Southern California Coast Vacation Ideas Southern California Coast - Road Trip Planner

Southern California Pacific Coast Highway Scenic Drive - Los Angeles, Malibu, San Diego

Things to do / Travel Guide

Scenic Drives around Southern California

The Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), also known as Route 1, gives you an outstanding opportunity to check out the scenic southern California coastline, all while sitting in the cozy confines of an automobile. Not only does the PCH pass through well-known Malibu, but it also passes through Corona del Mar (which means “Crown of the Sea” in Spanish), known for its quaint and picturesque beauty, as well as Laguna Beach, Carlsbad, and La Jolla. Vacationers are encouraged to take advantage of this leisurely drive offered by the PCH, a scenic alternative when traveling the Los Angeles-San Diego route.

Incidentally, visitors to southern California have commented that the coastline of the Golden State resembles the coastline of the Mediterranean; only after a drive along the PCH can one actually make an accurate comparison.

Scenic Drives in Los Angeles

Don't let the massive interchanges and traffic of Los Angeles discourage a scenic drive, head to the mountains or the coast, or both. The obvious scenic route is joining the Pacific Coast Highway at Malibu, but there are other scenic drives in the Los Angeles area worth a half-day excursion. Some popular ones:
  • Palos Verdes Drive for great views of the Pacific Ocean
  • Mulholland Drive through the Hollywood Hills. Give right of way to paparazzi!
  • Angeles Crest Scenic Byway goes deep into the San Gabriel Mountains and is surprisingly close to Los Angeles. The road peaks at close to 8000 feet with views extending all the way to the Mojave Desert.

Scenic Drives in San Diego

The Pacific Coast Highway (101) leads right into the San Diego area with views of the Pacific Coast along the way. One in San Diego, consider at least part of the well-marked 59-mile scenic drive throughout the San Diego area. Highlights of the scenic route include Harbor Island, Point Loma, Cabrillo National Monument, Soledad Mountain, La Jolla, Balboa Park and some really nice beaches.