California is a beautiful state with a plethora of beautiful scenery to take in. And while that usually means going for hikes or strolling along the beach, you can see a lot of great stuff from your car, too. All over the Golden State, there are amazing highways that you should make sure to hit on your next road trip throughout the state. Here is our list of the best scenic roads in California:
The Pacific Coast Highway
Yeah, this famous highway was always going to be number one. The PCH is one of the most iconic stretches of road in the entire country, and with good reason. There’s no better place to take in the famously beautiful California coastline from a car. This incredible road starts south of Los Angeles and ends all the way up in Mendocino County, so it’s a serious drive. If you’re planning on doing the whole thing, you’ll need at least two days to do it safely and properly. Make sure to stop on the way at places like Big Sur and Malibu; you won’t regret stopping and taking in the Pacific Ocean’s beauty.
Tioga Pass, or California Route 120, is another of the most scenic roads in the state for one reason: Yosemite. This national park is one of America’s most famous, and you can see a lot of it from the comfort of your car. Of course, you should stop and get out periodically. Take in the beautiful meadows, lakes, and even Half Dome; on the Tioga Pass road, you can get all of it.
I-5 by Mount Shasta
Interstate 5 is not known for being a scenic road, as it runs for hundreds of miles through the Central Valley. No disrespect to the Central Valley, but it’s not very scenic. However, there’s one part of I-5 that’s truly gorgeous: the Shasta Lake portion. Just north of Redding, I-5 climbs into the mountains, taking you across Shasta Lake and up through Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Stopping in Weed or Mt. Shasta for the night is the way to go, as these quaint little towns bring a lot of old-school charm. If you do this, you can also experience the rest of the drive in the early morning, which is an incredible sight to behold.