Pacific Coast Highway • The Roadtrip Everyone Should Take

by | Dec 4, 2015 | Travel |

Planning the Trip

I love roadtrips. They are one of my favorite past times. So when my gf, Karen, qualified with her to team, CrossFit Jääkarhu, to compete in the 2015 CrossFit Games I immediately broke out the map and starting planning our post Games roadtrip. The Games are held in Carson, California. The plan was for me to fly out early Sunday and watch the last day of competition. We would then spend the night in Hermosa Beach and then head up the 1. Below you can see our trip plan. We packed in a whole lot of awesomeness and by far my favorite was the Hearst Castle. Ok on to the gameplan. I broke out each of our stops with tips or pointers for anyone looking for ‘em 😉

Planning the trip was just as much fun for me as experiencing it. I used Google Maps to plot all of our destinations and see what the drive times would be. We drove approximately 4-6 hours on each leg and stopped whenever we wanted. We had a compact car we rented, because we read about the luggage issues with convertibles. This worked out well because we would have 100% ran into the luggage issue with a convertible. I flew into LAX and then picked up the car and then headed to the CrossFit Games.

Below is the route we took with all the stops (google map link):

PCH Trip

CrossFit Games

The Fittest On Earth

I have been interested in CrossFit for a few years now. However, I had never been to the Games. My first experience at the CrossFit Games was transformative. It was a bit surreal to see these WODs and athletes be packaged into such a large and impressive weekend. The whole setup with Vender Village to the Finals was top notch. It was definitely the catalyst in my mind that solidified CrossFit as a sport. I really enjoyed watching my GF and friends compete. After attending the Games, a lot more makes sense on why these athletes decimate themselves in the off season just to punch their ticket to Carson.

Hermosa Beach

So after all the fitness I stayed with the team at the house they rented in Hermosa Beach. The house was awesome and it was a lot of fun hanging with everyone post-Games. After an decent, yet some what intoxicated night of sleep (give me a break it was a celebration), I woke up to explore this sleepy beach town. I had a great time running along the beach and then I grabbed a quick 20 minute Headspace session on the pier. Lastly, we had a phenomenal breakfast at this place right next to the library. Stuffed with eggs, pancakes and avocados Karen and I said our goodbyes to the team and began first leg of the trip, Venice Beach Boardwalk and Muscle Beach.


Venice Beach, Pepperdine University, & Pismo Beach

All the things!

Venice Beach

We arrived in Venice a little after noon. The boardwalk was absolutely bustling with commerce, crafts and headshops, a lot of headshops. Karen and I went and check out Muscle Beach and were a little disappointed. I had this mental image of super swole Schwarzengger’s running around. This was not the case. We played around here for a little while, I grabbed some shots and then we were off to our second destination, Pepperdine University.

Pepperdine University


After a few navigation errors, we found Pepperdine University. I have always wanted to see Pepperdine ever since I read an article talking about how it is one of the prettiest, if not the prettiest campus in the US. Perched high in the hills, this campus looked more like a rich person retreat than a University. The views were breathtaking, but the architecture left me wanting more. Overall, it was a breath taking campus, but I will stick my Alma Mater, Indiana University, as having the prettiest campus in the US 🙂

Pismo Beach


As the sun started it’s decent, Karen and I headed for our hotel, Cottage Inn By the Sea. This hotel was great. Location was awesome and Pismo was a cool little beach town. However, in retrospect I wish we would have had little more time to explore Pismo. We grabbed some food near the ocean and walked the Boardwalk back to the hotel. I liked this place, but would like to stay longer. In the morning, we head to Hearst Castle!

Hearst Castle, Elephant Seals, Bixby Bridge

We stayed in Asilomar

Hearst Castle

This was my favorite part of the trip. Hands down. Tours are offered along with a great documentary that gives you context and history behind this building masterpiece. Karen and I opted to watch the movie first and then go up the hill to the castle. We did the Main Rooms and the Upper Rooms tours. The guest houses looked cool, but my wallet or my watch didn’t approve of three tours. I can’t really put into words how breathtaking this whole estate is. One of the truest representations of a dream finding resources, and by all accounts William Randolph Hearst seemed pretty legit. I could/should write a whole blog post on the opulence, taste, and epicness of Hearst Castle, but for brevity’s sake I will just tell you to go check out 😉 One regret of this leg of the trip was a restaurant, who has the best burger I have ever had, called Sebastian’s was closed. I really wanted to be able to get Karen a burger from there. If you have a chance check Sebastian’s out, very cool spot!

Elephant Seals


The Elephant Seals are just up the road from the Castle and will transport you right into a Nat Geo documentary. The seals were massive and friendly, although signs recommend you not get too close, as they are fairly territorial. It was a quick stop and definitely worth the parking anxiety associated with. I grabbed a few photos and then we were off to my second favorite part of the trip, the Bixby Creek Bridge.

Bixby Creek Bridge

This was one of my favorite parts of the trip! I have been stalking this bridge on flickr and 500px for awhile now. It is was a blast and we had the fog break for us. I was really happy with the photos and experience 🙂


We stayed at a Asilomar Conference center. I had stayed here previously for Big Nerd Ranch. It is an awesome location, but a little rugged. In retrospect, I would choose somewhere else 🙂 Still a really interesting spot to stay. Right next door is Pebble Beach and a legit lighthouse.

Winchester Mystery House, San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge & Muir Woods

San Francisco Vibes

Winchester Mystery House

The Winchester Mystery House was something I was pretty stoked for. However, after seeing Hearst Castle the Mystery House was a bit underwhelming. It is also not air conditioned so it started to heat up and the end of the tour. Another thing that really burst my bubble was that you were not allowed to take pictures inside the house…major bummer. Still an interesting story and worth checking out. Just don’t see Hearst Castle the day before 😉

San Francisco


We finally arrived in San Francisco and Karen book us into a cool little hotel on Lombard street called the Seaside Inn. The room was small, but everything we needed. Plus I prefer a small room with a great location versus having a great room in a shitty location. Seaside Inn was definitely the former.

Golden Gate Bridge


We caught the fog and the epic winds of the bay, so Karen and I walked to the middle and then back to the car. We also went above to see the view, but the fog cock blocked all the views and the wind was level 11 so we didn’t spend too much time up there.

Muir Woods


This was Karen’s favorite part of the trip. We hiked to our heart’s delight and we enjoyed the glorious place! P.S. Parking can sometimes be crazy. FYI 😃

Any spots we missed or should have visited? Leave some love in the comments below.