SFO to Carmel...what to do ??

Sep 27th, 2007, 07:37 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 188
SFO to Carmel...what to do ??

I have searched the forums and I think we will go this route:
SFO to 280...280 to 92
92 to Skyline Blvd....Skyline to 9 ( Santa Cruz)
9 to 1 (all the way to Carmel)

Here are my questions for you experts ... we should leave SFO with our rental car around 115...
** we really want to see some of the Redwoods (is Skyline Blvd necessary ??)

** what would be a good place to stop and eat lunch on the way ??

** should we try to get past Santa Cruz before a certain time ?? Do they have traffic issues ??

** should I skip the Redwoods and go direct to Carmel and eat lunch there ??
dannyyoung is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 08:33 AM
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>>SFO to 280...280 to 92<<

SFO is on 101 - not 280. Take 101 to 92.

Skyline is quite pretty - lots of redwoods along the way. The coast is pretty too.

You probably won't get to a lunch spot on Skyline before 2:30. Perhaps get something at the airport. If you take the Coast route, there are lots of lunch spots in Main St in Half Moon Bay (cute town). You'll get there around 2:00 or perhaps a little sooner.

Stu Dudley

Stu Dudley

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 08:58 AM
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I would also stop in Half Moon Bay for lunch, however, if you want to eat sooner (before you even get to 92), go to downtown Burlingame (two exits south of the airport) -- there are lots of places to eat on Burlingame Avenue (Broadway, too, but Broadway isn't nearly as nice as Burlingame Avenue).
Sep 27th, 2007, 03:27 PM
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I like your Hwy 280 idea. Just south of the airport you can take Millbrae Ave over to 280 or you can stay south on Hwy 101 and take Hwy 92 over to Hwy 280.

If your are lucky enough to get on the freeway by 1:15 PM you will be just ahead of the traffic rush out of the city. Another 60-90 minutes and you will be right in the middle of it.

You will want to be as far outside the city as quickly as possible.

I would not even consider stopping until Santa Cruz.

Most of your route sounds very good. Hwy 9 is going to be slow so if you are wanting to get to Carmel early or are late getting out of the airport stay on Hwy 280 to Hwy 17 to Hwy 1.

If really late take Hwy 101 from the airport all the way to Prunedale and take Hwy 156 over toward Monterey and Carmel.

However, there are so many great dinner places in Carmel I would just grab some fast food along the way and then plan on a nice late dinner in Carmel.
jamesr3939 is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 04:03 PM
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where to eat in half moon ??
dannyyoung is offline  
Sep 27th, 2007, 05:40 PM
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For a light cheap meal, try the Flying Fish on your left on 92 just before the intersection with highway 1. I recommend their shark taco if it's still available.

For redwoods, you should detour from highway 1 in Santa Cruz to go to Henry Cowell State Park. Follow the signs to Felton and you will come to the entrance of the park before the town of Felton.
Michael is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 01:57 PM
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Skyline is not necessary for redwoods.

The way I like to get on 280 from the airport is to go north on 101 a short way and then pick up 380 which goes over to 280.

You can then go 92 to Half Moon Bay from there and take the coast, Hwy 1, to Santa Cruz. This goes through city streets for some blocks, but when you get to the very large sign which says "Welcome to (River Street) Downtown Santa Cruz" turn left and you will be on Highway 9...seven miles up you will come to Hentry Cowell Redwoods State Park.

After your visit retrace and get back on Highway 1. You will be in Monterey in about 45 minutes if no traffic.

If you don't want to take the time to drive the coast at Half Moon Bay, just stay on 280 until the exit for 85, get on that then take the Santa Cruz exit and you will be on Hwy 17, going over the hill to Santa Cruz.

When you get to the exit for Mt. Herman Road in Scotts Valley, follow that over to Felton. Turn left at Highway 9 and you will soon be at Henry Cowell.

Then just follow Hwy 9 on into Santa Cruz and proceed as before.

jtrandolph is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 03:20 PM
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I was thinking the exact same thing as jt. Now I don't have to type it all out

Regarding traffic in Santa Cruz - I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet - YES, there is traffic in Santa Cruz. With your timing though, I think you will likely just have to suck it up and deal with it. The drive itself (no traffic), will probably be close to 3 hours. Even with no lunch and no walk through the redwoods, you will be going through Santa Cruz around 4 and hit traffic. On the other hand, if you have a nice leisurly lunch, hang out in the woods a bit, and all that, and hit Santa Cruz after say 7, you will miss most of the traffic.
J_Correa is offline  
Sep 28th, 2007, 10:37 PM
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All of the suggestions are good. Just DO NOT take Skyline to Hwy 9 and then HWY 9 to Santa Cruz. It is a major pain and while driving you cannot take your eyes off the winding road for a second - so you can't really enjoy the drive at all. 92 to half moon bay and then south is a very nice and easy drive all the way. stop in Pescadero for a lunch.
cabovacation is offline  
Sep 30th, 2007, 05:32 AM
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Well, there are plenty of people who enjoy the drive along Skyline to Hwy9 but they are in sports cars or on motorcycles and are not trying to get to Carmel, just out for a cruise. And they tend to go rather fast. There are plenty of redwoods there, but they are all second growth, except the Methusaleh Tree, and even it is not very tall due to lightning strikes.

Henry Cowell State Park is a much better place to see old growth. It's just outside of Santa Cruz so you can go either by the coastal route Hwy One, or the inland side of the Santa Cruz Mtns. on Hwy 280 to Hwy 85 to either Hwy 17 (quick route over the SC Mtns--if no accidents) or on the very winding but wide enough Hwy 9 (use the marked turnouts to allow people to pass if you find them riding your tail). 280 is more scenic and much less apt to traffic jams than Hwy 101.
sequoia370 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2007, 10:01 AM
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Highway 1 is a far more pleasant drive than 280.
Michael is offline  
Sep 30th, 2007, 03:16 PM
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Well, yes, Michael Highway 1 is wonderful, but Hwy 280 has been named the "most beautful freeway in the world.

We take it all the time if we want a direct route to and from the City.
Eight (sometime 10) lanes, divided, going through the beautiful rolling hills between the bay and the coast range. No industrial stuff like 101 and faster, if you need it, than Hwy 1.

In the too many years we have been traveling it we have NEVER run into traffic.

It also passes in back of Stanford University and runs close enough to the Stanford Linear Accelerator for you to glimpse it going way out on your right as you pass it. (going south).

dannyyoung...as jcorrea said, yes, you may run into traffic on Hwy 1 out of Santa Cruz if you are on a weekday. They are doing major road work to improve lane changes, but just be patient, it doesn't last long.

Lunch. You know, if you aren't leaving the airport until after 1:00 your best bet for lunch is Half Moon Bay. If it looks as if you will be held up, I would just do it at the airport. Yeah, I know, but there are some pretty good places in the airport for ok grub.

Planes come in late, as I know from bitter experience.

Have a wonderful trip.

jtrandolph is offline  
Sep 30th, 2007, 03:27 PM
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We live half way in between 101 and 280. If we want to go south (usually Stanford or San Jose, but also Santa Cruz or Carmel), we would always take 280 (1 might be nice, but not for getting somewhere, as opposed to simply enjoying the ride). I wouldn't go so far as to say we have never had traffic on 280, though -- once you get past Palo Alto (around the El Monte exit), there is often traffic at rush hour, even in the carpool lane. 280 is a beautfiul freeway.

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