Top Tips for Driving Highway 1: Ultimate California Road Trip

July 17, 2018

Whether you’ve lived there all your life or are visiting for the first time, California commands a majesty unique among the 50 states. Not only is it the third largest state in land area, it features everything from beaches to mountains and from lush forests to barren deserts. Among the ultimate California experiences, few trips can beat traveling down Highway 1 on the coast. Snaking from San Francisco all the way to San Diego, this trip covers cities, beaches, and wine countries. Check out these tips to learn everything from where to visit to how to avoid a speeding misdemeanor.

Take Your Time

While the 1 (as Southern Californians call it) is a highway, this isn’t a modern, eight-lane freeway with a generous speed limit. Expect to go 55 mph at the best of times and understand you’ll be driving through towns with traffic signals and stop signs. Avoid a reckless driving penalty by considering the slow pace part of the charm. To experience everything on this road trip takes at least five days. If you want to remember more than driving along a beautiful coast, you’re better off with seven to 10.

Make the Most of Every Stop

If you’re not familiar with California’s coast, it can be tempting to spend most of your time in San Diego, LA, and San Francisco. While these three cities have a lot to offer, the towns along Highway 1 are the true gems of this trip. Take it slow as you see the sights, as speeding through one of the numerous traffic lights on Highway 1 could result in a CA red light camera ticket. Visit Hearst Castle to see a lavish and enormous seaside mansion. Soak up the culture of the place dubbed California’s Riviera by visiting Santa Barbara. Check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium to see ocean animals up close. You won’t regret visiting the adorable beach towns.

Pick Your Beach Spots

After days of staring at the water, you’re going to want to get your toes in the sand at some point. Every spot has its advantages and disadvantages. Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea (often simply called Carmel) are obvious beaching spots because they’re right against the ocean. But with the current coming down the coast from Alaska, the water is pretty chilly. LA, Huntington Beach, and San Diego have much warmer waters, but the large populations lead to crowding during warm beach weather. Pismo Beach, Avila, and Gaviota in Central California aren’t quite as warm as the So Cal beaches but offer more space. Choose a spot that appeals to you.

Enjoy Some Wine

While Napa and Sonoma enjoy much deserved attention as headliners in California’s wine industry, the Central Coast is still somewhat undiscovered. Apart from being featured in the movie Sideways, the flavorful wines of Santa Ynez, Santa Maria, Arroyo Grande, and Paso Robles are only known to locals and connoisseurs. Consider pulling of the highway and staying in one of these cities for the night. Joining a winery tour bus will not only introduce to some new friends, you won’t have to worry about driving. Avoid learning the answer to the question “how long do accidents stay on your driving record in California?”

End Your Road Trip With Good Feelings

Whether you prefer tasting wines, visiting beaches, or seeing the sights, you’re bound to find experiences to enjoy along Highway 1. What you won’t enjoy is being on the hook for paying for an expensive ticket. If you got pulled over, make sure you contact the ticket fixers at The Ticket Clinic. Not just there for advice, the Ticket Clinic is a real law firm. It features a free consultation and reasonable rates, so you have nothing to lose from giving it a try.