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. Updated editions are available, including a Kindle edition.

Other books pages

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

    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.

  • 101 free San Francisco attractions and things to do are in the Kindle guide, 101 Free Things to Do in San Francisco, in the Travel Free eGuidebooks series.

    Free San Francisco Kindle Guide to Free Attractions

    101 free San Francisco attractions and things to do are in the Kindle guide, 101 Free Things to Do in San Francisco, in the Travel Free eGuidebooks series.

  • 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.

    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.

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

    Pacific Coast Highway Moon Guide

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

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

    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.

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

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

    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.

  • 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.

    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.

  • The Green Guide to the USA West from Michelin covers California, the Pacific North West, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, New Mexico, and even Kansas and Alaska.

    Green Guide USA West

    The Green Guide to the USA West from Michelin covers California, the Pacific North West, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, New Mexico, and even Kansas and Alaska.

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

    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.

  • To John Steinbeck Monterey's Cannery Row was a place of sardine canneries, bums and honky tonks, but today the Monterey Aquarium attracts visitors.

    Cannery Row in Monterey

    To John Steinbeck Monterey's Cannery Row was a place of sardine canneries, bums and honky tonks, but today the Monterey Aquarium attracts visitors.

  • 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.

    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.

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

    Vintage Hollywood

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

  • The guide to California Bed and Breakfast Inns lists over 250 boutique hotels, wine country cottages and more.

    California Bed and Breakfast Inns

    The guide to California Bed and Breakfast Inns lists over 250 boutique hotels, wine country cottages and more.

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

    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.

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

    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.

  • Plant lovers can visit hundreds of gardens along or near the Pacific Coast Highway,ranging from lush gardens in the Pacific North-West to southern California.

    Gardens Of the Pacific Coast Highway

    Plant lovers can visit hundreds of gardens along or near the Pacific Coast Highway,ranging from lush gardens in the Pacific North-West to southern California.

  • 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.

    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.

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

    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.

  • Brewpubs and good beer are at the heart of the Good Beer Guide to the West Coast USA which lists the best bars and breweries from Seattle to San Diego.

    Brewpubs and Good Beer on the West Coast USA

    Brewpubs and good beer are at the heart of the Good Beer Guide to the West Coast USA which lists the best bars and breweries from Seattle to San Diego.

  • Some of the best California Backroads are included in Backroads of the California Coast, with 24 highly recommended driving tours off the Pacific Coast Highway.

    California Backroads

    Some of the best California Backroads are included in Backroads of the California Coast, with 24 highly recommended driving tours off the Pacific Coast Highway.

  • Greetings from California is a beautiful coffee-table book which describes the legends, landmarks and lore of California, including the Pacific Coast Highway.

    Greetings from California

    Greetings from California is a beautiful coffee-table book which describes the legends, landmarks and lore of California, including 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.

    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 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.



Recent Articles

  1. 10 Motorcycle Routes That Belong on Every Rider's Bucket List

    Oct 06, 22 03:19 AM

    The open road is a motorcyclist's dream, a pursuit of ideals, and a motivation to manifest destiny. The debate for the perfect ride has gone on for decades, bringing riders to new locations to test th…

    Read More

  2. The 40 Top Restaurants Along The Pacific Coast Highway Read More: https://www.tastingtable.com/1039726/the-top-restaurants-along-the-pacific-coast-highway/?utm_campaign=clip

    Oct 06, 22 03:19 AM

    No road trip would be complete (or half as fun) without stopping along the way for tasty snacks and decadent feasts. Luckily, scores of hungry travelers have paved the way and created a market for res…

    Read More

  3. Only a 5-hour drive from Camarillo, Big Sur is in must-see category

    Oct 01, 22 05:46 AM

    Big Sur. So, Is it a Big Deal?

    Read More