Ask anyone living near the West Coast what is the most scenic thing to do, the answer is always the same, the Pacific Coast Highway in California and US 101 along the coast in Northern California, Oregon and Washington. Driving this stretch of road takes time and needs to be broken up into sections. While the southern section of San Diego was packed with people on the surf-heavy beaches, the Long Beach section is more deserted this time of year and most of the towering cliffs along the shoreline aren’t nearly as spectacular. However, the Los Angeles area has the popular cities of Santa Barbara, Malibu, and Santa Monica.
The beauty of Santa Barbara sits alongside the waves of the ocean and backed by the Santa Ynez Mountains. Santa Barbara is not only a favorite getaway for Hollywood celebrities, some of whom own property here, but the city has an outstanding history. What better way to experience some of Santa Barbara’s history than by visiting the Old Santa Barbara Mission and El Presidio? The mission sits on thirteen acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The grounds include a historic cemetery and mausoleum, the Mission Church, and a nine-room museum with historic artifacts and artwork. Lush gardens surround the buildings, including the historic Orchard Garden with old Mission-era plants and trees. While the El Presidio buildings are the last of the four military posts, they were built by the Chumash Indians under the direction of the Spanish soldiers. This Presidio was founded in 1782 during the American Revolutionary War which played a vital role in the foreign invasion. Today, two of the original remaining sections are El Cuartel, which is the second oldest building in California, and the Canedo Adobe.
Just west of Los Angeles, along the foothills of the Santa Monica Mountains, with 21 miles of beautiful coastline, is Malibu, known for its gorgeous beaches and celebrity homes. Zuma Beach, one of the most popular beaches in Los Angeles, is located here and with its four miles of beautiful, wide, sandy beaches, it is ideal for all family activities, from rock climbing, swimming, surfing, to just sunbathing. .
Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains is a hidden crown jewel, Malibu Creek State Park, which encompasses more than 8,000 acres of mountain peaks, rolling hills, oak savannas, and tallgrass plains. The stunning beauty of this land has been seen around the world in movies, the most remembered of which was the long-running television series Mash. Getting to the Mash filming location requires a 3 mile one way hike where the first part is on a wide, well graded path over rolling hills through oak trees and tall grass; however, the last half mile gets a bit tricky, starting with having to cross Malibu Creek by walking on the trunk of a fallen oak tree. The rest of the trail is a very narrow path over rocks and mud puddles through thick lush forest. For some stunning views of the park, drive the Mulholland Highway for 3 miles to Lake Malibu, which is also home to Reagan Ranch.
For a short but stunning drive, take the Malibu Canyon Road from the state park back to Malibu. The highway cuts through the Santa Monica Mountains and winds through the narrow canyon with towering cliffs on one side and straight drops on the opposite side. As the highway leaves the canyon, the views of the mountains and the Pacific Ocean are breathtaking.
Just south of Malibu, along the Pacific Coast Highway, is the popular city of Santa Monica. With 3.5 miles of beaches, Santa Monica attracts all types of visitors, where the northern section of the beach is separated from the city by an ocean cliff and the Pacific Coast Highway where a series of bridges and stairs provide access to the beaches. In contrast, the southern section is at city level and the beach side is lined with houses, hotels, and parking lots. Located in the central part of the beach is the ever-popular Santa Monica Pier, where an amusement park, restaurants, and gift shops sit on a wooden pier, not to mention that after 2,448 miles, Historic Route 66 he completed his journey from Chicago here. .
Just south of Long Beach, along the Pacific Coast Highway, is Laguna Beach, home to Crystal Cove State Park. The park has 3 miles of natural shoreline with open spaces along the cliffs where tall grass thrives. The 2.5 miles of paved trails along the cliff tops provide spectacular panoramic views of the ocean with several steep trails leading down to the beach. The southern end of the park is the historic district with 46 vintage seaside cabins built in the 1930s and 1940s, representing the earliest examples of southern California waterfront development.
Relive the story of the ever-famous Queen Mary from her birth in 1934 to her vital role as a troop carrier during World War II. After 1,001 crossings of the Atlantic, the Queen Mary arrived in Long Beach in 1967 for her retirement and final resting place. Even today, the Queen Mary lives on as a historic landmark and full-service Long Beach hotel with entertainment, shopping, and dining. One can see the Queen Mary up close with guided tours from stern to bow and from engine room to bridge. Throughout the ship are wood carvings enhanced by the use of more than 50 types of wood along with the elaborate carvings, paintings, and murals that made this ship the most elaborate ship ever built at the time.
Any trip to Los Angeles should include some time in the Beverly Hills and Hollywood area. Places like the Walk of Fame on Hollywood Blvd or the Sunset Strip on Sunset Blvd known for the colorful billboards and beautiful murals painted on the buildings. The three blocks of Rodeo Drive between Santa Monica Blvd and Wilshire Blvd contain more than 100 top designer boutiques and hotels where many celebrities shop. Not to mention Wilshire Blvd. Hotel, the filming location for Pretty Woman. Just down the street is Greystone Mansion, where a long list of movies, music videos, and TV shows were filmed.