North to South, California Shines

California is being considered a hot spot for travelers, specially in high seasons, and a road trip through the coast is probably the best gateway (in particular now that the summer is coming and the sun is shining).

A trip from San Francisco to San Diego is the perfect vacation including a variety of places to visit filled with rich nature, distinct cultural aspects, unique lifestyles and the eccentric California way of life. The California Coast is beautiful and what is interesting about it is that you can feel the difference in weather and nature while your are coming down from North to South. 

I always suggest to start the Road trip from San Francisco to San Diego 
(I never been anywhere north of SF, but I heard is b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l). Coming down through the coast, specially up in the north, you can face the whole landscape. The Californian Coast’s HOT Stops are:

– San Francisco for a fresh start. I talked about all the attractions and beauty of the place in this post.
– Half Moon Bay for the surf’s lovers its worth the stop to, if lucky, see the enormous waves at Mavericks (not my case). 
– Santa Cruz to feel a surf-old-style city that is famous for sunny beaches, mountain state parks and unique culture. It is considered one of America’s surfing capital. 

– Carmel (Monterey) for a charming and romantic gateway. I already talked about Carmel in here.


– Big Sur for the best show of the California’s nature. Big Sur is 90 miles of the coastline California State Rout 1 between Carmel and San Simeon. The region is an elusive wild beauty rich in greens, mountains, blue see and curves of the roads, threes and hills. A must see at the Big Sur is the Julia Pfeiffer Waterfall!
– San Luis Obispo for the popular Hearst Castle. Honestly, I never saw much fun in San Luis Obispo but a lot of people like because of the famous castle and the popular wine region. 


– Santa Barbara for the beautiful beaches that lie along a unique south-facing stretch of coastline with sun all day long…a shelter from winds and surf. And, as almost all California’s beach cities, its famous for its pier and the main street (State Street) that starts from there and go a long way filled with stores, restaurants, coffee shops and bars. 


– Los Angeles for everything that the city offers. You can check all the tips on the right side of the blog (file Los Angeles), but don’t forget to visit Santa Monica, Venice, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood and Hollywood, or let’s say, everything!


– Manhattan Beach for a cute small and charming beach city. From the beach you can see a lot of nice houses facing the sea, people hiding bikes and running in the boardwalk and fun and excitement in the main street (Manhattan Boulevard) that offers restaurants, bars and stores.


– Palos Verdes for the view of the California south coast from the mountains. 

– Huntington Beach (Orange County) for a surf city day with abundance of beaches, sunny and warm mediterranean climate, local surfing and casual lifestyle.



– New Port Beach (Orange County) for the beautiful surroundings including a well-known 
marina and, off course, a beautiful sunny beach with soft sand and great waves.
Photo Credit

– Laguna Beach for art lovers, nature enthusiasts and beach goers. Laguna Beach has a perfect scenario for a nice day with seven miles of soft sand beach, deep blue ocean and the sound of the surf.

– San Diego for countless parks and gardens, variety of beaches (each one with different style and atmosphere), beautiful downtown city, incredible dining experiences besides many other  attractions. Definitely a city to relax and enjoy.  

Photo Credit


To help you plan your road trip from San Francisco to San Diego, here is a Draft schedule suggestion:

You made it! 514 Miles… a perfect 09 to 12 days in the Coastal California. Such a shining vacation! 

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