US Highway 101: A beautiful ride
The United States’ fabulous Highway 101 (or Route 101) stretches along the majority of the west coast. From small towns to the countless bays, it’s a beautiful ride.
It is a great road to hitchhike and, due to a large number of hitchhikers on the west coast, getting rides is quick. Locals and drivers are fantastic and many will bring you along scenic routes which wind away from and back to the 101, meaning you’ll see incredible views of the coastline. Though hitchhiking highways in the United States can be difficult, the 101 is certainly an exception.
Enjoy the breath-taking scenery
The scenery along the 101 is absolutely stunning and will take your breath away! Driving along the coast, it’s easy to lose your train of thought staring out across the Pacific. The road will veer inland through the Redwoods, offering more stunning views, then swing back out as another bay unfolds beneath you. There are also plenty of viewpoints along the way for you to stop and take it all in.
Camping along the highway is straightforward, and it’s wonderful putting your head to a make-shift pillow listening to the Pacific roaring outside. Camping near beaches is great as you can watch the sun set quietly against the endless expanse of the ocean. The beauty will leave you speechless.
Hitchhiking is often easy
Due to many travelers along the highway, hitchhiking tends to be easier than in other places. Drivers often say they constantly pick people up. Standing on the edge of town, you’ll have no problem getting a ride in your direction. If you’re lucky, you’ll meet other hitchhikers going your way too!
Though many drivers will be going to the next town, a lot of people travel along the 101 instead of the interstate (i-5) as it is much more scenic. This means you can get rides going 100+ miles in your direction.
Remember the cold
An important aspect to remember about highway 101 is the diversity in the regions. At the northern end in Oregon it can be quite cold and misty due to a strong Pacific breeze. It often stays this way until you travel deep into California, so pack a jacket and long pants as you’ll inevitably need them. They’re also great at night when the temperature drops. Despite California getting hot during the summer time, at night it can get surprisingly cold.
Hitchhiking highway 101 along the west coast of the US is fabulous and I can’t recommend it enough. The west coast is a relaxed place with a laid-back atmosphere, and hitchhiking is easy enough that you can bounce along care-free.
As always, remember to take everything as it comes. I was invited to see a house a driver built in the Redwoods, giving me a chance to gaze across a fabulous valley from his backyard. Another time, I was given fresh-steamed crab caught in a California bay. I never knew it tasted so good!
Take your time and enjoy yourself. The small towns are fabulous to explore and the scenery is breath-taking. When you’re hitchhiking you’ll never wait too long for a ride, so relax and take it all in. It’s a beautiful ride.
Thinking of heading out on the road? Check out my top 5 books to inspire your wanderlust.