Itinerary San Francisco to Los Angeles

Old Aug 25th, 2012, 06:32 PM
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Itinerary San Francisco to Los Angeles

First off, I would like to thank you for visiting this thread. I do thank you sincerely for any kind of advice that you can offer.

Alittle bit about me.... My name is Chris and I am 26, just quit my job that I hated. I decided that I need some time to clear my head and relax and do some soul searching. I love to travel and I am very open-minded to any possibilities. One of my bucket list things-to-do is to fly into CA and drive along its coast. Staying with mostly nature than cities

I plan to fly into to San Francisco and take a car down to San Diego in Feb 2013. And along the way I want to stop by LA for a couple of days( I want to go bungee jumping there n some site seeing). I have $3,500 to spend and 14 days to explore.

Additional places that I want to stop by at
Big Sur? (not sure what exactly that referrs too)

What I am asking is...
Where should I go to enjoy the most scenic places including beaches, must-sees, and hidden treasures California has to offer along PCH and how long should I stay? Sidenote: Love more nature than city
Where is the best place for a sunset?
Is $3,500 enough?
Best places for car rentals n places to stay? any tips?

Like I said I am very openminded so please do what you will. Thank you Thank you
w121cjr is offline  
Old Aug 25th, 2012, 07:27 PM
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For sights along the way, you might like to look at my web album from my own trip to the Central CA coast that I took a year ago. There are many photos with explanatory captions. Go to
and then click on the Central CA Coast album.

I, too, am a nature lover and the focus of my eight days was beautiful scenery and wildlife. It's truly a beautiful place ... a very good place to do some soul-searching!

Mjneenan is offline  
Old Aug 25th, 2012, 08:32 PM
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Jan and Feb are the rainy season along the coast. Driving down Hwy 1 and through Big Sur might be a big problem. Just about every year the road washes out somewhere between SF and Big Sur - and often more than one section.

And driving a rental car in the Mountains (Yosemite) can be a problem because snow chains are usually prohibited.

Any way you can move the trip up or back a few months? Autumn along the coast is magnificent, the very best weather of the whole year. And in late Spring Yosemite is at its best and the coast is lovely.
janisj is online now  
Old Aug 26th, 2012, 06:30 AM
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I live in Santa Cruz, which is on the central coast, and I have to agree with janis. February can be a very dreary time here. Not always - last year we had a week or so of temperatures in the 70s and 80s, but that is uncommon. More often it is rainy with daytime highs in the 50s and 60s. Slides that close the road are not uncommon.

I would either consider making your trip later or figuring out where to go further south. That said, the coast highway from SF past Big Sur is spectacular in the fall or late spring.
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Old Aug 28th, 2012, 12:46 PM
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Redwood National Park is another great place to travel. If it's too rainy you might not want to do this, but renting a bike right off the beach and biking on the boardwalk is so beautiful and fun and a great stop to get out of the car and stretch.
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Old Aug 28th, 2012, 04:38 PM
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There are a few Hostelling international hostels along the coast that I blieve would be perfect for someone like yourself.

Here's the link to the Point Montara Lighthouse Hostel:

And here's the link to the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel:

You didn't mention going north of San Francisco, but just north of SF is the Marin Headlands Hostel:

I'd agree with Janis that Feb is not a good month, especially along the coast. Even November may be fine, but December, Jan, Feb (and sometimes even March and part of April), the weather along the coast can be unwelcoming. Best time to visit is late spring/early fall.

Big Sur is absolutely beautiful and has many places for you to visit: Point Lobos, Pfeiffer Big Sur, Pfeiffer Beach, Julia Pfeiffer Burns Burns State park.

The best way to rent a car inexpensively is to check each car rental website for its special deals. The thing you want to avoid is the huge drop-off charges if you pick up in one city and drop off in another city. Sometimes a car rental agency will have a special with small/no drop-off fees - that's what you will be looking for. No one can predict which car rental agency will be offering which special when you come, so you have to check the agencies' websites yourself. Go with the major car rental agencies, don't go with the cheapo places. The cars they rent can be really junky.

If you can't find a car with small/no drop off fees, consider the alternative Plan B, which is to drive back to San Francisco and return the car where you picked it up. It's an easy one day drive on the Interstate-5 from Los Angeles to San Francisco, so it just means one more day in California, which doesn't sound like it would be difficult for you to add.

It's cheaper to rent a car away from an airport location, which is easy to do in San Francisco where there are any number of in-town agency locations.

Hope this helps a bit. Just keep asking questions here; Fodorites are a very friendly group who are willing to help with any trip planning.

Have a great trip! And welcome to California!
easytraveler is offline  
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