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The 6 Most Incredible California Road Trips (PHOTOS)

First Posted: 01/12/11 08:20 AM ET   Updated: 05/25/11 07:25 PM ET

California is the third-largest state in the USA, and you could easily spend weeks navigating its blue highways and rural byways, safely distant from the nerve-jangling, always-jammed interstate system. These classic road-tripping routes are soaked in enough epic scenery to make each deliciously slow, winding mile of your detour worthwhile.

An essential road-trip companion is the California Road & Recreation Atlas (Benchmark Press), which answers the perennial question, 'What's over there?'. With a 4WD vehicle, it'll take you off-road and help you get unstuck from highway traffic jams courtesy of locals-only back roads.

Text and captions courtesy of Lonely Planet.

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Pacific Coast Highway
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Although CA Hwy 1 runs almost the entire length of the state, it's the official 'PCH' stretch from Orange County north into LA past Santa Monica and Malibu that gets raves for its oceanfront views.
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Filed by Kate Auletta  |