visitors to California may be lured to the Pacific coast by either Los Angeles
or San Francisco - two attraction-packed cities with much to offer tourists. Those
with time to spare might consider a drive along cliff-hugging Highway 1 between
the two tourist meccas. It may even be worth spending the majority of your time
stopping along this breathtaking route, where the journey is just as important
as your end destination.
those who prefer to avoid a white-knuckled drive hugging the cliff side of the
road, travel north from Los Angeles, a lane away from the edge. In that direction
you'll see these reasons to stop and enjoy more that just the scenery.
Barbara County - The city of Santa Barbara is located 92 miles north of Los
Angeles and 332 miles south of San Francisco. Travel there along Highway 1, and
be certain to also visit some of the other cities in the county, such as Carpinteria,
Montecito and Solvang. Some 100 miles of stunning Pacific coastline, an impressive
wine country, and the Channel Islands National Park give visitors another reason
to linger awhile.
over 300 days of sunshine, there is plenty of perfect weather for exploring area
attractions. Orient yourself to the city of Santa Barbara with a self-guided Red
Tile Walking Tour that will showcase architectural gems. The city is dotted with
historic adobe structures and missions. Stop at the Mission Santa Barbara - founded
in 1786 and the only one of California's 21 missions to be continuously occupied
and used since its founding. The Santa Barbara Museum of Art is known for American,
Asian and European collections, while the Museum of Natural History features nine
halls of exhibits, including dioramas, marine displays and more.
Photo: Robert Holmes
attractions include seven 18-hole championship golf courses, nine beaches, horseback
riding ranches, and bird-watching sites, such as the Andree Clark Bird Refuge.
the city streets and paseos (pathways) to upscale
local shops and boutiques. A very different walk
along Sterns Wharf, the oldest operating wharf on
the West Coast, will take you to seafood restaurants,
while a stroll through the Santa Barbara Zoological
Gardens treats families to sightings of over 500
animals and a botanic garden.
far from Santa Barbara, the Santa Ynez and Santa Maria
valleys are home to more than 60 wineries, some offering
tours, picnic sites and tasting rooms. The county
is home to more than 1,000 local artists, translating
into many galleries and displays of public art. In
Santa Barbara, every Sunday and select Saturdays and
holidays, the Arts & Crafts Show runs along Cabrillo
Blvd., showcasing the work of over 250 local artists.
more information, call the Santa Barbara Conference
& Visitors Bureau and Film Commission at (800)
549-5133 or visit the web site at www.santabarbara.com
Luis Obispo County - This county, located halfway between Los Angeles and
San Francisco, is home to one of the most popular attractions in California, and
so much more. The Hearst San Simeon State Historic Monument in San Simeon was
once the opulent home of media magnate William Randolph Hearst. Visitors can join
one of four daily tours to some of the 165 rooms and 127 acres of gardens, pools
and fountains on the estate.
downtown San Luis Obispo, stop by historic San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, the fifth
of California's missions, founded in 1772. Inside the mission, find a rare collection
of early California photographs. Outside the mission, stroll through Mission Plaza,
which hosts outdoor events. Every Thursday night, the city holds the San Luis
Obispo Higuera Street Certified Farmer's Market, featuring blocks of food, entertainment,
and a wide assortment of fruit, vegetables and flowers.
Vineyards / San Luis Obispo
Photo: San Luis Obispo County VCB
is home to over 80 wineries, 12 golf courses, and one hundred miles of coastline,
with some ten beaches along the coast. Animal lovers can spot gray whales, sea
otters and elephant seals along the coast, a wide variety of birds, and, as they
migrate, monarch butterflies.
Morro Bay to see 576-foot-high Morro Rock and the more than 250 species of birds
that make their home in the bay. Pismo Beach is known as the "Clam Capital
of the World", has miles of beaches and a 1,200 foot pier to accommodate
more information, call the San Luis Obispo County
Visitors & Conference Bureau at (800) 634-1414
or visit the web site at www.SanLuisObispoCounty.com
County - Moving up the coast, Monterey County
is just 120 miles south of San Francisco and 345 miles
north of Los Angeles. The 12 incorporated cities in
the county are within 3 to 10 miles of each other.
Of these be sure to visit Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea,
and Big Sur.
county boasts 25 golf courses, three of which are consistently rated among the
top ten courses in the nation. There are great whale-watching opportunities, and
the peninsula is a popular spot for scuba diving and fishing.
Photo courtesy of the
Monterey County CVB
attraction in the county is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, with over 300,000 marine
plants and animals. Other attractions include Cannery Row in Monterey, made famous
in the same-named novel by John Steinbeck. The aquarium is located here, as are
shops restaurants and galleries. Also in Monterey, Fisherman's Wharf is a good
place to soak up the coastal atmosphere, watch the fishing industry and grab some
Salinas, the National Steinbeck Center displays the author's work and has interactive
exhibits, art exhibits and a gourmet café. In Big Sur, within the Andrew
Molera State Park, the Ventana Wilderness Sanctuary serves as a wildlife protection
and habitat restoration site. Take a steam train ride through redwood forests
of Felton in neighboring Santa Cruz County. Just south of Carmel, hike scenic
trails in the Point Lobos State Reserve.
more information, call the Monterey County Convention
and Visitors Bureau at (888) 221-1010 or visit the
web site at www.montereyinfo.org
attractions and others encourage Highway 1 drivers
to enjoy stops along the journey on this scenic
route. Who knows? You may enjoy these spots so much
you'll save California's biggest cities for another
trip, and another excuse drive along Highway 1.