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Driving up the coast LA to SF in January

Melbourne, Australia
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Driving up the coast LA to SF in January

Hello all, We are hiring a car and driving up the coast from LA to San francisco in mid-January. Only have 3-4 days. (hubby, me & 2 adult daughters, 21 & 23). Wanting help with suggested itinerary, and advice on weather conditions that time of year. Thought of visiting Big Sur &/or Point Lobos Reserve. Staying 2 nights at or near Monterey, and maybe 1 night elsewhere along the way.

Thanks.

Vancouver...
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1. Re: Driving up the coast LA to SF in January

Take a look at the FAQ's on the upper/right: "Top Questions about California". You will see links to click on to answer your questions. Take a look and Good Luck. Chuck...

Roseville...
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2. Re: Driving up the coast LA to SF in January

Weather will be very cool; maybe rain.

Monterey for two nights is good. Maybe Cambria or San Louis Obispo for another.

San Francisco...
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3. Re: Driving up the coast LA to SF in January

Have a look at the Central coast DE's blog for ideas and Suggestions from Scott H.

http://thecentralcoasttraveler.com/faqs/

and these photos from Mike Neenan on the Big Sur Area up to Santa Cruz.

…google.com/Mjneenan/CaliforniaCentralCoastM…

weather.com will give you temperatures. you will have to look at www.dot.ca.gov for road conditions in Winter in case there are mud slides and road closures

Edited: 01 July 2012, 21:18
London, United...
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4. Re: Driving up the coast LA to SF in January

We've just returned from California and spent 3 days doing the drive. I would highly recommend spending some time in Santa Barbara. It's a beautiful town. We only had two hours and wished we'd had more. The courthouse particularly was good to look round. Solvang was nice for a 20 minute wander and a pastry. If you like seafood, the Seachest in Cambria is a must (no reservations, cash only). We stayed next door at Moonstone Landing and our room there was lovely with a side sea view. Morro Bay has countless seafood restaurants which all looked good too.

On the drive itself, I would recommend Hearst Castle, San Simeon Point for the elephant seals, McWay Creek Waterfall (not well signposted) and Bixby Bridge. Nepenthe is mentioned as a good lunch stop. We didn't really want a full sit down lunch but stopped there anyway and discovered they also have a much more casual cafe above the gift shop. Our second overnight stop was at the Pine Inn in Carmel. Another nice hotel and well situated on the main street of Carmel.

From Carmel northwards, I would recommend the Carmel Mission and Monterey Bay Aquarium is excellent. You need at least two hours. 17 mile drive was well worth it too with some fabulous views and stops. 2-3 hours needed for that depending on how any times you want to stop. We drove it early in the morning to avoid traffic. Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz was a good spot to watch the surfers and go along West Cliff Drive to get out of town as the views are much nicer than the highway. Whilst on PCH 1, look out for the fruit farms. We stopped at a Strawberry farm where you could pick your own, but we just bought some punnets of strawberries and some gorgeous homemade strawberry truffles. No staff, just an honesty box.

All in all a fabulous drive and one which I will repeat one day.

Melbourne, Australia
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5. Re: Driving up the coast LA to SF in January

Thanks everyone. You have given me lots of great info and tips. belomiser - the 1st 2 links you gave me were terrific - just what I needed (& Mike's photos were inspiring). Will save the road conditions link to check in the last few days before we head off up the coast - thanks for that. Jennypenny, thanks for your personal trip info - very useful for us.

Just wondering if it will be too cold in January to do a kayak trip somewhere along the way? We usually travel in summer and do love the water, so winter travelling is a bit of unknown for us. Thanks.

Grover Beach...
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6. Re: Driving up the coast LA to SF in January

Kayaking is possible if the weather cooperates. In fact, sometimes we have beautiful warm days in the winter months, but we can't guarantee it.

There are a number of great kayaking opportunities up and down the coast. For the Central Coast area, we have Central Coast Kayaks in Pismo Beach and Sub Sea Tours in Morro Bay. The former is full on ocean kayaking, the latter is along a calm marina and estuary.

Melbourne, Australia
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7. Re: Driving up the coast LA to SF in January

Thanks Kibblesmom. We'd enjoy a few hours kayaking.

8. Re: Driving up the coast LA to SF in January

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