Monterey to SF & across Golden Gate Bridge

Old Jul 18th, 2004, 09:41 AM
  #1  
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Monterey to SF & across Golden Gate Bridge

We will be leaving Monterey around noon on Wednesday and driving to SF. We would like to drive across the Golden Gate Bridge and stop at view points where we can get some great pictures of the bridge and across the bay. Several posts I have read recommend taking Highway 17 to 280 to SF. It appears 280 intersects with Highway 1 to take us across the bridge. How long can I expect this trip to take? Where are the best places to stop once we cross the bridge? I think I also remember reading there is a good place to stop for pictures on the SF side of the bridge. Can somebody tell me where? What about traffic? What time will need to head back toward SF to avoid rush hour? We are staying at the Columbus Motor Inn. Can anyone tell me how far it is after we cross the bridge into SF?
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Old Jul 18th, 2004, 10:51 AM
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For what you are planning to do, I'd suggest not detouring inland on the freeways. (17, 280)

Just take Highway 1 all the way up from Monterey and follow it to the Golden Gate Bridge. It's a more scenic route anyhow and better for vacations.

Highway 1 goes through San Francisco. If you don't want to stop, it'll take you about 20-30 minutes to cut through south to north.

Once nearing the GG Bridge, if you follow the signs for the Golden Gate Bridge, you won't need to worry about the freeway numbers, yes, it turns into 101, but you'll be OK just following the GG Bridge signs.

Once across the GG Bridge, take the first exit. It'll say "Vista Point". That'll be your first sightseeing stop.

When you exit the Vista Point onto Highway 101, take the very next exit "Alexander Road". Follow it as it curves to the left and UNDER the freeway. Once on the other side, take the righthand branch to the "Marin Highlands". At the top of the small hill, park on the dirt strip (you'll probably see other cars doing this). Walk up to the old battery sites for an awesome view of SF and the Bay.

When you want to get back to SF, go down the small hill, at the stop sign turn right. This will lead you back onto the GG Bridge and back into SF.

Once on the SF side of the GG Bridge, continue on Highway 101, keep going eastward along the Marina, jog around Fort Mason, and find yourself on Bay Street. Go all the way down Bay until you reach Columbus, turn right, and voila! There is the Columbus Motor Inn! It's about 2-3 miles from the GG Bridge.

Pictures on the SF side: If you want to stop on the SF side. As you get off the GG Bridge on the SF side and continue on Highway 101, at the first stop sign (about 1/2 mile), turn LEFT and go to Crissy Field. Drive along Crissy Field road until Fort Point. You can park at the very end and walk along the shore or along the pier and take pictures.

You could also go into the Presidio from Highway 101 - but that's another story for another day! Have fun! And welcome to California!
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Old Jul 19th, 2004, 06:14 PM
  #3  
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easytraveler:

Thanks so much for the detailed directions. I often use Mapquest for directions, but they aren't always the best. I appreciate you taking the time to be so specific. This will be our first trip to the Pacific coast and we want to see as much as possible. My daughter is a photography buff - she got a camera with a zoom lens for Christmas and loves using it. I expect her to be able to get some great pictures from the places you have recommended. We are so excited and thank you for your help.
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Old Jul 20th, 2004, 01:52 PM
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Hi, mlm59!

You're very welcome! I know what you mean! Last year I used the internet and downloaded a whole bunch of maps for driving parts of Europe! Still got lost!

San Francisco is full of photogenic spots. Try driving/hiking around the Presidio.

Oh, and on the way up, instead of going straight up Highway 1 in San Francisco, cut over to the seashore and drive along the beach up to the Cliff House. You can then cut back and rejoin Highway 1.

For a panoramic view of San Francisco, try Twin Peaks. If you see a huge rainbow flag, that's the Castro District, Home of the Free and Land of the Gay. Remember, tho, that SFers are very tolerant. Gays are just as nice as the next person.

Happy shutterbugging!
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Old Jul 20th, 2004, 02:53 PM
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We drove through the Presidio and stopped at a view point and took some great pictures. Also great pics from across the bridge at Marin Headlands.
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Old Jul 20th, 2004, 06:06 PM
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Thanks again for your suggestions. Didn't I read somewhere that Cliff House is closed at present? If so, is the parking area available? At this moment I am reading an outdated Frommer's book (our small town library is behind the times) and it recommends parking in the lot near Cliff House and walking toward the Golden Gate Bridge for beautiful views of the Marin Headlands. I'm sure my daughter would enjoy this photo opportunity.

What about stopping at the Presidio? Would we do this before crossing the bridge or after we cross back over on our way to SF? Is the exit clearly marked?

Where is Twin Peaks? Again, would we stop there before we cross the bridge or after coming back toward SF?

Do you know what time is a must to get back across the bridge before traffic gets horrendous? I hate being stuck in traffic!
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