Looking for a great family vacation idea? What about doing a PCH costal drive! Lots of beautiful sights to see and lots of family bonding hours in the car 😉 I had always had this on my bucket list so when my family started planning a trip to visit me out on the west coast I quickly proposed a drive up the Highway 1. We did this broken into a few parts, starting in the OC and driving down to San Diego for a night and then taking another night in the OC again before heading up to San Francisco, so I’m going to break the post into two so I don’t overload anyone. All in all I would take about four days at the least to do this drive, but depending on how much time you have there so many places to stop along the way. Without further ado, find the highlights of our drive below!
Day One – San Diego & La Jolla
We stayed at the Sofia Hotel in Downtown which was a really cool historic Gothic Revival building from 1926 in the Gaslamp Quarter. Included in the stay was a free walking tour of the city and bike rentals which was a great way to see the city! They also had a great little yoga room which I was happy to find was empty in the morning 🙂
After grabbing some beignet pastries for a late breakfast we headed over to theBallast Point Brewery downtown in Little Italy. I had my parents try their Habenero Sculpen which I think is one of their most interesting beers. Definitely looking forward to staying a little longer next time, they have a great patio and I’ve been told the food is as great as the beer!
Another thing on my bucket list? Seeing the San Diego Zoo pandas. I’ve been obsessed with Pandas since about age 10 so finally seeing them in person was so awesome!! I totally wore my panda tank top like a nerd and I’m proud. Definitely a fun family activity if you’re in the area. Afterward we took a little stroll around the Balboa Park Desert Gardens which is home to over 1,300 succulent species.
We started our journey back up the coast with a quick stop off at the cliffs in La Jolla. I had to show my family the beautiful views and take advantage of a photo opp in what I think is one of the prettiest places in San Diego county. Next, we headed to what will forever be my most favorite place, Stone Brewery. Just a little bit more inland in Encinitas, you should find any excuse you can to get to this garden brewery…quick! I’m not exaggerating its probably one of the prettiest restaurants/breweries I’ll ever go to and their amazing beer and food puts the cherry on top. People get married there all the time and once you see it you’ll know why. 1000% try the beer cheese soup and one of their latest Enjoy Bys’ and make sure to save time to explore their gardens.
Day Two – Laguna Beach
So, if you know me you’ll know Laguna Beach is one of my favorite towns of all time. My family rented a little beach bungalow here for a night and I got to show them around some of the best parts. We did the walk along the path through Heisler Park at sunset for some beautiful views, dinner at Zinc Cafe and the farmers market the next morning followed by a little hike on the Dartmoor Trail. I could go on, but check out this post for my full Laguna guide and plan to stay a few days if you can!
Stay tuned for Part 2 to catch the continuation of our family road trip!