Highway 1: The Essential California Road Trip

The top is down, and the playlist is perfected. It’s time for the ultimate California road trip. Travel down the historic Highway 1 along the Pacific Coast to catch glimpses of everything from seaside cliffs to sandy beaches on your way to Anaheim. The historic highway has been attracting visitors since 1937 to experience California from the open road. Every mile beckons travelers to slow down, soak up the sunshine and snap a few selfies at various stops along the way. If you’ve never experienced Highway 1, here are a few stops you won’t want to miss:

Sightsee and Surf in Orange County

Continue on down the highway to ride into Orange County and enjoy 42 miles of beautiful Southern California coastline. From riding the waves to a game of seaside basketball, Orange County’s coastline is an experience that all visitors will enjoy.

Take a walk down Huntington Beach’s historic Main Street or the new Pacific City—an oceanfront dining, shopping and entertainment hub—and enjoy everything from mom-and-pop bistros and sophisticated palettes, to surf shops and chic boutiques. Huntington Beach is also home to some of the best surfing in the nation, with the city hosting the world’s largest surf competition and lifestyle festival – US Open of Surfing – every year. Be sure to stop off in Surf City USA, grab your board and ride the wave during your trip down Highway 1.

Continue on down the coast to Newport Beach and check out even more world-famous surfing at The Wedge – a hot spot for powerful and awesome surf. Newport Beach also offers visitors a different type of sightseeing with their whale watching tours, which are available year-round. Don’t forget to grab a paddle board and ride along Newport Beach’s beautiful coastline, taking in all the beautiful sights of the coast from the ocean.  

Cruise into Laguna Beach and experience their artistic roots with events like the Sawdust Art & Craft Festival, Pageant of the Masters and the Festival of the Arts. Visit one of more than 30 pristine beaches and coves located in Laguna Beach, each with their own unique characteristics. Visitors can also play a game of seaside basketball at Main Beach Park or soak up the sun with their pup on one of Laguna Beach’s dog-friendly beaches.

Just a few miles from the historic Highway 1, Anaheim offers the traveler entertainment and dining options unlike anything else in the state. As you’re sharing your epic California road trip on social media, don’t miss one of the most Instragrammable spots in the state - Disneyland Resort. Experience the magic of world-class entertainment thanks to Mickey Mouse who has sprinkled unique attractions and dining with pixie dust.

If the radio’s playing the same songs on repeat, stop in for a concert at the House of Blues Anaheim or Honda Center. Sports fans will want to root on the home team as the Angels take the field at Angel Stadium and the Ducks take the ice at the Honda Center. All that driving work up an appetite? Pull off the highway for four-star steakhouses and eclectic bohemian food halls in town.

Pack your bags and get ready to explore historic Highway 1, with the full route reopened. From the Monterey Aquarium to the Big A, Cambria to California Adventure Park, if you want to see the best the Golden State has to offer, you’re need to do it along Highway 1.