Driving the California Coast- CA-1

Driving the California Coast Bodega Bay

This morning our wine country birthday trip split up.  All but three ladies left for the airport in San Francisco to head back home to the cold East Coast.  Krista, Rebekah, and I opted to continue the birthday trip for another day. We spent it driving the California coast.  Rebekah had never seen the Pacific so this was her chance!

Driving the California Coast

The scenery from Sonoma to the coast was gorgeous.  It reminded me a lot of Ireland- green with a lot of curvy roads. The drive to the coast was a little over an hour from our condo.  We stopped for photos once and almost lost Krista in the pasture.  She returned having taken this gorgeous picture:


Photo by Krista

Bodega Bay was our first stop along the coast. It was very windy!  After rolling up our jeans we braved the cold Pacific California waters. To visit Bodega Bay you are supposed to pay an entrance fee. The rangers are nice enough to waive it if you just drive though (and maybe make one stop for photos and to dip your toes in the frigid ocean).

Driving the California Coast Bodega Bay with Rebekah

photo by Krista

My thoughts always turn to food quickly. It turns out everyone was in the mood for seafood.  My friend Mariah was doing this same drive last year and ended up eating at a dive called The Marshall Store which she absolutely loved and recommended.

Giant clam chowder for me:

Driving the California Coast Marshall Store Clam Chowder

And oysters to share:

Driving the California Coast Marshall Store oysters

This was by far the best meal we had on the whole trip.  I’m not really big on clam chowder but I would be if they all tasted this good!  And the oysters were so fresh and clean, mostly because they are pulled out of the waters in front of the restaurant.  Krista and Rebekah also got ceviche which they really liked.  My recommendation: definitely come to The Marshall Store and get some chowder and oysters!

Driving the California Coast Pacific Ocean

CA-1 has a lot of different names as you drive along the coast.  But CA-1 or Coastal Highway gets the job done on Google Maps.

Driving the California Coast Miwok Beach

The Pacific Ocean was roaring at Miwok Beach.  The waves were huge- not swimmable but maybe okay to surf? I’m not a surfer but one may have enjoyed these monster waves (obviously avoiding the rocks).

Coastal Highway reminded me a lot of the Great Ocean Road in Australia.

Driving the California Coast Miwok Beach 2

Next on our adventure we drove into Armstrong Redwoods State Park, through the tiny town of Duncans Mills.  Stop here for a pee break and a bite to eat.  This was a truly adorable town.

Driving the California Coast Armstrong Redwoods State Park

The Redwoods in Armstrong State Park are old.  Well some of them are, up to 1400 years old (source)! These Redwoods look like churros.  I must be hungry again.

Driving the California Coast Redwoods churros

You can walk around the on trails provided or drive through if the weather is not so nice.  We did a little of both.  Walking was the best way to see how big the tree were though.

I hug trees!

Driving the California Coast Armstrong Redwoods

After a long day with a lot of different scenery we drove back to Sonoma for one last night in wine country.  We kicked up our feet, drank a delicious bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, and chatted over reality TV for the rest of the night.

Napa and Sonoma Valleys are a great place to take a long girls weekend. Even if you aren’t a big wine drinker, Sonoma has great proximity to the sights of the Bay Area and to the coast.  Someday I will be back!

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6 Responses

  1. Courtney says:


    That looked like a great trip. I might have to try it. You can help me talk Michael into it. 🙂

  2. Mariah says:

    Yay a blog shoutout! The churro trees made me laugh, why has that not been invented in real life yet??

  3. Madaline says:

    You pictures make me miss California so so much! I use to live much farther south then San Fran and NoCal, way down in Santa Monica. But how I miss it. There’s a wildness about California that so few people capture.

  4. The Coast Highway is gorgeous throughout the entire state! I hope someday you can do the southern part of it, and also when it’s a bit warmer. 🙂

  5. Isabel says:

    This place looks insane!!! Looks like a fun weekend activity, can’t wait to explore more of California!

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