In the midst of our “Summer of Weddings,” we fulfilled Ryan lifelong dream of driving up PCH. Despite the fact that we were in the car for days (and to add to the time, we pulled over and got out just about every 30 minutes, because we wanted to soak in all the beauty), it most certainly did not disappoint. At one point while we were driving up the coast, I turned to Ryan and said, “Isn’t it incredible how God made so many different places to be so uniquely beautiful? Like we’ve been to the most beautiful place on earth, but this is still absolutely stunning.” Truly. The California coast is something out of a painting.
We started in Dana Point and stopped at almost every beach you can imagine. The first day included Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, Long Beach, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Malibu, Carpinteria State Beach, and Santa Barbara. We took a longer pit stop at Venice Beach and watched the skateboarders and the street dancers and body builders. That beach really is a whole different world. But mostly, we just laid in the sun. Also, I learned that Venice Beach has this whole canal system (…hence the name 😂) and my mind was blown, haha.
After driving through the beaches, passing the piers, and gawking at the beauty of the coast, we made it to the Santa Barbara pier at night. We ate dinner and discovered the blessed Pressed Juicery freeze. I cried real tears. We’ve now been to just about every Pressed Juicery in the state of California 🙈.
We woke up in the morning and drove to Pismo Beach, because apparently it’s one of the only beaches in the country where you can drive your car on the beach. It was a funny experience. But then someone else’s car actually got stuck in the sand, and that’s when I learned Ryan’s survival skills (which apparently he learned from The Walking Dead 😂). I married up. Then we walked around San Luis Obispo and saw their version of the gum wall. We jumped back in the car and made our way to Pfieffer State Park, Big Sur, and Bixby Bridge. And holy. cow. Everyone should make it there at some point in their life. It’s incredible. I’m pretty sure we recorded the whole drive (also hidden in the secret world of Ryan’s go-pro footage). The only change I would’ve made would be making time to visit Hearst Castle. We wanted to make it to Big Sur before the sun went down, and I’m SO glad we did, but next time (even though I’m never driving in the car for 800 hours ever again), I definitely want to visit those grounds.
Along the ride, we saw zebras up in the hills on the side of the road and seals stretched out along the beach at Piedras Blancas. I always joke about being a mermaid in a different life, but actually the seal life is where it’s at. They get to lay in the sun all. day. long. It’s like literally my dream come true.
We drove through Monterrey and finished off our road trip adventure screaming our heads off and running around like 12-year-olds riding all the rides on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Seriously SO fun. I’m sure part of it was being SO ready to be out of the car, but I love sketchy fair rides and with Ryan laughing the whole time and me screaming in his ear, it honestly couldn’t have been more fun. Plus rides that let you look out over the ocean and see the whole pier lit up–there’s nothing better.
While starting in San Francisco and driving down the coast is probably better for pulling over purposes (you’re already on the right side of the road to pull over whenever you want, and you don’t have to cross traffic to get to the coastal side), driving PCH, at least between Newport and San Francisco, should definitely be on everyone’s bucket list.
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