Los Angeles to California Coast and Yosemite Road Trip

From sparkling beaches to fresh food, this 1,140-mile route gives you the best of California's Central Coast on the way to Yosemite National Park.

The Bixby Bridge on California Highway 1

The Bixby Bridge on California Highway 1


Get your camera rolling for this unforgettable coastal road trip that begins in Los Angeles. Experience the best of the area’s film history and natural beauty while avoiding the crowds and congestion with our tips on the following pages. You can do hikes at a ranch used for film and TV sets, go on a wine tasting safari in Malibu and picnic where the mess tent for the TV show M*A*S*H was.

Then point your wheels north where sparkling waves, seals and wine trails await in authentic towns like Camarillo, Ventura, Oxnard, Lompoc, Santa Maria and Pismo Beach. North of Pismo Beach make seven spectacular stops, including Hearst Castle, along the stunning Hwy. 1, which hugs the coast.

As you leave the coast, stop in Gilroy, the "Garlic Capital of the World," and experience its fantastic Gilroy Gardens Family Theme Park. The gorgeous gardens are home to trees from all over the world and 21 children's rides fashioned into such edible items as bananas.

Then head east to Yosemite where the cathedral of granite domes leaning over Yosemite Valley will take your breath away.


Start: Los Angeles, Calif.

Hollywood Sets and Wine Safaris in Conejo Valley

Malibu Wine Safaris at Conejo Valley, Calif.

Malibu Wine Safaris

Say goodbye to the hustle and bustle of LA and hello to its quieter but fun side when you visit Conejo Valley.

Sea-Swept Vistas on the Ventura County Coast

Ventura, Calif. under the stars with Channel Islands National Park in the distance.

Ventura under the stars with Channel Islands National Park in the distance.

Just 30 miles from Thousand Oaks, you’ll find beauty at these seven sea-swept vistas in Ventura County along California’s undiscovered coast.

Stop at Ventura Harbor Village
Base out of Ventura Harbor Village for easy access to Channel Islands National Park, a gorgeous beach and a lively seaside experience.

Wild Islands at Channel Islands National Park
Take a day to explore the “American Galapagos,” otherwise known as Channel Islands National Park.

Lompoc Valley's Top 6

La Purisima Mission in Lompoc

La Purisima Mission in Lompoc

Pronounced “Lom-poke,” this scenic valley town offers a ton to see and do year-round including a mission, local wine, a mural walk, a scenic course and a secluded beach.

Wine and Wonders in the Santa Maria Valley

Santa Maria Valley Wine Trolley

Santa Maria Valley Wine Trolley

Toast to the Land! In the heart of the Santa Maria Valley wine country, here are five authentic things not to miss including a wine trail and trolley, a buried city and food for thought.

California Dreamin' at Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach Sunset on Pier

The Pier at Pismo Beach

Experience the West Coast's surf culture in this vibrant beach town. In winter, see the migration of thousands of monarch butterflies.

9 Stops on the California Highway 1 Discovery Route

Old Woody car near Cayucos Pier in California

Old Woody car near Cayucos Pier

Follow the magnificent Hwy. 1 along 101 miles to experience these nine dazzling spots including a luxurious castle and a tree-lined walk to the beach.

A Taste of the Coast at Cima Collina near Monterey and Carmel

Pouring wine at Cima Collina

Pouring wine at Cima Collina

When she was 24, Annette Hoff Danzer decided to shape her career around a grape, specifically the Pinot Noir. Sip wine next to the Cima Collina winery for a window into winemaking. Try the new wine experience in Marina’s Urban Wine Row.

Local Flavor in Gilroy, The Garlic Capitol of the World

Gilroy Garlic Festival

The pyro chefs in Gourmet Alley serve up sizzling calamari at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. 

The annual Gilroy Garlic Festival has grown into one of the nation’s most famous food fests, but Gilroy's garlic treats and themes don't stop there

Deep-Rooted Secret at Gilroy Gardens
When Axel Erlandson died, he left behind his legendary circus trees. Here's how two strangers saved them.

Try Something New in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite's Half Dome Guest Lounge

Yosemite's Half Dome Guest Lounge

Year-round Fun in Yosemite National Park
Take a leap and try new activities to explore the park. Which ones have you tried?

Tour Yosemite Like a Local with Gypsy Guide
On your Yosemite adventure, listen to an entertaining guide in your car.

More fun in Yosemite

End: Back to Los Angeles