Road Trip on the California Coast


I have lived by the ocean all my life.

If I am away from the coast for too long I start to get a little crazy; a little anxious. It’s a kind of landlocked claustrophobia that can only be cured by a good lungful of salty air and an infinite horizon.

As we cruised up the California coast and into the town of Santa Cruz I rolled down the window and breathed in deep. That’s what I’m talking about: salty air, stinky seaweed, crashing waves and, in this case…even barking seals.


Point Montara Lighthouse

Point Montara Lighthouse


After six weeks of inland travel on an extended road trip through America we had finally reached the part of our journey that was by the sea. As much as I had loved exploring the wild and beautiful national parks in the USA, it was really exciting to be back by the ocean. With a north-south highway that mostly runs right alongside the Pacific coastline, California is the perfect road trip destination.

While our hire car was not exactly the bright, red convertible I had dreamed of, we filled the tank, armed ourselves with a few Google map printouts and were soon burning rubber up the gorgeous California coast.


Big Sur on Highway One in California

Big Sur


After nearly two months of driving a hire car through the national parks of Alaska, Wyoming and Montana, I had (more-or-less) mastered the logistics of left-hand drive…and the art of driving on the right (wrong!) side of the road.

Santa Cruz was our gateway for Big Sur, south of San Francisco: a region of redwood forests and rugged coastline with views that make you want to stop every two minutes and pull your camera out. It takes a really long time to get anywhere in this part of the world, believe me!


Caspar, Northern California

Caspar, Mendocino County


We moseyed our way up California’s Highway One….devouring fresh oysters at the Point Reyes National Seashore, collecting Huckleberries near Caspar in Mendocino County, walking on the polished glass beach at Fort Bragg and hiking through old-growth Redwood forests of Humboldt County…


Glass Beach at Fort Bragg, Northern California

Glass Beach at Fort Bragg


Our plan was to drive along the California coast from Santa Cruz, through Oregon and finally up to Olympic National Park in Washington state with a small deviation inland to Sequoia National Park in the Sierra Nevada mountains.…over 1700 miles (2700 kilometers) along one of the most picturesque coastal driving routes in the world.

And one hell of a road trip!



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