Living in California, there is a big focus on driving. With everyone rushing off to work, sitting in traffic, or getting around to see people, it can be easy to forget how much fun the open road can really be. As we swing towards the end of summer, you want to set aside some time for a road trip. And for Californians, finding a great route doesn’t even have to take you out of the state.
Let’s look at what it’s like to travel along US Route 101, and some of the highlights waiting for you on the ride.
- A Little Background
Route 101 runs for 1,550 miles, mostly within a few miles of the Pacific Ocean for the entire stretch. It begins in Tumwater, Washington, and runs all the way to Los Angeles. It is used frequently for commuters around the LA area, but it goes on to be less traffic in areas because newer roads have come to be more frequently used.
In 1925, the 101 was one of the earliest highways to be created in the area, and there are many groups devoted to preserving information about the original route. If you choose to do a little research, you can find countless historical inns and cafes to try out. For an example, check out this cute motel in Arroyo Grande, which was built in the 1940s.
- Northern Attractions
As you travel the upper end of the 101, you will be moving through the ancient redwoods of Humboldt county! Some of these trees are up to 1,000 years old, and large enough to drive a car through. There are many routes that will travel through these giant wonders, so feel free to research and make up your own.
- Southern Points of Interest
For a magical day, check out the Monarch Butterfly Grove in Pismo Beach. You’ll have to check the seasonal availability, but you’ll be rewarded with flocks of gorgeous orange and black butterflies. A few hours north of there is the Big Sur state park, where you can get lost among beautiful views and California oaks. You can stay for a day’s hike or spend the night camping.
- San Francisco
Take the 101 over the iconic Golden Gate bridge! You can do a day trip checking out Haight-Ashbury and other famous neighborhoods in the city beforehand. Once you are over the bridge, make your way into wine country and find a couple of vineyards to explore.
- Safe and Sound
While parts of the 101 are off the beaten path, it’s not like you are going to be in a deserted wasteland! If the worst happens, and you find yourself in an accident, you will still be able to find assistance easily. You will have cell service to call a lawyer or the police, and there are many hospitals within easy reach of the road.
Whichever way you go, and however far, the 101 is a wonderful way to travel and explore. It’s something Californians and visitors alike can both enjoy and is great for families, couples, or solo travelers.