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Pacific drive and stops..

Belfast
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Pacific drive and stops..

If driving from SF to LA down the highway 1, how many nights she we consider stopping a long the way, and where are the logical places to stop?

This will be in May next year, we dont want to drive more than 4 hours each day, would like it to be a relaxing trip. We would like time to explore these towns and the beaches.

Here is what I am thinking:

Day 1 - Leave SF, drive to Carmel (how long is this?) - stay 1 night

Day 2 - Leave Carmel, drive to Cambria (how long is this?) - stay 1 night?

Day 3 - Leave Cambria, go to Hearst Castle, drive to ??? either 1 more stop (santa barbara?) - or head straight to LA (how long a drive are these 2 options?)

Thanks!

San Diego...
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1. Re: Pacific drive and stops..

Your plan make sense, staying one night in each place. You can check yahoo maps for time and mileage estimates. I think you could take a tour of Hearst Castle (be sure to book in advance at www.hearstcastle.com ) before arriving in Cambria. Then leaving Cambria, you could have lunch in Santa Barbara, seeing the old mission and court house there and the beach area, arriving in Los Angeles in the evening. There are nice wineries along the way and if you want to stop at some of these, you might consider staying overnight in Santa Barbara, saving Santa Barbara sights for the next morning then drive to L.A.

Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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2. Re: Pacific drive and stops..

If you take the coastal route from SF to Carmel, it's about a 3 hour drive without stops.

Carmel to Cambria is about a 2 hour drive without stops. Just keep in mind you'll be traveling through Big Sur country between the two. I suggest factoring in at least 2-3 hours for exploring this beautiful area of California

Cambria to Santa Barbara is about a 2 1/2 hour drive without stops. Once you leave Cambria, you'll pass by Morro Bay, San Luis Obispo & Pismo Beach. Each area is worth a look, if time allows.

Cambria to LA: about 4 hours

Belfast
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3. Re: Pacific drive and stops..

Many Thanks - very useful info.

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4. Re: Pacific drive and stops..

Do you have lodging for Carmel and Cambria? La Playa is very nice Carmel and any of the Inns on Moonstone Beach Drive would be nice for Cambria, Moonstone Landing gets a lot of good press here. Have fun! :)

Belfast
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5. Re: Pacific drive and stops..

Still trying to organise an itinerary first before I organise the accommodation, my itinerary seems to change daily - currently looks like this!:

May 2009

6th - San Francisco

7th - San Francisco

8th - San Francisco

9th - Carmel

10th - Cambria

11th - Hollywood

12th - Hollywood

13th - Hollywood

14th - Santa Monica

15th - Santa Monica

16th - Santa Monica?

17th - Las Vegas

18th - Las Vegas

19th - Las Vegas

20th - Las Vegas

21st - Leave

I am wondering if that is too long around LA/SM? I was orininally thinking of going to Yosimite after San Francisco but I'm not sure about the 4 hour drive there, just to backtrack again to get to the coast.. thoughts?

San Francisco
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6. Re: Pacific drive and stops..

I'm from Northern California and so perhaps biased (although I was born in Santa Monica) but 3 nights in Hollywood and 3 nights in Santa Monica is too much, IMO.

I think you could easily shave a couple of days off Hollywood/Santa Monica and add them to the Central Coast.

I've read trip reports from so many people who just love the Carmel/Montery, Big Sur Drive, Cambria and Santa Barbara but who didn't really plan enough time for those areas. Since they don't have any big "attractions" people think they can sort of cruise through. But the sights are so special and hidden treasures to enjoy. The pace is slower and more relaxing too than either SF or LA.

You are probably right about Yosemite. It is a 4 hour drive from SF and the drive is nothing to write home about. Better to include Yosemite if you were planning on doing the inland drive and incorporating Kings Canyon and Death Valley and then to Grand Canyon.

And PS ... I'd take another day from LA and add it to SF.

And I'll through another ringer in here ... you're missing San Diego which has a lot to see and is a little easier to negotiate than LA when it comes to size. SD is about 2-3 hours from LA.

But the basis of your itinerary is great. You've still got plenty of time for planning -- which is part of the fun. Have a great time!

San Francisco
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7. Re: Pacific drive and stops..

Oh I meant "throw another ringer" ... my brain and fingers don't see connected this morning!

San Diego...
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8. Re: Pacific drive and stops..

Late May is an excellent time to visit Yosemite, so I would try to include it (water falls should be great). To make time, I would skip Santa Monica (maybe add one day to Hollywood). As far as the beach in Santa Monica, it won't be cold, but it won't necessarily be sunny until July.

Unless you have planned specific shows, want to do a lot of gambling, or just want to sit around a pool in hot weather, I think that 4 nights in Las Vegas is too much, two nights is generally enough.

May 2009

Three nights in San Francisco is enough for the city itself, unless you have specific things in mind (exhibits at the museum or something else special that may interest you).

San Francisco
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9. Re: Pacific drive and stops..

If you can wait until June the Tut show will be open at the DeYoung museum in SF. This is going to be one he-- of a show. It's currently open (or about to) in Dallas.

McKees Rocks, PA
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10. Re: Pacific drive and stops..

Instead of Carmel, I would suggest driving a little further (maybe 45 miles) and staying at Deetjeens in Big Sur. It is a very unique experience. A rustic but comfortable cabins nestled in the redwoods.

Instead of Cambria, I suggest stopping short and staying at the Ragged Point. The rooms are very comfortable and the view is spectacular. It is only 60 miles from Deetjeens, so you will have plenty of time to stop and explore. This stretch of road is probably the most spectacular on your whole trip.

To save a little money, you can leave San Francisco mid noon and check into the hostel in Montara. A private room can be had for around $70. The rooms are simple but clean. The beds are a little hard but the view from the room is unbelievable.