Occupying so much of the western seaboard, it’s no wonder why California is full of beautiful coastal drives. However, with a coastline that stretches for over 800 miles, many of California’s drives aren’t exactly accessible. Nonetheless, many of these beautiful drives are within a short distance from San Francisco and make for a great day trip. Below are five beautiful coastal drives near San Francisco. Spencer Spellman of 7×7 writes:

The Great Highway in San Francisco. This is one drive you won’t even have to leave San Francisco for. To the naked eye, the Great Highway is nothing so great, since it only stretches a few miles, starting at Ocean Beach and heading south through the Sunset district toward Lake Merced. However, once you hit Lake Merced, keep going south on Highway 35 past the Olympic Club and onto Highway 1. Highway 1 being California’s most famous coastal highway, although the most scenic parts of it are  further south. This part of Highway 1 meanders through the hills and takes travelers through the small beach towns of Pacifica, Montara, and Half Moon Bay. This is a great sunset drive and one that can be completed in a couple hours.

West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz’s West Cliff Drive is another short drive that can be completed in less than an hour from start to finish. For that reason, it’s likely to be a part of a bigger day or weekend trip to Santa Cruz. The drive begins just south of downtown Santa Cruz past the Santa Cruz Wharf and winds its way west along the rugged coastline. It drives past the famous Steamer Lane surfing spot, Lighthouse Field State Beach, and the Santa Cruz Surfing Museum, before ending just short of Natural Bridges State Park. On a trip to Santa Cruz, consider coming from the East Bay and going down Highway 17 over the hills into Santa Cruz and then taking Highway 1 up the coastline back to San Francisco.

See more coastal drives around the bay area by taking a look at the full story here.

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