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By Care Willink

Our family vacation along the Pacific Coast Highway in an Escape campervan a few years back gave us the chance to visit the beautiful Pacific Coast and soak in all of its amazing views. We were able to stay right on National Forest land, which meant FREE camping! Of course, we also made stops at all of the points of interest along the way. 

But one time was not enough! So, we booked another campervan trip and took a family vacation up the Pacific Coast Highway, and this time we went north. The places we stopped were eye candy for us, and yet truly exciting and beautiful places for the kids to experience too! We were coming from the east side of California, so we started on the Pacific Coast Highway near Cambria, CA. 

McWay Falls

Next, the goal was to make it to McWay Falls by sunset! With 0.2 seconds to spare, we pulled up and ran to the viewpoint! This pull-off will sneak up on you so keep your eyes out.  Parking is free on the road, or you can park in the Julia Pfeiffer state park which is $10. Once parked you will have a small walk to the viewpoint of the waterfall. And trust us – it is worth it!


Toddler scaling the stairs at Pebble Beach

Pebble Beach is an unincorporated community on the Monterey Peninsula in Monterey County, California.

Big Sur

We headed on up to our campsite in Big Sur called Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground. This campsite couldn’t have been more perfect for the timing of our trip as they have a little shop with all of the supplies needed for camping! We were so excited to find items to make s’mores, breakfast stuff, wood & even wine. It also hit us at the right time of the trip as mama was tired of cooking and there was a beautiful restaurant called the Homestead Restaurant at the Lodge

We parked our campervan  and settled in for the night only to wake up in the tallest, most beautiful redwoods!  That morning we made some bacon and eggs in our campervan kitchen and a campfire of our own. This was the perfect way to start the day! 

Family enjoying breakfast at Pfeiffer Campground

Pfieffer campground covers approximately 1,006 acres of land and is centered on the Big Sur River.

Pfeiffer Beach

After a little boost with a workout  (check out our previous blog post: Tips to Staying Healthy on a Road Trip), we headed out to “Pfeiffer Beach“,  a top-rated beach in California known as the “Purple Beach.”  This was very close to our campground where we stayed the night before. The side road to get to the beach is almost one lane with slight pull-offs, so be sure and get there early enough as they will close this road up once the parking lot is full. It is a $10.00 charge for parking and there are bathrooms. You’ll notice the beautiful cypress trees along your walkout to the beach. 

Once you arrive at Pfeiffer Beach, you will see why it’s rated one of the top beaches in California. If you make your way closer to the structures you’ll find ‘purple’ colored sand. And if you are anything like our 4-year-old you will flip out!

Family playing in the purple sand on Pfieffer Beach

Pfieffer Beach boasts many attractive structures and sights to experience including purple sand.

Bixby Creek Bridge

Next, we visited  Bixby Creek Bridge.  This was a quick stop but also a must. It is very busy and crowded but there is a reason why. The views were a stunning and very memorable experience! We couldn’t let go of how many pull-offs there were along the coast, so it was hard to choose which one we would stop at and enjoy. All we knew is we wanted a pull off to stop & cook dinner. Finally, after locating the best spot, we opened the back of our campervan and cooked up some delicious quesadillas while enjoying the last few looks at this part of our beautiful world! 

Toddlers enjoying lunch during a quick stop on the Pacific Coast Highway

Quick stops for lunch with the family along the Pacific Coast Highway are always a treat.

Finishing our family vacation in San Francisco

Then it was off to our final destination – San Francisco (as we were flying out the next morning) with an hour of daylight to explore the city. This put us at just 40 min from our Escape campervan San Francisco drop off depot the next morning. We know one thing for a fact, if you decide to plan a family vacation up the Pacific Coast Highway, you will have a blast!  Looking for the next family adventure?  Book an Escape campervan and experience the exhilaration of Pacific Coast Highway with your family.

2 thoughts on “Our Family Vacation up the Pacific Coast Highway”

  1. Can you please show pictures of the inside of the Vans? Also a list of what you provide or what we would need to bring with us? Meaning folding chairs food, bedding and ext. Thank You
    Also how do you clean a Van after use?

    1. Hi Julie! Under the “Campervans” tab, you can see photos of the inside of each of our models at the bottom of the page. We offer camp chairs, bedding and a kitchen kit (plates, bowls, mugs, silverware, pots, pans, etc.) for rent or you could bring your own. Pack your own food, clothing and toiletries. Soft-sided duffel bags are great for clothing and groceries can be stored in the kitchen in the back of the van. We have an 80-point detailing procedure for cleaning every van after it has gone on a trip. More details here:

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