SF to LA coast route

Old Jan 18th, 2003, 10:11 AM
  #1  
faye
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SF to LA coast route

We are a family of 2 adults and 2 girls, 13 and 5. Want to drive the coast route from SF to LA or vice versa in August, 2003. We plan about 10-14 days.

Wondering about weather, where to stay and for how long, how long is the coast and should be make this a round trip or one way drive

thanks for all your help
 
Old Jan 18th, 2003, 10:29 AM
  #2  
Patrick
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I'm guessing you're flying there from somewhere else? Usually you can get a flight that flys into one of those cities and out of the other for the same price as round trip (at least I always do from American), and there are rarely drop off charges for cars from LA to SF or vice versa, so I'd definitely opt for the one way.

Next, are you including time in the two main cities in that 10 to 14 days? Let us know that first and we will help you from there.
I'd certainly plan on stops in Carmel (I prefer) or Monteray, one at Cambria to visit Hearst Castle, and possibly Santa Barbara, even if the bulk of your total time needs to be in SF and LA.
 
Old Jan 18th, 2003, 10:52 AM
  #3  
J Correa
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Definitely stop in Monterey - the Aquarium is great. There are also several companies that offer boat tours of the bay off the wharf which are really fun. Additionally there are museums and historical things to see, including the Carmel Mission.

I would also check out the redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains. Either Big Basin State Park or Henry Cowell State Park. Big Basin is larger, but Henry Cowell is right next to Roaring Camp Railroad which has a narrow gage steam train you can ride through the redwoods. Your 5 year old will probably REALLY like this.

Santa Cruz would be a good place to stop to. The Boardwalk will be open and you can go on rides, play arcade games, wander out on the beach, and have whaffle cones. The Giant Dipper is an old wooden rollercoaster and a lot of fun. Next to the Boardwalk is the wharf where you can get clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl, watch the sea lions, get some great views of the coast line. There are also several restaurants with good views. Further down from the wharf is Steamer's Lane where you can usually see some good surfing. There is also a surf museum at the old lighthouse.

Half Moon Bay is another nice town along the coast. They have a cute main street with some interesting shops.

The Big Sur coast line - along Hwy 1 south of Carmel - is absolutely beautiful. There are several beaches and state parks to see along the way. Julia Pfiffer Burns SP is very nice.

Cambria/San Simeon/Morro Bay is a great area. Definitely check out Heart Castle. Cambria is an artsy little town with a lot of shops and galleries. Morro Bay is a beach town with a nice little harbor. Morro Rock is fun to wander around on. Also, you can take boat tours from the harbor.

San Luis Obispo is a nice college town.

Your kids might enjoy Solvang which is a replica of a Danish village. It's pretty touristy, but fun for a few hours.

Santa Barbara and Santa Monica are also good places to stop along the way.

 
Old Jan 18th, 2003, 10:52 AM
  #4  
xxx
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Hiway 1 from San Simon to Monterey is a "wicked", beautiful but crooked, drive and I would plan it for only one way. Hiway 1, between SF and Santa Cruz is often closed due to slide repair so check first. I would plan on using 101 from SF to LA, which merges with 1. Detour from 101 and visit Hearst Castle (plan a day if you take a tour) with a night stop in Morro Bay. Have lunch at Lombardi's in Cambria and dinner at the Galley (or fish & chips at Rose's Landing) in M.B. Aug is "peak" season and reservations along the way are advised. There is no end to places to visit along the way from San Juan Batista to Solvang.
 
