Coastal California Guidebook

The Coastal California guidebook published by Lonely Planet is an essential travel guide for anyone driving or cycling the Pacific Coast Highway.

California Coast Near Santa Cruz

It's a smart move on the publishers' part as the guide focuses on the busy tourist strip of California coastline, from Pelican State Beach on the Oregon border to Tijuana just across the Mexico border. The book therefore takes in San DiegoLos Angeles and San Francisco, as well as the best beaches and a little corner of wine country too.

Coastal California shows the variety of this region, which it's popular to dismiss as being all Baywatch and Disneyland. The two authors recommend you think of California as being two distinct states: northern California and southern California. After all, there's a world of difference between Oregon and Tijuana.

This guide reminds us that this stretch of the west coast takes in not only Disneyland and beaches, but giant redwood trees, hiking at Big Sur, writers like John Steinbeck, a bit of wine country, Hearst Castle, elk trails, whale-watching, gourmet cuisine, and National Parks.

Coastal California Travel Literature

The music, art and literature of Coastal California is introduced to provide a background to anyone's travels, with reading recommendations including Joan Didion, Armistead Maupin, Dave Eggers, Jack Kerouac and of course the towering figure of John Steinbeck:

'If you've never read any novel by John Steinbeck, you Must do so before visiting Coastal California. Pick up Cannery Row, particularly if you plan to visit Monterey.'

Themed Travel Itineraries

Some suggestions for themed travel itineraries are given, including one focussed on natural history, another on family attractions, and one, naturally, for the 'Freaks and Weirdos'.

There's a section on surfing, including a list of places providing women-only surfing lessons, and information on popular west coast pursuits like cycling and whale-watching... not to mention eating and drinking.

The bulk of the book is the typically thorough Lonely Planet guidebook, with excellent town and city maps showing you exactly where the attractions, accommodation and restaurant recommendations can be found. While you won't get the detailed look at places like Los Angeles and San Francisco that a dedicated city guide provides, all the main information is there for anyone planning to maybe spend just a day or two in each place, as they travel along the California Coast.

With the index ranging from Accommodation to Zoos, the Lonely Planet Coastal California guide is a good buy for Pacific Coast Highway travelers. 

Buying This Coastal California Guidebook
This review is of the 2nd edition of Coastal California, which was published in 2007 by Lonely Planet. Updated editions are available, including a Kindle edition.

Some other books pages

  • Your Insider's Guide to San Francisco

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel's book review of Insider's Guide to San Francisco guidebook by Jill Loeffler, publisher of the San Francisco Tourism Tips website.

  • West Coast RV Parks

    One of the best guides to West Coast RV Parks, covering campgrounds in California, Oregon, and Washington, is West Coast RV Camping from Moon Guides.

  • Washington State Travel Guide

    The Washington State travel guide from Frommer's covers hotels in Seattle, driving the Pacific Coast Highway, Olympic National Park, where to eat and more.

  • Vintage Hollywood

    Vintage Hollywood in Los Angeles is an extract from the Lonely Planets book Culture Trails.

  • Cycling the USA West Coast

    Lonely Planet's Guide to Cycling the USA West Coast is a bicycling guidebook for anyone touring California, Oregon and Washington by bike.

  • California Camping Book Review

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel's California Camping book review rates the 20th anniversary edition of Moon's complete guide to over 1400 tent and RV campgrounds.

  • The Best Coast Book Review

    The Best Coast is a west coast travel guide, sub-titled A Road Trip Atlas it doesn't use photos but instead has hundreds of beautiful illustrations.

  • Soul of Los Angeles

    Soul of Los Angeles from French publishers Jonglez is a travel guide to 30 Exceptional Experiences in California's largest city.

  • Santa Barbara Guidebook

    The Santa Barbara Guidebook from Moon Handbooks also covers California’s Central Coast with Ventura, San Luis Obispo, wine country, and Hearst Castle.

  • Road Food Guide

    West Coast Road Eats is a road food guide covering the Pacific Coast from California through Oregon to Washington, giving the best road trip food stops.

  • Books About the Pacific Coast Highway

    Books About the Pacific Coast Highway in California, Oregon and Washington including travel guidebooks, route guides, restaurant guides, and many more.

  • Pacific Coast Highway Road Trips: Lonely Planet Guidebook Review

    Review of the Pacific Coast Highway Road Trips book from Lonely Planet, which includes a California Driving Guide, by the Pacific Coast Highway Travel website.

  • Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Guide

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel reviews the Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Guide book covering the drive from Vancouver to San Diego.

  • Pacific Coast Highway Moon Guide

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel reviews the Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip guide from Moon covering California, Oregon and Washington

  • Pacific Coast Highway in California

    The Pacific Coast Highway in California book shows in historic photos the building of the Pacific Coast Highway from its earliest beginnings in 1911.

  • Pacific Coast Highway Guides. Book and ebook hotel guides to PCH

    Pacific Coast Highway guides include our own printed book and ebook guides to the best hotels along the PCH, available in paperback, PDF and Kindle formats.

  • Olympic Peninsula Travel Guide

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel reviews an Olympic Peninsula Travel Guide published by the Beautiful Pacific Northwest website.

  • Northwest Wine Country

    Northwest Wine Country is a food and wine lover's guide to vineyards, fine dining, accommodation, restaurants in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, British Columbia.

  • Napa and Sonoma Guidebook

    The Napa and Sonoma Guidebook to California Wine Country is from the Moon Handbooks’ travel guide series with reviews of wineries,vineyards, and wine tastings.

  • Michelin Guide to California

    The Michelin Guide to California is a gourmet's guide to the best restaurants along the Pacific Coast Highway and elsewhere in California.

  • Michelin Green Guide California

    The Michelin Green Guide to California covers the whole state and is good on maps, the sights, major cities and towns, less good on hotels and restaurants.

  • Los Angeles Travel Guide

    The Los Angeles travel guide book from Lonely Planet also covers San Diego and Southern California, including Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, and Disneyland.

  • Lighthouses of the Pacific Coast

    Lighthouses of the Pacific Coast, published by Voyageur Press, is a guide in words and pictures to historic lighthouses along the Pacific Coast Highway.

  • John Steinbeck California Guide

    This John Steinbeck California Guide, A Journey into Steinbeck's California, shows readers how towns like Monterey, Carmel and Salinas influenced the author.

  • Guide to the Olympic Peninsula

    Moon's Spotlight Guide to the Olympic Peninsula covers hotels, restaurants, and sights, including Forks, the Olympic National Park and other places.



Recent Articles

  1. Laguna Niguel Beach Trolley Starts Thursday May 26 2022

    May 27, 22 03:40 AM

    Laguna Niguel Trolley Starts Thursday May 26 2022. The Laguna Niguel Trolley runs on weekends from Memorial Day Weekend thru Labor Day Weekend. Explore Laguna Niguel from the hills to the sea with fre…

    Read More

  2. What Makes Coronado The Most Gorgeous Beach In San Diego?

    May 27, 22 03:40 AM

    Coronado Beach is a top tourist attraction in San Diego - and not just because it is the most gorgeous beach. It is a perfect vacation destination for everyone - thanks to the miles-long shoreline, a…

    Read More

  3. Best Things to Do in Ventura

    May 12, 22 09:53 AM

    The best things to do in Ventura include beaches and museums, seeing the mission, going to Ventura Pier, and a boat trip to the Channel Islands National Park.

    Read More