Arguably one of the most scenic drives you can take in the U.S. (better yet, the world!), a road trip along the California Coast needs to be on everyone’s bucket list—including yours! This quintessential route takes you from Santa Monica to San Francisco along Route 1. Sure, you can do it in a single day, but you’re better off making a weekend out of it and stopping at some scenic spots along the way.
We’ve created the ultimate wardrobe guide for each city, from Santa Monica to Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz to San Francisco. While we’re partial to this specific road trip (Hey, we’re California girls after all!), this summer wardrobe capsule will work for any, yes any, road trip you’ve got coming up.
We made sure the top priority was comfort, without sacrificing even one drop of style for those out-of-car moments because you’ve got to be ready to snap a scenic selfie for Instagram at a moment’s notice. Follow the fashion and route guide below, and check out our local recommendations to add to your itinerary! Pro tip: If you’re renting a car, consider spending a little more for a convertible. You’ll thank us later.
Start your day at the Santa Monica Pier. This landmark is lined with restaurants and shops and has a gorgeous oceanfront view. This stretchy, comfy outfit will be just the right pick for a lovely stroll. Peel off those layers if the sun is beaming! Enjoy some seafood with a glass of wine for lunch, then head on your way for the next two-hour leg of the journey.
Style Tip: When traveling, comfort is key. Opt for knits and cardigans that are easy to peel off on a long drive.
Drive straight to The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (closes at 6:00 p.m.) for 78 acres and over 1,000 species of California’s native plants. Enjoy being out of the city, and take in all the greenery this road trip has to offer! Then head over to Municipal Winemakers for an evening of wine tasting in a chic, vintage setting (you’ll fit right in with your belted, accessorized look).
Style Tip: Made for travel, the convertible Cruise Skirt is the perfect dress for a warm summer evening. Add a high strappy sandal, and you’ll have legs for days!
Now that you’ve recharged, shop along the strip of locally-owned boutiques in Downtown San Luis Obispo, where you’re sure to find trendy, one-of-a-kind pieces. A wide-leg trouser will keep you cool and comfy as you hop from store to store. If you’re considering adding an extra night to your itinerary, we suggest staying at the whimsical Madonna Inn for a unique lodging experience. Otherwise, head straight to beautiful Big Sur.
Style Tip: Chic, yet comfortable, this is a great look for shopping, walking around, and checking out the scene.
The McWay Waterfall Trail is a must-see. Just over a half mile long, this mini hike will take you to the falls viewing area. You’ll be comfy, yet stylish in our Center M’Leggings and sneakers. A cap is a must to keep the sun off your face. Crash here tonight, and get ready for some beach vibes tomorrow!
Style Tip: The Twofer Pullover is a great choice for an afternoon hike. During the warm mid-day weather, wear the tank alone. Slip on the sweater when it starts to cool down.
You made it to the beach! Walk the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in a skirt that will catch that salty breeze and a flat sandal that’ll keep your feet happy. You’ll find a fun amusement park along the scenic shore. Redwoods State Park is only a 20-minute drive from the center of the city, so consider spending your afternoon there!
Style Tip: Embrace the nautical details of the Windward Top by wearing it at the beach. Be sure to bring along the right essentials to protect your skin from the sun.
Hit a crab stand for dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf, then catch a glimpse of the sunset at the Golden Gate Bridge—talk about iconic. This navy ensemble will bring on the night sky, and the jacket will keep you warm as the night cools down. Now that’s how you end a road trip!
Style Tip: An olive, anorak-style jacket is our packable go-to for any season! Look stylish while being ready for anything (rain, micro-climates) as you walk through the City by the Bay.
Planning is always the hardest part of any trip, so we’ve helped you out with a good chunk of the legwork. You should be all set with both style tips and sightseeing options, and like we said, these outfits will serve you on any road trip…even if Route 1 isn’t the route you choose. If California isn’t on your itinerary, where will this capsule take you instead? Share your travel plans in the comments below, and let us know how these outfits will serve you on your next big trip. Now all you need to do is pack…but hey, at least there’s no luggage weight limit in a car!