Highway 1 – California’s Scenic Route
This article is written by Jermaine Holmes. You can read entertaining outdoor-related content at Cantbelievethat.com.
It’s nicknamed “the scenic highway” for a reason. Although you will encounter pockets of towns and shopping plazas here and there, the views of nature dominates the length of this interstate roadway. If you are visiting the San Francisco Bay Area and have some free time, you should drive down the nearest portions of Highway One that provide unforgettable views: Marin County and Big Sur, both which are within 2 hours north and south of San Francisco, respectively.
Here’s a list of spots you should visit during your travel down this historic route, starting from northern Marin County:
Nick’s Cove Restaurant (Marshall, CA): a fine dining cuisine restaurant serving meals sourced from local farms and fish that have been caught directly from Tomales Bay. The establishment sits just above the bay and offers spectacular views of the seascape.
Tomales Bay Kayaking (Marshall, CA): sign up for a guided tour and kayak the (mostly) peaceful waters of Tomales Bay. If you take night tours, you can observe the local bioluminescent phenomena—water that glows when it’s disturbed.
Point Reyes Station (town): that’s the actual name of the town! Discover local cheese shops and specialty grocery stores that source food from local farms.
Point Reyes Lighthouse (Point Reyes Station, CA): although located slightly off Highway One, the detour is worth it. Watch the waves hit the shore and enjoy the scenic drive to this location. Relax at either Drake’s Beach or Point Reyes Beach.
Stinson Beach (Stinson Beach, CA): a popular beach for Bay Area locals, expect to find plenty of crowds here. But it offers a beautiful viewpoint of the Pacific Ocean, especially around sunset. Stop by Breakers Café and treat yourself to one of the best hot chocolates you will taste.
Steep Ravine: not really a location but an area of cliffs between Sausalito and Stinson Beach. You will make numerous stops along the way to snap photos of the impressive ocean.
Sand City Beach (Sand City, CA): the main feature of this beach is the series of sand dunes that make up the shoreline landscape. It offers a good view of the Pacific Ocean and seems like a popular spot. Although it’s perhaps not difficult to pack in a city of 334 people (U.S. census).
Big Sur Bakery (Big Sur, CA): besides offering delicious baked goods, plus lunch and dinner amenities, this shop sells honey sourced from local beehives. It’s a good place to stop and absorb while enjoying food.
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (Big Sur, CA): the main attraction of this park is the infamous McWay Waterfalls that pours directly into the Pacific Ocean. If you have time, hike the Ewoldsen Trail loop. Along the top of the loop, you are treated to spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean that’s not visible from the highway.
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