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Northern California offers some of the USA's loveliest road tripping, with scenic views, great beaches, beach towns and state parks as well as attractions such as the Monterey Aquarium and the Carmel Mission. One particularly appealing stretch is the 122 miles (196 kilometers) between San Francisco and the town of Carmel along coastal Highway 1. You can drive it in a little over two hours, but there's so much to see and do along here that you could easily spend a week stopping to enjoy its many fantastic places (especially state parks like San Mateo Coast Beaches, Pigeon Point Light Station, Año Nuevo, Wilder Ranch, Natural Bridges, Santa Cruz Beaches, Seacliff, Sunset, Zmudowski, Moss Landing, Salinas River, Marina, Monterey, Asilomar, and Carmel River.

Keep in mind, by the way, that the weather in the area changes quite a bit, strong winds are common (water- and wind-proof clothing is recommended), and temperatures can be cool. And with that said, here are some of my favorite highlights along the way:

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