Ultimate Travel Guide to California’s Coast

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to experience the natural beauty and exciting cities on the coast of California, you understand just how special they are. If you haven’t, allow this to be your ultimate travel guide for the must-sees and experiences up and down the coast. Whether you’re stopping at one of the many adored towns on the map of California’s coast or taking a trip down the entire coastline, you’re sure to have a grand adventure.

While there are many ways to experience everything on the map of the coast of California, there are quite a few stops to choose from. How are you to know which seaside California cities are worth your time? With this guide, gain a little understanding of each spectacular town listed to see if it’s a must-stop location on your next vacation. 

California Coast Map Wood Charts

California Coast 3-D Nautical Wood Chart

Once you’re set on the trip, consider commemorating your travels with a wood map of the coast of California. Made of high-quality wood, a wood chart of your beloved California coast maps will make the perfect souvenir for you to look back fondly on your travels long after they end. From San Diego to San Francisco, there’s a wood map for every adventurer.

Wood charts of California, whether that be a wall clock, a serving tray, a cribbage board, or a wood map, will be the missing piece of décor in your home. With every glance at your wood chart, you will relive the tales and anecdotes of your travels. Instead of purchasing side-of-the-road plastic souvenirs, invest in these sustainable and high-quality wood maps to memorialize your trip forever and ever. 

What’s the Best Route to Drive on the Coast of California Map?

The Pacific North Highway road trip is the best route to drive the length of California’s coast and makes for one of the most talked-about car trips for a reason—it can’t be missed. If you’re excited to make that scenic drive down the entire map of California’s coast, you’re in for around a 10- to 12-hour-long trip through breathtaking views and special cities. Should you decide to stop in one of the many exciting towns, plan for a few days so you can get the full experience.

Hot tip: drive the coast from north to south to experience the different climates. Start in San Francisco, making memories with Alcatraz and the rolling streets. Then work your way down south, hitting every beach town the map of California’s coast has to offer. After hitting a bunch of rousing cities in between (more on those in a second), end the long journey in San Diego, or continue all the way down the Baja Peninsula. Take your time to soak in the sun and memories.

Spots You Can’t Miss Along the Map of California’s Coast

Seascape of Monterey Bay at Sunset in Pacific Grove, California

If you’re considering doing the grand adventure of the California coast map from north to south, you won’t want to miss out on exploring these cities. Try planning your vacation in this order (though there may be a few day-trip excursions to include):

  • San Francisco
  • Monterey Bay
  • Santa Barbara
  • Malibu
  • Los Angeles
  • San Diego

San Francisco Travels

Whether you know San Fran for the colorful Painted Lady’s houses, the infamous Alcatraz prison, or the fabulous Golden Gate Bridge, you’ll know anyone who has graced its steep streets can tell you that this is a city that you must see. That’s why this makes a perfect jumping-off point for your trip along the map of the coast of California. Experience the roaring sea lions lying on the dock, stroll the different piers, and try the extremely wide variety of food, from authentic Italian to Chinatown staples, for the first leg of your trip down the map of the California coast.

San Francisco Wood Charts

A Day in Monterey Bay

Monterey Bay Clock

You’ve probably heard of this town before, but what is Monterey Bay known for? Perfect for fans of nature and marine life, Monterey Bay is one of America’s largest national marine sanctuaries. With countless underwater canyons and deep ocean environments, it is known for its extensive abundance of marine wildlife and fresh seafood. Stop here to spend a day of your trip indulging in classic West Coast seafood, stomping around in marshes and ocean fronts, and sailing with the notorious whales and dolphin pods.

Monterey Bay Wood Charts

Scout out Santa Barbara

Whether it’s the perfect wave you’re aiming to catch or a tear-jerking sunset, Santa Barbara is the stop for you. Stay a while to relax on one of the many sandy beaches or at the world-renowned spas and wellness centers. Take in the unique Spanish Colonial architecture the city is known for. If you’re a foodie or an oenophile, there are many day trips and world-class restaurants that will suit your tastes just right. 

Santa Barbara Wood Charts

Make Magic on a Stop in Malibu

World famous Malibu Surfrider beach at sunset, California.

Have you ever dreamed of the laidback Cali-surfer lifestyle? You’ll fall in love with Malibu instantly. In Malibu, you can admire the fantastic beaches, iconic fishing piers, and great shopping, all while breathing in that salty fresh air California is known for.

Hang out in the right spots, and you may run into some of your favorite celebrities who frequent Malibu’s nightlife scene. With a special, narrow wood map of Malibu, you can remember the crashing waves long after your journey has ended. 

Live It Up in Los Angeles

This city is known as the home of the stars, whether that’s the celebrities that grace your movie screens or the literal stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Everyone deserves to travel to L.A. at least once in their life. There are countless reasons why you should visit Los Angeles, so be prepared to make a million memories here. Take a rousing hike up to the Hollywood sign, make the day trip to Disneyland’s magical parks, or take in the nightlife scene’s music, dancing, and artistry. 

3 Beach Daytrips Near Los Angeles

If Hollywood and the nightlife of Los Angeles are not your scene, consider taking day trips to these stunning nearby beaches. Commemorate your beach day with a stunning wood map of:

  • Huntington Beach
  • Catalina Island
  • Newport Beach
Huntington Beach
Huntington Beach, California 3-D Nautical Wood Chart

You’re in for a day of relaxing from sunrise to sunset at Huntington State Beach. Grab a quick bite to eat at one of the local cafes, don your swimsuit, and get ready for a chill day lying in the sun near the beach pier.

