SAN FRANCISCO TO BIG SUR

Old Jun 24th, 2003, 06:59 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO TO BIG SUR

WE ARE PLANNING TO TAKE HWY 280 /HWY 17/AND HWY 1 FROM SAN FRANCISCO TO BIG SUR. IT THERE ANYTHING INTERESTING ALONG THE WAY. IT WILL BE ON A SUNDAY. THANK YOU
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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 09:19 AM
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I second the recommendation for Big Basin. Or you could stop in and see Henry Cowell SP which is closer to Hwy 17 than Big Basin. Roaring Camp Railroad is right there too - there is a narrow guage train you can take through the forest.

Make sure to allow yourself some extra time for traffic - you will probably encounter traffic going over Hwy 17 and down Hwy 1 - esspecially if it's a nice day.

If you are planning to see Big Basin and want to avoid some of the traffic on Hwy 17, you can take Hwy 9 from Saratoga (next to San Jose) over the hill. You will pass by Big Basin and Henry Cowell as well as several little mountain towns along the way. Hwy 9 is a twisty 2 lane road, but the scenery is great. I don't know that it would be any faster than Hwy 17, but you are much less likely to be sitting in traffic on Hwy 9.

If you want to make a stop in Santa Cruz, there is the Boardwalk and the wharf. Capitola Village is a cute little area - 4-5 blocks square, right on the beach where a creek empties into the ocean. There are several restaurants with patios overlooking the water and a bunch of little shops.
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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 07:35 PM
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THANKS FOR YOUR HELP/ WE HAVE ABOUT 5 HOURS TO SPARE. I HAD NO IDEA ABT THE TRAFFIC IN THAT AREA. FIGURED IT WOULDN'T BE SO BAD ON A SUNDAY. THANKS AGAIN. ALL THE INFO WILL HELP
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Old Jun 25th, 2003, 09:09 PM
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Rog, you're most likely to run into traffic on the Hwy 17 segment of your drive. It's a main route over to the beach from the Bay Area. Get an early start from SF and you'll probably be OK. Stop in Capitola at Gayle's Bakery for breakfast. You won't be sorry!

With all the beautiful coastal sights, I'd skip Big Basin, Filoli, the Tech Museum, Winchester Mystery House, Santa Cruz wineries and boardwalk, Henry Cowell SP, Roaring Camp and the 17 Mile Drive, and spend more time in Monterey at the acquarium (get your tickets on line, doing a Google search) or in Carmel.

I'm sure others won't agree, but that's my two cents worth.
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Old Jun 26th, 2003, 06:38 PM
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I would go see the Aquarium and 17 mile drive in Monterey.
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Old Jun 28th, 2003, 12:32 PM
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Route 1 is an amazing drive--make sure you hit the area between Monterey and Big Sur in daylight--it is absolutely breathtaking! The Monterey Aquarium is an absolute must (it is the nicest one I have seen).
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Old Jun 30th, 2003, 07:57 AM
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If you are wanting to drive down the Big Sur coast for the view, and you only have 5 hours for your round trip from SF, you'll have to skip everything mentioned above; as on a Sunday, it'll take you at least 2 hours to get from SF to the northern tip of Big Sur. If that's your plan, I'd suggest driving straight through, then using the pullouts on Hwy 1 below Pt. Lobos for the view, stopping for lunch at Nepenthe, and heading back.

I hope you're saying you have 5 hours to get from SF TO Big Sur, though. In that case, I'd start out very early from SF to avoid slow traffic over the mountains (Hwy 17), a stop at Henry Cowell or Big Basin for a short walk through the redwoods (or, if you'll be spending some time in Big Sur, you could stop at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park and see the redwoods there). Then on to Monterey, where you can have a snack at one of the places near the Aquarium and spend a couple of hours there. Definitely reserve tickets in advance over the internet so you don't have to wait in the ticket line.
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Old Jul 14th, 2003, 09:05 AM
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I drove over Hwy 17 from San Jose to Santa Cruz and back on Saturday. On the way over to Santa Cruz about 9:30 or 10 in the morning, there was almost no traffic - exceded the speed limit the entire way. There were cars on the road, but no slow downs. I drove back over 17 to San Jose about 3 in the afternoon, and the traffic going the opposite direction (into Santa Cruz) was pretty thick all the way over the hill. It didn't appear to be stop and go, but it was slow.
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Old Jul 14th, 2003, 11:49 PM
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Hello,

I'm planning to go from SF to BS in early October (on a Thursday).

How should I organize my day? (knowing that we'll be spending the night in Monterey, before heading to the Yosemite)
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Old Jul 15th, 2003, 01:19 PM
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Barthox - Since you are planning to drive from SF to Monterey and see Big Sur in the same day, I would recommend a direct route without a lot of stops in between. Otherwise you wont have time to see much of Big Sur or you will have a REALLY long day, which I am sure you don't want since you will be driving to Yosemite the next day which is kind of a long drive without much scenery.
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Old Jul 15th, 2003, 01:27 PM
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Darn it, I pressed Post when I meant to scroll down. Here's the rest of my thought:

I'd leave SF about 9am or so - that way you will be leaving after the bulk of the morning commute, but not get started too late. There are basically 3 routes you can take:

The most scenic would be straight down Hwy 1 from SF to Monterey. This is also the longest and without stops should take you about 3 hours to Monterey. It's a good route though, along the coast all the way and I think it's interesting to see how things change as you go south.

