Photo Thursday: The Most Scenic Road Trip in the U.S.

Highway stretching in distance
Highway stretching in distance

Get 30% Off: Monterey, Carmel and The 17-Mile Drive Day Trip from San Francisco

If you’re a chicken, you will drive Route One from south to north, so you’re not hanging on the edge of cliffs overlooking the Pacific ocean.

We, however, love road trips that climb mountains and twist through canyons, so we took the north to south route, down a road that gives seaside a whole new meaning.  Either way, there are plenty of turnouts so the driver has a chance to actually stop and see the magnificent vistas instead of just hearing. “WOW! That is gorgeous! Don’t Look! Don’t Look!”

Land meets water, Big Sur
Land meets water, Big Sur

What do you have in your travel library besides books recommended at A Traveler’s Library?  Your Photo Albums, of course.  Take lots of pictures. You might want to make a photo book, like this article explained.

Tourist and flowers, Big Sur
Tourist and flowers, Big Sur

If you have a gray day like we did at the beginning of our drive, you may want to process some of your photos in black and white. If you have fog–what fun effects you’ll get. But don’t count on checking in on Yelp! or FourSquare or Facebook, because there is no cell phone signal for most of the route.

Big Sur coast
Big Sur coast

A lot of people who write about Big Sur and Route One use weasel words, like “one of the most scenic…”, however I’m going on record to say this is THE most scenic road trip in the United States–and maybe anywhere.

Steep cliffs, Big Sur Coast
Steep cliffs, Big Sur Coast

For more details about your road trip from Monterey California to Morro Bay California, check out this National Geographic article. Or follow the road between Los Angeles and San Francisco in this article in Travel + Leisure. We were just doing a day trip, but if you want to make a several day trip, there are plenty of interesting stops, like Hearst Castle, redwood forests, beaches to explore and more.

Bridge on Rt One highway, Big Sur coast
Bixby Bridge on Rt One highway, Big Sur coast


Outdoor dining, Nepenthe, Big Sur
Outdoor dining, Nepenthe Restaurant, Big Sur


You can see more of my pictures of Big Sur on my Google + page using this link: And if you missed yesterday’s photos–they portray Carmel-by-the-Sea.

These photos are this week’s contribution to Travel Photo Thursday. You can see photos from around the world, or add your own by going to Budget Travelers Sandbox.

All photos are my property and if you want to reuse them, reprint on your site or print for other purposes, please let me know.  However, if you would like a larger version of Steep Cliffs, Big Sur to use as computer wallpaper, let me know and I’ll send it to you.

I hope you enjoy these photos. If you do, how about sharing them on Stumble Upon, Twitter, Google, Facebook, or with friends by using the share buttons below?  Thanks.

[Note:Although most links in this post are informational only, one or more may be advertising links, which means there is a financial connection with A Traveler’s Library.]

About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She writes frequently for Reel Life With Jane and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

22 thoughts on “Photo Thursday: The Most Scenic Road Trip in the U.S.

  1. What a beautiful place. I lived in the Bay area near Stanford for 25 years and many times drove over the mountains to San Gregorio and then down to Monterrey and Carmel and Big Sur, and what a lovely drive. In those days there was very little development along that part of the coast, but a few nice restaurants where we could get a fine lunch and a nice glass of wine and be back home by dark.

    1. Davis: Once you get past Point Lobos south of Carmel there is still no visible development along Route One. We saw more cows than houses, that’s for sure.

  2. I remember eating at Nepenthe on my first drive on Highway 1. My most recent journey was south to north. Looks like I need to get more adventurous :-).

  3. Hands down my favorite drive EVER. Check out the Point Montara Lighthouse just south of San Fran on Highway 1–you won’t want to leave. Lovely photos, Vera!

  4. I’ve driven a good portion of this drive and agree that it is one of America’s finest – best in America or best in the world are BIG claims…

  5. Yes~this is one of the most gorgeous (and a bit wind-y) road trips. I’ve done it three times and it’s amazing. Big Sur is gorgeous.

  6. I know this road well. I drove it every summer weekend in 1968 to visit my girlfriend who was working for the Forest Service south of Big Sur. 44 years later, we’re still together.

  7. I’m planning on taking this same route on my trip to California this fall. I already couldn’t wait, but your post makes me even more excited!

  8. A California must do! Make sure you leave enough time to stop along the way. It would be a shame to drive without stopping. Beautiful pictures, Vera, that brought back many memories!

  9. Love that highway. I biked one short section to Bodega Bay which was even more interesting as you could smell the salt air and easily get out to check out any interesting sights – like the surfers or the swells or the beaches…

  10. Been there, done that. It’s awesome. We also drove Route One north from San Francisco to Seattle which is also awesome. You can do both routes stopping in charming B&B’s along the way.
    PS: I am a chicken. I let someone else do the driving. If you get carsick, you might want to take some dramamine. The twisty curvy road can be vertigo inducing.

    1. Yes, Suzanne, we have also driven north, all the way from LA to the edge of Oregon. There are so many interesting places to stay and things to see, you can spend lots of time on that road.

    1. Yes, Jessica–I think Boomer had the answer–get someone else to do the driving. It’s actually my husband who loves that kind of driving. I’m the one say, “Don’t Look!”

Comments are closed.