These classic SoCal routes are short in length but long on leisure.
I have a confession to make. Something I never thought I’d say when I was young. Here it is: Driving can be boring.
When I first got my license, the freedom of driving was exhilarating. I couldn’t wait to roam where I wanted in my parents’ station wagon. The beach. The mountains. The desert. Every trip was an adventure.
Life continued. I graduated from college and got a job, a wife, and a family. I started making the same daily commute down the same crowded freeway, seeing the same faces trapped behind their windshields. I got in a driving rut.
Eventually, I found a way out. I began to seek special weekend routes, the kind my parents called Sunday drives—mini excursions that have three components: an interesting road or roads, attractive scenery, and a place to picnic. For me, these drives include the twisty route up to a friend’s cabin in Big Bear and the easy cruise down Pacific Coast Highway past the beach towns of Carlsbad and Encinitas.
After months of being cooped up, perhaps you, like me, are ready to head out again—but are wary of embarking on a long road trip that requires overnight stays and extensive planning. Sunday drives are the perfect in-between solution. Following are four fun stretches of pavement to get you started. Each can be enjoyed without ever stepping out of your car, or as a leisurely day trip with pleasant stops along the way. What are you waiting for?—Paul Zieke