USA Pacific Coast: Stunning Spots to Make You Literally STOP in Awe

USA Pacific Coast: Stunning Spots to Make You Literally STOP in Awe

That once-in-a-lifetime road trip awaits you along the Pacific Coast Highway.

If you’re planning to explore the US, you definitely should plan a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. It’s simply so beautiful, no words can describe it.

I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

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roadtrip USAImage credit: Wordydave

McWay Cove & Falls is a massively popular attraction along Highway 1 in Big Sur, California. This photogenic area is reached via a short hiking trail in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, the viewpoint offering both southern and northern vistas of the Pacific Coast. This iconic spot is arguably the most well-known image of Big Sur, an extraordinary scene in which McWay Creek tumbles down onto the sandy beach.


roadtrip USAImage credit: Anita Ritenour

While the beaches in Big Sur can’t compete with those in southern California when it comes to sunbathing and swimming, they certainly are way more picturesque. Pfeiffer State Beach is what some would call “a hidden gem”, a secluded beach featuring purple-hued sand, towering rock formations and cliffs, and crashing waves. The rock arch shown in this picture is the centerpiece of this fantastic beach.


Image credit: Meij.kobayashi

Founded in 1984, Monterey Bay Aquarium is a public aquarium located on Cannery Row in Monterey, California, on the site of a former sardine cannery. It’s a hugely popular attraction on the Pacific Coast, drawing in no fewer than two million visitors each year. The aquarium’s tanks contain fresh ocean water, which is circulated and pumped in from Monterey Bay. There are more than 600 species of marine plants and animals on display.


roadtrip USAImage credit: Max and Dee Bernt

Bixby Bridge, also known as Bixby Creek Bridge, is one of America’s most photographed bridges. This is probably the most well-known feature on the Big Sur coast. It is made of concrete and, at 79 metres high, is among the highest of its kind on earth. This amazing bridge can be admired from a number of lookout points on Highway 1.


Image credit: Redwood Coast

One of the most famous trees on the Pacific Coast, the Chandelier Tree is a 84-metre-tall coast redwood tree with a 1.8-metre-wide hole in its trunk, allowing a car to drive through. The park in which the tree stands is appropriately named Drive-Thru Tree Park. The name Chandelier Tree was given because of the tree’s branches that resemble a chandelier.


Image credit: ConstantinAB

Venice Beach is without question one of the most famous beaches in the United States. Located in the beachfront neighbourhood of Venice, just west of Los Angeles, Venice Beach is renowned for its many seaside attractions, including a pedestrian promenade known as the Ocean Front Walk, canals, outdoor sports courts and fields, restaurants and bars.


Image credit: King of Hearts

Built for the newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst in the first half of the 20th century, Hearst Castle is now a National Historic Landmark and major tourist attraction on California’s Central Coast. An extraordinary private mansion, Hearst Castle is open to the public. Highlights include the Grand Rooms, the Upstairs Suites and the zebras at Hearst Ranch, which are descendants of the zebras that used to live in Hearst’s private zoo.


Image credit: Baynk

Situated in Santa Cruz, California, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is basically a huge beachfront amusement park. It is one of only a few seaside amusement parks on the Pacific Coast of the United States and, established in 1907, it is the oldest still-operating amusement park in California. This iconic boardwalk is a must-visit place, lined with video arcades, mini-golf courses, roller coasters, laser tag arenas and many food stalls.


Image credit: Larry Pieniazek

An award-winning roller coaster, the Giant Dipper is one of the star attractions of the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. Opened in 1924, this iconic attraction is a National Historic Landmark and one of the world’s most popular roller coasters—more than 60 million people have been on a ride since its opening.


Image credit: Lisa Nottingham

A beach near Fort Bragg, California, Glass Beach is famous for its abundance of so-called “sea glass.” The area used to be a water dump site, a place where everything from appliances and glassware to even vehicles was dumped. The dump has been long closed, the area cleaned up. Nowadays, Glass Beach is a popular tourist attraction because of its sea glass, polished and rounded by decades of wave action.

As you can see, there are plenty of attractions, manmade and natural, along the Pacific Coast Highway—more than enough to keep you occupied for a week or two. This is one of the most visited places in the United States and the pictures above clearly show why.

About Author

Bram Reusen

Bram is a freelance writer, translator and travel photographer. He was born and grew up in a small town in Belgium and currently lives in a small town in Vermont, USA. He likes to try different travel styles and he has backpacked across Australia, cycled from Belgium to the North Cape and back, spent three months immersing himself in the Irish culture, hiked across England, climbed numerous mountains in New England, and visited many a handful of European cities. Besides writing and traveling, Bram spends his days reading, working out and trying to live a healthy life.


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