If I’d ask you now to close your eyes, take a deep breath and imagine yourself the ocean, what would you see? Would you be on the boat or on the land? If the second one, would it be a beach or high cliff?
I would like to answer you that question with my vision, my little dream I had in my head since I was a child.

That vision includes a nice, sports car; long coast highway and a beautiful sunset creating a kaleidoscope of colours on the calm water of the ocean.
Now let me take you for a trip, not very far away, not to any exotic or dangerous country, but to California state in the USA, to the city with a very sweet name: Carmel-by-the-Sea. People say the little town was an inspiration for artists writing their beautiful poems and romances.
First word that I think of is EXCLUSIVE- Carmel is full of huge and very green mansions and their very rich residents; but with amazing beaches, big trees and blue ocean it’s a perfect place for incredible pictures. For history enthusiasts, there’s also famous Caramel Mission from the 18th century.

But what most important it’s the first stop of our adventure on California Highway 1.
That State Road that goes for almost 700 miles along the California coastline gives you plenty of views on the big water, sun, nature and expensive houses. I couldn’t stop admiring a view, overpowered by its beauty and magic, didn’t even realised when we got to place called Big Sur, I think the most famous part of the highway.
This is how I ended up on Brixby Bridge, daring my steps, walking down the cliff as far as I could, to get just a tiny bit closer to the ocean, to get a better view, a perfect picture, the ocean and the wind were pumping adrenaline in my veins and I was happy, because in that moment I could see all of it with my own eyes. 
And that feeling is never leaving you, neither while driving, nor while looking at the mysterious Stairway to Heaven in Pismo Beach, nor when you’re eating one of the best California burgers in Santa Barbara.
And then again you find yourself standing by the side of the road, on a lay-by, you look at the connection of brown sharp rocks, white waves and blue, blue ocean and you think “I thought places like that are created by special effects or thanks to imagination of the painter”, but there you are, standing straight, facing one of the many gifts the mother nature gave us. 
Though the pictures are beautiful, there are pros and cons of getting to Big Sur for sunset.

+ beautiful views and amazing opportunities for a pic
– driving through the rest of the highway by dark or paying A LOT for lodging around

HOW TO PLAN YOUR TRIP
Driving from North to South is a more reasonable way if you plan on admiring the view, you’re right next to the water, without any other cars between; and you have much more ways to stop on the lay-by.
  • We started our drive down from SANTA CRUZ which is pretty, little beach town. I’d love to recommend hotel Coastview Inn, if you’re thinking about staying there for a night, it’s a quiet, nice hotel, right by the beach with a big chance of getting a room with a view for a very good price.
    They have pretty old town and interesting amusement park right by the beach.
  • Going further South and passing Carmel-by-the-Sea, you get to mentioned before Brixby Bridge, that’s the postcard view of a whole area, usually very crowded, but for sure worth it.
    If you have some more time check out the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and pretty McWay Falls (10$ to enter the park)
  • Did you ever see the series of “mysterious places” that are pretty common on the internet? If yes you could see at least once infamous “Staircase to Nowhere” that are located in the area of Shell Beach in PISMO BEACH, you can see them right under Ventana Grill,  they were once used to allow people access the beach, but the structure was unsafe.
    Unfortunately, right now, there is some kind of renovation and the only thing left is that creepy looking pole down there.
    And of course, we didn’t have any daylight left……

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  • Driving 25 miles West, away from the coast you can get to a town called PASO ROBLES, where you can find the monument of James Dean’s accident.
  • In pretty famous Santa Barbara you can stop in Jamal Beach for beautiful views and the best burgers and wine in whole California, they say.
  • Driving through MALIBU you can take a look at cute pole houses right by the beach.

    DSC_9484

  • And of course, ending in Los Angeles in SANTA MONICA and the end of road 66 sign!

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It’s really interesting when you watch how the coast changes. Starting with sharp, brown rocks in Carmel, through huge green cliffs in Pismo Beach, ending on big, smooth, sandy beaches in Los Angeles Area.

I hope you enjoyed it!
Thanks,
K.

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