Elephant Seals and Great Views

Jordan and I spent 2.5 weeks in April and May of 2016 driving the coast of California. If you’d like to start at the beginning click here.

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway

We left San Luis Obispo midmorning with roughly three hours of pure driving time left. I’m not sure why I went into driving the Pacific Coast Highway naively but I didn’t think we’d have opportunities to stop. I assumed we would admire the scenery from our cars! Silly me.

Our three hour drive turned more into a six hour drive!

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway

Very quickly, after leaving SLO, the elevation rises and you truly are driving on the coast on a very narrow, two-lane road. A few minutes north of Hearst Castle (which if we had a full day we probably would have visited) but south of Big Sur, is a little stretch of beach where you can view the Pacific Coast Highway’s Elephant Seals!

There are road signs so it was easy to spot when we could pull off into a small parking lot. One website said the viewing season is December-March but we were there in April and the seals were still there. The Elephant Seals, flopping around on the beach, were pretty goofy looking!

Pacific Coast Highway's Elephant Seals

Pacific Coast Highway's Elephant Seals  DSC01891

There are many points during this drive where you’ll lose cellphone signal, so I highly suggest refueling your car or using the bathroom any chance you get. Some of the stops it’s encouraged to purchase an item at the gas station in exchange for using their bathroom. I panicked many times that I wouldn’t be able to last until the next rest stop, so we stopped a lot!

Speaking of panic, I experienced some anxiety at different points along this drive. I don’t mind the idea of heights but edges/balconies cause my stomach to toss and turn. At multiple spots on the drive, I road in the passenger seat with my eyes closed because I was convinced we’d blow over into the ocean. I believe it was a mixture of a greasy lunch (there aren’t many food options so next time I’d make a PB & J), pregnancy hormones and my lack of experience driving in mountainous regions. Curvy roads with mountainous cliffs do not exist in the midwest!

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway

^ Rolling hills on one side, ocean on the other.

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway Big Sur

Looking back, Jordan and I didn’t really leave enough time to thoroughly enjoy our time in and around Big Sur. We both felt rushed to catch the light and anytime we lingered somewhere too long I’d worry I’d need the bathroom. Seriously, not being near a bathroom is a problem in pregnancy!

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway Big Sur

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway Big Sur

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway Big Sur

Driving the Pacific Coast Highway Big Sur

Next up: Bixby Canyon Bridge!

20 thoughts on “Elephant Seals and Great Views”

  1. haha–one of the reasons I often avoid roadtrips in SE Asia is because I know from experience just how rare clean bathrooms are along the journey. 😛 But I love roadtripping in the USA! The coast looks stunning, and it would be very cool indeed to see the elephant seals!

  2. This is gorgeous- and I love your elephant seal shots! I sure wish I was along a coastline right about right now. Jealous! 🙂
    Have an amazing day!

  3. My husband and I made the drive from Los Angeles up to Monterey one weekend and decided to take the scenic route home, it took us an extra three hours to get there because we couldn’t help but stop along the way in Carmel to take pictures. It is a beautiful drive, but you’re so right, it is terrifying to be that close to the edge on such a small road. I always close my eyes too, but sometimes I think i’d feel better as the driver!

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