SoCal to NorCal Road Trip – Part Two

And we’re back to finish off the epic family vacation, road-tripping from Southern California to Northern California! If you missed Part 1, catch up here!

Day Three – Driving from Laguna Beach to Cambria

Back on the road again after a few great days in SoCal and heading up north! We drove straight through LA, but if you have time to spare you could add a day to see Hollywood and sight see in Los Angeles with plenty to do there! I highly recommend Griffith Park if you do 🙂

After a few hours on the road, our first stop was Cold Springs Tavern in the mountains of Santa Barbra. A tiny bit off the beaten path but a great pit stop to stretch your legs, grab a drink and see the historic western saloon.


We continued up the coast with quick stop by the Morro Bay rock to get to our destination for the night, the quiet coastal town of Cambria. We stayed at a cute little bed and breakfast right off of the beach, which also happens to be on one of the main roads in town. It was awesome to be able to walk across the street to Moonstone Beach and, although it wasn’t exactly warm out, had a great time hanging out whale watching and looking for shells. We also caught one of the prettiest sunsets I’ve ever seen! This was my first time going north past LA so I was SO loving the mountain scenery.

Morro Bay rock california

Cambria california sunset

Day Four – Cambria to San Fransisco

Alright, now for the longest haul of the trip. But first, a quick stop at the Elephant Seal Rookery right past Cambria. Just a pull off right off the PCH but 100% worth the stop to see these funny guys laying around. Beware, they get a little smelly.

Next up was one of the most magical parts of the drive, Big Sur. We did the classic stop off at the Pfeiffer Park viewing point and the lovely drive over Bixby Bridge and just generally was in awe of all surroundings. I’ve now driven through Big Sur twice now but always say I need to plan a camping trip and spend more than a few hours there!

Big Sur CaliforniaBig Sur California

After more than a few more windy roads and hours later we got to our hotel in San Francisco. We were staying in Cow Hallow neighborhood which was great because it was just a short walk to Marina Green and pretty views of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Day Five – The Bay Area & Sonoma

We started the day wine tasting about an hourish north of the city in Sonoma. We went to a cute little family owned place Christopher Creek but there were so many different wineries, you could spend the entire day hopping around there and in neighboring Nappa!

On the way back south we stopped at another favorite of the trip, Lagunitas Brewery. We were sad to hear we were about an hour too early and the tasting rooms weren’t open, until they told us we were just in time for the first tour of the afternoon! It was held in the private room in the brewery, only open to the staff unless there is a tour going on. They had tastings of ever singe beer on tap AND best of all, informed us that is was National IPA Day! (IPAs are my favorite beer ever. If you didn’t catch my post about them, find it here.) Honestly, we couldn’t have planned a better day or time to get there!
lagunitas brewery California

After a quick drive through Saulsalitos, where I was delighted to find some art from my favorite artist Zio Zeigler, we headed back to the city for the night. My family stayed another two nights but I met up with some friends to go to Outside Lands. (I know, I timed this all amazingly.) For more details on where to go in SF, I have a guide from another trip I did! But of course, you really can’t go wrong with anything in that perfect city.

I hope you found this two part guide helpful and are able to do a drive up or down the PCH at least a few times in your lifetime. It is truly a great trip and puts into perspective how amazing California really is!



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