Sunny Days and Beautiful Nights Along the Pacific Coast Highway in California

California Pride celebrations are big in San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco in the summer. Since each festival is held at a different time during the summer, you won’t be able to attend them all in one go, but you may extend your time in the West Coast heat by visiting many LGBTQ-friendly locations along Highway 1, which hugs the Pacific Ocean. You may simply reverse the order or start in the middle. In this case, we leave from San Diego and travel north along the coast to San Francisco, one of the most famous cities by the bay.

San Francisco

Your voyage concludes in Golden Gate City, which is regarded as one of the most progressive cities in the US due in large part to its history as a guiding light for LGBT rights. Numerous relics of the past can be found throughout the Castro district at places like the GLBT Historical Society Museum, which documents 100 years of local history. Visits to the Castro Theatre, which is close by, are like traveling back in time to 1922, the year it was constructed.

The opulent theatre, a historical landmark, routinely organizes films, singalongs, and special concerts. It includes an enormous art-deco chandelier. If you’re in town, take a cable car to famous landmarks like the lively Fisherman’s Wharf waterfront neighborhood and the massive Victorian homes of Nob Hill and the Mission District.

Don’t miss Martuni’s when night falls because there, customers can sip stiff beverages while singing Broadway show tunes and popular songs around a piano. Furthermore, a visit to Zuni Cafe for dinner is a must-do when in San Francisco. A famous dish in this city’s culinary epicenter is the cozy restaurant’s roast chicken for two.

pacific pride road trip laguna beach

Laguna Beach

To reach Laguna Beach in Orange County, turn north along the coast. In search of relaxation, sunshine, and a respite from the Hollywood atmosphere, LGBT Angelinos who worked in the film industry started coming here in the 1920s. As word spread and several underground seashore bars provided a secure setting for gathering, this trend only grew. The Seahorse Bar, one of these earliest and most obscure bars, opened in 1946 and was the most notable. Today, it accepts patrons of all identities and is no longer specifically a homosexual pub.

With over 100 galleries and studios, Laguna Beach’s arts community is currently arguably best known. Visit the Village Gallery, which features works by painters including Thomas Kinkade, Fabian Perez, Michael Godard, and Fabio Napoleoni, or wander rows of them along the Pacific Coast Highway. Try Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art or JoAnne Artman Gallery for vibrant contemporary art.

Make time to take in a spectacular Pacific sunset at the Rooftop Lounge, which offers outstanding, 360-degree views, for inspiration of a more natural variety. Around dusk, they provide a happy hour with small plates and their renowned house mojitos. Before having a couple of beers at the famous Main Street Bar, savor elegant Mexican cuisine at the seaside Las Brisas.

pacific pride road trip west hollywood

West Hollywood

West Hollywood, the largest gay municipality in the US with more than 40% of its citizens identifying as LGBT, is located in Los Angeles. It serves as the headquarters for the annual LA Pride Celebration and Parade, which includes a two-day festival in West Hollywood Park where well-known pop musicians give performances to audiences of more than 100,000 people.

Visit The Abbey when you’re in WeHo, as the city is frequently referred to. It’s a terrific place to dance, drink mojitos, and get some fresh air on their expansive patio. It’s perhaps the most well-liked bar and club in the area. Surprise appearances by celebrities like Lady Gaga have been reported.

The Abbey is located on Santa Monica Boulevard, which is home to a large number of gay clubs, including Micky’s, a popular stop for notable drag performers visiting Los Angeles. Eat at Night + Market, a Los Angeles staple for creative Thai cuisine, before going out. Shrimp pancakes, hog belly curries, and fried chicken sandwiches with papaya salad are popular dishes.

pacific pride road trip bir sur

Big Sur

There are many tempting views along the Pacific Coast Highway as you go north; keep going to the Central Coast paradise of Big Sur for one of the best. In Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, take a stroll along the cliffside trails, or bring a picnic and see Pfeiffer Beach’s undeveloped areas. Continue your journey up the coast to the tiny community of Carmel-by-the-Sea for a taste of special and culture, stopping along the way to browse the town’s boutiques and art galleries.

Nature lovers will adore a trip along Monterey County’s scenic 17-Mile Drive, which offers breathtaking vistas of the Pacific coastline and up-close encounters with seals and otters.

pacific pride road trip Guerneville


Skip San Francisco—we’ll return there in a few days—and head up north to this gay retreat in the wine region of Northern California. You may reserve a variety of adorably kitschy cottages in Guerneville, or you can bring your camping supplies and set up a tent in several locations. In either case, set aside a day to go wine tasting at a handful of the region’s over 400 wineries, kayak down the Russian River past soaring trees, or do both. Indulge in delicious queso and smoky mezcals at El Barrio in the evening. After that, stop by Rainbow Cattle Company, a popular hangout for locals looking for ice-cold drinks. It has the appearance of a classic saloon.