Last updated: 11:00 PM ET, Thu June 30 2016

Opinion Home | A Cruising Couple's Column

  • A Cruising Couple | June 30, 2016 11:00 PM ET

    Our 6 Favorite Stops On a California Coast Summer Road Trip

    Our 6 Favorite Stops On a California Coast Summer Road Trip

    Photo by A Cruising Couple

    Summer is calling, and it's time to hit the open road! One of our favorite ways to travel is to pile in the car and see where the road leads us. Back in 2011 during our honeymoon road trip, we drove all the way from North Carolina to San Diego, up to Seattle and through the north back to our Tar Heel state. We had been living in the Eastern U.S. up until that point, and couldn't wait to see what the California Coast had to offer. Luckily, it did not disappoint!

    If you're ready for a summer road trip to remember, then here are our six must-see spots on a road trip up the California Coast:

    San Diego

    Balboa Park - San Diego, California

    Photo via Flickr/Michael Seljos

    If we were to settle down inside the United States, it would most likely be in San Diego. With never-ending sunshine, farmer's markets, beaches and plenty of international culture — San Diego is flat out fun!

    READ MORE: The Ultimate Highway 1 Road Trip For Nature Lovers

    Balboa Park is one of our favorite spots in the city. Since being set aside in 1868 the park is host to numerous museums and international festivals. It's even been ranked as one of the best parks in the world by the Project for Public Spaces. The International cottages located inside the park is a trip within itself and will have you feeling like you've gone halfway around the globe without even stepping off U.S. soil.

    Los Angeles


    Photo via Flickr/Shinya Suzuki

    Admittedly not our favorite stop on the trip but a must see nonetheless. Come for the iconic Hollywood sign, stay for the world-renowned food, and then leave because the traffic is horrific.

    Our favorite activity in LA was hiking to the top of the hill behind the Hollywood sign. We went with a resident who was living there, but if you don't have a personal guide, can tell you how to get there as well as other iconic viewing spots. For food, you can have just about anything your heart desires including Armenian, Ethiopian, Filipino, Guatemalan, Korean, Lebanese, Persian, Taiwanese...the list goes on and on!

    Big Sur

    McWay Falls, Big Sur, CA

    Photo via Flickr/Don Graham

    After the chaos of LA driving, you'll be happy to hit the gorgeous coastline of Big Sur along Highway 1. You might have a tough time keeping your eyes on the road as the views reaching out over the Pacific are absolutely stunning. Take a pit stop anytime, have a picnic and enjoy the view. Just make sure you stop and see McWay Falls on the drive.

    Monterey Bay

    With more than 35,000 creatures representing over 550 species, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is top-notch. Once you've learned all about the aquatic life of the area then head to Sea Lion Pier in Moss Landing where it is common to see wild sea lions and otters hanging out. If you'd like to stretch your legs a bit and do some hiking then Jack's Peak County Park has fantastic views without being too strenuous. And if you're looking for something a little more adventurous, try Toro Park's Ollason Peak.

    San Francisco

    Golden Gate by Night

    Photo via Flickr/Loic Lagarde

    It would be a shame to go to San Fran and not catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge. Hop on an iconic tram to the top of the hill and take a stroll through Golden Gate Park for awesome photographic opportunities. Top it off with an evening at the "World's Best Tequila Bar" Tommy's. San Francisco is bursting at the seams with trendy shops, cool parks, and fun cafes. We recommend wandering with no specific itinerary to take it all in.

    READ MORE: The 4 Best Coastal Drives in the Country

    Napa Valley

    Vineyards - Napa Valley, California

    Photo via Flickr/Aurimas

    It's no secret that Napa is a wine lover's paradise. End your trip with at least a day or two visiting the numerous vineyards. From large companies to small family-run operations and over 400 wineries with tasting rooms, there's certainly something for every taste bud.

    This is just the start of all there is to see and do in California, but it will definitely provide you with an epic summer road trip to remember!

More California


You may use your Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook information, including your name, photo & any other personal data you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on Click here to learn more.

A Cruising Couple A Cruising Couple's Column

A Cruising Couple Dan and Casey are the two lovebirds, world travelers and adventurers extraordinaire behind the popular travel blog A Cruising Couple - adventure travel with a dash of class. Their stories and photographs feature that special place where experiential and stylish travel meet. Find out how you can spend less money, live more adventurously and travel more luxuriously on their blog,
Journey on an Avalon River Cruise

Cruise Lines & Cruise Ships