Road Trip up Highway 1

Ahhh, Highway 1. The road trip of all road trips. If you are reading this article, you already know that, but you’re probably looking to see how to make it the best possible road trip it can be – & that is something I’m here to help with! Here is my guide to a road trip up Highway 1:

road trip up highway 1

The first (& possibly most important) step to a successful road trip: making sure you have a great car to drive in. I was lucky enough to partner up with Toyota for this road trip to test out their RAV4 Hybrid & honestly, I left this trip RAVING about it to everyone. Pretty sure I’ve already convinced a few friends to buy it as their next car. Two of my favorite features were:

  • Lane-Tracing Assist: this was HUGE on the many curves of Highway 1. It kept me in the middle of the lane the whole time which took a lot of the fear out of it.
  • Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control: ok I loved this. Basically I set my speed, but if I caught up to a car it would automatically slow me down to their speed. If they moved over, it would take me back up to my speed. Awesome.

Ok now to share all of my favorite stops along the way on your road trip up Highway 1!

Cachuma Lake

This lake was one of my favorite stops on this whole trip! It is a bit off the highway, but it is totally worth it. You will see some amazing views with the picturesque lake sitting in front of the Santa Ynez & San Rafael Mountains. If you want to camp somewhere – this is the place to do it!

Hearst Castle

This is a MUST-see when driving up Highway 1. This castle is extraordinary with 115 rooms in the main house that are all beautifully designed. Plus, there are some beautiful pools, gardens & guesthouses. It’s an architectural beauty.

Prewitt Ridge

I truly believe there is no better view of the Big Sur coastline than from up on Prewitt Ridge. This stop is again a bit off the path, but also totally worth it. As you make the windy climb up, you’ll see amazing views along the way. But once you reach the top you will be blown away…

McWay Falls

This is one of the most iconic waterfalls out there! It is a beautiful waterfall that pours directly onto the beach (in the past, it used to pour directly into the ocean). If you go to McWay Waterfall Trail, you can find some amazing spots to photograph the falls & enjoy its beauty.

Bixby Creek Bridge

Bixby Creek Bridge is a beautiful bridge both architecturally & based on its location over the creek along the ocean. This is one of the most photographed bridges in all of California & is featured in many movies! There is a lookout just north of the bridge that will give you a beautiful view.


This cute little town looks like it’s straight out of a storybook & is a fun place to stop & explore! It is a town full of artists, & it shows. Take a quick stop here to grab a bite to eat or buy some souvenirs from their gift shops.

Big Basin Redwoods State Park

Most of the Redwoods are pretty far off from Highway 1, but Big Basin Redwoods State Park is right around San Francisco. You can camp here among the giant trees or just take a picturesque drive through them. It’s an amazing sight to see!

This list will take you to some of the most beautiful (& Instagram-worthy) spots along Highway 1! Let me know in the comments if you go to any – I’d love to hear about your experience.