Road Trip Daydreams: Our Favorite California Drives

When it's safe to travel for leisure, the Via team plans to hit these spots in California.

panoramic sunset view over purple echium blooms and Marin Headlands, in foreground, as the towers of Golden Gate poke through enveloping afternoon fog with San Francisco skyline on horizon
Driving Highway 1 from the Golden Gate Bridge to Bodega Bay offers a bounty of scenic beauty. 
Jeff Lewis / Tandem Stock

"My husband and I are looking forward to driving Highway 1 from the Golden Gate Bridge to Bodega Bay. We plan to revisit our favorite spots, including Muir Beach, the Point Reyes headlands, and Two Bird Café, where we enjoyed a delicious Thanksgiving dinner last year." —Monica Ewing Jensen, Design Director

"The first place I'd like to go after travel restrictions lift? Across the Central Valley on Highway 120, up and over Sonora Pass (my favorite trans-Sierra crossing), and down into Bridgeport for lunch at the Burger Barn, to be eaten alfresco while gazing across that big valley to Matterhorn Peak and Sawtooth Ridge." —Dan Miller, Executive Editor

"Wine country is my happy place, so I will be headed to Napa Valley. For sprawling views of vineyards, it's hard to beat the drive along the Silverado Trail. It's stunning at any time of year, but especially in late summer while the vines are lush, right before harvest." —Veronica Sooley, Associate Art Director

"For my family and me, a trek up to the Sierra foothills is in order so that we can get our fix of beautiful tree-lined mountains, blue skies, and clear vistas. It's easily reached from the Bay Area, yet far enough away to give us a self-care weekend." —Tom Henry, Director, Brand and Digital Content Marketing

"My favorite road trips revolve around food. I've been fantasizing about taking Highway 1 north from Point Reyes Station, where I'll pick up Cowgirl Creamery cheese and Brickmaiden Bread, to Marshall, where I'll grab fresh oysters and set up a beach picnic." —Whitney Phaneuf, Managing Editor

"I just got a tent, with the thought that camping will make for a safe getaway this summer. First stop: Big Sur. It's one of my favorite places, yet I haven't been in probably 10 years. I can't wait to go to Pfeiffer Beach, climb the rocks, and watch the ocean, then enjoy a snack on the deck at Nepenthe." —Amy Mackey, Production Director

"I'm dreaming of a Central Coast road trip down to Avila Beach. My family has some favorite waypoints along Highway 101, including a lunch stop at Firestone Walker in Paso Robles. Taking 101 means more time to stop for pie at the Avila Valley Barn and to explore the beachfront restaurants in town." —Rebecca Harper, Executive Digital Producer

"When the shelter-in-place order is lifted, I will head to Yosemite National Park—one of my favorite places on earth! My family has been going to Yosemite for generations, so I feel connected to my ancestors when visiting. Being at one with nature and the beauty of the park, I am overcome with a peaceful tranquility." —Bruce Colton, Account Executive