California was made for a road trip. It’s as though the famed Pacific Coast Highway was laid out to draw us up and down the coast to breathe in the salt air and rugged views in our cars, maps and tents in tow. Maybe it’s the poppies and daisies and mustard flowers exploding across the fields but the warmer weather and longer days have us planning our weekend adventures. Part of a whole, healthy life, after all, is living it.
Before we hit the road, we're going to go dad on you with some cool facts. Did you know, California has 21 missions along its coast? Each one is about 30 miles from the next - or a day's ride on horseback. If you're driving with kids, this makes for a fun diversion and easy distance marker for everyone in the car. Any road trip along our coast requires a stop in at least one of them. Lucky for us, our starting point has one of the best...
San Diego: one of those magical places that hugs multiple divides effortlessly. Nestled right up to Mexico and brimming with culture from both sides of the border, it’s the perfect launching pad for a California road trip. (Also, if you're prone to eating, some of the best Mexican food you can find north of the border.)
Head north to San Clemente for, basically, the real life version of a modern Beach Boys album: surf, sun...tacos.
Venice Beach: intoxicating in activity from the boardwalk, muscle beach, art, architecture and completely far out people.
You could stop in Santa Monica from there, or, head straight past and up The 1 to famed biker pit stop Neptune’s Net just north of Malibu for lunch and a swim at the beautiful California state beach, Leo Carillo.
Now you’re ready for the final stretch to Santa Barbara: our birthplace! Also epically beautiful, diverse and just genuinely brimming with great food, fun and surf. Plus, we were born there.
Oh and hey, co-pilot, we need help. Tag us and #bigplanetlittleshot with your road trip music picks and pit stops. If we add them to our final playlist, we'll thank you with SHOTS.