California’s Highway 1 has re-opened after more than 18 months of roadway closures, and to celebrate over 80 classic cars – representing eight decades from classic vintage, to sleek and modern, to hydrogen-fuelled and electric models – rallied down the iconic route.

The procession highlighted the iconic highway’s historic past connecting California’s northern and southern regions on one of the world’s most spectacular coastal drives.

Highway 1 has served as a main throughway for Central Coast locals since the 1930s and as a scenic drive and tourist attraction for visitors from around the world since the route’s more formal incorporation and official numbering in 1964. The highway is designated as an “All-American Road,” and at 665 miles is the longest state route in California.

Nearly 200 tourism industry leaders, media from around the world and automotive enthusiasts participated in the Dream Drive, which kicked off at the WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey with a commemorative lap around the raceway track. The convoy proceeded down Highway 1, across the new $54 million, quarter-mile mudslide repair, before ending with a sunset beach barbecue in the shadow of Morro Rock in the coastal town of Morro Bay.

A decorated classic car is parked at San Simeon. The Dream Drive celebrates the reopening of Highway 1.

For ideas on a more sustainable trip to California, read 11 Ways to Enjoy California Ecotourism.

Discover amazing architecture

While Highway 1 celebrates natural beauty, be sure to check out its landmark structures as you go. No Highway 1 trip is complete without a stop at Hearst Castle, where, in addition to its regular scheduled tours, you can arrange intimate, private tours that can last as long as four hours. The Big Sur coast has always been a treacherous stretch for ships and two historic lighthouses that have helped guide mariners are also open for tours, making an ideal stop off point on your road trip.

Bring the whole family

With hundreds of massive elephant seals barking at Piedras Blancas near San Simeon, as well as sea otters riding the surf, there is an abundance of wildlife for the kids to look out for along Highway 1. Make a stop at Treebones Resort, where glamping is taken to the next level with cliff side yurts, swimming pool and a sushi bar.

Explore the creative side of the coast

Big Sur’s blend of beauty and solitude has long drawn writers, painters and other artists looking for inspiration. Honouring the legacy of its namesake writer and artist, the Henry Miller Memorial Library is a cultural hub for Big Sur thanks to an eclectic summer music program and the Big Sur International Short Film Screening Series. The coastal village of Cambria’s Main Street is also lined with galleries, including Ephraim Pottery and The Vault Gallery.

Taste Big Sur’s big eats

At Ventana Big Sur resort, The Sur House pairs panoramic coastal views with Chef Paul Corsentino’s fine-dining menu, which emphasises locally sourced ingredients paired with award winning wines. Then for one of the best sunset experiences, be sure to dine at the Sierra Mar restaurant at Post Ranch Inn.

Pack the hiking boots

Just off the highway there are plenty of trails to choose from. Wind through the towering redwoods that lead to hidden coves along the coastline or stop at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to grab a picture of McWay Falls, which plunges 80 feet from the cliffs above to the beach below. Another option is a one-mile round-trip Partington Cove Trail down the cliffs and through a historic tunnel.

When in California, ensure you pay a visit to San Francisco SoMa District, or visit Yosemite Park

Fore more information on things to do in California

Visit: California Dream Big