A coastal highway like no other…
And so began our drive back home to the Pacific Northwest.
We said our goodbyes to the gentle giants of Sequoia National Park and drove into sunset. But making our way toward the coast meant we were now on the last leg of our wildest California road trip.
It was day seven.
Has anyone ever told you that of all the road trips you can take in the USA, California’s scenic Highway 1 should be at the top of your list?
They’re not wrong. Granted, we started somewhere midway, but I told myself one day I’d return to take the entire road trip heading south.
Every turn we made led to a dramatic view…
But the most enchanting view of all? That gorgeous beach on the Big Sur Coast — McWay falls.
California, you showoff.
Can you believe this was someone’s bedroom view once upon a time? Lucky we get to share the view today…
But despite the magical scenery, there was a somber feeling in the wind. Later that day we realized that a wildfire began burning in the area, giving us a very eery glow.
Hows’s that for a natural photo filter?
We continued moving north, stopping at various view points, and eventually arriving to the city of Monterey that evening.
I love coastal towns at night. Everywhere smells like bonfire. Mmmmm…
Eager to get some rest, we decided we would stay the night in Monterey to visit the aquarium the following morning.
The rest is herstory….
Two weeks later, the Soberanes Fire would have ravaged through Big Sur (and beyond) for the next three months. It would be nearly two years later before access to most of Big Sur reopened again.
We were fortunate to have experienced this stretch of the California coast without getting caught among the fires.
This is also your daily reminder to please be mindful of your actions as you enjoy the outdoors. The Soberanes Fire was the result of an illegal campfire, but it destroyed homes and lives. Was it worth it?
Below are more photos and blurbs as we cruised up the coast and into Monterey. I’ll be posting a part 2 for the second stretch of the coast. Enjoy!
Love & Adventure,
CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY 1 TO MONTEREY
We were immediately greeted by beach-bummin’ wildlife :)
There were several pretty spots to shop and eat.
Look at these California cuties…
The winding roads were so dramatic. Even more with that marine layer fog.
Head above the clouds.
Is your favorite color ocean? :)
We pulled over to play oceanside.
Even all that smoke in the distance couldn’t take away from its beauty.
The photogenic Bixby Bridge in the distance?
And right to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, which is home to the picturesque McWay Falls.
How insane is this view?
Bixby Bridge may or may not be known as the Golden Gate of Big Sur :)
It wasn’t until later that we noticed the major plume of smoke behind us. We watched the helicopters for a while.
And into Monterey for the night…
Monterey Bay Aquarium
I’m normally no attracted to the typical tourist trap, but I really wanted to see the jelly fish. Haha.
It’s been said that this is one of the best aquariums in the USA. And rightfully so…
The kelp forest exhibit was mesmerizing!
I stole this moment from two random strangers…
But the real stars of the show were these orange jellies — the Pacific Sea Nettle.
Turn your screen brightness up, and tell me these photos don’t look 3D to you! I’m so mind-blown.
Seriously! 3D or nah? *heart eyes*
Not photographed are the crowds of tourists behind me. Haha.
Sure got my jelly dose :)
We left the aquarium and continued north toward San Francisco. Join me on the next post for part 2 of this coastal route.
Thanks for joining me on this virtual trip! Stay home…stay healthy <3
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Stay curious, wild hearts!