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2-3 day drive from San Franciso to San Diego

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2-3 day drive from San Franciso to San Diego

My mother, daughter and I are planning a trip for mid March. I hope to fly into San Francisco, stay a few days and then drive south to San Diego,taking 2-3 days for the drive. Then we stay a few days in San Diego and then fly home from there.

I would want to avoid LA, and try to stick to the coastline as much as possible. I welcome any input into what particular stops we might look for or what places not to miss.

Thank you all so very much!

Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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1. Re: 2-3 day drive from San Franciso to San Diego

This drive would be best with 2 overnight stops.

Most of us here recommend Monterey for the first night even though it's only 3 hours south of San Francisco. Monterey/Carmel is a beautiful area with a lot to see/do and is worth the stop.

Second stop could be in Santa Barbara or Ventura and continuing along the coast by accessing Highway 1 in Oxnard through Malibu/Santa Monica. LA locals can best tell you what routes to take from there to keep as close to the coast as possible.

If you only want to devote 1 night to the trip, then Pismo Beach would be the best option since you will likely be exhausted from the drive by that point.

**Just an FYI: There is no coastal route south of Pismo Beach for about 70 miles until you get through the Gaviota Pass. The Highway 1 route that starts in Pismo Beach does NOT follow the coast. It goes through farm and ranch lands and a few small towns. Not worth the detour if you want to make good time.

Edited: 17 February 2011, 00:00
Galveston, Texas
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2. Re: 2-3 day drive from San Franciso to San Diego

Monterey/Carmel 1-2nights -- 2 would be best

Cambria 1 night

Santa Barbara 1 night

Edited: 17 February 2011, 00:02
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3. Re: 2-3 day drive from San Franciso to San Diego

Thanks to both of you!

I will try to make it a 3 day drive. You are so right--Monterey looks to be a beautiful stop.

Maybe first night in Monterey and then on to Santa Barbara area and then on to San Diego.

Thank you again!

Pasadena, California
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4. Re: 2-3 day drive from San Franciso to San Diego

First night in the Monterey area: either Monterey, Carmel or Pacific Grove, all of which are close together in the Monterey area. Very pretty, lots to do.

After Monterey, IF the weather is good, head slowly down Hwy #1, a rather narrow and winding road along the gorgeous Big Sur coast. Gorgeous scenery along this route; look at the Big Sur forum for possible hikes and scenic stops. Stop for lunch at Nepenthe, for the amazing views. Consider a visit to Hearst Castle in the afternoon, if interested. Tour, requires reservations I think . (I don't know much about this as we haven't visited, but there is lots about Hearst Castle on the forum.) When you get to the junction of the #1 and the #101, at San Luis Obispo, switch to the much faster #101 highway and take that all the way to Santa Barbara. However, if the weather is very foggy or rainy, I'd recommend skipping the Big Sur drive and just take #101 south to Santa Barbara.

Night #2: Santa Barbara. Gorgeous town, lovely setting, lots to do. By far the most beautiful and interesting town on the coast between LA and Monterey.

Time your drive from Santa Barbara to SD to avoid rush hour in the greater LA/Orange County urban area, and in SD. Leave Santa Barbara perhaps around 8:30 or 9 am to miss both morning and evening rush hours in the urban areas. Don't worry about seeing the coastal areas of LA on your drive; just get through LA as quickly as possible.

5. Re: 2-3 day drive from San Franciso to San Diego

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