Want to take the ultimate California road trip? Drive California’s Highway 1 along the Central Coast. It’s rightfully rated as one of the top road trips in the world.

This is a particularly breathtaking drive, especially through Big Sur where the Santa Lucia mountains plunge into the sea, and the surf and wind relentlessly pound the rocks and shore below and bend the native cypress trees into otherworldly shapes.

You’ll see coves painted in shades of turquoise, sapphire, and teal, that will make you long to plant your flag and declare that beach your own. It’s a wild remote beauty that will definitely have you pondering the mystery of the universe if you’re the pondering type. Before you embark on the ultimate California road trip, let me share some of my top tips to help you along the way. While it’s a fun drive, it can be very challenging and demands 100 percent of your attention.

I’ll also share some of the top attractions from Monterey to Cambria. Keep in mind this is a small selection. Honestly, there is so much to see and do especially if you’re an outdoor enthusiast, I can’t cover it all in one article. Be sure to read 5 Things to Love About Monterey which includes information about restaurants and tours in the area. You’ll also find there are more than 5! How long does it take to drive Highway 1?

The trip takes about five hours if driven at a leisurely pace. You can drive from the north to the south (Monterey to San Luis Obispo), or south to north. I drove it in both directions, taking longer to drive back because I had no place I had to be at the end of the day. I also liked driving north to south best, because the ocean was on my right side and it was easier to pull off in the turn-outs to take pictures.

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