Highway 1’s recent reopening allows travelers to do what they love: explore America’s most iconic coastal thoroughfare. From seascape vistas and elephant seal watching, to easy access to some of California’s greatest landmarks, the now 80-year-old Highway 1 is officially open for unfettered and unforgettable cruising, thanks to the $54 million Cal Trans reconstruction effort.


Highway 1 is more than an awe-inspiring link between Carmel and Cambria, it also boasts a rich history. Here are a few fun facts about America’s most beautiful stretch of road.

Highway 1 Fun Facts

  • When the groundbreaking began in 1919, the highway was originally estimated to cost $1.5 million and when completed almost 20 years later, the road cost $10 million.
  • Convicts from San Quentin were paid 35¢ per day as well as reductions in their sentence to help build the road.
  • 70,000 pounds of dynamite were used to clear the terrain for road construction.
  • Bixby Bridge in Big Sur was originally built using 300,000 ft. of Douglas fir.
  • There are a total of 33 bridges along the highway.
  • Highway 1 runs through more than 10 counties.
  • As the longest state route in California, it stretches more than 600 miles!
  • Trip Advisor travelers say Highway 1 “embraces the mood of dreamers and wanderers” and is a “must on your bucket list” to visit the Elephant Seal Rookery and drive to Hearst Castle.
  • Travel + Leisure ranked Highway 1 as one of “America’s Most Iconic Drives.”


Plan your journey to drive the Highway 1 Discovery Route and see what California’s coast has to offer.