back to articles | March 27, 2023 | Moses Mwangi

Categories: Useful Automotive Information

The Ultimate Guide to Cruising Highway 1 California

California Highway 1 is a wondrous national treasure. It consists of 650 miles of driving route that comprises incredible natural scenery, historic towns, beautiful beaches, and the country's cultural capital.


Are you ready to make the best memories possible? Highway 1 provides one of the most unrivaled experiences. It offers many accessible and free wonder-making opportunities that will allow you to live fully and in the moment. Here is the ultimate guide to help you achieve awe-inspiring moments as you cruise Highway 1.

Best time of the year to cruise through highway 1

Generally, California has excellent weather throughout the year. However, there may be low-hanging fog and clouds during the mornings, especially in the summer months of August, July, and June. If you want to maximize your cruising experience, consider going in October or September.

The weather is often warm in September and October. Also, low-hanging clouds and fog are less likely during those months. If September and October are not suitable for you, consider late or mid-February to April when there is mildly cold weather.

How to select a rental vehicle for your Highway 1 trip

Before you begin cruising, you need to solve your vehicle situation first. Selecting a Highway 1 rental vehicle should depend on the places you intend to stay. Some accommodation choices include a camper van, tents, hotels, or Air BnBs.

A regular rental vehicle is appropriate for staying in guest houses or hotels. You can pick one at the Los Angeles International Airport after your flight. However, if you plan to stay in your camper van or tents, a camper van is the ideal rental vehicle.

A camper van will give you the flexibility of where to stay at night, what to do, and where to go each day. Furthermore, a camper van or car will allow you to conveniently change your plans without worrying about sleeping spots.

The best place to stay while you cruise through Highway 1

Making advanced preparations on where to stay is vital during any road trip. Make an advanced booking if you intend to stay in guest houses or hotels along the route. Advanced booking will ensure you do not run out of sleeping space.

On the other hand, if you intend to sleep in a tent, make campground reservations in advance. Some campgrounds may have several months of advanced bookings, so the earlier, the better.

However, if you like dispersed camping, check out iOverlander or to get campsites along Highway 1 where you can stay. You can also use your smartphone’s GPS or a trip planner to plan your route from coast to coast.

Tips to make your cruise more pleasant

When traveling along Highway 1, you must be prepared for anything. Here are some tips that can help you have a more pleasant cruise:

Budget for gas

Some stretches have no gasoline, such as in the north of San Francisco and Big Sur. Furthermore, you may travel about 40 miles without encountering a gas station. Therefore, make sure always to check your gas gauge and fill up the tank if needed.

Make use of restrooms

Like gas, there are stretches where there are no restrooms. Thus, make sure to make the most of the restrooms in towns.

Be aware of motion sickness

Some people get motion sickness when traveling for long miles. Watch your travel companions and determine whether they are car sick. For any licensed adults, you can have them drive the car. Driving may help to reduce nausea.

Have plenty of time

Planning for a limited road trip time can reduce your enjoyment levels. Some sites, such as Big Sur and Hearst Castle, can take a whole day. Therefore, it is always good to have plenty of cruising time.


Make sure you are wary of your environment, especially in major cities. Keep your valuables safe and out of sight when making stops along Highway 1.

Observe good driving practices

Safety should be one of your priorities when cruising Highway 1. Avoid dangerous driving, buckle up, and do not pass in areas with double yellow lines. It is essential to employ good driving practices for optimal enjoyment. Updating your defensive driving skills can help you avoid dangers posed by other people’s bad driving.

Must-see stops when cruising Highway 1

Each region in the Highway 1 route has its own flavor, character, must-see stops, towns, and landmarks. Therefore, make sure to make the most of your experiences. Here are the top stops you can consider during your road trip:

Orange County

The orange country is where you can make the most outstanding memories. It boasts several incredible attractions, such as the delightful hidden coves and Laguna Beach. In addition, Orange County is home to appealing historical places, like San Juan Capistrano.

Santa Monica

Santa Monica is one of the most popular Highway one destinations. Whether you love hiking or relaxing at the beach, Santa Monica is an incredible place to be. For enthusiastic hikers, the Tuna Canyon is the best place to be.

Beautiful Malibu coastline

In California, Malibu boasts the best beaches available. It is a great area for outdoor lovers that provides unlimited enjoyable activities. Some of the activities you can enjoy in the area include rock climbing, surfing, hiking, and incredible sunset and sunrise viewing.

Santa Barbara's historic sites

Santa Barbra is the place to be if you love architecture and history. The destination has several Spanish Colonial buildings and history pieces you can enjoy. For instance, you can enjoy the most incredible historical artworks at the Old Mission. Other places to visit in Santa Barbara include Stearns Wharf, Santa Ynez Mountains, and Channel Islands National Park.

Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach has an appealing and long stretch of sandy beach. It is the ideal place to stroll as you enjoy the sunset or sunrise. The beach provides one of the best areas for surfing and swimming. It offers one of the best places to relax and have a good time.

Big Sur

As you cruise through Highway 1, make sure to enjoy the scenic views on various potions of the highway. When you get to Big Sur, please make the most of it. Big Sur has one of the most fantastic landscapes imaginable. You should stop by and take memorable pictures of that incredible view.

The Monterey Peninsula

Monterey is an incredible treasure trove. It has several unforgettable places to explore, including the charming town and the famous large aquarium in Monterey. The region also has well-preserved historic buildings and a pebble beach where you can enjoy the charming views of trees and the sea.

San Francisco

You can tour Alcatraz, the world's most famous prison in San Francisco. Alternatively, you can pay a visit to the iconic Golden Gate Bridge a visit to enjoy a breathable green space.

Summing it up

The highway 1 route provides endless opportunities to make the best memories possible. It allows you to enjoy the incredible natural beauty of the coastal regions, historical sites, Spanish architectural buildings, and many more. The primary things to prioritize when planning your cruise are the best month to travel, the place to stay, safety measures, and the top regions to visit. While your current insurance may cover your new car, be sure to compare auto insurance rates in advance.