Highway 1

The San Francisco Bay Area is the starting point.
(scroll down for 1 SOUTH listing)

family walking along foggy Northern California beach
family walking along foggy Northern California beach;
image courtesy of California State Department of Parks and Recreation

Highway 1 North

Highway 1 north from San Francisco allows an escape into a quieter, less-populated area.  The two-lane road leading to Stinson Beach winds through fragrant eucalyptus groves, then rustic countryside that is rife with wildflowers in spring.  It hugs ocean-side cliffs for long stretches, riding like a roller coaster and providing breathtaking views.  The inland route known as Panoramic Highway is steep, with many blind curves.  One of its nicknames is Kamikaze Alley, bestowed because of accidents that occur regularly in the fog.  On sunny summer days, both roads become congested when everyone heads to the beach to soak up some of the famous California sunshine that is so elusive in the northern part of the state.

A word of warning:  The rocky cliffs and beaches along the coast are scenic and beautiful, and people sometimes forget that they are also dangerous.  Though it is tempting to stand at the edge, where the surf is pounding, people have been washed out to sea doing just that.  Don’t be one of them.  Be careful.  Stay on trails.  Obey posted signs.  And take special care not to let children run loose.

Stinson Beach

Stinson Beach
Stinson Beach Books

Muir Beach

Muir Woods National Monument

Olema

Point Reyes National Seashore

Point Reyes Station

Article
Escape to Pt. Reyes:  Elk, Egrets, & Exciting Edibles
Attractions
Black Mountain Artisans/Weavers
Coyuchi Outlet
Restaurants
Bovine Bakery
Osteria Stellina
Pine Cone Diner
Toby’s Feed Barn
Tomales Bay Foods

Marshall

Nick’s Cove Restaurant, Oyster Bar & Cottages

Tomales

Tomales Bakery

Bodega Bay

Introduction + town of Bodega
Children’s Bell Tower
Fisherman’s Cove

Jenner

Attractions
Fort Ross State Historic Park
Fort Ross Vineyard & Tasting Room
Restaurants
Cafe Aquatica

Stewart’s Point Store
Hotels
Jenner Inn & Cottages
Timber Cove Inn

Gualala

Gualala Arts Center

Elk

Elk Cove Inn

Mendocino

Article
Souvenir Foods of Mendocino
Activities
Artists’ Co-op of Mendocino
Corners of the Mouth
Ford House Museum and Visitor Center
The Highlight Gallery
Kelley House Museum
shops
The Watertower Gallery
Restaurants
Cafe Beaujolais
Patterson’s Pub
Ravens Restaurant
Hotels
Agate Cove Inn
Allegria Oceanfront Inn & Cottages
Blair House Inn
VIDEO-Victorian pivoting dip sink
Blue Door Inn
Brewery Gulch Inn
Heritage House
The John Dougherty House
Mac Callum House Inn & Restaurant
Stanford Inn by the Sea

Fort Bragg

Attractions
Glass Beach
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
North Main Street Shops
Pacific Star Winery and Tasting Room
Sea Glass Museum
Skunk Train
Restaurants
The Company Store restaurants
Headlands Coffee House
Laurel Deli & Desserts

Highway 1 South

The trip down Highway 1 from San Francisco features a breathtaking, cliff-hugging ride along the Pacific Ocean.

After passing ridges of boxy houses in pastel tones (referred to as being made of “ticky-tacky” by folk singer Malvina Reynolds in her famous ‘60s song “Little Boxes”) and the beach town of Pacifica, Highway 1 winds to the ocean through a eucalyptus-lined path in the coastal foothills.  A stretch of this road known as Devil’s Slide hugs cliffs dropping steeply into the sea.  In fact, part of the road itself occasionally drops off, causing traffic congestion due to detours.  Though many people make informal stops in the Devil’s Slide area to take pictures, it is unsafe.  Restraint is in order until finding an official parking area.  Once passing this hilly area, the road moves inland and becomes more flat and straight. 

When the Bay Area is blazing with sunshine, this area is often disappointingly socked in with fog.  And vice versa.  In fact, on many late summer and early fall days when San Francisco is covered with fog, this area is at its most beautiful.  The area’s spectacular unspoiled beaches are a popular destination anytime, but they are especially so then, when the weather is usually warm and clear.

Be careful, though, about going in the water, as tides can be dangerous.  Always check with a ranger station or lifeguard before swimming.

Pacifica

Attractions
Devil’s Slide Coastal Trail
Mori Point
Pacifica Coastside Museum in Little Brown Church
Shelldance Orchid Garden
   Restaurants+Hotels
Puerto 27 Peruvian Kitchen & Pisco Bar
Pacifica Beach Hotel
Rockaway Beach Section

Montara

Restaurant
La Costanera

Half Moon Bay

There are no traffic signals from Half Moon Bay south to Santa Cruz.

Shops
Cunha’s Country Store
Fengari Fiber Arts
Half Moon Bay Bakery
Half Moon Bay Feed and Fuel
Restaurants
Dad’s Luncheonette

Sam’s Chowder House

Pescadero

Attractions
Arcangeli Grocery Co./Norm’s Market
Harley Farms
Luna Sea Artisan Gallery
Made in Pescadero

Santa Cruz

Attraction
The Mystery Spot
Hotel
West Cliff Inn

Capitola

Restaurant
Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria

Aptos

Attraction
Village Fair Antiques
Restaurant
Manuel’s Mexican Restaurant

Monterey

Article
An all-adobe tour of Monterey
Attractions
adobe buildings
Cannery Row Antique Mall
Colton Hall+The Old Jail
Restaurants
Hula’s Island Grill and Tiki Room
Parker-Lusseau Pastries
VIDEO-Absinthe the Russian way
Hotels
Casa Munras Hotel & Spa
Hyatt Regency Monterey
Intercontinental The Clement Monterey

Pacific Grove

Restaurant
Fandango

Carmel-by-the-Sea

Introduction
Attractions
art galleries
beaches
VIDEO-Carmel Beach on a perfect day
historic buildings
Point Lobos State Natural Reserve
specialty shops
Restaurants
Anton & Michel
Cultura
Rio Grill
The Tuck Box
Hotels
The Hideaway
Hofsas House
Tradewinds Carmel

Carmel Valley

Restaurant
Wild Goose Bakery Cafe and Art Gallery
Hotel
     Tassajara Zen Mountain Center

San Simeon

Attractions
Hearst San Simeon State Park
Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery
VIDEO-overview of Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery
VIDEO-overview 2 of Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery
VIDEO-elephant seal mating dance

Cambria

Attractions
Moonstone Beach Drive
Stolo Family Vineyards
Restaurant
Robin’s Restaurant    

Cayucos

Introduction
Restaurants
Honey Girl Cafe
Schooners
Hotels
Shoreline Inn

Morro Bay

Introduction
Attractions
Giant Chess Board
Morro Bay Skateboard Museum

Morro Bay State Park+Morro Bay Musuem of Natural History
Morro Creek Ranch
The Shell Shop
   Restaurants
Dorn’s Original Breakers Cafe
The Galley Seafood Grill
STAX Wine Bar
Hotels
Anderson Inn