The best places to stop on the Pacific Coast Highway, California.

This post includes –

  • The route
  • The best places to stopP1050526.JPG


There is a lot of truth about leaving your heart in San Francisco and I have left three little bits of mine for sure ……one for each visit over the years. Much has been written about the city by the bay and much has been filmed there. Perhaps that’s why it seemed so familiar by the time I made my first trip 16 years ago…… was a city I had grown up with. San Francisco seemed so exotic when crooned about by Bennett; The Streets and Bullitt made it seem sophisticated yet edgy and I knew even before I had the means and maturity to travel that it was a city I needed to taste.

A couple of years ago we started our Ocean tour from ‘Frisco and this time without the kids, it was an adults only trip and I couldn’t wait. Our address for a few days was Berkeley and we insisted on pronouncing it the English way until someone ‘kindly’ put us right. Our ‘Barclay’ residence was perched high on the hills overlooking the Bay.

 We could see the commuter stream head home across the Bay Bridge and as dinners were cooked and TV’s turned on, our view was a mess of lights stretching to Marin County, Downtown and across to neighbouring ‘burbs. Chilly balcony but warm heart, we had arrived and already a chunk of my heart was getting ready to pin me once again to the Californian map.

P1050550.JPGAs we rolled out of bed the next morning so the fog rolled in, well it wouldn’t be ‘Frisco without it. As iconic as the bridge and sourdough bread the fog reminds you just who owns this town.

First full day saw us heading to Point Reyes but to be fair we didn’t actually make it as we were so enthused with Muir Beach and Stinson. We loved the clapperboard houses and shops on ‘Main Street’ and especially loved the clam chowder at Breaker’s Cafe The atmosphere was friendly, it seemed to be the spot where families and friends meet up to chill on long Sundays before summer ends.

Loved breakfast at Gotts near the ferry terminal in SF. We then marched to Pier 39. The seals recognised me from the previous visit and did me the honour of posing for photographs once again!

One of our stops off on that great Californian coast was Montara; we stopped at a great little cafe. I think it was run by a mum and daughter team. Squashy couch and lots of little heart warming quotes like “here comes the sun” dotted about. If anyone can tell me the name of that place I’d love to know.

P1050737.JPGNot even foot prints in the sand. Love deserted beaches like this one at Montara.

Our pre trip research had informed us that Monterey was expensive to lodge in whereas its neighbour Pacific Grove was somewhat cheaper. Lovely little town, wide open Lighthouse Avenue one road back from the coast was lined with boarding houses, smart shops and restaurants. We opted for the quirky Gosby Inn and what a quaint find. First time for us in an American bed and breakfast. We loved having a sherry of an afternoon with a piece of cake, I haven’t continued that habit back home but who knows in the future? It was there we met Chris White (author) and his friendly wife who told us all about their road trips.

Hearst Castle didn’t fail to impress a second time. We chose a tour round the guest houses and of course we still loved the view of the Romanesque style pool where Hollywood actors from the golden forties had previously dipped and dived, lounged and luxuriated whilst being hosted by one of the richest men of America, what an era that must have been.

P1060030.JPGSan Simeon Bay – it was here that I caught a glimpse of what I believe to be a grey whale who came in up close to the little wooden pier, who needs 4 hours of choppy Pacific on a boat when you get that experience. mind you, so quick so no photo! Stayed at the great Best Western in San Simeon where you can sit on the bluffs at night round cosy fires listening to the waves.

Last stop off was on the Queen Mary Liner in Long Beach, but that’s another blog post. If you have recommends for other stop offs please comment below.

9 thoughts on “The best places to stop on the Pacific Coast Highway, California.

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