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Driving San Francisco to Santa Barbara – Where to stay?

Driving San Francisco to Santa Barbara – Where to stay?

Old Mar 30th, 2003, 05:31 AM
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Driving San Francisco to Santa Barbara – Where to stay?

I have been following many posts here regarding the area, but am having a difficult time choosing the cities in which to stay in our journey.

I have 4 nights to enjoy – beginning in San Francisco and ending in Santa Barbara. (Will spend a week in Santa Barbara.) I am considering two nights, in San Francisco, and then spending two nights along the coast before hitting Santa Barbara.

I have done searches on Carmel, Cambria (The Post Ranch Inn looks incredible!), Big Sur, etc. and am having difficulty deciding where to stay. Hearst Castle and the Monterrey Aquarium are not stops I am interested in. I want a restful drive, and have some time to explore some of the areas natural treasures (scenery, wildlife, people, decent food, maybe a winery, etc.).

Also, I suppose I should take Hwy #1 all the way from Monterey to the Morro Bay area, or is that too long of a tough drive? The area sure seems like it is worth seeing, and I love driving. I will have a convertible to take in the views.

Can you offer any suggestions of which cities to stop in for two nights along the way?

Happy Trails,
Paul
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Old Mar 30th, 2003, 06:07 AM
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I'd take the coast road, and take it easy. And stay in the Monterey area, and Morro Bay.
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Old Mar 30th, 2003, 10:51 AM
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Paul,

Well, I would plan for for stops in Monterey and Morro Bay. Since you are already going to drive through Big Sur, I'd recommend picking up Highway 1 in Santa Cruz along the northern Monterey Bay Area. Route1 north of Monterey Bay is not as scenic as the part south of there. In addition, you will also miss the Devil's Slide area as well, which drivers as well as passengers find kind of intimidating. From SF take the scenic 280 freeway south and pick up Highway 17 south toward Santa Cruz to Route 1 into Monterey. Highway 17 will take you through the Santa Cruz Mountains. If you have time, I'd recommend a stop at Big Basin Redwoods State Park to see some of the impressive big trees.

www.bigbasin.org

If you are doing this trip on a weekday and you leave SF around 10AM, you should miss the commute traffic. For lunch you could stop off in San Jose before heading to the Santa Cruz Mountains. There are many restaurants in downtown. There are also many wineries to explore in the area.

http://www.guidedsolutions.net/
http://www.scmwa.com/
www.sjdowntown.com
www.siliconvalley.citysearch.com

In Monterey don't miss the 17 Mile Drive and Point Lobos State Reserve just south of Carmel for some great vistas.

Have a great trip.


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Old Mar 30th, 2003, 11:02 AM
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If scenery is what you're looking for, definitely take the coast route.

I'd recommend going to Big Basin SP if you have time. If you don't have the time to drive all the way up there - and it is a bit of a drive - you might consider Henry Cowell SP as an alternative for checking out the redwoods. It's right near Felton, which is only about a 15 minute detour from Hwy 17 at Scotts Valley.

In Big Sur, Pfiffer Burns SP and State Beach are very beautiful and definitely worth a stop. Point Lobos is great too, it's generally more crowded though because it's so close to Carmel.
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Old Mar 30th, 2003, 11:17 AM
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I took the coast from for SF to Monterey and Big Sur and while the the coast north of Monterey was nice, it did not compare to the beautiful views of Big Sur. Since Big Sur is already on your plans, I would skip highway 1 north of Monterey and take the 280/17 route and spend some time at Big Basin instead.
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Old Mar 30th, 2003, 01:57 PM
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What time of year do you plan to do this trip? What day will you be driving to Monterey? If it's a weekday, leaving SF after 9:30 AM should allow you to miss the commute traffic. The drive along 280 from SF is really great. I always prefer the vistas along 280 to the sound walls along the 101. I think that your orginal plan of taking highway 1 from Monterey to Morro Bay sounds good. It's a great drive and you will see some of the best coastal scenery that California has to offer. I definitely would make a stop at Point Lobos on the way to Big Sur.
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Old Mar 30th, 2003, 04:36 PM
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How about staying in Paso Robles (the wineries and 30 minutes from Cambria) or San Luis Obispo with the wineries and 10 minutes from Morro Bay?
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Old Mar 30th, 2003, 07:44 PM
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Sycamore Mineral Springs on the road to Avila Beach is nice. Very close to beaches and hiking trails. http://www.sycamoresprings.com/regular/home.html
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Old Mar 30th, 2003, 08:33 PM
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Pisomo Beach is a nice and also is close to San Luis Obispo. When we go there we like staying at the Kon Tiki Inn.

http://www.kontikiinn.com/
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Old Mar 30th, 2003, 08:34 PM
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Sorry about the typo, I meant "Pismo" Beach.
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Old Apr 8th, 2003, 04:29 AM
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Thank you all for your great advice. I am still working out the details of this trip. J Correa, it seems that last year you posted some pictures of your visit to the CA area, here at Fodors. I remember them as being great and look forward to seeing the sights.

Everything from the road stops, parks, traffic conditions, hotel links, directions, etc., are all very much very much appreciated. Thank you!!!!

Happy Trails,
Paul
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