From Central to Southern California, there are countless places to explore in your BMW.
Sand Dollar Beach in Big Sur
As you venture down the central coast of California in your Bimmer, you’ll want to pull over and spend some time in the rugged, mountainous, and stunningly-scenic section known as Big Sur. Although this national treasure of undeveloped coastline offers many beaches that seem hard to access (either because they are blocked by private properties or require precarious hikes to get to), there are some Big Sur beaches you can access, including Sand Dollar Beach. Located along the southern Big Sur coast about half-way between Cambria and Big Sur Station, the long and wide sandy Sand Dollar Beach offers a nice picnic area and great place to watch hardcore surfers ride the waves. While sand dollars are not ever-present along the shores, you can find some beautiful jade stones and rounded sea rock. This destination on your BMW road trip is perfect for fishing, picnicking, or simply beachcombing – and it’s dog-friendly, so feel free to bring Fido. While there are plenty of diverse places to eat in Big Sur, you’ll want to patronize The Big Sur Bakery. Beloved for their credo to “slow down and come to your senses” you’ll enjoy their fresh, homemade pastries and pizzas.
Carpintaria State Beach’s Seal Sanctuary
About 5 hours south of Big Sur, Carpinteria is an amazing harbor seal rookery just south of Carpinteria State Beach. While the sanctuary is off-limits to the public, you can still pull over in your bimmer and take in the amazing view of the lively marine animals from the public overlook on the bluff just above the sanctuary. On most days, there is a volunteer on the bluff to answer questions and provide you with lots of information about the sanctuary. While you’re in the area, consider swinging by the Padaro Beach Grill – “where food and paradise collide” — for some delicious food and cold beverages. This oceanside American eatery and bar offers seating not only indoors and on their patio, but also on the grass for picnics! They’ve got fantastic appetizers and many favorites on their menu, including popular calamari, Maui burgers, and shrimp and avocado salads!
Jolla Shores Beach
A little stretch of the California coast known as “the jewel” of San Diego, La Jolla Shores Beach is about 8 hours south of Big Sur and is one of San Diego residents’ best kept secrets. Of all the San Diego beaches, it offers some of the most gentle waters and crystal clear views to the ocean floor; it’s no surprise local snorkelers, SCUBA divers, and swimmers alike love La Jolla Cove and yearn to keep their enthusiasm for it as quiet as possible. Its clean sandy beaches and close proximity to the San Diego La Jolla Underwater Park Ecological Reserve are hard to resist. If you forget to pack your snorkel for your road trip along California’s coastline but yearn to check out the bounty of colorful marine life in that area – no problem! You can rent gear right there at La Jolla Beach (and even hire a guide to take you to the cove!) The area also offers guided kayak tours or you can head up just above the La Jolla Cove area and go to Scripps Park for a picnic and awe-inspiring (and selfie backdrop) views of the ocean. As part of the Reserve, the La Jolla Beach area steadfastly prohibits fishing and “collecting” any treasures from the ocean or hidden in the sand – including even the smallest of seashells! After an afternoon on the beach and while you’re still in the area, consider exploring what’s happening at the world-renowned Tony Award-winning La Jolla Playhouse on the campus of the University of California San Diego.
Venturing along the PCH to take in all that the area has to offer in magnificent scenic views, marine life, and areas eateries, shops, and entertainment facilities cannot possibly be accomplished on one road trip in your BMW. If you plan it out, however, (while still remaining flexible to whatever amazing adventures unfold), over time you can explore a lot of what our amazing coastline offers.