The next most scenic route would be Hwy 280 south the Hwy 17, to Hwy 1 south in Santa Cruz. Hwy 17 takes you over the mountain through some redwoods. There aren't really any places to pull off, but Felton is about a 10 minute detour on the way over. Henry Cowel SP is there. If you want to see some redwoods, this would be a good choice and not too far out of your way.

The quickest, but least scenic route would be Hwy 101 south past Gilroy to Hwy 156 west, to Hwy 1 south. This should take about 2 hours.

I guess it all depends on how much time you want to spend in Big Sur versus stopping on the way.
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Old Jul 16th, 2003, 01:24 AM
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Thanks for the various tips!

J_C : looking at the map, I had thought about taking the 280/17/1 option! Well ... that's not entirely true, I'm still considering the "Hwy 1 only" option! How curvy is it?

Tobson : my plans were to leave SF around 9 am, and drive lazily all the way to the Nepenthe (spelling?). Then take the whole afternoon to drive back to Monterey, stoping here and there to enjoy the scenery, walk the beach (forgot the name, but I know there's at least one), etc. I wouldn't do too much walking/hiking since that's what we'll do mostly during the rest of our trip (Yosemite, Death Valley, Zion, Bryce, Lake Powel, Grand Canyon!)

Also, I read there was a place, a bit north of Santa Cruz, were one could see sea lions. Do you know if there will be any in early October?
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Old Jul 16th, 2003, 09:19 AM
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Hwy 1 north of Santa Cruz is 2 lanes with passing lanes every few miles or so. It is narrow and curvey in some spots and fairly wide and straight in others. It is not nearly as narrow and curvey as what you will find in Big Sur. Hwy 1 will take you through part of Santa Cruz on surface streets, then become freeway until you get south of Watsonville where it becomes 2 lanes again through the artichoke fields. A few miles before you get into Monterey it becomes freeway again.

Hwy 280 is a regular freeway and is fairly scenic.

Hwy 17 is a 4 lane highway over the Santa Cruz mountains. It is freeway in some areas and regular highway in others. As it goes through the mountains, it is pretty curvey.

I think it is a toss up which way you go.

I like the coast north of Santa Cruz and there are a couple towns and many beaches to stop at along the way. It's a different kind of beauty than the Big Sur coast and if you are interested in coastal areas, the contrast is quite interesting.

Taking 280 and 17 would be faster and allow a short side trip to Felton to see the redwoods.

Both routes you could stop in the Santa Cruz area.

Either way, I don't think you can go wrong. It's just a matter of what you want to do.
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Old Jul 16th, 2003, 11:30 AM
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Barthox, since you plan to leave San Francisco about 9 am, I would drive to Monterey by the quickest most direct route using 101. From there you can take your time in the afternoon driving and stopping at points throughout Big Sur which is the most scenic part of the coast. Some dinner suggestions for that evening; Monterey's Fish House, Taste Cafe in Pacific Grove and La Boheme in Carmel. Have a great visit.
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Old Jul 16th, 2003, 11:56 PM
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J_Correa

that is exactly what is a bit irritating about planning a vacation in the USA : too much to do/see => you must often choose one thing to the detriment of another!

Now I guess that stoping at Henry Cowell SP will delay us a bit, so we might not see all we want in Big Sur. And we'll see plenty of trees in Yosemite anyway!

So we'll go Hwy 1 all the way!

Curiousgeo : thanks for the dining tips! I was about to have look at that in the next few days!
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Old Jul 17th, 2003, 09:54 AM
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Bathox -

I know what you mean about so much to see in this area. I grew up in the Santa Cruz area and have lived in San Jose for the past 8 years. There are plenty of great things around here that I haven't seen.

If you enter Yosemite through the southern entrance (Hwy 41) which is also the entrance you would use if you want to see tunnel-view, you will pass right by Wawona a few miles into the park. There is a nice redwood grove up there. They are sequoias rather than the coastal redwoods you will find in the Santa Cruz mountains, but they are in the same family and are very big trees.

Like I said, whatever you decide, you will see some wonderful things and you can't really go wrong.
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Old Jul 18th, 2003, 08:22 AM
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roglincunn,

I guess it would depend how much time you want to spend driving down to Big Sur? We enjoy both Biog Basin and Henry Cowell Parks for the redwoods. The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum is San Jose is really fascinating. It has one of the best collections of Egytian artifacts that I have seen. Santana Row is a shopping and dining mecca just up the street from the Winchester Mystery House. It's designed like a European Village. It's a great place to stop for lunch and stroll. The Tech in downtown SJ is also nice.

In the Monterey area the aquarium is very nice. On the way to Monterey on Highway 1 south of Santa Cruz in Moss Landing stop at Phil's Fishmarket if you like great seafood. Point Lobos State Reserve south of Carmel is another must see in the area.



http://monterey.com/

http://sanjose.org/index.cfm

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