How to Tour the California Coastline

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How to Tour the California Coastline
Tour the California Coastline

The California coastline offers rugged cliffs and sun soaked beaches. You'll find a variety of activities and sites along the coast and you can spend as little or as much time as you want exploring them. Although you'll want to drive some of the coastal roads, don't forget to stop to see the sights up close as well.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Drive California's Highway 1. This famous drive takes you from San Luis Obispo to Monterey. This 2-lane highway hugs the coastline and those who want to avoid driving on the edge should start in the south so that you're always on the inside of the road.

  2. 2

    Hike the California Coastal Trail. Once this trail is completed, it will stretch from Mexico to Oregon--over half is already complete. You'll enjoy breathtaking views of the coast, oceans and cliffs as you hike along the coast, offering you a slower, different experience than driving along the coast.

  3. 3

    Soak up the sun at one of the beaches that you'll find along the coast. Whether you want a popular beach to people watch or a secluded beach all to yourself, you'll find plenty of options. Remember to follow all guidelines for public beaches and obtain permission if you need to cross private property.

  4. 4

    Watch for wildlife along the way. The coast is home to a variety of wildlife species. Hundreds of different bird species can be found in Morro Bay State Park and sea otters can often be sighted north and south of San Simeon.

  5. 5

    Visit some of the historical sites along the California coastline. Hearst Castle, for example, showcases this 115-room mansion, Hearst's art collections and beautiful gardens. You can also find Spanish missions and other historic buildings along with museums detailing local and state history.

  6. 6

    Take a boat cruise to get a different view of the coast. You'll find various tours departing up and down the coast of California. Whether you want to see whales, birds or sea caves, you'll find a boat tour for you. Enjoy an afternoon or a sunset cruise.

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