Highway 1 Selected as 1 of 5 Truly Epic Family Road Trips

Shake Things Up With These 5 Truly Epic Family Road Trips

A family road trip is a family road trip, until it’s not.

From Terry Ward of Fatherly

Avila Beach Family Shopping

Family road trips never go out of style. But they do get predictable. Even when you set out with the best of intentions, you’re still dealing with a bunch of children here. You can’t get too rowdy, otherwise, you’re being unsafe. Still, how do you avoid a road trip in which the kids are just glued to their screens in the back of the minivan? Fun car games and great playlists can help ease the tedium, but having a great route in the first place is crucial.

Creating a safe and fun road trip hardly means you have to stick to the predictable routes, and yes Route 66, we’re looking at you! With roaring rivers, mountain peaks, legendary North American wildlife, and some excellent beach towns on the below itineraries, we’ve scoured the land — and Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula, too — to bring you the most epic options for rolling out for fun and adventure along some routes you might not have considered.

San Simeon elephant seal viewing

Epic Family Road Trip #4: Explore California’s Highway 1, through San Luis Obispo County

For something more surprising than the default (albeit glorious) Pacific Coast Highway road trip from San Francisco south to Big Sur, kick things off, instead, in San Luis Obispo, midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The 100-mile-long Highway 1 Discovery Route through San Luis Obispo County is a place to take it slow and detour often—the distances are minimal, but you could easily spend a week or longer with your crew taking in all there is to see and do here.

Our favorite loop heads north from San Luis Obispo to Cambria and the incredible Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery in San Simeon (also home to Heart Castle), before looping south to Cayucos and Avila Beach on your way back to SLO.

If you splurge on just one stay, make it the new White Water lodge on Moonstone Beach in Cambria, where Scandinavia meets California in a bohemian beach setting.

Among the many ways to spend a memorable family vacation along this route are taking a trail ride on Clydesdale horses at Covell Ranch in Cambria, foraging for edible seaweed in Cayucos and soaking in the healing waters at Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort & Spa.

For a rewarding day out on the water in Avila Beach, kayak out with Avila Beach Paddlesports to the historic Point San Luis Lighthouse, where you might spot whales, sea lions and otters along the way.

And if you can sneak off from the kids for a few hours, the Edna Valley just south of San Luis Obispo makes for some fun winery hopping.

Avila Valley Barn, Avila Beach

Read about the other epic road trips on Fatherly.

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