My wife and i are headed up the coast from LA to ? we are taking a week or two off work and just want some great spots to stop for a night or two. We are planning on camping and staying at some hotels so both are needed. Any waterfalls, hiking trails, beaches or anything you guys recommend is greatly appreciated.....thank you in advance
This area is all about the "natural" beauty of the Coast, but there are a few nude beaches, Hearst Castle, the whole Monterey Peninsula area (posh resorts, world class golf, the Aquarium) and the Big Sur area. One of the more beautiful, unspoiled areas of California. If you enjoy nature, the Pt. Lobos State Park is famous for it's tidepools and aquatic delights (just south of Carmel). The town of Carmel on the MP is unique, expensive, and a must-see destination. Weekend traffic in the MP area (especially on HW1 itself) can be extremely heavy!
[ Edit: Edited on 21-May-2011, at 09:21 by Daawgon ]
Apart from what is mentioned by Daawgon, I can recommend Cambria and surroundings. It is about halfway from LA to SF and has good accom and dining option. It's not far south from Hearst Castle.
Along its coastline you will find some walking trails, some of them on boardwalks, but with some wildlife spotting like seals and sea lions. More interesting are the elephant seals about 5-10 miles north of Cambria, be sure to stop there!
It's important to remember that Hwy 1 and Hwy 101 overlap at certain points (for example, when you cross over the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco) and closely "skirts" other popular visitor spots (for example, the "17 Mile Drive" in Pebble Beach, CA).
With that in mind, here are some of my Hwy 1 choices (no priority order):
(1) Golden Gate Bridge
(2) 17 mile drive
(3) Moonshadow Beach in Cambria
(4) Big Sur
(5) Hearst Castle
(7) Half Moon Bay (and its famous Maverick's beach nearby)
(8) Cannery Row in Monterey (including the aquarium)
(9) Morro Bay
(10) Pismo Beach area
(11) Drive from Seal Beach to Dana Point (past Huntington and Newport Beaches)
(12) Drive from Malibu to Ventura
(13) Santa Cruz Boardwalk and pier
(14) Point Reyes Seashore
(16) Pescadero and its goat farms
(17) Santa Barbara
(and for those heading south from LA)
(18) San Juan Capistrano mission
(19) La Jolla
(20) Del Mar Race Course and Beach
Enjoy your trip
[ Edit: Edited on 22-May-2011, at 23:03 by Calcruzer ]