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Fly into San Fran, Drive the coast, Fly out of San Diego

Fly into San Fran, Drive the coast, Fly out of San Diego

Old Oct 13th, 2009, 07:46 AM
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I'm sorry that you may decide to skip San Diego. While the southern part of the coastline doesn't have the stunning crags and cliffs of Big Sur, it has its own beauty. In the time you have you can easily drive all the way to San Diego. There is a lot to see en route, including the Missions which you should try to fit in. In fact, you might consider driving northwards, visiting the Missions in order, the first being in San Diego.

For visiting Big Sur, This site is quite helpful:

http://www.bigsurcalifornia.org/
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 08:03 AM
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One thing I don't think has been mentioned is your tolerance for driving along drop-offs. PCH is quite safe but it can be a bit daunting for people not used to or nervous about driving along sharp cliffs. If that describes you, make the trip south to north and you'll be on the land side of the route. If not, the drive north to south puts you along the water side and provides a bit more spectacular views.

In either case, there are many pull-offs so you can safely see the ocean, beaches, and cliffs.
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 08:06 AM
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I have to agree with StuDudley that the most awesome California coastal scenery is between Carmel and San Simeon. On four separate trips to California I have managed to cover the entire coast and it is my favorite section. Also, Carmel, Monterey (and its aquarium), and the Hearst Castle (as well as the beach with sea lions nearby) are absolute MUST sees in my opinion. Four days driving from SF through the Monterey peninsula to San Simeon and back to SF to fly home is pushing it a bit, but you can still do it "sanely" even if it is faster than ideal. And San Francisco is my absolute favorite American city. Enjoy!
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 08:19 AM
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>>PCH is quite safe but it can be a bit daunting for people not used to or nervous about driving along sharp cliffs.
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 08:24 AM
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peterboy

Yep - Seems like Natl. Geographic is a little confused too. I'm pretty sure that there is actually a sign on Hwy 1 and Rio Road as you head south from Carmel to Big Sur that says Cabrillo Highway. I know that there are several up here on the San Mateo Coast. I think PCH changes to Cabrillo Hwy around Santa Barbara.

Stu Dudley
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 08:50 AM
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And in San Diego it's not PCH at all.
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 08:57 AM
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Here's an article which seems to explain the naming confusion, although I'm not sure why it includes Highway 101:

http://www.johncletheroe.org/usa_can/scenroad/pch.htm
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 09:43 AM
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LetsGo, I was referring to time and distance, not scenery. Although when I told an innkeeper in Rockport that their nearby coast reminded me of the Monterey Peninsula she told me she had been here the year before and had told her husband it looked like Rockport! I dunno.

Big Sur is entirely different and I have never heard it compared to anything else.

Speaking of which, the highway is also referred to as Big Sur Coastal Highway although it is actually Cabrillo Highway 1.

http://www.johncletheroe.org/usa_can/scenroad/pch.htm

I can see where mags like N.G. would lump the entire Pacific coastline generically as the PCH, although we in CA refer to it in geographically.

I’ve joked with Stu about this before. He’s more exacting then I.

Heck we don’t even know where Jaun Cabrillo is buried, but at least we have his highway squared away.

I’m a marathon traveler, once spent a weekend in SF then we shot up to Seattle making it in a day traveling the north on the 5. We spent a few days, even say visited B.C. and the gardens there.

We then traveled the coast south taking our time. We did get back on the 101 in CA and stayed another night in SF before heading home on the 101. Our time frame was similar to yours.

It can be done. But I like to push the limits and would do a totally different trip plan to see as much as possible.

From your description, I would stick with Stu’s itinerary.

Be sure to check out his comprehensive posts on SF. I will print and carry a few items each time we go, even if I don’t get to them. Good stuff!
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 09:46 AM
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Barbara! Same link, cool!
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 09:59 AM
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Flying from Boston, into San Diego and then returning from San Francisco is an "open-jaw round trip." Won't cost you any more than going to and from the same city and makes a lot more sense for this trip.
Currently, with Hertz, San Diego to San Francisco is a couple hundred le$$ than going in the other direction. You might want to book the car now and lock in a rate because car rates have been crazy for about a year now with huge fluctuations. You are under no obligation to pay or even guarantee the reservation right now so you've got nothing to lose by booking, you can cancel at any time or change your plans.
Use rate code DRIVE when booking with Hertz along with your AAA or airline frequent flyer discount (anyone get get these discount numbers from the airline websites).
I don't think Enterprise allows one-ways except in certain cities.
As for the air tickets, wait for a sale late February, no need to book too far ahead as there are bigger and bigger penalites now for making changes to a reservation.
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 10:05 AM
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I'm at work and can't read all of this right this second, but thanks everyone and keep it coming! =)
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Old Oct 13th, 2009, 12:45 PM
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As is obvious, I referred to the entire coastal highway as PCH. I know it has various names in various places but, growing up on the California coast, PCH was a generic term for the entire route from San Diego to the the San Francisco area or at least for the parts the border the ocean.

I suppose I did not think that the fact that there are no cliffs along the southern portion was pertinent since there are cliffs along the northern portion and my reply was meant to refer to that area.

Sorry if my reply caused any confusion.
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