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duncanm Dec 21st, 2011 07:12 PM

Los Angeles --> San Francisco coastal trip (LAST MINUTE!)
Hi all,

I am from Toronto and am planning a trip with my girlfriend to Los Angeles and to drive north to SF. We are both around 22 years old and I have done the coastal trip a while ago starting from SF and driving south but this time I wanted to bring my girlfriend. We have a pretty tight budget and are looking to stay at hostels in LA and SF and maybe something nicer inbetween.

I know that there are many places in between to see so I would just like to know which places are must sees and which places we should skip out on. The rough itinerary so far is:

Jan 4: Arrive LA, stay 2 nights
Jan 6: start driving north
Jan 9: Arrive SF, stay 3 nights

Looking to fill in the middle section! I am thinking Santa Barbara, Carmel, Monterey, Big Sur but looking specifically which to go to and where is especially nice to stay at, considering our budget. Any help and tips would be greatly appreciated!

tomfuller Dec 21st, 2011 07:58 PM

There are no hostels in the Santa Barbara area. Hotels in that area tend to be quite expensive. For one night you could try a yurt at Lake Cachuma. (Google this).
There is a HI hostel in Monterey within walking distance of the aquarium.
About 50 miles south of San Francisco is the Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel.
There is also another lighthouse hostel at Point Montera which is a bit closer to SF.

duncanm Dec 21st, 2011 08:11 PM


Thanks for the reply. The places don't necessarily have to be "hostels" as cheaper end hotels will do and maybe one night can be spent somewhere nicer. I am more interested in where to stop along the way than where exactly to stay so any ideas on where to stop along the way would be of great help.


qwovadis Dec 22nd, 2011 03:56 AM

Knights Inn my fav in cheapest enroute for me in the past... the neatest is in Big Sur might splurge for that. Motro Bay has some nice cheapo hotels hostels deals bidding

Happy Hunting!

qwovadis Dec 22nd, 2011 03:57 AM best in LA best in SF for hostiles...

jpie Dec 22nd, 2011 06:00 AM

I would consider Morro Bay. Laid back beach town, not as pricey as Santa Barbara. However, it IS worth a stop in Santa Barbara to eat at the late Julia Child's favorite taco place there:

La Super Rica

And even though it isn't right on the coastal road, you might consider staying in San Luis Obispo. It is is only 13 miles from Morro Bay and a college town. I think you would find it more fun than Santa Barbara at your age. Lots of fun bookstores and independent retailers, where as SB has more high end interior shops etc. and bunches of chain store places. But SB does have its own charm as well.

joesorce Dec 22nd, 2011 07:38 AM

Hertz has a special offer on their website to eliminate the under-25 daily surcharge.

joesorce Dec 22nd, 2011 07:41 AM

Wilshire Motel in West Los Angeles is better than a hostel and has free parking for the car. Due to weekday traffic you should stay fairly close to your you know what you are going to see and do on your 2 days in L.A?

DebitNM Dec 22nd, 2011 07:51 AM

Parking in San Francisco [hotels] can take a reasonably priced room and really impact the total per day cost.

Try Columbus Motor Inn or Cow Hollow - they have free parking and get good reviews.

DebitNM Dec 22nd, 2011 07:54 AM

Another thought - are you flying home out of San Francisco? If so, turn the car in as soon as you get into SF. Will save $$$ on parking and instead buy a 3 day Muni pass that will get you to almost everywhere you will want to go.

And if you don't have the car, consider The Mosser. A great location and super reasonable priced rooms, consider getting a room with hall bathroom. The bathrooms are spotless and cleaned constantly.

duncanm Dec 22nd, 2011 08:56 AM

Thanks for all the replies!

First off, I am definitely renting to car with Hertz because of the under 25 deal. Also, to eliminate traveling back and forth, we have booked a return flight from SF.

From what I can recall, a car isn't necessary in SF but I could be wrong so we do plan on returning the car on the arrival of SF.

In LA, we plan to do all the touristy stuff and maybe check out a Lakers or now a Clippers game. I really like good restaurants that are fairly priced but yelp helps a lot for that! From what I gather, there isn't necessarily a lot for tourists to do in LA but suggestions would be helpful! We will have a car in LA so driving around will not be a problem and are willing to drive to see attractions.

I am planning on booking at Venice Beach Cotel, and while the reviews aren't amazing, they are pretty good for the price and from reading reviews, there is free parking close by.

San Luis Obispo sounds interesting as the most difficult part of this is where to go along the way. I hear this place Esalen (1-3am) is a cool experience is is near big sur so were going to plan to chekc that out. I was thinking... 2 nights, 1 night santa barbara/san luis, 1 night cambria, 2 nights monterey/carmel/etc., and 3 nights SF... that's a total of 9 nights and we only have 8 so trying to figure out where to go and where to skip out on!


duncanm Dec 22nd, 2011 08:56 AM

btw, also planning to stay at the Adelaide hostel in SF because it has really great reviews!

DebitNM Dec 22nd, 2011 09:16 AM

Absolutely return the car as soon as you get to SF. You can walk around easily and the passport I linked to can get you to further places as well.

To save money, use BART to go to the airport; it's easy and for 2 people the fastest, easiest way to go:

DebitNM Dec 22nd, 2011 09:26 AM

Check out The Mosser. For your nights, the rate for a queen room with shared bath is $89 and if you have AAA [or maybe even CAA] it's $80. I would think this is as good a deal for 2 people at that hostel. I have stayed there and it is a great rate for a great location.

duncanm Dec 22nd, 2011 09:30 AM

Will look into the Mosser, it looks to have really good reviews and reasonably priced. Adelaide hostel also has really good reviews but its pretty much 40/night for each person so I guess it wouldn't make too much of a difference in price.

duncanm Dec 22nd, 2011 09:32 AM

Another option for SF is the SF internation hostel which is pretty cheap and has decent reviews, anyone know anything about this one or Adelaide?

DebitNM Dec 22nd, 2011 09:35 AM

We were most pleased with The Mosser and personally, I think a hotel is preferable over a hostel. Good luck

SAB Dec 22nd, 2011 11:20 AM

I would skip staying in Cambria if you stay in SLO, that takes care of the extra night. It's only about an 1 hour drive at the most to Cambria from SLO.

duncanm Dec 22nd, 2011 12:40 PM

I am just wondering, would SLO be my first stop after LA. Would I travel on highway 1 all the way to SLO without stopping anywhere along the way. We plan to leave LA early in the morning so will have time to stop at any places along the way if they're worth it. Also from SLO, would we drive straight to the Monterey area? And what areas are there in between to see. Thanks!

sf7307 Dec 22nd, 2011 01:59 PM

You could stop in Santa Barbara, Solvang and Pismo Beach on the way to SLO (you take 1 and then 101).

Then between SLO and Monterey, stop in Cambria, Big Sur, Carmel (1 all the way for gorgeous views).

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