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For Bay area-dwellers, the road trip from San Francisco to Santa Cruz is an iconic one. Though it’s less than two hours in duration, there are a lot of wonderful things to see, eat and otherwise experience along the way.

While there are several ways you can get from Point A to Point B, it’s a well-known fact that there is no better route to take than the “Slowcoast,” a 50-mile stretch of mountains and ocean right in the middle of the Northern California coastline. Specifically, it’s the stretch of State Route 1 between Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz.

San Francisco

Before you depart, spend a little time exploring San Francisco. From beautiful beaches to classic monuments to some of the best food on the entire planet, there’s something for everyone here.

If you have time, take a stroll at the beautiful Ocean Beach. Located in the Sunset District from Cliff House south to Sloat Boulevard, it’s easy to see why this beach is a local favorite. Plus, you can grab brunch and a coffee for the road at Beachside Coffee Bar & Kitchen on Judah Street.

Half Moon Bay

After taking US-101 South to  I-380 West to 280 South, you’ll take CA-92 to Half Moon Bay. Some of the world’s best surfers come here for the huge waves. Take some time to stretch your legs and walk along the beach and you’ll see why.

Half Moon Bay also has a historic downtown area with a lot of charm, shops, art galleries, restaurants, and beautiful accommodations. Exploring the beaches of Half Moon Bay State Beach is a must.

Año Nuevo State Park

Año Nuevo State Park is about 28 miles south of Half Moon Bay. The rich variety of natural and cultural resources draws visitors from around the world. The physical terrain of Año Nuevo is diverse, including coastal terrace prairie, wetland marshes, dune fields and stretches of sand. During spring and summer months, you may see some elephant seals during their molting season.

Santa Cruz

This little coastal city has stolen the hearts of plenty of Californians. Anyone who’s ever been to Santa Cruz knows is a true treasure. The city’s Main Beach is adjacent to the iconic Santa Beach Boardwalk, and the nearby Santa Cruz Wharf is home to several events, like The Jazz on the Wharf and Woodies on the Wharf.

From the quirky Mystery Spot (a gravitational anomaly located in the redwood forests) to the Seymour Marine Discovery Center, there’s a lot to see in Santa Cruz once you step off the beach as well. This area is beautiful, welcoming and makes a perfect road trip destination.