What's the best part to drive on Hwy 1

Jul 14th, 1999, 02:06 PM
  #1  
Tina Huoso
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What's the best part to drive on Hwy 1

I am driving from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco. I want to see the Hearst Castle and drive through Big Sur, Carmel, & Monterey areas but don't want to spend alot of time on Hwy 1. Should I drive Hwy 1 to Monterey and then take 101? Am I going to miss anything spectacular by doing that? Is there anything worth stopping to see between San Simeon and Big Sur?
 
Jul 14th, 1999, 04:56 PM
  #2  
Monica Richards
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I don't think you will miss much by skipping over to 101 in Monterey. Most of Highway 1 is in from the coast in that stretch anyhow. And if you go on 101 you can stop at San Juan Bautista. It's an old mission, with a lot of old buildings around it in the quaint town. The church was built about 100 yards from the San Andreas fault and it's really visible from the display thing they have set up towards the outside of the church--a serious drop where you can understand what a faultline is. Very interesting.
 
Jul 14th, 1999, 10:12 PM
  #3  
kam
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Tina, Monica's advice is great. From Monterey cut back up to 101 via 152 east. You will go through San Juan Battista (I agree, a pretty mission if you like them) and then at San Jose, take 85 north to the junction with 280 north. You want to avoid driving all the way to SF on 101 or Hwy 1. It becomes very boring from Monterey north to SF. I-280 is actually a very pretty freeway and I-85 has a good "carpool" lane which will help if you are going in prime time with more than one person in the car. From Santa Cruz to SF along Hwy 1 is a very flat and farmland, two lane road. Nothing to see as the ocean is mostly blocked by the sand dunes. Nothing like the road in Big Sur.
 
Jul 15th, 1999, 04:41 PM
  #4  
lisa
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See my Trip report under California posted on this forum -- just back from California coast. Boy, I wouldn't miss Hwy. 1 for anything. When you ask whether there's anything to see, the answer is yes: the scenery! It's gorgeous! But I guess if you're in a hurry, it's better to go another way.
 
Jul 15th, 1999, 05:33 PM
  #5  
kam
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Lisa, please note that the part of Hwy 1 you drove in your trip report was much farther south than where we are advising Tina to cut over to 101. I certainly agree that Hwy 1 through Big Sur is something to do, if the weather is good. But, once you leave Monterey going north, 101 is faster and there's not much to see on 1.
 
Jul 15th, 1999, 06:07 PM
  #6  
kam
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Tina, if you do stop in San Juan Battista, try to time it for lunch. There's some of the most wonderful little Mexican restaurants there. Lunch in San Juan and you'll be in SF late afternoon before rush hour begins. Important to get past Palo Alto before 5 pm. Also, between San Simeon and Big Sur stop for a minute at Ragged Point to take a quick walk out to the point. Along the road you will see "wildlife viewing" signs--pull over and see if the elephant seals are still there on the beach. If you've never seen one, they're a great deal different from the regular seals you'll see in Monterey. If you're in San Luis on a Thursday night, there's a wonderful Farmers' Market with music and barbeque--lots of fun. Otherwise, the Apple Farm Inn restaurant is good and homey.
 
Jul 16th, 1999, 08:48 AM
  #7  
SFSally
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Definitely skip the part from Santa Cruz to San Francisco. Not very exciting and often is foggy. As others have said you can cut over to 101 from just north of Monterrey. You can also cut over to 101 from Monterrey to Salinas. Not as fast but a little more scenic. One thing, do NOT miss the 17 mile drive just north of Carmel. It is well worth the time and money.

Another option that is autually shorter than Monterrey to 101 is to continue up to Santa Cruz. From Santa Cruz cross over the mountains on hwy 17 ( freeway ). After you arrive in the valley take 85 north to 280 and then take 280 into San Francisco. Definitely take 280 from the valley into San Francisco. The route that I just described via Santa Cruz is probably a toss up with regards to speed vs 152 - 101 out of Monterrey.
 
Jul 16th, 1999, 05:20 PM
  #8  
Dave
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I happen to like the drive north from Monterey to San Francisco. True, the Big Sur coast has more drqamatic cliffs and vistas, but Highway 1 from Monterey to Santa Cruz goes through interesting agricultural lands, drops along the coast at Elkhorn Slough, and then tours Santa Cruz. Thereafter you go through rolling dunes and the toe of the coastal range. The road is wide-open with vistas of untouched beaches. I much prefer this route to San Francisco rather than the urban pace of I-280 (looks and feels like L.A. through San Jose) and the industrial pace of 101. I would much prefer to cruise through Half Moon Bay.

Also, this route is never heavily travelled, and if you would otherwise be on the road in high traffic hours, takes roughly the same time as going through San Jose. In non-traffic hours, it will add 1/2 hour to the trip.
 
Jul 16th, 1999, 09:02 PM
  #9  
kam
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Dave, I'm sorry to disagree. I really challenge the "280 looks a lot like L.A." Do you know L.A. well? Certainly 280 could never be in L.A. If you like Half Moon Bay, then that's fine, but for an out of town tourist, I don't think it's worth the getting behind the camper/trailer. Please note that the original poster said she doesn't want to spend a lot of time on Hwy 1 and asked if she would miss something spectacular. Do you really think the drive from Sta Cruz to SF is spectacular??? Pleasant, yes, but Spectacular????
 
Jul 16th, 1999, 11:30 PM
  #10  
SFSally
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I have to agree with Kam 100%. As I said, it may be worth it to drive as far as Santa Cruz but definitely not all the way to San Francisco. It is actually a fairly boring drive after having been on hwy 1 all the way up the coast. And trust me, fog can be a real problem even in the daytime.

To compare 280 with Los Angeles is ludicrous. 101 yes, but not 280. There may be similarities for the short distance that you are crossing San Jose but the rest of the trip is very nice. If you take my suggested route than you will miss that section of 280. Either the poster has never been to the Bay area, never been to Los Angeles, or hates Silicon Valley for some reason.
 

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