Every year, the national media comes out with their summer road trip guides, and, no matter what year it is, they always have Highway 1 through Big Sur and Carmel.

Yes, we know that’s one of the most spectacular drives in the world. My trip to The Hacienda, the nearby William Randolph Hearst-built “hunting lodge” is just over the hill.

Here are three other California drives to consider… three of my favorites, if you’re tired of just doing Joyride Guru San Diego day trips.

  • Feather River Highway, SR-70, from Butte Valley east to the Nevada border. Legendary canyon made famous by the original California Zephyr railroad route back in the day. Great little towns along the way, lakes and rivers. Almost empty compared to nearby Lake Tahoe and Gold Country. Check out my visit from 2012.
  • Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks: Easy drive from the major cities, it’s the Redwoods without the long drive north to the Redwoods. Lodges, campgrounds, hiking in abundance. Usually less crowded than Yosemite in the summer.
  • Lake Arrowhead and Big Bear: One of the favorite summer and winter spots for Southern Californians, twisty roads, pine trees and mountain air are a great escape. I took a Nissan Nismo Z up the Rim of the World Highway a few years back.

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