We’re happy to bring you a guest feature from Turo! Megan Natt is the content marketing lead at Turo.com, a car rental marketplace where local car owners across the US, Canada, and the UK provide travelers with a vehicle for their next adventure.
Even the heartiest skipper needs some quality time ashore. Whether you’re setting sail for the balmy tropics or enjoying the pale winter waters at home, taking some time to explore the coast by land gives you a grounded perspective on your favorite seascapes. From the warm Floridian waters to the soaring Californian cliffs, find the perfect road trip to compliment your winter maritime adventures.
San Francisco, CA
San Francisco is a feast for the senses any time of year, but what lies outside the city limits is equally, if not, more luscious than the city itself. One of the world’s most iconic highways, Highway One boasts towering cliffs and sweeping vistas to the south and hidden coves and sandy beaches to the north. Don’t miss Bowling Ball Beach on the Mendocino coast to the north, and swing by Nepenthe on the misty cliffs of Big Sur to channel your inner Kerouac with a mellow Monterey cabernet.
Los Angeles, CA
The marinas of LA attract sailors of all stripes, and the scenic highways and byways of coastal Los Angeles are almost as iconic as the Hollywood sign. Explore the less touristy areas of LA — think taco trucks in Echo Park rather than the Hard Rock on the Walk of Fame — and be sure to drive at least part of the signature Pacific Coast Highway.
We recommend Malibu for mellow — though very LA — beachy vibes and epic sunsets, Santa Monica and Venice Beach for a taste of hipster swankiness, The Queen Mary in Long Beach for a historical (and haunted) hotel-on-a-ship experience, and Crystal Cove State Park down in Newport Beach for some rocky cliff hikes and pretty sweet surf breaks.
A taste of the islands on the mainland, San Diego is equal parts mellow getaway and bustling metropolis. Famed for its fish tacos, it also boasts some of the best beaches on the West Coast. Rent a car and tour the surf town junket — Ocean Beach (aka O.B.) is a chill, welcoming community of bungalow cottages, dynamic small businesses (head to Hodad’s for a real-deal burger), and big swells for the surf set. Drive out to Cabrillo National Monument for stellar views, then head back toward OB and snake from Mission Boulevard to La Jolla Boulevard to hit more beachy enclaves, and for a longer road trip, hit the Five and head north to Del Mar and Encinitas for some good Mexican and good surf.
From the lifestyles of the rich and famous in Miami Beach to grittier hipster haunts in Wynwood (we love Coyo Taco with its secret tequila bar in back and Gramp’s for its quirky tropical vibes), Miami has a little something for everybody. And while Miami can get sweaty and sweltering in the summer, these wintery days are positively balmy.
If you’re docking here a few days, be sure to tour the city to do it justice. Rent a car and cruise from Miami Beach to South Beach, sticking to Collins Avenue to enjoy the shops, watering holes, and art deco architecture sans the drunken crowds with neon drinks thronging Ocean Avenue. If you have some more time to toot around the area, drive town to the Keys over the dreamy Overseas Highway, ending in Key West with a stop at Hemingway’s House to check out his progeny of six-toed cats. The Everglades are also worth a whirl for the requisite Floridian gator sighting.
While Miami has the cachet of being Miami, Tampa has all the allure of the Gulf — warm, clear waters, sandy, breezy beaches, and character by the boatload. The Gulf coast offers some dazzling road trip options, whether you go north from Tampa toward the perennial party town of Panama City or jaunt south to Sarasota. When going the southern route, be sure to swing by the charming Boca Grande — a seaside hamlet that’s both picturesque with its banyan trees and candy-colored cottages and ideal for vacationers seeking their own private Shangri-la.
For a closer day trip, head across old Tampa Bay to St. Petersburg. What was once a retiree’s paradise is now becoming hipper by the day and is cultivating a vibrant art scene. Be sure to check out Pass-A-Grille Island, a tiny peninsula beach community right off St. Pete’s that boasts epic seafood, bodacious sunsets, and more breweries per capita than anywhere in Florida.
Warm up your winter
Take your shore leave to the road and rent the perfect car as you explore the warm waters of the southern coasts, nosh on fresh seafood, and get off the beaten path to travel smarter.