The Californian Coast and the Pacific Coast Highway
The Californian coastline runs down the eastern side of the country separating the mainline from the Pacific Ocean. It is followed by the State Route 1 which is a major road that stretches for over 650 miles and is more commonly known as the Pacific Coast High way. Its’ most southern point is near Dana Point in Orange County, and the highway ends near Leggett in Mendocino Valley. Along its route it combines stunning scenery, with passing by some of the country’s most important urban areas.
The Californian coastline has always been a major attraction for both domestic and international tourists. The combination of Mediterranean type weather, huge expanses of sand and an exciting Ocean has attracted people to tour the area, since tourism became popular at the start of the 20th century. The 1960s saw California rise in popularity as the region became synonymous with the liberation of the country’s youth. Whether it be the rise in the surf culture, the creation of surf rock or even due to the fact that the summer of love saw rock festivals being held in the San Francisco area, the whole region became associated with freedom, liberation and protest.
It became particularly popular with the hippy generation. The casual attitudes towards, sex drugs and anti-war feelings saw many people virtually taking residence in the region, travel up and down the coastline in campervans. From this atmosphere surfing communities became established. The beauty of California as a surfing destination is that it is not faced by a calm sea. The Pacific Ocean has a huge fetch and if the land is in the correct position it produces some of the most challenging waves in the world.
Beaches such as Malibu Beach and Venice Beach attracted people in their thousands and their location’s, just on the door step of Los Angeles only increased their popularity. Just as people were being attracted into the region by its sun and surf the urban centres were proving to be also a great draw. The growth of Hollywood in Los Angeles, has ensured that the city attracts many thousands of visitors each year to the film sets, the famous studios and the homes where the stars live. There are many attractions related to the film industry, and Los Angeles is able to combine this with it also being a modern day city, with outstanding nearby beaches.
Up the coastline from Los Angeles is the urban area of San Francisco. The drive along the coastline to the city in the far north of the State is a spectacular journey as the towering mountains overlook the vast beaches. The spectacular views remain on entering San Francisco bay. The city is unique with it being one of the most undulating in the country and the huge San Francisco Bay has Alcatraz Island in the middle of it. The Island is a huge tourist attraction as it used to be the site of the Alcatraz prison famed for the fact that it was impossible for prisoners to escapes as the water in the bay had such strong currents that no one could survive.
The city is in the top 20 cities in the world to visit. It streets have been in many a TV series and famous movies and it is famed for being under constant threat from earthquake activity. The Golden Gate Bridge allows traffic to cross over the bay but in itself is a major tourist attraction. Just beyond the southern-most point of the Pacific Coast Highway is the city of San Diego. Being so close to the Mexican border there is a Spanish feel to the architecture of the city. It is one of the healthiest cities in the United States to live in and has an abundance of clean beaches and large park areas. There is a real cultural feel to the city with numerous galleries and it possesses a famous zoo. The vastness of California means that it is possible to snow ski and water ski in the space of one day. It is understandable why it is such a popular tourist destination.