Moving farther up the California coast, past the tan lines and bleached blond look of Southern Cal, Northern California (NorCal) unleashes a riot of raw, untamed beauty. Big Sur is arguably the most scenic drive in America, if not the world. Highway 1, which connects San Luis Obispo with Monterey, Calif. is a 90-mile stretch that hugs craggy cliffsides and pits you up against perilous bluffs.
If it’s your first time, you’ll either be hugging the steering wheel or holding on to whomever is driving. No doubt, this drive will leave you breathless: 300-foot drops, hairpin turns, steep hills, reckless drivers, and occasional falling rocks. Every so often it’s a good idea to pull over, take in the clean air, snap off a few photos, and steel yourself up for the next round scary-gorgeous sights up ahead. More photos.