One of the greatest scenic drives in North America is California’s Highway 1. It is a stretch of road that winds it’s way right along the coast and right up against the mountains from Cambria (between LA and SF) and Carmel, almost at the Oregon border. It works its way through Big Sur, San Francisco, and some of the most beautiful coastline driving you’ll ever see.
One word of warning though – Highway 1 is a slow, scenic drive, not one to make miles on. It’s a route for drivers who want to take in the scenery and are in no hurry to get to their destination, which means it’s perfect for motor home drivers.
It also has some twisty-turny spots and an occasional cruise by a sheer cliff. Take it slow and enjoy the view, but not so much that you end up driving off the side of a cliff!
Another word of warning – there aren’t many places to stop. For most motor home drivers, who keep themselves stocked up on everything at all times, it may not be such a concern. But you should bring everything you’ll need for at least the next 90 miles or so, and make sure you’re gas tank is plenty full.
Big Sur alone makes the CA 1 drive worth your while. It has some of the most beautiful beaches on all of the west coast. One of the most famous beaches is Pfeiffer Beach, known for its wild rock formations and unique purple sand. The big, sandy beaches at Big Sur are great fun for families and ocean lovers.
There is also a famous lighthouse at Big Sur called Point Sur Lighthouse. It was known for being one of the loneliest spots on the coast, and now they run tours through it.
Big Sur was also a getaway for artistic and literary types. Writers like Jack Kerouac, John Steinbeck and Henry Miller made Big Sur their homes.
Where to stay in Big Sur depends on what part of it you want to enjoy with your motor home. Do you want to be overlooking the ocean, or nestled in a forest of giant trees?
There are lots of campgrounds with RV hookups, but probably the most popular are Kirk Creek and Limestone State Park. These are both regular campgrounds with motor home sites as well as tent sites. Kirk Creek is the best on the ocean side, and Limestone is the best for those who want to be deep in the woods.
North of Big Sur, at Point Lobos, there are rocks where you can usually see sea lions sunbathing. This is a great place to stop and get pictures, and they’ll let you get pretty close.
As you go further north, you will come to Monterey. This was the old capital of Spanish California, and it is also known for its scenic beaches. It’s tough to convey the beauty of Monterey without seeing it first, but to give you an idea, it’s been often called the most beautiful meeting of land, sea and sky in the world.
For the best motor home stay, Monterey Vacation RV Park is a good choice. It’s nice and close to everything you want to do, including San Juan Bautista State Park and Muertos Canyon. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable, so if you’re looking for things to do, you can park your motor home there and use them as your one-stop tour guides.
The Forests Up North
After Monterey, you start to get into pretty, forested country. Here you can stop and take short hikes and admire the sea from the top of a small mountain peak. Up here, you aren’t far from the California redwoods. These forests are known for their pretty array of colors, especially during the summer and fall months.
The drive along the coast of northern California is also full of small towns like Carmel-by-the-Sea, that make nice stops for sightseeing. These little towns are quaint and full of interesting history.
For those who love to drive, the trip along California Highway 1 can’t be beat. You’ve got the ocean on one side and the mountains on the other. Some hardier drivers like to go up and then down again, so they get to enjoy both sides of it. Whichever way you choose to go, it’s a wonderful drive for motor homes. It is a great way to see all that both southern and northern California have to offer.