Determined to pack in as much as possible on our trip, we planned to start our trip on the California coastline. I met the boy straight off the plane and we drove down to Carmel. The drive from San Francisco to Carmel wasn’t in itself particularly scenic (the dramatic coastline was on hold until the next day) but in no time at all (or so it seemed to me given I promptly fell asleep…) we arrived in the picturesque sea-side town of Carmel.
Having been sat down for the best part of twelve hours, we used the opportunity to stretch our legs with a wander around the town and down to the beach. Carmel is tiny, but manages to pack a whole lot in – you could easily while away a day here. We walked past endless art galleries, inns and restaurants all housed in a myriad of different styles of building.
The following day, restored from a surprisingly good night’s sleep we set off down the ultimate California coastline highway, Route 1.
Almost from the get go the views blew my breath away…
And the Spring sunshine, pretty alien to us English, made the drive even more scenic.
We drove as far down as Hearst Castle, making sure to stop at Piedras Blancas to see the colony of Elephant Seals. The beach here is so covered, and the seals are so still, that at first sight you can’t quite tell they are there. But as soon as you get out of the car and the stench hits you it becomes clear and once you get over the smell, it is a spectacular sight and worth continuing down Route 1 for.
As we were on a fairly tight timescale, we only manage to hop in and out of the car at various vista points to take in the dramatic coastline, but I’d love to come back another time and take this stretch of coast a bit slower, hiking some of the trails nearby which I understand lead to even more impressive views (if that’s possible!)