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Need advice about doing Pacific Coast Highway drive/vacation. Hotel Reservations needed or not for stopovers along the way.

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Family of 3, 2 adults and one 9 year old, plan to drive California Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to San Diego over 9 days in late August. Arrive Thursday depart the next Saturday. I want to know if I should make hotel reservations ahead of time for overnight stop overs along the way or will we be able to get a room by just walking in the same day. We plan to stop overnight between Carmel and San Simeon-Cambria area. Then on to Santa Barbara area to stop overnight. Then somewhere in Santa Monica-LA area overnight. We have a place to stay with relatives in San Diego area. We would like to stay overnight at oceanfront hotels on the Pacific Coast along the way. Any advice from those who have done this drive/vacation?

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