Where to stop on a drive from LA to Big Sur?

Jul 2nd, 2007, 01:06 PM
  #1  
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Where to stop on a drive from LA to Big Sur?

We would like to spend Thanksgiving in Big Sur and plan to drive from LA. My daughter gets gets a bit car sick and I thought that it might be nice to break up the trip by staying somewhere on the way for a night and maybe stoping for a few hours at a beach and for lunch on the way back.

Any suggestions of a place to stop for the night in a fun place to explore to break up the drive and a different place to visit on the return trip?

Thank You!!
sparklegem is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2007, 01:53 PM
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We loved Cambria--the little shops, the sea lions on the beach, and the next day a tour at the Hearst Castle.
bugswife1 is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2007, 02:14 PM
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Cambria's great, but Santa Barbara also has a lot to offer, beaches, good food, mission, museums, etc.
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Jul 2nd, 2007, 02:25 PM
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I have only done this during the summer but Pismo Beach(between previously mentioned Santa Barbara and Cambria) allows you to drive right down to the sand on the beach(for a fee). So you can have a picnic on the water right from your car, weather permitting. Most of the motels there overlook the ocean should you want to stay a night. I agree with the Cambria suggestion if you can stay in one of the motels on Moonstone Beach drive. It is not a swimming beach but several places include breakfast and it can be fun taking your goodies and sitting on the ocean overlook.
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Jul 2nd, 2007, 04:42 PM
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Hey thanks for the quick replies! I will look into all three. We are now planning to spend a night in each direction.
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Jul 3rd, 2007, 08:15 AM
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San Luis Obispo is another thought, as is Morro Bay.
mlgb is offline  
Jul 14th, 2007, 06:23 PM
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I have come up with another question:

What is the best route to take on our return to Santa Monica (from Big Sur)? Should we just reverse the route or is there another, less curvy, way to get back?
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Jul 14th, 2007, 07:25 PM
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Not unless you continue up to Carmel and then cut over to the 101.
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Jul 14th, 2007, 08:30 PM
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Ok, thank you. I just jiggled our days a bit so that we do not return on Sunday. We are drving back on Saturday, but hopefully that won't be as bad (?). A friend jut told me today that they drove back on a Sunday and it took three hours to drive through Santa Barabara!
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Jul 14th, 2007, 09:49 PM
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If you hit Santa Barbara at any rush hour it will take forever. Even with the freeway widening several years ago, it's just a mess.

Highway 1 is gorgeous, but windy and curvy driving, as you will see. 101 will get you home faster. Stop in SLO or Pismo for lunch!
mowmow is offline  
Jul 14th, 2007, 11:49 PM
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Thank you for the great information! Is there a way to get to the 101 with out going to Monterey? Should we then cut over to the five?
sparklegem is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 04:55 AM
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No, don't cut over to the 5.

You could take Carmel Valley Road from just south of Carmel, back toward the 101. It won't save you any time, though. It is quite pretty especially in the fall, but it's two lane windy country road.
mlgb is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 07:22 AM
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Is there a way to miss the gridlock in Santa Barbara?
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Jul 15th, 2007, 08:34 AM
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P.S. What time does the gridlock start if we plan on going through on a Saturday? I think that we may drive from Big Sur, stop in SB for a bite and then continue on to Santa Monica.
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Jul 15th, 2007, 10:34 AM
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I have been firming things up and making reservations this morning and come up with some new questions.

On our drive to Big Sur from Santa Monica, we plan to stop in Solvang for breakfast (Paula's) and a little sight-seeing and then a night in Cambria.


- How much time should we allow for Solvang?

- Cambria?

-Should we book a tour at Hearst Castel for the day that we arrive in Cambria or the next morning on our way to Big Sur?

-What are our alternative routes for our return to Santa Monica?

Thank You!!
sparklegem is offline  
Jul 15th, 2007, 04:26 PM
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I think 2 - 3 hours would be good for Solvang, since you are having breakfast. Depends on how into browsing through little shops you are.
trippinkpj is offline  
Jul 25th, 2007, 01:01 PM
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As far as booking a tour for Hearst Castle, we booked Tour 1 for the late morning(11AM) after our one night stayover in Cambria. It worked better for us to do it that way since we wanted to "pepper" our drive up to Cambria with a stop in Morro Bay for lunch and trolley ride. Again, this was summer when Cambria was hectic and ice cream and a swim sounded better to our kids than a PM walk around a castle. Enjoy!
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Jul 28th, 2007, 05:56 AM
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Sounds great! Thanks for the super tips.
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