The TOP 10 Best Pacific Coast Highway FESTIVALS and EVENTS: A Journey of Coastal Delights

The TOP 10 Best Pacific Coast Highway FESTIVALS and EVENTS: A Journey of Coastal Delights

The Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Highway 1, is one of the most iconic road trips in the world. Stretching along the stunning coastline of California, this scenic highway offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, majestic cliffs, and picturesque seaside towns. But the beauty of this coastal drive isn’t limited to its landscapes; it’s also home to a vibrant and diverse festival scene.

If you’re a fan of festivals and events, combining the allure of the Pacific Coast Highway with the excitement of attending unique gatherings is a match made in heaven. From music festivals to food fairs and cultural celebrations, there’s something for everyone along this incredible stretch of road.

In this blog post, we’ll take you on a journey of coastal delights as we explore the top six best Pacific Coast Highway festivals and events. Whether you’re planning a road trip or looking for some inspiration for your next adventure, these festivals are sure to captivate your senses and create memories that will last a lifetime.

1. Pacific Grove Good Old Days Festival

Pacific Grove, California

Pacific Coast Highway - best festivals in Summer on PCH

Kicking off our list is the Pacific Grove Good Old Days Festival, a beloved event that celebrates the rich history and charm of this coastal town. With live music, artisan booths, delicious food vendors, and a parade, this festival captures the essence of small-town Americana.

2. Monterey Jazz Festival

Monterey, California

Best PCH Festivals and Events in California

Recognized as one of the longest-running jazz festivals in the world, the Monterey Jazz Festival attracts music lovers from near and far. Set against the backdrop of the stunning Monterey Bay, this three-day event showcases the best of jazz, featuring renowned artists and emerging talents alike.

3. Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Santa Barbara, California

Blog post about best events on the Pacific Coast Highway

Known as the “Cannes of the West,” the Santa Barbara International Film Festival is a must-visit for film enthusiasts. With its coastal location and star-studded premieres, this festival celebrates the art of filmmaking and attracts Hollywood’s biggest names.

If you’re interested in exploring major towns along the Pacific Coast Highway, such as Santa Barbara, make sure to check out my blog post dedicated to this topic: Pacific Coast Highway – The 16 BEST TOP Major Cities and Towns on the West Coast

4. Día de los Muertos in Oceanside

Oceanside, California

Mexican event on the Pacific Coast Highway.

Immerse yourself in Mexican culture and tradition at the vibrant Día de los Muertos celebration in Oceanside. This colorful event features vibrant costumes, intricately designed altars, traditional music, and dance performances, paying homage to loved ones who have passed away.

5. Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival

Half Moon, California

Best festivals along the Pacific Coast Highway

As autumn sets in, the Half Moon Bay Art and Pumpkin Festival embraces the harvest season with gusto. Known for its enormous pumpkins, live music, pumpkin carving contests, and mouthwatering treats, this festival is a feast for the eyes and taste buds.

6. Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Ashland, Oregon

List of best festivals and events on the Pacific Coast Highway

Venture further up the coast to Ashland, Oregon, and experience the magic of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. From February to October, this renowned theater event brings Shakespeare’s timeless plays to life, along with a diverse range of contemporary and classic performances.

7. Big Sur International Marathon

Big Sur, California

Big Sur Marathon - festival list in California PCH

For those seeking an active adventure, the Big Sur International Marathon offers a thrilling experience. Held in April, this iconic marathon route stretches along the majestic coastline, offering panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and rugged cliffs. Even if you’re not participating, the event creates a festive atmosphere, with live music, local vendors, and cheering spectators lining the route.

8. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Events

Santa Cruz, California

Get ready for events on the Pacific Coast Highway. Choose the best one!

Located on the northern end of the PCH, Santa Cruz is a vibrant coastal town known for its beautiful beaches and nostalgic boardwalk. Throughout the year, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk hosts a variety of exciting events, including free concerts, movie nights on the beach, and thrilling amusement park rides. Whether you’re seeking a laid-back evening or an adrenaline-filled adventure, Santa Cruz has something for everyone.

9. Oceanside Harbor Days

Oceanside, California

What events take place on the Pacific Coast Highway in summer?

Oceanside Harbor Days is an annual event held in Oceanside, California, along the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway. This lively festival celebrates the coastal community and its deep connection to the ocean. Attendees can enjoy a variety of activities such as boat races, live music performances, delicious food vendors, arts and crafts, and a spectacular boat parade.

10. Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival

Palm Desert, California

Best events to attend on the Pacific Coast Highway.

The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, commonly known as Coachella, is one of the most renowned music festivals in the world. Held annually in Indio, California, Coachella attracts music lovers, art enthusiasts, and celebrities from around the globe. The festival showcases an impressive lineup of top-tier musicians across various genres, from rock and pop to hip-hop and electronic music.

👍 Find out more:

Pacific Coast Highway Travel Guide - 202 Best Stops

Discover the best stops along the PCH in my travel guide, “Pacific Coast Highway Travel Guide – 202 Best Stops”, which is available on Amazon. This is the ultimate travel guide and pocket reference for anyone wishing to experience the adventure and wonder of THE PACIFIC COAST HIGHWAY! MUST-HAVE for all West Coast travelers. Visit 202 places on the PCH with “Scan QR and go” for easy navigation.


Pacific Coast - Mark Watson

Mark Watson is a California-based member of a Los Angeles motorcycle club and an avid traveler. He has completed seven full journeys along the iconic Pacific Coast Highway on his Harley-Davidson and is passionate about promoting this historic drive to others. Mark has also explored the Alaska Highway and Route 66, and has authored three bestselling travel guides on Amazon: “Route 66 Travel Guide – 202 Amazing Places,” “Alaska Highway Travel Guide – 202 Best Stops,” and “Pacific Coast Highway Travel Guide – 202 Best Stops.”

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