So you’ve gone and read some Jack Kerouac and now you want to pull your own Dharma Bum trip on the Pacific Coast Highway?! We don’t blame you! One of the most travelled routes in the great US of A; the Pacific Coast Highway is a hair-raising, cliff-hugging, stomach-churning 123 mile road along the central Cali coast that takes about five hours to drive. This All-American road is almost as iconic as baseball or apple pie, and it’s worth a trip if you’re looking for a memorable road trip.
Start Your Engines
Once you’ve picked up your free Transfercar rental start your trip in historic Monterey and thread your way through Big Sur, where sky-scraping mountains plunge into the great Pacific. In certain patches the road gets dangerously narrow, so stay alert. There’s enough road kill around here my friend. Here’s a short low-down on the amazing spots you’ll be passing by and probably stopping in on your journey!
After enjoying Monterey, drive 3 miles south on Highway 1 to Carmel-by-the-Sea, a fancy village of quaint, but expensive colorful cottages, restaurants, hotels, shops, and art galleries.
Point Lobos State Reserve
From Carmel head 3.5 miles south to Point Lobos State Reserve. This 550-acre park offers coves, headlands, tide pools, and the nation’s first undersea ecological reserve that has kelp forests 70 feet high! Check out the park’s 250 species of birds and mammals like black-tailed deer and sea lions!
After the Carmel Highlands, you reach the beginning of Big Sur, which extends 90 miles south to San Simeon. On this legendary coastline, redwood groves reach heavenward, the Santa Lucia Range falls into the sea and waves froth on sharp rocks.
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Meet the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park where the Big Sur River runs through 964 acres of redwoods, sycamores, and ferns. Pack a picnic for the white sands of Pfeiffer Beach, where the surf roars through massive arched rocks.
You’ve got to check out Nepenthe: an indoor-outdoor restaurant perched 800 feet above the sea and famous for its views. An absolute must on this trip!
Continue on to Cambria, burrowed into the hills where Monterey pines thrive in porous soil of decomposed sandstone. At Moonstone Beach, be on the look-out for moonstones (obviously!), and California jade.
This is the End: Morro Bay
The end of the Pacific Coast Highway is easily identified by the landmark Morro Rock. A turban-shaped, extinct volcanic cone roughly 23 million years old, it is 576 feet high and sits on the bay. Keep an eye out for Peregrine falcons blue herons and monarch butterflies. This may be the end of the PCH but you can keep on driving! Your free rental car can take you anywhere you want to go in America! Check out our latest deals on the search pages if you’re looking to extend your trip. And if you haven’t registered yet, now’s the time.