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Highway 1 Road Trip! – Los Angeles to San Francisco, California

Highway 1 Road trip, California

Highway 1 Road Trip in California was the much awaited road trip of 2016. We had been planning extensively for it. Everything fell in place for the Thanksgiving weekend. Post Thanksgiving, Praveen was supposed to shift back to SLC, where I live. Highway 1 road trip is considered the ultimate road trip of USA.

Day 1: Solvang & Big Sur

We started out early morning from LA on Highway 1 from Ventura and did not include Santa Monica and Malibu beaches as we had included it in our Los Angeles Trip. Many even do the Highway 1 road trip from San Diego to San Francisco for much longer days than we have taken. We had done our San Diego road trip separately in summer hence we did not include it here.

We reached Solvang around 9.00 am and decided to have breakfast in one of the famous family owned restaurants. I was feeling uneasy right from the morning and we had hardly spent some time in the restaurant that I fainted even before I could think. 911 was called immediately and before I could realize I was getting IV in Solvang Hospital.

Big Sur

After spending 3 hours at the hospital, I was allowed to go. I was feeling better and I insisted Praveen on continuing our trip. We continued our trip on Highway 1 towards to San Francisco. It was also the first time we were driving on that road, to the left we had the Pacific Ocean and to the right we had very tall cliffs. It was close to sunset when we had crossed the Big Sur and we also missed the only gas station on our way, thinking we will get another one ahead. We were so wrong as we did not find a single gas station nearby. As we were driving further, Praveen was telling me that we may need to stop as we are not having enough gas. Finally we decided to stop at the next view area and it was well past sunset. We had no gas and absolutely no idea what to do next.

The only option we had, was to ask other travellers for help. We tried asking a few with some responding negatively and few did not even bother to respond. I then approached a group of Spanish/American family. They agreed to help us get gas for our car. We then travelled with them another 20 miles for a gas station and then they dropped us back driving 20 miles back. They waited until we fill our car followed us all the way. We thanked them and we will never forget them for their kind help. We offered money as gratitude for their huge help for which we are indebted always. He smiled and refused saying, “Today is Thanksgiving. We are so happy to help you.” We did not force them any more and drove to our hotel in Monterey.

A sea-lion is sunbathing happily

Day 2: 17 Mile drive, Carmel-by-the-Sea and Golden Gate Bridge

We reached just in time for dinner.  Next day we started towards the 17 Mile drive and Carmel-by-the-sea as suggested by my cousin who lives in SF. We just changed our plans to go slow this time as I was not in good condition and still managed to finish both by noon time.

We drove to San Francisco and visited the iconic Golden Gate Bridge. It was my dream to see this magnificent construction and I just love it so much. Spent the evening there and clicked a few pics.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco

San Francisco Skyline
San Francisco Skyline

Day 3: Lombard Street, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf

We started with the Lombard street. I have no idea why someone would design a road so bad, but it was kinda fun driving down. Few minutes are enough to explore this place.

Later we headed straight to Pier 39, from where we could see Alcatraz Island. We did not plan any visit here, however I do recommend visiting this place. It was raining continuously and it was making things difficult for us too. We then headed to Fisherman’s Wharf, parked our car and walked as much we could.


We also visited the Crissy Field from where we could get a better view of Golden Gate Bridge. It was too windy but a nice sunny day.

Golden Gate Bridge from Crissy Field, San Francisco

Day 4: Drive back to Los Angeles.

Anybody living on West coast would know the amount of traffic on I-5. We took nearly 11 hours that day to reach back home as we were sometimes struck for hours on the same spot.This also meant we missed meeting my uncle and aunt because of this.

Other Attractions:

1.McWay Falls

On the way to Big Sur, you would find this beautiful falls but we missed it because of our gas woes.

2. Alcatraz Island.

Be sure to book a ride and have fun visiting the most difficult prison.

3.Mystery Spot

This is a very famous tourist attraction based on illusion and gravity defying experiences.

4. Beaches

Santa Monica, Malibu, El Matador Beaches are fun to visit. Visit the Santa Monica pier at evening when the lights are switched ON.

El Matador Beach
@El Matador Beach – We liked it more than Malibu in fact

5. Wine tasting.

If you love wine don’t miss wine tasting in some places in California.


Thank you for visiting! If you have any questions / suggestions / feedback you can comment below or send me an email. I would love to hear back from you.

Have a nice day!







12 thoughts on “Highway 1 Road Trip! – Los Angeles to San Francisco, California

  1. Oh this made me remember when we did it from San diego to San francisco with a side trip to… Hawaii lol 🙂

  2. San Francisco as well as Los Angeles are two places I love in this world and a road trip sounds amazing!!! The fact that time was managed properly in the trip was amazing! Golden gate bridge looks amazing!!…Pics are beautiful! The attractions mentioned at the end are valid. And worth trying!!

  3. Too bad your trip started out a little shaky. I am glad there was at least one family kind enough to help you on your way. I would love to visit San Francisco one day soon.

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