Scenic Hwy 1, California Coast

Old Feb 11th, 2012, 04:22 PM
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Scenic Hwy 1, California Coast

We're looking to drive the scenic coastal highway of California along Route 1 in April. We expect to have ten days (perhaps twelve). We would fly into San Francisco and out of LAX (or the opposite) and rent a car for our trip. So far our research has simply overwhelmed us. I have never been to California, and I'm "geographically impaired" (as we jokingly refer to it) so all the names of the cities and towns in California simply overwhelm me as I have no concept where any of it is in relation to the overall state or our planned drive. We aren't much for shopping and prefer experiences, scenery, nature, architecture, culture, etc. So far we know we'd like to see the San Francisco Bridge, a vineyard and a walk along at least one beach. I welcome any suggestions for places to go, things to see and do along this route.
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 05:08 PM
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Start with a good map of Calif and also San Francisco (get an AAA map if you can). Also get a Fodors tour book of San Francisco and another of California.

We have 2 bridges - the Golden Gate and the Bay Bridge.

Here are a few of my ideas:
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...mendations.cfm

Stu Dudley
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 05:16 PM
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It would be a good idea to read a good guidebook, such as Fodor's guide for California.

Highlights of the route include Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Cambria (Hearst Castle), Paso Robles (Wine District), San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach (lots of rooms with ocean views), Santa Barbara and vicinity (Solvang, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez), Ojai, Channel Islands, Malibu, and Santa Monica. There are also several missions and other attractions along the way.

Enjoy, HTTY
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Old Feb 11th, 2012, 10:30 PM
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One important thing to take into consideration..
Travel along "1' from Morro Bay to Carmel is different that major highways--road has lots of curves and traffic..I 'd guess 35 MPH is tops. There are frequent "turn outs" to enjoy the views. In this regard, these turn-outs are much easier to access if driving "down" the coast--North to south...
"StuDudleys" info is top notch..I'd advise printing out his info and go thru his suggestions and figure out what really interests you.
Good Luck
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Old Feb 14th, 2012, 06:19 PM
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Depending on the time of year, you could have some serious fog at the coast, preventing some views from those wonderful turnouts. It's a great drive, though!
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Old Feb 14th, 2012, 07:04 PM
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I too prefer going from North to South - as you are closer to the Ocean that direction. I would suggest after San Francisco and maybe a night in the Napa area - head out to by the Cliff House in SF and start south from there. It's a great drive and you might consider staying at the beautiful Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay - or pressing on to Carmel/Monterrey.

There you have the Acquarium, Cannery Row, 17 mile drive and good fish places along Cannery Row in Monterrey and good restaurants next door in Carmel.

From there, the drive to Big Sur is also beautiful - and Nepenthene is a great place to stop for the view, a cup of coffee, a snack, whatever. http://www.nepenthebigsur.com/

We like the cute little town of Cambria - and it's close to San Simeon and Hearst Castle - which is definitely worth the tour.

Heading further south - the Danish themed village of Solvang is a jewel - and there are wineries around there or they have good tasting rooms along the main street. http://www.solvangusa.com/

From there - it's about 45 minutes to Santa Barbara and another hour or so into LA.
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Old Feb 14th, 2012, 07:07 PM
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I'd guess 35 MPH is tops.

I must have been driving behind this person on one of my many trips on Highway 1. There are twists and turns but also many stretches where you can travel at the posted speed limit--55 MPH.

HTTY
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Old Feb 15th, 2012, 06:48 PM
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So what if you are going a bit slow along Big Sur. More time to enjoy the beauty.
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