HIT THE ROAD: try these top scenic drives that are so California it hurts

Whether you are hitting the freeway in downtown LA or driving the curvaceous coastline to Big Sur, this is the US state all road trippers have to visit.

Whether you are hitting the freeway in downtown LA or driving the curvaceous coastline to Big Sur, this is the US state all road trippers have to visit.


California may not have invented the road trip, but it certainly popularised it. Hollywood movies like Easy Rider, Thelma & Louise or Little Miss Sunshine made travel less about the destination and more about the (sometimes quite quirky and dangerous) journey.

America also loves a good road trip song from Steppenwolf’s classic Born to be Wild to Tom Cochrane’s Life is a Highway. When you think of California you think of a classic movie sunset and road for miles and miles.

These are our classic drives in the state that made road tripping cool:


Los Angeles to Santa Monica

It may not be wind-in-your-hair stuff but the drive from LA to the beach at Santa Monica is a classic for passing the billboards, boardwalks and dive bars that you have seen in the movies. You can do some people-watching of stars-in-the-making in Beverly Hills or the surfer-dudes-cum-models on the beaches made famous my Baywatch.

If you have the time to digress then wind your way up into the Hollywood Hills, home to the HOLLYWOOD sign, and if you want to make things a little bit David Lynch then do it at night with the headlights on.


San Francisco

For a San Fran road trip it is all about the bridge, taking on the sweeping arches of the Golden Gate Bridge, the icon that all filmmakers like to destroy in disaster movies from Pacific Rim to X-Men: Last Stand.

But since you have the car you can cruise the switchbacks of Lombard Street that is famous for the car chase scene in Bullitt. Or get down to Fisherman’s wharf and drive the San Francisco waterfront.


Big Sur

Few things can rival the beauty of the Bixby Creek Bridge at sunset, so time your drive to California’s Big Sur just right. Big Sur itself is where California’s mountains meet the sea, where you can wind around the coast roads and then park and hike into some seriously unspoilt wilderness.

Take the drive out to the Point Sur Lighthouse or visit Limekiln State Park that has historic lime kilns and ancient redwood forest.



The Pacific Coast Highway is one of the best-known scenic drives in the world. You can cruise all the way from Oregon to San Diego, but the drive from LA to Malibu is a great way to fill a lazy Sunday with friends. Take a range of side trips from Topanga Canyon Boulevard or Malibu Canyon Road, or just fill up the tank with gas and see where the road takes you.


Fly in and DriveAway

Go online and hire a car with DriveAway or check out the top drives in the US. And don’t just grab an ordinary car go FULL ROAD TRIP by hiring a Mustang and making like your movie heroes. Having a vehicle allows you to start living like a local, enjoy the sights, sounds and tastes that the California coast has to offer.

DriveAway offers FREE one-way rentals throughout California. Full insurance with nil excess on all vehicles. And FREE Additional drivers

Travelling to the USA in 2018? Don’t go past a self-drive experience with DriveAway. See your local travel agent for more information on how to book.

READ: Treasures and hidden gems in San Diego

READ: A-Lister Los Angeles, the ultimate guide

Have you taken to the freeway in the US?

Written by Paul Chai, KarryOn contributor

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