Pacific Coast Highway
Road Trip Guide
Book Review

This Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip Guide covers the drive down the west coast from Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, all the way to San Diego in California.

The first thing you notice about this road trip guide for the Pacific Coast Highway is the size. It's not the usual guidebook size but is a large 11" x 8.5" paperback, though it's a slim volume at only 82 pages. However, it's also different from any other guide you've seen so is well worth taking a look at.

According to Amazon, Brian Eagen is the creator of OutdoorBlueprint.com, a visual database for the aspiring outdoor adventurer. He is the author of the most comprehensive online guide to Joshua Tree National Park.

When to Visit

The guide begins with a very useful series of charts which will enable you to plan the best time of year to make your drive, depending on where you're going and what your preferences are. There are separate charts for the Washington coast, the Oregon coast and the Northern, Central and Southern California coasts. Each of the charts then rates the best months for various things. 

All areas have Good Weather and Low Crowds covered, but the others have slightly different options depending what the appeal of that particular area is. Northern California, for example, has Wineries (best months, June-October), while Southern California has Boating and Surfing (April to October).

 Other options covered in different places include wildflowers, orcas, gray whales, coastal hiking, elephant seals, monarch butterflies and driving Big Sur. This is a really neat feature, and that's just the first two pages.

Budgeting and Mileage

The next page is also neat, and that's a page that allows you to work out a budget for your trip. For example, a Food budget is number of people times number of days times daily food budget. That's simple enough, but then you add in your budget for lodgings, and another for the cost of visiting attractions, national parks and so on.

Finally there's your budget for gas, and to help with that there's a mileage chart on the opposite page, giving you the distance between the main towns along the route.

Trip Planner

The next section is an all-essential trip planning tool. Like the budget planner, it's simple but it's essential. You have eight blank days (so you might want to photocopy the pages for a longer trip) in which you enter your start point, end point, mileage you'll cover, when you'll set off, when you'll arrive, where you plan to eat, your day's activities and any additional notes.

When you're doing a long road trip this is the kind of planning you need to be making unless you take a totally free and easy approach and don't care where you stay each night. But most people have a fixed time-frame, so you have to be sure the trip will work and this helps you do just that.

Other Features

The rest of the introductory section includes a packing list and a list of 15 Must-Have Apps for your road trip, such as the excellent GasBuddy, alongside apps for finding parking, road repairs, hotels, dining and even the nearest rest rooms!

At the back of the book are some suggested itineraries, too. There's one each for Washington (7 days), Oregon (6 days), Northern and Central California (6 days each), and Southern California (5 days). These are less useful, as of course your available time may well be different, but they are only suggestions and do give you an idea as to what you can fit into a day in different places.

Places on the Way

The bulk of the book is given over to mainly two-page spreads on the most important stops along the way. On the left-hand page are one or more maps, with text on the right-hand page. For example, with Newport (right) there's a map of the coast north and south of Newport, showing what there is to do all along the coast (which includes a few eating and lodging suggestions). Then there's an inset map of Newport itself, with a few more suggestions.

The drawback is the lack of practical information on the places that are shown on the map. Suppose you want to know about the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Newport. All you get by way of description is 'Unplug in literature-themed rooms' and a note that rooms range from $120-$230 a night. You're shown roughly where it is on the map, but there's no street address, phone number or website. It's the same with everything else shown.

The text on the right-hand page usually consists of advice from a local resident or residents, although some are different. The spread for the Redwood National Park, for example, gives you five 'Fun Facts about Redwoods'. 

The Verdict

This road trip guide has some incredibly useful features, and if you're planning to drive the whole length of the coast then as a planning tool and an overview of the whole trip it's useful. Whether it's worth $19.99 is another matter. Maybe for the trip of a lifetime it is, although you will also want to buy one or two more conventional guidebooks as well. But the author has chosen to take a slightly different approach from the norm, and full marks to him for that.

There is also a $15 digital option, which makes the book more affordable and lets you carry it round with you on your smartphone, tablet or laptop. Click here for details.

Other books pages

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Lonely Planet's Coastal California guidebook is the ideal travel guide for driving or cycling the Pacific Coast Highway from the Oregon border to Mexico.

    Coastal California Guidebook

    Lonely Planet's Coastal California guidebook is the ideal travel guide for driving or cycling the Pacific Coast Highway from the Oregon border to Mexico.

  • 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.

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • California Living and Eating by Eleanor Maidment is a handsome coffee table book celebrating the food and lifestyle of the Golden State with 80 tasty recipes.

    California Living and Eating

    California Living and Eating by Eleanor Maidment is a handsome coffee table book celebrating the food and lifestyle of the Golden State with 80 tasty recipes.



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