Remember last year’s road trip to Big Sur and Monterey along the West Coast Highway? Well, this is the Southern California (SoCal) version of that journey; we drove north along the coastal Route 1 from Los Angeles towards Santa Barbara and stopped in Ventura.
Hollywood to Santa Monica: 14 mi / 22.5 km (30 minutes-ish depending on traffic). Hollywood to Ventura: 70 mi / 113 km (2 hours-ish). Santa Monica to Ventura: 55 mi / 89 km (1.5 hours-ish).
By avoiding the 101, the drive from Hollywood takes you through Beverly Hills to Santa Monica (lush trees and big houses), then continues through Malibu, Point Mugu, Oxnard, and Ventura.
It’s a great drive and incorporates the “California” that I associate with California: sandy beaches, mellow people, cars and vans with surfboards strapped to the top, sandals, colourful wraps and towels, dodgy-looking beachside motels with neon signs, scooters driven by barefoot guys in bermudas, and old wood panel vans. Periodically, I’d get a glimpse of a beachfront mansion or a driver from another state acting like an impatient dick and my image would momentarily fade.
There are tons of community beaches along the way filled with surfers, hikers, and water gazers. Just standing at some of these beaches helped wash away the stress that Hollywood creates and pushed us into the “beach” weekend mindset.