The days are getting shorter and the freedom of summer is winding down – but it’s not time to throw in the beach towel just yet. There’s still plenty of time to plan a road trip, and living in Hemet, CA, you’re in the perfect place for one of the country’s ultimate driving destinations: central California Coast. With just a little planning, a little extra storage, and an open mind, you can make this weekend road trip one for the books!
Day 1: From Hemet, CA to Monterey, CA
Drive Duration: 6h 30min
The first leg of the trip will be the longest in the car, with just under seven hours to land in Montery, CA. There you can spend the evening at the Fisherman’s Wharf, where a sunset stroll along Pier 39 will be the perfect end to a long day. Enjoy dinner at any one of the many award-winning restaurants in the area, and stay overnight at a wide range of inns and hotels near the pier.
Day 2: From Monterey, CA to Morro Bay, CA
Drive Duration: 3h 15min
After a night of fun and relaxation, it’s time to jump back in the car, hit Highway 1 South, and take a short trip up to Carmel-by-the-Sea. This must-see village will keep you occupied for some time, with quaint cottages surrounded by beautiful white sand beaches. The European-style architecture and historical buildings will take you back in time, and offers a form of man-made art that you won’t see anywhere else. Make sure you have plenty of extra storage room in the car, as you may very well be coming home with some amazing new art.
Right outside of Carmel is the Point Lobos State Reserve, and with hundreds of square miles of natural beauty, 250 species of birds and mammals, the chance to see unique tide pools and cypress trees — it’s worth the stop.
Next up, just a few minutes farther south is the Bixby Bridge, and we really mean up! Sitting 250 feet in the air and at 700 feet long, you won’t want to miss the turnouts near each end of the bridge where you can stop and take some pictures.
Last stop before you hit Morro Bay is Big Sur State Park. Prior to leaving Carmel, pick up some sandwiches so you can stop for a scenic picnic in Big Sur. Make sure you visit Pfeiffer Beach to get a glimpse of the power of the sea.
Now you’re feeling refreshed, so it’s time to make the long drive on one of the most scenic drives in the country. After Big Sur, you’ll drive south for 90 miles of such unique and breathtaking scenery, you may never want to go back to real life.
Day 3: Morro Bay, CA to Hemet, CA
Drive Duration: 4h 55min
The drive back home to Hemet takes you farther inland, passing through the beautiful cities of Santa Maria and Santa Barbara. While the trip back is a lengthier 5 hours, it’s worth slowing down a little through these two picturesque cities to take in all of the beautiful architecture.
You’ll also get to experience the Santa Monica Mountains as you cruise through Thousand Oaks. But for a more epic city experience, don’t forget you’ll be within spitting distance of Hollywood as you take a trip through the outskirts of LA.
For full driving directions via Google Maps, go here.
With all there is to do and see along the California coastline, this trip could easily be extended into more than just 3 days. If you’re thinking about hitting the road for some time, look up self storage units in Hemet, CA to store the valuables you don’t want to leave laying around while you’re gone. The open road is calling your name; answer it one last time for an epic trip through a world of scenery!