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San Francisco to San Diego

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San Francisco to San Diego

Plan to drive PCH south in end of September. Any suggestions? Don't have a hugh budget. Would like to spend some time in big sur and a few days in LA otherwise open to suggestions. Thanks

Edited: 17 February 2013, 00:57
San Francisco
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1. Re: San Francisco to San Diego

Take a look at the Top Questions (right side of screen) there is a lot of info on this drive. (Just fyi, it's only called PCH in Southern California.)

Recommended spots to stay over are Monterey/Carml, Cambria, Santa Barbara.

"Don't have a huge budget" ... what does that equate to in dollars?

"Otherwise open to suggestions" -- it helps to give us some sort of idea of things you like to do. Otherwise we end up making tons of suggestions that aren't specific to your interests. For example, you'd have to hog tie me to get me to Disney. But obviously, millions feel differently.

Saint Louis...
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2. Re: San Francisco to San Diego

Good day all......In September, Two couples (all age 50ish) are flying in to San Francisco and spending a few days with friends then we are going to take the rental car and drive down to San Diego. We would like to take the coastal drive. We would be leaving SF on Sunday (or could leave on Saturday afternoon) and fly out of San Diego on Wednesday afternoon.

The main deal is to see some of the beautiful sites along the way. We kinda are playing this by the seat of the pants....but would really appreciate some little tidbits of advice. We don't have any hotel/motel reservations as of yet and may just stop when we want/see some nice beach area with a hotel...something along those lines....

I hear that Laguana Beach is a must stop .....after that its kind of up in the air.

I understand that this type of one way rental and airfare is done a lot....

I stopped here because its a pretty awesome sight and I am starting to do our homework. Thanks much!!

San Francisco
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3. Re: San Francisco to San Diego

Hi and Welcome to the Forums

<<We don't have any hotel/motel reservations as of yet and may just stop when we want/see some nice beach area with a hotel...something along those lines....>>

Good luck with that -- even in September I would strongly recommend making advance reservations or you run the risk of staying somewhere you'd rather not be.

Have a look at the Top Questions. And when you have specific questions ... please start a new thread. This one belongs to nghri and while the subject is similar we'd rather address our responses directly to the Original Poster to keep things straight. (We're confused enough as it is!)

Pauma Valley, CA
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4. Re: San Francisco to San Diego

Leave Saturday afternoon and spend a night in Monterey or Carmel and then drive through Big Sur on Highway 1 then spend the night in Cambria, Morro Bay or Pismo Beach. After that you could drive all the way to San Diego and spend the rest of your time there or spend another night on the coast somewhere in LA. Start looking now and make reservations.

Edited: 15 July 2013, 03:04
Anaheim, California
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5. Re: San Francisco to San Diego

Laguna Beach is not a must stop, especially if you want to watch your money. There are plenty of other nearby beach cities that have lower costs.

Maybe a night at the Newport Channel Inn on the Pacific Coast Highway.

Or maybe Oceanside in Northern San Diego County.

Saint Louis...
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6. Re: San Francisco to San Diego

After doing some homework I think we are going to leave SF Sunday morning and drive halfway and get lodging in Cambria or Pismo Beach (pro and cons of both). Get up Monday morning and hope to be in San Diego before the traffic hits.

I think this will give us enough time to stop and see some of the sights along Route 1.

Any suggestions for lunch on Sunday...and lodging on Sunday night. Pros and cons of Cambria. I have really looked at the forum and have spent a lot of time combing through everything. This is a great sight!

Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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7. Re: San Francisco to San Diego

Hi Phil

Welcome to TripAdvisor. We're more than happy to help with your trip planning, but it's always best to start your own topic so we can keep your queries from becoming confused with the original poster. Plus, the OP (Original poster) will now receive email notices with further responses to this thread.

So, to answer your questions.

SF to Cambria is approx. a 6 hour drive WITHOUT stops. Lots to see/do between the two, so expect closer to an 8-12 hour drive: Monterey, Carmel By The Sea, Point Lobos, Big Sur coast

Cambria pros: Lovely, romantic seaside town nestled among pine trees with pretty coastline, fine dining, lots of great inns overlooking the ocean.

Cambria cons: Not geared toward kids


Pismo Beach pros: Family friendly, long stretch of sandy beach, plenty of shopping, dining, lodging

Pismo Beach cons: The downtown area is a bit run down, most hotels are located on a bluff overlooking the ocean rather than on the beach. Busier, more people. lots of traffic.


Cambria to San Diego is approx. a 6 hour drive WITHOUT stops. Santa Barbara and LA are on the way and you'll likely encounter traffic IF you stop to enjoy SB's sights before continuing to SD.

Edited: 06 August 2013, 00:11
8. Re: San Francisco to San Diego

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