Pack your bags! In honor of life’s most delicious highways, we give you Hit the Road, Snack, our travel guide of things to eat, see, and do this summer from coast to coast.
When I was 19, I hopped into a car with my cousin Becky and drove from my parents' house in Atlanta, Georgia to Los Angeles, California. After a couple days in L.A., we took the Pacific Coast Highway up to Portland—stopping at the John Steinbeck archives in San Jose, Palo Alto, and Berkeley for a research project along the way.
The trip was formative for both of us: It taught us how to be better drivers, how to write on the road without getting carsick, and how to pass the time on long stretches of highway (i.e., true crime podcasts). It was on the PCH where I grew to fall in love with all of the great food and nature between California and Oregon, where the two most important people in my life live now.
Becky loved Portland so much, she ended up moving there a couple years after our trip. My brother moved to Southern California in 2012, and every year I make it out there to see him, pit stopping in Portland to see Becky as well.
This summer, Becky and I will be driving from L.A. to Portland to relive that old Steinbeck trip. To prep for it, I asked my colleagues what we should eat and where we should stop. Here's what they said:
"Neptune’s Net in Malibu!" —Victoria Maynard, VP of finance
"Paradise Cove." —Sam Stahl, chief revenue officer
"I’ve been to Duke's. I didn't necessarily go for the food, but for the view of the water. Saw dolphins playing." —Becky, my cousin
"Temescal Canyon, about a mile from the PCH, is a nice hike I do frequently." —Kevin, my brother
"Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport, north of Monterey. They sell their jams and berries and slices of strawberry pie on the honor system. There's a wooden box with a slot to put money into and a change drawer next to it to take back what you need, trusting that any strawberry lover is gonna be honest about what they took and how much they should pay for it." —Anna Billingskog, food stylist
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UPICK UPDATE: We know you are excited to get out into the fields to pick your own, but due to our awesomely wet winter, our fields are still too wet to allow customer access. We hope to open sometime in early May! To get your hands on these beauties, please stop by our farmstand any day of the week (8am-7pm) and/or any of our 7 farmers markets! We can't wait to see the look on your face when you munch one of these #organic #union #sociallyjust strawberries! Also keep an eye out here on Instagram or the website for future updates! #pickedbyafarmworkerwithhealthcare #anddentalcare #ufw #sunsoutstrawbsout #strawberry #california #santacruz #davenport
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"Nepenthe has the best views of the Pacific, incredible burgers, and a great wine list. There's also a New Agey gift shop right next door. I love Big Sur; it really is the most beautiful place in the country. It just smells amazing: half ocean smell, half forest smell." —Sam (again)
"Big Sur Bakery has amazing baked goods, beautiful salads, burgers, and wine. Totally cute little place along the road." —Josh Cohen, test kitchen director
"There are so many fantastic taco spots in Santa Cruz that it's pretty hard to go wrong, but I always love stopping at Taqueria Los Pericos on the way into town for their loaded burritos and salsa/condiments bar." —Erin Alexander, assistant editor of partner content
The Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is probably my favorite boardwalk in America. It's huge, technicolor, and cheesy—what Coney Island used to be in its glory days. Get an ice cream cone or a hot dog and read a short Steinbeck novella (The Red Pony or Tortilla Flat, not The Pearl) on the beach.
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• Probably the scariest ride of the day. Crazily windy up there folks, don’t underestimate the panoramic ride. • . . . . . #landscape_lovers #sky_captures #landscapephotography #fantastic_earth #landscape_captures #ic_landscapes #ig_exquisite #nature_wizards #nature_shooters #landscapestyles_gf #ourplanetdaily #landscapehunter #special_shots #naturediversity #landscapelovers #santacruz #californiadreaming #california #californialove #jj_california #santacruzboardwalk
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"In Half Moon Bay there's a place called Sam's Chowder House we never fail to stop at every time my family drives along Highway 1 California. It's gotten serious acclaim for having the best seafood in the Bay Area (I've never encountered a single grain of sand in the chowder) with spectacular salmon burgers (they're coral pink) and house-made ice cream topped with small batch olive oil for dessert. Plus, we saw whales last time. " —Maggie Slover, copywriter
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"In West Marin, stop at either Nick's Cove or The Marshall Store for lunch (both are about 20 minutes past Point Reyes, which any PCH-journeyer will be stopping to check out anyway. Speaking of, get a blueberry scone at Bovine Bakery while you're doing that; it's colossal and has a light, buttery crumb that makes it feel almost like a scone-muffin hybrid (in a very good way)." —Ella Quittner, lifestyle writer
"I would walk the 2,894 miles from here to Portland—yes, I looked it up—for the lemon ricotta pancakes at Tasty n Alder." —Chrissie Gruebel, copy director
"Ecola State Park, where they shot The Goonies." —Becky (again)
"There’s one place Becky and I went back to three times in one weekend. Let me find it for you... (comes back a couple minutes later) Roseanna's Cafe! We also love Clearwater Restaurant. And oh my god, these fish chips in Astoria. Wait, one more: this teeny tiny restaurant on the dock in Port Orford is like being inside a book set in some pirate story. The one lady (who owns it, maybe?) is a bit grumpy, but the others are suuuuuper nice. You can dine in, buy fresh raw seafood to-go, or grab fishing and crabbing bait and gear there." —Hannah, my other cousin (also an Oregon native)
"Strangely, Eric, a lot of the random spots we hit on the coast seem to taste pretty good (not Michelin star, but better than you'd guess). I don't know if that's because they are actually good and some really talented chef got sick of living in cities to have an easier life...or if we were just hungry on the road." —David, my other other cousin
As for me? I love picking berries on Sauvie Island Farms. They have the usual suspects—blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries—but what I get most excited about are the local Oregon marionberries, which make the best jam ever.