Only 3 months after returning from our road trip in California I thought it was about time I posted up my little vegan guide to each of the places we went. Starting at the start, our Pacific Coast Highway Road trip. According to the Internet the Pacific Coast Highway is one of the road trips you must do in your life. While I will say the drive along the coast itself is beautiful, as someone from Scotland, where pretty much the entire coast looks like this, I must say it didn’t wow me like I had hoped. But, there are some amazing stops along the way so I would still recommend the road trip! I loved the quirky little towns and random tourist stops along the way!
California can be very expensive and I found that if you are doing a road trip like this, in all honesty just pick something in your budget. We found Super 8 good as it is cheap, clean and has car parking. If I went back I would stay in Super 8’s again. They are by no means fancy, and you will not be putting photos of those rooms on Instagram, but a great budget option. The other bonus is every Super 8 we stayed in had a fridge which is perfect if you are vegan (even if you are not I guess!!). We went to local shops and bought food for breakfasts and packed lunches and obviously soya milk. Having a fridge for this is a must, it’s not quite the same as Scotland where things can be left out for days and you not really notice the difference haha!
The Super 8’s we stayed in also served breakfast, it was nothing great but did mean we could grab a coffee or tea to take with us to start the day, adding the aforementioned soya milk. Being able to just hit the road with a coffee at 7am (or earlier!) was perfect as most places were not open yet but the Super 8 always had us jet lagged people sorted!
The food on the coast is quite understandably fish orientated, however we never struggled to find places to eat on the way. The options tended to be Mexican, which for me is no issue, but if you really don’t like it I would suggest you find and plan places to eat in advance. It can be easy to miss places if you do not have a ready made plan! Just give the Happy Cow app a check in advance and you will be sure to always have something half decent.
The only place we went which I would say is a must visit if you are in the area is the Saturn Café in Santa Cruz. It has a great laid back atmosphere and is all veggie. I decided to go for a vegan Space Cowboy which was really good. The burger had bacon, cheese and bbq sauce, yum! The only downside was I did feel like the food was a bit salty after leaving, but I think this was just the fries. Maybe ask for them with no salt. I wish I could have gone back here for breakfast as the menu looked fab, maybe one day I will get back! If you are in Santa Cruz definitely give it a try.
Top Places to Visit
On the drive itself there are plenty places to stop for a view, no turning off the road required. But there are also loads of different towns along the way. When planning the road trip it can be hard to choose which ones to visit. My favourites are below.
Morro Bay was where we spent our first night and I am so glad we did as while there is not much to do there, every Saturday morning a group of car enthusiasts all meet to show off their beautiful old cars. If you are American, this will be nice enough, but if you are from elsewhere in the world it is amazing to see so many old cars you will probably have never seen before. All the owners love people having a look too, even encouraging you to get inside.
They all congregate in the car park opposite the water. The only thing to note on this is as it is just a group of individuals, there may be days they are not there. But if you are passing through I do suggest you do a drive past to check.
We kind of stumbled across Carmel-by-the-Sea while trying to find something in my guide book, which incidentally we never found! But this little place more than made up for it. The town is super cute, I barely put my camera away! It is clearly a wealthy area but to swing past for a little look in the shops, a coffee and a short walk along the beach, I highly recommend it. Both my husband and I began to imagine ourselves living in such a perfect little community, it really was beautiful.
Santa Cruz is the gem on this road trip for me. I just adored this place. Obviously to be on the set of Lost Boys is pretty cool in itself but this place just epitomises everything which non Americans think America should be. The boardwalk and fair are perfect. If you do this road trip, you have to visit, and obviously it is home to Saturn Café so double reason to go! We only had a few hours to spend here in our plan, but I really wished we had more. In fact I would definitely plan to spend a night here should I ever go back.
Have you been on a Pacific Road trip? Where do you suggest to eat or visit?