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Another LA - San Fran roadtrip

Athens, Greece
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Another LA - San Fran roadtrip

Hi y'all!

This seems to be the most common roadtrip on this forum however I can't find what I am looking for..

We are three (or four, not sure yet) guys in our mid-late twenties and we are planning to drive from LA to San Francisco in mid June. Most people seem to be spending quite a lot of days on that trip, but ideally we would like to do it in 24 hours, picking up a car from LA in the morning and returning it to San Fran the next day. Will we be missing out on much? And also, any ideas on where to spend the night? We like the blues, beer, and Kerouac's On The Road. Thanks!

Liverpool, UK
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1. Re: Another LA - San Fran roadtrip

"Will we be missing out on much? " - Although it can be driven with a single stop you will obviously miss out a lot of the attractions enroute and I normally suggest doing this trip over 4 days/3 nights. For a 1 night stop you're probably better just stopping around the halfway point.

Sydney, Australia
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2. Re: Another LA - San Fran roadtrip

Dude it's a road trip... you cant plan a road trip... got to go with the flow you know what im saying??

Lewes, United...
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3. Re: Another LA - San Fran roadtrip

ramblin man

I'm not totally sure I understand your question. Your title says LA - San Fran (sic) roadtrip, yet it seems from the post itself that all you really want to do is to drive from LA to SF by the fastest route possible, the way the locals who commute between those towns do, and want to know if it's possible.

Is that correct? If so, then the fastest route is by following the inland route of I-5 for the most part, then picking up the 580 in the Bay Area and taking the Bay bridge into the city.

To answer the question: Will you be missing out on much? The answer is absolutely, yes! The 'ideal' way to do this drive, as already said by Tom above, is to take 4 days to do it (we actually took even longer once!). The middle portion of the coast drive up the Pacific, along highway 1 - around Big Sur - is perhaps one of the most spectacularly scenic drives anywhere in the world, and I've done a lot scenic driving over a lifetime! However, it cannot be rushed, as the coast road is slow, wiggly and full of slow traffic admiring the views. Also, to do it 'properly' you'd really want to stop at the many pull offs and stop to admire the view sensibly, take photos etc, and also enjoy some of the other attractions along the route, such as Hearst Castle, the elephant seal colony, check out Carmel, visit the aquarium in Monterey, walk the board walk in Santa Cruz. I could go on ......

You get my drift?!

However, for blues, beer and Kerouac, you are metaphorically in the wrong part of the country! That, perhaps, was more of a stream of consciousness trip, than an actual road trip - but he did pass through Bakersfield, which is on I-5, the fast route!

SWT

Leamington Spa...
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4. Re: Another LA - San Fran roadtrip

Mate,

Itd be criminal to do this in one hit...Highway 1 is one of the most scenic roads in the world! I did it last year over 2 weeks.

Id bypass L.A altogether, hit Malibu, spend at least 2 days in Santa Barbara (nicest city on west coast IMHO), a day at Pismo Beach/San Luis Obpismo, check out Hearst Castle, do Monterrey then hit San Fran.

Dont live to regret this by doing it in a day...

Denver
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5. Re: Another LA - San Fran roadtrip

Best of LA - SF (Must depart L.A. prior to 5am or on a weekend)

Hwy I-5 north to Hwy166 west / then Hwy 101 north / Stop Pismo Beach / continue past San Luis Obispo

Switching to Hwy 1 / stop Morro Bay and see the elephant seals / continue north to San Simeon & Stop Hearst Castle (play in the tide pools near by) / continue north & stop at Carmel (great town) / take the Pebble Beach 17 mile drive north of Carmel / continue north stopping at Monterey Aquarium if it is still open / from Hwy 1 connect to Hwy 101 into SF

NOTE: 385 miles/6.4 hours freeway route with no site seeing is your baseline

Uden, The...
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6. Re: Another LA - San Fran roadtrip

Well, it's at least 10 hours of driving without stopping between Los Angeles along the coast but if you insist on doing it in 24 hours start from Los Angeles before 3 pm and drive to Cambria, Stay overnight at Moonstone beach. Start next day by 7am and be in San Francsico by 3 pm. Yes, that''s rushed.

Tet

Athens, Greece
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7. Re: Another LA - San Fran roadtrip

Thank you all for your input. We have booked our trip from 3 - 16 of June. We will be landing in LA on the 3rd, and the plan as it stands now is to drive up to San Francisco on the 6th, arrive in San Francisco on the 7th, stay there until the 11th and then get a flight to Vegas where we will be staying until the 16th. All our flights are booked now so we are trying to find a way to make the most of this trip in such a short time!

MidgetGem1980 - 'Dont live to regret this by doing it in a day...' That hit me hard! Unfortunately the maximum time for this trip would be 36 hours, I can't see any other way at this time (the focal point of this trip is San Francisco and we want to spend 4 full days there)

mjdztep - Your plan sounds about right, we will look into that.

SussexWorldtraveller - Lol you are right, I mentioned blues, beer and Kerouac in a frenzy thinking about this trip! This is mostly an inside joke, we keep saying that at some point in our lives we have to take a few months off and do the roadtrip that Kerouac and the guys did on On The Road using different means of transport like they do. However I can see that it might be a bit of a stuggle; not sure how far hitchhiking can get you these days!

Washington State
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8. Re: Another LA - San Fran roadtrip

ramblin_man

I don't think of this as a road trip. It's just a drive in one part of one state.

To read about the optional routes, possible scenic stops, and more please look at the Top Questions on the California state forum. In particular, this article is relevant to your short drive: Driving between LA and SF tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c182763 If you have one night for the drive, Cambria is the usual 'midpoint.' But read those numerous articles so you can make an informed choice. You'll probably want to post on the California forum as well; one of the coastal experts can only be found on the CA forum (not the Road Trips forum.)

Have a great visit!

Sydney, Australia
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9. Re: Another LA - San Fran roadtrip

We're travelling from San Fran to LA via hwy 5 and I'm hoping for suggestions for pit stops along the way...I'm well aware of how fabulous the coastal road is and have travelled it before but will not have time to dawdle.

Uden, The...
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10. Re: Another LA - San Fran roadtrip

There are 3 rest areas along I5 where you can make pitstops.