You’ve heard of Santa Monica Pier, seen pictures of McWay Falls, been told to ride a bike over the Golden Gate Bridge; All popular and wonderful things to see and do on Highway 1, California.
But, what about the not so famous spots along the road? Off the beaten track scenery and opportunities for the perfect Instagram. Ok, that second point was a joke. Or was it?
So here are a couple ‘off the beaten track’ pit stops to add to your list while driving Highway 1.
Big Sure Hot Tub Springs
Hidden in Big Sur are the Esalen Hot Springs, a spa retreat famed for its system of outdoor hot tubs all fed by natural hot springs. They are usually reserved for an elite and start studded guest list but are open at certain times to those savvy travelers in the know. The catch?! The ‘Public Bathing’ Program is open to the public between 1AM and 3AM.
Abandoned Davenport Pier swing
Just north of Santa Cruz stands an abandoned pier. A pier that could have been at one point similar to the ones you see up and down the coast of California. It was never completed and the support beams were just left in the water. Someone added a chain swing to the first arch, which can be accessed during low tide. I repeat low tide. There are no stairs or trails down to the beach, so climbing the rocks in your only option up or down. I, unfortunately, got on the swing just as the waves decided to rage and by the end of my ’leisurely’ swing, was drenched head to toe.
Kirby Cove swing
Yes, you should ride your bike over the Golden Gate Bridge, but you should also drive over as well to Marin Headlands. There is a short hike down a long unassuming driveway near one of the lookouts at Marin Headlands that leads down to a small campsite and a very quite beach. The views of the bridge and San Francisco in the background are unobstructed and beautiful on a clear day. At the end of the beach, someone has hung a swing in the tree that allows you to take a photo as you swing out over the water with the bridge in the background. A pretty cool outlook to just sit and take it all in (if there isn’t a line of people waiting to do the same thing).
Herstory is a weekly column on women and travel by Steph Ridhalgh. Steph is a Sydney born; New York based television producer and travel blogger. Not one for being quiet for too long she simply loves talking about travel and lifestyle.
Steph is the founder of STEP(h) ABROAD, a travel and lifestyle resource for those who love to be in the know and know how.