The long rainy season gives way to spring, and the open road of the Pacific Coast Highway beckons from Morro Bay to Mendocino.
If the long, long rainy season has you down, don’t despair, because spring is in the air, and blue skies are making their season comeback. This issue describes five not-so-faraway road trips to get to via one of America’s prettiest highways, Highway 1, a roadway sometimes taken for granted for its scenic beauty by hardened San Francisco Bay Area homies. Designated as State Route 1 but known to most as the Pacific Coast Highway, the blacktop hugs the pristine coast with mighty views of breakers, cliffs, beaches, wildflowers and the never ending Pacific Ocean. Considering traveling it — again.
To give you a varied taste of iconic Highway 1, the itinerary [“Travel — Highway 1 Revisited,” page 28] begins close to home at the Presidio, a staycation of sorts in the Golden Gate Recreation Area, a national park that is urban and wild and awash with museums, nature, and other amenities. Fortunate East Bayites can take in the Presidio through little spurts at their leisure, whenever they want, all year long. Highway 1 winds its way to another close and well-loved spot, Half Moon Bay, where big, big surf for the Mavericks, steaming chowder, distilleries, fog, wind, and history abound.
Seasoned road warriors who like going further from home will find the PCH pathway to other selected seaside settlements — Morro Bay, Santa Cruz, and Mendocino — pleasurable and visually rewarding treks. Don’t miss Morro Rock, “SUP with your pup,” fresh seafood, and unique shopping in Morro Bay. In Santa Cruz, thrill to the lure of the old-fashioned Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, explore the area’s seven sandy beaches, and dive into San Cruz’s fun and funky downtown. Way to the north, Mendocino, meanwhile, beckons with blowholes and whale sightings, mushroom hunting and music, and first-class wining and dining.
These communities are large enough to offer many distractions and accommodations for varying budgets. But at their hearts they’re small, friendly, quite quaint communities that are in the business of welcoming visitors. Each one offers a small-town community vibe. Each is the type of place with where it’s easy to blend in with the locals. Go be a local.