Malibu CoastMalibu, California 1 of 11
There are many places to stop in Malibu for dinner or drinks. Don't waste time searching for a restaurant with the "perfect view." All you need to do is pull over to the side of the road and take in some of the best views in Southern California.
If you're driving from San Diego, this may be one of your first photo-worthy stops, so be sure to stop at one of the pull-offs on this stretch of road.
Hearst CastleSan Simeon, California 2 of 11
This stop is one of the most outrageous on the Pacific Coast Highway drive. William Hearst, a wealthy media mogul in the mid 1900s, inherited 40,000 acres of land in 1919. Over time, he transformed it into a 250,000-acre estate, complete with a castle, pools (indoor and outdoor) and sculptures.
Stop at Hearst Castle for a tour of the grounds, and don't forget to look for zebras as you turn onto the property; these animals are some of the few left over from Hearst's personal zoo.
Kirk Creek CampgroundLos Padres National Forest, Big Sur 3 of 11
This spot will ruin you for all future campgrounds—the views, sizable campsites and beach access is unbeatable. Get ready for sunset views from your tent and long evenings under the stars. Note: Fires aren't always allowed within the campground during wildfire season; call before arriving so you can prepare properly.
Vincente Flat TrailBig Sur, California 4 of 11
Located directly across from Kirk Creek Campground, this hike gives you a little taste of everything that Big Sur has to offer. Enjoy never-ending ocean views, tall redwood trees and a cool, shady forest.
Marshall BeachSan Francisco, California 5 of 11
Visit Marshall Beach for the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge in the city. After hiking down a steep set of sandy stairs, you can relax on the beach with unforgettable views to the right.
The Founders Grove LoopHumboldt Redwoods State Park, California 6 of 11
Take a one-night detour away from the coast to experience the majesty of the mighty Redwood Forest. While there are plenty of trails and scenic locations to visit in this area, Founders Grove is one of the most exciting. Pick up a self-guided tour packet, which you can get at your campground or at the entrance of the trail, and walk along. The packet provides information about what you're looking at. Don't forget to take photos of both the massive downed trees and robust living ones.
Fern CanyonPrairie Creek Redwoods State Park, California 7 of 11
Take your Pacific Coast Highway drive to a new world, one unlike anything you've experienced before. Tall canyon walls are covered with bright green ferns and the ground is covered with tiny bridges, downed trees and small flowing streams. This sublime site is where Jurassic Park 2 was filmed.
Sunset Bay State ParkCoos Bay, Oregon 8 of 11
This is a family-friendly campground, with clean bathrooms and comfortable campsites. Once you're settled, get out of your tent and head to an unmarked trail, located next to the beach parking lot and just past the footbridge. The trail leads you up to the top of the cliffs, where you'll be treated to breathtaking 360-degree views of the bay and the ocean.
Multnomah FallsColumbia River Gorge, Oregon 9 of 11
Two waterfalls make up Multnomah Falls—the upper falls cascade 542 feet down to the lower falls, which plunge another 62 feet to the pool below it. Walk to the bridge, a perfect spot for photos, and then hike the 1-mile paved trail to the top of the falls, where you'll find views of the Columbia River Gorge.
Japanese GardensPortland, Oregon 10 of 11
Portland is a city for active people, with more trails and parks than many urban cities. If you're looking for a relaxing afternoon, but still want to be outside, head to the Japanese Gardens. Note: there's a $9.50 fee to get in. This road trip stop is a relaxing outdoor getaway, where you can explore, meditate or both.