If you’re into surfing, you’re in luck. Huntington is known locally as Surf City, USA, and is one of the fastest-growing cities on the West Coast. When you get hungry from all that surfing, wander into town for a great meal and a sweet ice cream treat before making your way back to your trip down the map of the coast of California—and don’t forget to memorialize your trip with a wood map of Huntington Beach.

Catalina Island

If you can spare the time to take the high-speed ferry, Catalina Island is a must-see day trip on your journey. Known for being almost European in its laid-back attitude and vibe, you can do all sorts of exciting activities here. Look out for exotic marine life, attempt scuba diving, explore charming coastal towns, or stay at one of the famous resorts. You could truthfully spend days here, so grab a Catalina wood chart to remind yourself that you simply must return to do even more adventuring.

Newport Beach

Looking for a lavish and laidback stop on your trip? Check out Newport Beach, famous for whale-watching excursions and its multitudes of sandy beaches. Or grab a bike and cycle down the long boardwalk. Pack your towel and a good book and lay out in the sun, taking in all the relaxation you can handle. Decorating with a Newport Beach wood map will bring that sense of relaxation and ease into your everyday life back at home.

See the Sights in San Diego

San Diego, California, USA skyline

Nearing the end of the map of California’s coast, you’re hitting the southern end of California. Expect a multitude of art galleries and artists, prepare for the heat, and get ready to explore the easygoing and artsy city.

You’ll want to take a quick trip to the famed San Diego Zoo, especially if you have kids that you’re trying to keep busy. In fact, this city is one of the most kid-friendly ones, with the Zoo, Safari Park, SeaWorld, and the nearby Legoland California Resort. Spend your time on the pristine beaches and exploring the fun parks. 

Los Angeles and San Diego Wood Charts

Lakes Off the California Coast Map

If beaches are not your thing, you’re in luck—there is an abundance of beautiful mountain lakes that are a quick diversion from the coastal map of California. These three lakes are known for their stunning sunsets, exciting water activities, and serene nature views. So, if you need a day away from the typical road-trip path, hit up these three spots:

  • Lake Tahoe
  • Big Bear Lake
  • Lake Arrowhead

Why Visit Lake Tahoe?

Lake Tahoe 3-D Nautical Wood Chart

What’s so special about this Lake Tahoe everyone talks about? Considered to be one of the purest lakes in the world, Lake Tahoe has water that is 99.99% pure. On top of the crystal-clear blue waters, the rocky shores and surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountain peaks are breathtaking for any visitor passing through.

As you enjoy the many water activities, outdoor fun, and stunning scenery all year round, you will find yourself wanting to learn more about Lake Tahoe. Or, maybe, you will want a wood chart of Lake Tahoe to recall your adventures time and time again. 

Big Bear Lake or Bust

Just shy of a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, Big Bear Lake is an excursion you can’t miss if you’re a lake lover. Big Bear is in the heart of the San Bernardino National Forest, surrounded by spectacular woods and mountains.

You will love fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and swimming throughout the seasons. If you’re a skier, look no further than the massive resorts near this lake for some awesome winter runs. Grab a wood chart of Big Bear Lake for the sentimental ski bunnies in your life.

Why We Love Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead

Lake Arrowhead is known as the coziest and quaintest lake out of the three. With countless outdoor activities like hiking, backpacking, cycling, water and snow skiing, fishing, and more, Lake Arrowhead is your little escape from the hustle and bustle of the California lifestyle.

Take a hike to find the waterfalls in the summer, stroll around the town’s shopping center, or find one of the many, many spas for a weekend of pampering. Once you have left feeling rejuvenated, you’re sure to want to commemorate that peaceful feeling with a wood map of Lake Arrowhead to remind you of your blissful stay. 

Bonus Stop: Baja Peninsula

Now, you may be asking yourself, is the Baja Peninsula even in California? Nope - Mexico owns the Baja Peninsula and has since the Mexican War in the 1840s. But if you have a passport and are itching for somewhere a little more far-flung than San Diego, Baja is the place for you.

The Pacific Coast Highway does continue all the way into the southern tip of Baja, the second-longest peninsula in the world. With countless beaches, snorkeling, and wineries, you’ll find yourself capping off your trip on the sand with a drink in hand. When you return home, this wood chart of the Baja Peninsula will always remind you of your beachy getaway.

Commemorate California’s Coast with Cribbage Boards

San Francisco Bay Cribbage Board

Decorative wood maps and wall art not your décor style? Check out our cool cribbage boards instead. Cribbage is a fun-for-all-ages game that you can start playing today. After your travels up and down the map of California’s coast, wood maps of your favorite cities are a sentimental souvenir that you’ll want to purchase as soon as you get home.

Each 3D wood chart is carefully laser engraved into the cribbage board to show all your favorite beachside cities in artistic detail. With a board this beautiful and a game this fun, you will soon find yourself obsessed with the game of cribbage. Memorialize your favorite trip with a new wood map carved board and a new favorite game. Or better yet, pack the portable cribbage board in your bags and play on your next grand adventure.

Our Favorite California Coast Map Cribbage Boards

There it is! Your guide to each unforgettable city on the map of California’s coast – and some bonus lakeside cities, to boot. Feel free to take your time in each town, splashing around in the water or living it up in the touristy high life each one is known for. Commemorate your travels with a sentimental wood map that will remind you every day of your love of California’s coast.

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