We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco

London, United...
Level Contributor
11 posts
2 reviews
Save Topic
Driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Hi there,

We (a family of 3, including an infant) are thinking of driving from LA to SFO in mid September.

As we arrive in LA from London mid noon, I thought it would be good just to drive a couple of hours so that we would not be so tired. As such, I have planned the following route:

Day 1 - Arrive LAX. Collect car and drive to Santa Barbara. Spend night in Santa Barbara.

Day 2 - Leave Santa Barbara around noon. Head towards Monterey Bay along the coast. Any suggestions on where we can put up for the night here?

Day 3 - Leave late morning and arrive in Monterey around noon. Spend the night in Monterey.

DAy 4 - Leave Monterey noon and take a slow drive to SFO

Do you think the trip would be too strenuous for an infant? Also, can anyone suggest where/which town we could put up in on day 2? Also, any hotel suggestions for these places?...my budget is around $100/night

Any help/suggestions would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Gary

Uden, The...
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Hi Gary

Arriving LAX doesnot mean you are on the road then. It takes at least 2 hours through immigration/customs/p/u rental car if you are lucky. And after the loooong flight and the a/p hassle I would not drive to Santa Barbara that day. Don't know what time you'll arrive but maybe you'll hit rushhour and congestions are not the thing you are waiting for tired and all. I'd stay LA first night.

For a three days drive this would be an option:

Day 1: Arrive LAX. Stay LA.

Day 2: Leave LA and drive via Pacific Coast hw to Oxnard and to Santa Barbara for lunch. Then drive via San Luis Obisbo to Cambria. Maybe stay at Moonstone Beach.

Day 3: Visit to Hearst Castle first, then drive up the gorgeous stretch of hw 1 visiting places like Big Sur, Point Lobos SR and Carmel. Stay Monterey.

Day 4: Visit Monterey Bay Aquarium first, drive to Santa Cruz for the boardwalk and drive to San Francisco (SFO is the name of the airport).

It will be hard to find accomodation for $ 100,-- along the coast though. Maybe put your question for lodging on the destination forums and check TA reviews.

Happy planning,

Tet

Huntington Beach, CA
Level Contributor
1,645 posts
1 review
Save Reply
2. Re: Driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Hi Gary :)

I don't know that I would go up Highway 1 past San Luis Obispo. It's a long and winding road and there could be some car sickness going on. I would continue on Highway 101.

I would, as suggested, stay in LA the first night. Then drive up Highway 101 to San Luis Obispo. That's the half-way point up the coast. It takes about 5 hours from LA. You can visit Pismo Beach (on the coast) which is about 10 minutes south of San Luis Obispo. Everybody gets to stretch their legs! You can possibly find lodging in Pismo Beach. If you contact the Chambers of Commerce for those cities, you can get some ideas for lodging.

Then next day, I believe you can drive 101 up to Monterey. You can head over to Highway 1, which is very pretty and very scenic, but it will add considerable time to the drive, not to mention the potential car sickness factor.

Then from Monterey to San Francisco.

jc

Uden, The...
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Blimey JC. Driving between LA and SF and missing hw 1 between Cambria and Monterey is like visiting Paris and not see Eiffeltower (fear of heights), visit Rome and skip Colosseum (maybe the lions are still there) or see London and stay out of St.Pauls Cathedral (not religious). ;)

Huntington Beach, CA
Level Contributor
1,645 posts
1 review
Save Reply
4. Re: Driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Oh Agree, Tet!

However, I was thinking of that road with a baby ~ might not be so good. And it does add a lot of time to the drive.

Being from California, I've driven it several times so maybe I'm jaded as to that road. If you want to get to your destination quicker, take Hwy 101. If you want to get there when you get there and have beautiful scenery along the way ~ take Hwy 1. And instead of staying in San Luis Obispo, stay in San Simeon or Cambria/Moonstone Beach.

jc

London, United...
Level Contributor
11 posts
2 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Thanks for your suggestions, guys. I will be back on the internet to do more research and will be back to this forum with more questions, for sure.

Cheers,

Gary

Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
Level Contributor
20,726 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco

bump

7. Re: Driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 25 December 2009, 05:17