7 Most Scenic Spots on the Pacific Coast Highway

The Pacific Coast Highway is the ultimate road trip – and it’s certainly the best one in America. It is best known for the stretch along the Californian coast, with spectacular ocean views and awesome attractions as you travel. If you are planning to cruise along that part of the Californian coastline, then here’s our magnificent seven!

The 7 most scenic spots on the pacific coast highway:

  1. The Golden Gate Bridge
  2. Greyhound Rock Beach
  3. Monterey
  4. Carmel by the Sea
  5. Big Sur and Pfeiffer State Beach 
  6. Dana Point
  7. Point Loma

The Golden Gate Bridge 

Perhaps one of the most iconic views along the whole highway – San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is as visually stunning as the views one gets from the bridge itself. Before you head across, come off the highway to get some of the best views and see the best San Francisco sights of the area. They are truly unforgettable.

Greyhound Rock Beach 

South West of San Jose is Greyhound Rock Beach. It’s a wonderful place to just stop and appreciate what’s around you. Although it is easy to get to, it’s still one of the quietest beaches along the route – perhaps the walk down from the cliffs puts people off. The descent down is fine and once there you might even catch sight of the local elephant seal and dolphin population whilst you are here soaking up the sea air and views.


Our recent guest Cindy P recently talked of her trip and Monterey tour on TripAdvisor: “We took the Monterey- Carmel tour from San Francisco. Loved it! The drive down the Pacific Coast Highway is beautiful.”

The Monterey peninsula has stunning ocean views, wildlife, and a world-class aquarium that sits right in the bay. Since it pumps water from the ocean, it supports sea life you wouldn’t normally be able to see without getting your diving gear on.

The beautiful Monterey Bay – Part of Monterey’s stunning 17-Mile Drive!

Carmel by the Sea

This is a gorgeous beach town that’s regularly rated as one of the US’s top ten places to visit. It’s attracted artists and writers for years thanks to its white sand beach and town with beautiful architecture, restaurants, art galleries, and shops.

Big Sur and Pfeiffer State Beach 

The views get more arresting as you head south on the Pacific Coast Highway. Here at Big Sur you’ll find the unusual Pfeiffer State Beach, complete with purple sand – quite a contrast against the beautiful blue of the ocean.

Sunset on the purple sands at Pfeiffer State Beach

Dana Point

This is considered to be the ‘whale capital of the west’ so it’s a must see place and potentially one of the most beautiful scenic spots for that reason.

The cliffs offer some really dramatic scenery and it’s very popular with surfers and fishermen.

Dana Point Harbour – It’s easy to see why this such a popular scenic spot!

Point Loma 

This is the ultimate way to end your trip along this stretch of the pacific coast highway. Wander along the beautiful Point Loma peninsula to the old lighthouse, now a museum and a testament to the area’s history. Not far from here is the spot where the first European landed on the West Coast of America.

Point Loma Whitehouse was lit for the first time in 1855

Explore California 

There’s so much to see along the Pacific Coast Highway – these are just some of the highlights of the most scenic spots. But there’s also the fun of San Francisco, Malibu, and San Diego to mention but a few! 

If you are planning to visit California, and San Francisco, then please do get in touch with Gray Line San Francisco, we are the local sightseeing experts. We’ve been the global leader in sightseeing tours since 1910. We can help you explore the whole Bay and Coast area as well as Yosemite and our renowned wine areas.

When it comes to exploring the iconic Pacific Coast Highway we offer a tour from San Francisco to Monterey and Carmel – spread over one or two days – with all plenty of stops to take in the most scenic spots mentioned above.  There’s also our trip to the Monterey Bay Aquarium