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Hazzie Apr 23rd, 2012 09:27 AM

San Francisco to Yosemite and the Pacific Coast - best route
I will be travellingwith my husband and 16 year old son from the UK to San Francisco in mid October and will have 14 days. We would like a few days in San Francisco, a few days in Yosemite and to see the beautiful coastline down to Big Sur. We love culture, wine and hiking and not rushing about too much! Some advice on what order to do things in to use the time well would be really appreciated. We plan to fly in and out of SF

montereybob Apr 23rd, 2012 10:36 AM

There are many good ways to do this. Here is one:
See SF first. Drive to Merced and take hwy 140 into Yosemite. Leave Yosemite via hwy 41 and take it all the way to the coast. Drive the coastal route hwy 1 back to SF. Obviously, you could do this loop in the opposite direction as an alternative. I recommend spending 2-3 nights in the Monterey/Carmel/Pacific Grove area because there is so much to see and do there. Two must sees in that area are Point Lobos State Reserve and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

montereybob Apr 23rd, 2012 10:38 AM

Make reservation for lodging in Yosemite immediately as the good places book up many months to a year in advance.

Tomsd Apr 23rd, 2012 12:51 PM

Check the other posts in here that discuss this very idea. You can drive from SF to Yo in about 4? hours - and then from Yo over to Carmel/Monterrey - via the back way in about the same time, maybe a bit more - 5 hours, whatever. From there - on down through Big Sur, taking time to tour Hearst Castle, possibly stayingin lovely Cambria - or maybe visit some wineries in nearby Paso Robles - or even drive a bit further and stay in the wine country near Danish themed Solvang/above Santa Barbara - and you will have seen some of the best California has to offer.

Next time - come back and visit the beaches and other delights here in San Diego. :)

ansh Apr 23rd, 2012 12:53 PM


I agree with "montereybob". One can do this loop in any direction, but I prefer driving on PCH-1 from south-to-north.
Also, there are many nice hiking option in Big Sur area, check out for details.

Tomsd Apr 23rd, 2012 12:54 PM

And from say Paso Robles back to SF - you can just zip up 101 - in about 3 hrs or a little more (200 miles) - if you don't want to backtrack along the scenic - but longer/slower route up the Coast.

MichelleY Apr 23rd, 2012 05:02 PM

Agree with the above. But if Tioga Pass is open, from SF, head to Lake Tahoe for a few days. Then head down Hwy 395, see the ghost town of Bodie in the high desert. Then take Tioga Pass into Yosemite before trekking over to the coast.

Hazzie Apr 24th, 2012 06:34 AM

Thankyou to everyone who took the time to reply - I know you get a lot of questions and I have read your replies to other posts and suggested links. It is so helpful and the trip is taking shape in my head!

JCarlinsv Apr 24th, 2012 07:13 AM

I take 120 from SF. It is faster, prettier and less time in the boring central valley. Plus the busses and RV's take 140. Less traffic South to North on the Big Sur but the views and excitement of the drive are better with the cliffs on the right side of the car. Rounding a curve with nothing but cliffs and ocean ahead is heart pounding in more ways than one. I would skip Tioga Pass, much as I love scary twisty roads. You have better things to do than spend time on 395. If you have to fit Tahoe in take 49 from or to Hangtown er Placerville. I would not.

Hazzie Apr 25th, 2012 07:52 AM

Thanks for the advice JCarlinsv

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