicious and reasonably priced dinners that you can take out or enjoy alfresco.

  • 2. Seascape Resort
    Seascape Resort, Aptos, California

    Unlike a lot of aging condo resorts, Seascape is spotless, with two wonderful outdoor pools, roomy and quite luxurious units, a restaurant with a view worth lingering over, and finally the beach. Where else will polite bellhops drive supplies for a beach fire and s'more fest down to the beach, get the fire going and then come back to pick you up when you're ready for bed?

  • 3. Monterey
    Monterey, Monterey Peninsula

    Get your fill of California history on a walking tour of the historic district, then hit the Monterey Aquarium even if you don't have kids along. End the day with a meal at Passionfish Restaurant in Pacific Grove, a unique dining experience that you will definitely remember.

  • 4. Point Lobos State Reserve
    Point Lobos State Reserve, Carmel, Monterey Peninsula

    If you have the energy, walk the entire circuit at Point Lobos. It's only a few miles and worth every step you take, with every turn leading you to yet another view of the spectacular California coastline. If you can join a guided walk in the late morning or early afternoon, so much the better. Close by is the Carmel Highlands Inn. Its restaurant is at the Pacific's edge and while it's a bit expensive, worth the price for the view and the relaxation that comes with it. For more moderate options and lots of little shops, had back to Carmel.

  • 5. Nepenthe
    Nepenthe, Big Sur, California

    While this restaurant which celebrities frequented has become considerably more upscale in recent years, it's a spot to linger over lunch or even dinner, so long as you're by the roaring fire. The food is fairly basic but once again, the view seals the deal. If you've walked on one of the trails in Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, you'll feel virtuous about kicking back in relaxing surroundings and whiling away a few hours.

  • 6. Hearst Castle
    Hearst Castle, San Simeon, San Luis Obispo County

    Yes, this is a tourist highlight and a bit bureaucratic. You have to buy tickets for tours that leave at specified times, and preferably do so in advance. It's worth the effort as you imagine the lives of the rich and famous, tour the spectacular house and gardens. Impossible to see all in one visit, but it's an excuse to visit again.

  • 7. Cambria
    Cambria, San Luis Obispo County

    A short drive inland from Hwy 1 and dotted with artists galleries, bed and breakfasts, wineries and little restaurants, a great place to relax and also a place to base yourself while you explore the Big Sur region

  • 8. San Luis Obispo
    San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo County

    A hiddent reasure, San Luis Obispo is big enough, with its vibrant university population and local businesses, to support a thriving community where you don't have to make the tradeoff between quality of life and a lack of activities to keep you busy year-round. The Mission is a great and spot to wander the town, and you'll definitely be tempted to browse the local real estate listings.

  • 9. Channel Islands National Park
    Channel Islands National Park, California

    Not for those that like their comforts and dislike schlepping their own food and water, but this chain of five island off the Los Angeles coastline is rich in plant and animal species, more than 2000 and many of them endangered. Lots of recreational opportunities but you need a full day and must plan your trip around ferry schedules from Ventura.

  • 10. The J Paul Getty Museum

    The stunning hilltop site and architecture of the J Paul Getty Museum is a preview of this unique museum. Special exhibits of Western art on display. Free to the public, the museum can be accessed for the price of parking ($7) but tickets must be purchased in advance. The guided tours of the building, garden and exhibits are generally good, but occasionally not worth the time, particularly as the interpretive signage is really excellent. As is the restaurant. Several casual outdoor dining spots to grab a cappucino or a quick sandwich. A wonderful place to end your week.