Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1)

Before I left for my deployment, my husband and I came home for Christmas. While we were visiting we did a drive down Highway 1 (or Pacific Coast Highway) starting in Monterey. We began our trip by spending the night at Intercontinental Hotel in Monterey. This hotel is beautiful, right on the water on Cannery Row. I have been dying to go back now that we live in California, and we did go back to Monterey, but we chose to stay at the Holiday Inn a few streets away from the ocean.

We drove from Monterey to Morro Bay and then later we drove from Morro Bay to LA. We love driving on Highway 1.

To start our Highway 1 adventure, we headed out early in the morning with sandwiches packed and our gas tank full. We headed South. We stopped at various pull outs for amazing views and beautiful scenery.  There were a number of beaches to stop at along the way so when we wanted a little time to stretch our legs we stopped and took a break.

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The History
As a Civil Engineer one of my favorite parts about this section of Highway 1 is the beautiful bridges built to complete Highway 1. I don’t know if you know this, but I found it interesting so I’ll share. Highway 1 was built in piecemeal and the section in Central California was the first. It took 18 years to complete and started with State funds and then the New Deal during the Great Depression. The 56-mile Big Sur section was complete on June 17, 1937.  The bridges along Highway 1 are an amazing engineering feat and the fact they were completed in the 1930s is mind-boggling. If you stop at the bridges along the way there is a marker showing the year they were completed.

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That day we ended our drive of Highway 1 in Morro Bay. Before arriving in Morro Bay we took a break to check out the Elephant Seals and Hearst Castle. Both attractions are located just north of Cambria.

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Hearst Castle
Hearst Castle is a National California Landmark mansion located on the Central Coast of California in San Simeon, just off Highway 1. Invitations to Hearst Castle were highly coveted in the 1920s and 30s, but today the mansion is open to public for a small fee.

One of the best things to do when you visit Hearst Castle is watching the Hearst Castle -Building a Dream video in the five-story theater located at the Visitor’s Center. The 45-minute video is included in the price of admission to the daytime tours of the castle. The video will give you history of William Randolph Hearst and the construction and design of the castle. After your video head on the tram up to the castle for a one of three specialized tours. The tours take you to see parts of the 165-room estate, 125 sprawling acres of gardens, two pools and more.

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LA to Morro Bay

Since we have moved to LA we have driven most of Highway 1 to Morro Bay. The Pacific Coast Highway or PCH is what Highway 1 is called in most of the LA area. It weaves through the beach cities as it makes it way South. Although Highway 1 is still fun to drive because it is near the ocean. The views and beauty of the Central California coast are really the highlight of the Highway 1 drive.

Highway 1 continues South to San Diego. We haven’t driven South yet, but maybe one day soon we will and I can add to the story.

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