Epic Drives of the World

Epic Drives of the World from Lonely Planet describes 50 of the world's most exciting road trips, including, of course, the Pacific Coast Highway.

Epic Drives of the World sample spreadEpic Drives of the World

This handsome and hefty coffee-table book isn't cheap, but it's the kind of publication that will make a great gift for someone, possibly yourself. In addition to the 50 drives covered in depth (four pages per drive), each one has three more suggestions at the end of other similar drives you might like.

Epic Drives: Pacific Coast Highway

Which leads us to the Pacific Coast Highway. This is one of nine USA drives included in the book, and to start at the end, the other suggested drives if you liked the PCH are the Okanagan Valley Tour in Canada; a Modern Art Meander in Provence, visiting the places painted and lived in by artists like Picasso, Van Gogh and Matisse; and Wonders of Ancient Sicily, taking in ancient ruins, farmland and volcanoes. I'm not sure how these are similar to the Pacific Coast Highway, but never mind.

The main drives each have two two-page spreads, following a similar format. Most have a full-page photo to really whet your appetite for the beauty of the drive, an overview map, several more inspiring photos or the occasional artwork, and about two-three pages of text. 

Epic Drives of the World sample spreadEpic Drives of the World

Each drive also has a Directions box, which doesn't actually give you the directions but instead has practical information like the start and end points, length of the drive, the best time of the year to do it, and suggestions of where to stay, where to eat and a Hot Tip. Don't expect in-depth information, though – you only get one recommended place to stay and one to eat in the whole 1050 miles from Seattle to San Francisco!

This kind of book is not about detailed information, however. You'll still need guidebooks and maps if you're going to make the drive. They're about ideas and inspiration, and for that they work well. The author of the PCH entry captures the feel of the drive well, and the book is a collection of well-written essays rather than a guidebook-style more factual approach.

Epic Drives of the World Contents

Other Epic USA Drives

If driving the Pacific Coast Highway inspires you to plan another road trip in the USA then there are plenty here to choose from, including a Napa Valley drive. That hardly counts as epic, being only 156 miles (251km), although it has novelty value as the driver tackles it using an electric vehicle.

Route 66 is included, of course, along with drives around the Southern Utah National Parks, the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park, and a drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Epic Drives of the World sample driveEpic Drives of the World Sample Drive

Drive around the World

The book covers the world, of course, and includes six drives in Australia, though only five in the whole of Asia: India, Bhutan, Vietnam, Nepal, and South Korea. So China is missing completely, as is Russia. Ireland is represented by The Wild Atlantic Way and a circular drive from Belfast that takes in the Antrim coast.

There's one drive in Scotland, which is an odd choice, from Portree on the Isle of Skye to Applecross on the mainland. This is a beautiful drive but only 74 miles (119km) in length – again, hardly epic. Why not cover the North Coast 500, which has been described as 'jaw-droppingly beautiful' and 'Scotland's answer to Route 66'?  This was introduced in 2015, two years before the book was published, and would be a much better choice if you want to justify the word 'epic' in the title.

Epic Drives of the World sample spread

The Verdict

This is an enjoyable read and a beautifully-produced book. We have a few quibbles over the choices, which is always the case with lists of any kind, but we certainly wouldn't object to receiving it as a present, and would be happy to give as one to a keen driver or armchair traveller. 

Other books pages

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Driving from San Francisco to San Diego has two main options, the fast way on I-5 or the scenic route along the Pacific Coast Highway.

    San Francisco to San Diego

    Driving from San Francisco to San Diego has two main options, the fast way on I-5 or the scenic route along the Pacific Coast Highway.

  • One of the best California coast guides is the California Coastal Access Guide, describing the coast’s beaches, National Parks, State Parks, with many maps.

    California Coast Guide

    One of the best California coast guides is the California Coastal Access Guide, describing the coast’s beaches, National Parks, State Parks, with many maps.

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

    Olympic Peninsula Travel Guide

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

  • Driving the Pacific Coast Highway is made easier with Road Trip USA by Jamie Jensen, a good handbook for the west coast drive.

    Driving the Pacific Coast Highway

    Driving the Pacific Coast Highway is made easier with Road Trip USA by Jamie Jensen, a good handbook for the west coast drive.

  • Pacific Coast Highway stops include big city vacation destinations like Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, and smaller places like Monterey.

    Pacific Coast Highway Stops

    Pacific Coast Highway stops include big city vacation destinations like Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego, and smaller places like Monterey.

  • 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

  • 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.

  •  Pacific Coast Highway Travel takes the 17-Mile Drive from Carmel to Pacific Grove and Monterey, stopping to see the Lone Cypress and beautiful coastline views.

    The 17-Mile Drive between Carmel, Pacific Grove, and Monterey

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel takes the 17-Mile Drive from Carmel to Pacific Grove and Monterey, stopping to see the Lone Cypress and beautiful coastline views.

  • 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.

  • The Frommer's Guide to Seattle has good information about the city and side excursions to the Olympic National Park and elsewhere, plus free city and area map.

    Frommer's Guide to Seattle

    The Frommer's Guide to Seattle has good information about the city and side excursions to the Olympic National Park and elsewhere, plus free city and area map.

  • Pacific Coast Highway Travel reviews the book Culture Trails by Lonely Planet, which has a section on Vintage Hollywood alongside 51 other perfect weekends.

    Culture Trails

    Pacific Coast Highway Travel reviews the book Culture Trails by Lonely Planet, which has a section on Vintage Hollywood alongside 51 other perfect weekends.

  • 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.

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

    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.

  • If visiting California and planning to drive the Pacific Coast Highway it's important to know California driving laws in case they differ from your own state.

    California Driving Laws

    If visiting California and planning to drive the Pacific Coast Highway it's important to know California driving laws in case they differ from your own state.

  • Here are the basic facts if you plan to drive the Pacific Coast Highway, including which is the best direction and when is the best time to go driving.

    Drive the Pacific Coast Highway

    Here are the basic facts if you plan to drive the Pacific Coast Highway, including which is the best direction and when is the best time to go driving.

  • Here are links to the different ways you can go along the Pacific Coast Highway, one of the most popular drives in the world but you can also cycle it.

    Ways to Go

    Here are links to the different ways you can go along the Pacific Coast Highway, one of the most popular drives in the world but you can also cycle it.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.



Recent Articles

  1. Touring Alcatraz

    Jan 30, 23 04:51 PM

    alcatraz-island-pixabay.jpg
    Touring Alcatraz, the former island prison, is one of the best things to do in San Francisco and attracts over 1.5 million visitors a year.

    Read More

  2. Pacific Coast Highway Reopens Wednesday Morning After Flooding

    Jan 26, 23 12:20 PM

    The Tuesday closure was caused by flooding and prompted safety officials to shut down both sides of the highway in Huntington Beach.

    Read More

  3. San Diego Zoo

    Jan 23, 23 06:19 PM

    san-diego-zoo-pixabay-gorilla.jpg
    San Diego Zoo is in Balboa Park, San Diego, California has been called the best zoo in the world and is the most visited zoo in the United States.

    Read More