Old Jan 18th, 2003, 09:47 PM
  #5  
David
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Faye,

There is so much to see between SF and LA. For one thing, the most scenic part of the coast is from Monterey south to Santa Barbara. Starting from SF take the scenic 280 freeway south towards San Jose. Just off the freeway in Woodside you can stop for a tour of the Filoli Estate (www.filoli.org) Reservations are recommended. In San Jose (www.sanjose.org) some of the key sights are the Tech Museum of Innovation (www.thetech.org) as well as the Winchester Mystery House (www.winchestermysteryhouse.com) and the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum (www.egyptianmuseum.org) Your young daughter would also enjoy the Childrens Discovery Museum (www.cdm.org) and the Happy Hollow Park and Zoo in Kelley Park (www.happyhollowparkandzoo.org)

From San Jose take 17 south toward Santa Cruz which will connect you with Highway 1 south toward Monterey. On the way to Santa Cruz in Felton there is the Roaring Camp Railroad Steam train tour through the Redwoods which is very nice (www.roaringcamp.com) Also, nearby is the Big Basin Redwoods State Park (www.bigbasin.org) with scenic trails and picnic areas. In Santa Cruz the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is always a great place to spend some time during the summer (www.beachboardwalk.com) Down in Monterey (www.monterey.com) some of the must sees include the Monterey Bay Aquarium (www.mbayaq.org) Fisherman's Wharf (www.montereywharf.com) and 17 mile drive. Nearby Carmel is very quaint with numerous sidewalk cafes, galleries, and shops. South of the Monterey Bay Area along Highway 1 is scenic Big Sur and Hearst Castle in San Simeon (www.hearst-castle.org) As with the Filoli Estate, do make reservations for Hearst Castle. Santa Barbara is also a nice place to visit south of San Simeon before heading into LA.

The weather will vary considerably along your route. San Francisco will most likely be foggy and cold with highs around 60. San Jose weather is closer to typical a California summer with high temps around 75 or 80. Monterey has similar weather to SF. Santa Cruz on the other hand will be warmer than Monterey but not as warm as San Jose. Generally, along the coast a sweater or light jacket are always necessary in the summer. Down in LA it will be nice and warm (mostly 80's during the day)

In terms of places to stay, you could do 1 or 2 nights in the San Jose area while seeing the city, the redwoods, and Santa Cruz, then 2 nights in Monterey or Carmel, 1 night Cambria when vsiting Hearst Castle, 1 night in Santa Barbara, and the rest of the time in LA and/or SF.

I would make it a one way drive. You could fly into San Jose and out of Los Angeles for example. San Jose will usually have lower fares than SF airport and also does not have a major problem with delays as in SF. When flying from LA, in addition to LAX, also check into flying from Orange County. Getting into and out of LAX can be a hassle.

Have a great trip.
 
Old Jan 19th, 2003, 02:12 AM
  #6  
George
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Faye: We made the same trip in Sept. 2001. Got several albums up at http://community.webshots.com/user/bookhall . Flew into LA and out of SF.

We didn't stop in LA at all. Spent the first night in Santa Barbara (were we to do it again, I'd make it two nights.) Then overnighted at Morro Bay, Big Sur, two nights at Asilomar on the Monterey Peninsula, then into San Francisco. Planned three nights there, but that was stretched to six by Sept. 11.

Make it a one-way drive, and I strongly suggest northbound. Rte. 1 from Hearst Castle north can be a bit daunting. Spectacularly scenic, but white-knuckle traveling for the driver. The National Scenic Byways program says it's 72 miles, starting froma point about 15 miles N of San Simeon to Carmel. And they indicate it's a 3 to 5-hour drive. http://www.byways.org/travel/byway.html?CX_BYWAY=2301 .

Another interesting site (if ylou have the bandwidthI is http://www.californiacoastline.org/ . A couple have mapped/are mapping the coast, with a helicopter and a high-end Nikon digital camera. You're best using this in conjunction with a good regular map of the area, so you can get an idea of where the most-interesting sections are.
 
Old Feb 5th, 2003, 04:45 PM
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thank you all for the advice and info. It is very much appreciated
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Old Feb 5th, 2003, 08:11 PM
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Hwy 1 south of Monterey is definitely crooked, but I would recommend taking it - the scenery is spectacular, some of the most beautiful in the world, and you'd miss it if you cut over to Hwy 101. Take it slow and and stop often to look at the scenery - you'll have a great time. Personally, that stretch of Hwy 1 is one of my favorite roads.
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