This California route is one of the most scenic in the world. Hugging cliffs and coastlines, the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) follows much of the California coast. However, only a 123-mile (198-kilometer) stretch is the official PCH, as designated by the state of California.
Also called Highway 1, it takes about five hours to drive the PCH. The highway sees the most traffic in July and August. Avoid these times if you want to take a leisurely drive. In the winter seasons, drivers must be aware of danger from mudslides as well. Always check local advisories before embarking on your journey. The road often takes hairpin turns with narrow shoulders and steep drop-offs, so you must be alert at all times. Don't forget to pull over in safe places to really enjoy the vista.
As you drive along the PCH, make time for stops. You'll pass through Big Sur, with its majestic redwoods. In Monterey Bay, lucky visitors will get a peek at sea otters playing in the water. The PCH also winds through wine country, including Sonoma County.