Your Illustrated Guide to the Perfect West Coast Road Trip

A new art-filled travel diary offers a colorful guide for the ultimate journey

Illustrations by DANIELLE KROLL


While artist Danielle Kroll was growing up on the East Coast, her family’s preferred way of vacationing was the all-American road trip. “I do love the feeling of being behind the wheel, but what I love most about road trips is looking out the car window, listening to music, letting my thoughts wander, trying to take in everything as it passes by,” says the New York-based painter and illustrator, who previously worked as a designer for Anthropologie.

Feeling the West Coast was calling out to be explored, with roads that offer uninterrupted stretches for meditative me time, Kroll embarked on a six-week journey, which she beautifully chronicles in her debut title, Pacific Coasting (Artisan Books, $20), available May 26. In her signature playful style, Kroll colorfully depicts everything from a meticulous glossary of tide pools in La Jolla and roadside wildflowers to the flora and fauna in Muir Woods. The pages also function as a guide for even the state’s most seasoned road warriors, with illustrated routes, playlists, pit stops, packing lists and, after a long day on the road, the must-stop bed-and-breakfasts and campsites.



“I do love the feeling of being behind the wheel”

Danielle Kroll


Kroll begins her journey in San Diego, winding through the beach towns off Highway 1 until reaching the 101. She takes readers from the cliffs of Torrey Pines to San Clemente — providing detours on the history of surf culture and local folklore. As the palms give way to redwoods in the central and northern coasts, where “the air is saltier, cooler, fresher,” Kroll’s journey canvasses majestic Big Sur and the Bay Area, continuing up through the Sonoma vineyards and Sequoia National Forest before traveling on to Oregon and Washington.

“I had hoped to do some painting on-site while on the road trip but never found the time. There was too much exploring to do,” says Kroll, who painted the book back home in the Catskills. Whether you take a month-long adventure or spend just a few hours on the road, she says, “Every trip along this coastline has inevitably led to the same result: a memorable vacation that left me feeling inspired and grateful.” Just try to keep your eyes on the road.



Feature image: Surfers in SANTA CRUZ.


This story originally appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of C Magazine.

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