Highway No. 1 - it's one of the well-known coastal roads in the nation. The 470 mile (756 km) stretch between Los Angeles and San Francisco is the most driven part of this even longer road.
Highway 1, that is the stretch that follows directly the coast line, elsewhere it's named Highway 101. The road begins south of Leggett in North California, reaches Mendocino and then San Francisco. Many travelers start here their way south and visit the Monterey peninsula, drive via San Louis Obispo to Lompoc, Santa Barbara and eventually Los Angeles. The highway final stretch leads close to San Clemente, where Highway 101 meets Highway 5.
Even if a road atlas refers to to famous highway as "California 1" it's for travelers just and in a classic manner "Highway No 1" or "The Pacific Coast Highway". Latter name hits the nail on its head: it is an impressive scenic road along the rugged coast line of the Pacific Ocean - it's even more: it offers an emotional drive along one of the best coasts in the world.
What is the suggested and best direction? North to South or vice versa? However you may decide, it's beautiful anyway, but many say that they prefer South to North, because the journey end in the city with the most ambience: San Francisco.
No doubt about it... you might do it in one day! But: this is not a road for travelers in a hurry. This scenery along the coast must be enjoyed and needs time. And considering that the summer travel season brings zillions of tourists to California this road can get crowded. Big RV's making their way on the winding road, slow cars with people looking around and bikers enjoying views and the ocean breeze make it anyway difficult to step on the gas.
An optimal time frame is between 2 and 5 days - they longer you can afford, the better, because you have the chance to stop more often at magnificent beach stretches and relaxing towns.