Photo by Katina / agefotostock
Drive from Malibu to Manhattan Beach
The journey down Highway 1 is the iconic California road trip, and this coastal route is a great choice whether you're in Northern California, the central coast, or in SoCal. But there's something extra special about driving the Pacific Coast Highway as it approaches its southern end. The skies are guaranteed to be blue, the weather begs for a convertible, and the passing sands are alive with sunbathers, swimmers, and beach ball tossers. Start your drive in Malibu and wind down the shoreside highway to Santa Monica. When you get to the pier you'll veer eastward, but don't worry, PCH edges back toward the shore once you circumnavigate LAX; then you're on your way to the idyllic seafront communities of Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Redondo Beach.
By Sarah Purkrabek, AFAR Contributor
California's Colorful Sunsets
Nothing beats the bursting color of the sunsets in LA, especially when the endless ocean horizon is the backdrop. Post up at a lifeguard stand on the sand, a rooftop with a view or a roadside lookout spot along the cliffs of the Pacific Coast Highway to fully take in the serene moment of the days end. Watching the vibrant oranges, purples and pinks fade into a pastel palette is a magical experience that is never the same but is always astounding. Hotel Erwin in Venice and Shangri-La in Santa Monica are two of the few rooftop bars with an ocean view and the two oversized “Singing Beach Chairs” between Pico and the Santa Monica Pier are a unique alternative to the lifeguard stands, boardwalk and beach.
By Susan Mason, AFAR Local Expert