Often ranked in the lists of the most scenic drives, State Route 1 (SR1) which is its official name, is the longest state route in California that runs 655.8 miles or 1,055.4km.
I drove the most popular section from Los Angeles to San Francisco which takes roughly 6.5 hours without stops. This can be done in a day if you want to whiz past everything, I would suggest flying if that’s the case as you are missing majority of the scenic drive.
My route: Los Angeles – Malibu – Santa Monica – Santa Barbara – Pismo (change to route 1 to hug the coast) – Big Sur, Monterey – Santa Cruz – San Francisco.
My favourite stop was Big Sur which is a region that hugs the Santa Lucia mountains that rise from the oceans and gets lost in the Los Padres National Forest, a very photogenic spot! I was in a rush but had I more time this is the area I would spend majority of my time around Big Sur and in Santa Barbara.
Many tourist travel to California to drive this stretch of road so picking up a hire car in San Fran and returning it to LAX or San Diego (or vice versa) is a simple affair.
Be mindful to fill up your gas in the bigger towns like Santa Barbara and Monterey as the stretch of coast around the Big Sur was pretty scarce with amenities.
Just under 2 hours from downtown Los Angeles, Santa Barbara is a picturesque Spanish influenced town with a more mature vibe than Santa Monica.
I loved stopping in Santa Barbara on my drive between LA and San Francisco, check out State Street’s indie boutiques, art galleries and restaurants.
INTERESTED IN BUYING PRINTS?
I have been on the road for ten years accumulating an absurd number of images that I would love to share.
Head over to my photography site, IndiaParishPhotography.com to browse prints from across the globe.
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