If I had to choose one word to describe my adventure up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco, it would be abundance.
The first obvious sign of abundance is mother nature herself. After living in Los Angeles for 4 months, I was in serious need of the elements- and I got what I asked for. The PCH runs along one of the most stunning costal shorelines in the world. Several times a year, large swells roll in creating beach breaking waves that crash into either staggering cliffs or rolling foothills that change colors with the seasons. If you are planning a trip down the PHC, make sure you add 2-3 hours to your travel time, because it is almost impossible not to stop.
And if the views don’t get you, the attractions will.
Wine country is my first recommended stop- and there is no shortage of vineyards from which to choose. Make sure you have a designated driver so you can continue on to Hearst Castle, a place abundant in history, scenery and magic. (However- a word to the wise: wait to eat.) Then it’s only about 20 minutes drive to one of the coolest animal interactions possible- elephant seals. These beasts graze the shorelines, sleeping, swimming, mating and fighting. And you can stop, for no charge, to watch them in their natural habitat, completely free to do what elephant seals do.
Although there is an abundance of fantastic restaurants with gorgeous waterside views, I highly recommend you stop for a bite around Big Sur. This place is why I coined my trip as an adventure through “Narnia,” since that is the only single word that comes close to describing it: crystal clear seas that display an unbelievable spectrum of blues… sky scraping cliffs that house entire towns… thick forests that beg to be explored… if you are travel junkie, Big Sur should be a the top of your list.
It’s not much longer before you hit San Francisco. The massive city is a cultural jackpot, welcoming in all walks of life from traditional order to modern mayhem. It was pride weekend while we visited and to say there was an abundance of celebrations would be a severe understatement. The first night we arrived was my birthday. We enjoyed fresh sushi and then was unexpectedly drawn next door to a riveting karaoke bar. If you enjoy spontaneous fun, San Francisco is the place to be.
Highlights include trolly rides up and down the steep cobblestone roads and a sailboat cruise under the Golden Gate Bridge. Fisherman’s Wharf is great for seafood, shopping and sailing. You can also see the island prison, Alcatraz, from the docks. Chinatown is a cultural paradise and perfect for finding authentic Chinese art and cuisine.
Overall, San Francisco is California gem. For those wanting to visit the United State for the first time, or for Americans looking for a stay-cation, you can’t go wrong with San Francisco. If you have already explored San Fran, please add your travel experiences below and help your fellow travelers navigate through one of the most remarkable places on the planet.