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SF to LA on highway 1 in two days - where to stay?

Copenhagen, Denmark
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SF to LA on highway 1 in two days - where to stay?

My boyfriend and I will be traveling from San Francisco to Los Angeles in mid July via Highway 1 and we have to find accommodation for one night.

We pick up the car in SF at 10 am and head south. We plan to stop in at least Santa Cruz, Carmel, Monterey, Big Sur.

Where would it be a good idea to book accommodation? I've looked at San Simeon and Cambria as they seem to be midway, but is it possible to reach this destination before it gets dark without rushing too much? It seems as if there are more sights between SF - San Simeon than San Simeon - LA.

Thanks!

Edited: 28 June 2013, 00:26
San Francisco...
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1. Re: SF to LA on highway 1 in two days - where to stay?

Most would suggest Cambria which you mention as a half way point. If you really really want to see the Central coast which needs time and should not be rushed, you do need an overnight in Monterey and one in Cambria. Leaving at 10am from SF means you wont have much time to enjoy the sites but will have to drive with just a few spots.

Grover Beach...
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2. Re: SF to LA on highway 1 in two days - where to stay?

Sunset is just after 8pm mid July. Picking up the rental car at 10am from SF translates into a 10:30 or 11:00 am departure time. It takes approx. 3 hours to Monterey via Highway 1, which means you wouldn't reach Monterey until 1:30 or 2:00 pm. And that's WITHOUT stopping in Santa Cruz!!

Monterey to Cambria via Big Sur is about a 3 hour drive WITHOUT stops. That means you would have to leave Monterey by 5:00 pm to avoid driving Big Sur after dark and allow a few VERY short stops en route.

SF to Cambria is a 6 hour drive WITHOUT stops. It will be dark by 8:30 pm, which means an 11:00 am departure time from SF gives you 3 hours worth of stops en route to Cambria before it gets dark, along with the initial 6 hours it takes for that drive. Does that work for you?

Edited: 28 June 2013, 01:54
Copenhagen, Denmark
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3. Re: SF to LA on highway 1 in two days - where to stay?

Thank you for your answers!

I'm aware that it would be best to have two overnights during the trip down the highway, but that is not possible.

Hmm, I'm not sure if 3 hours is enough if we should be able to stop at all the places we wish. Do you think it would be possible to overnight somewhere between Monterey and Cambria? If so, are there any towns you would recommend?

Uden, The...
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4. Re: SF to LA on highway 1 in two days - where to stay?

Is that car p/u by 10 am set in stone? Can't you p/u the car earlier? That would give you more time and you'll need that time. You can try San Simeon for a stay but that's close to Cambria.

Grover Beach...
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5. Re: SF to LA on highway 1 in two days - where to stay?

The area between Monterey and Cambria is along the remote and wild Big Sur coast. There are only a handful of lodging options within the "village" area of Big Sur, but Big Sur is only an hour south of Monterey. You would have a heck of a long day of driving the next day, as it isn't really anywhere near mid way to LA. It's also likely that most Big Sur hotels are fully booked by now.

The balance of options between the "village" of Big Sur and San Simeon are widely spread apart and will be pricey. These include Lucia, Treebones, Gorda and Ragged Point (Ragged Point is only 20 minutes from San Simeon, so you still run the risk of driving Highway 1 after dark even if you attempt that).

Honestly, you really need to leave SF earlier (Like the night before, if possible) or just plan on this being mostly a road trip without a lot of stops.

You need to be aware that Highway 1 between Carmel and San Simeon sits hundreds of feet above the Pacific Ocean with sheer drops and several really tight hairpin turns. This is not a road you want to drive after it gets dark, especially if you're not familiar with it.

Edited: 28 June 2013, 15:35
Copenhagen, Denmark
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6. Re: SF to LA on highway 1 in two days - where to stay?

Thank you for your advice.

We have changed the car pickup to 8 am which gives us two more hours before we need to be in Cambria to overnight.

I realize we will have to rush through some of the stops, but I guess we will just have to come back another time then :)

San Francisco
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7. Re: SF to LA on highway 1 in two days - where to stay?

I mean no disrespect but I don't understand people coming 5,000+ miles but cannot find an extra night to arrange their trip properly. This happens all too often and I find myself shaking my head in disbelief. How much money is being spent (not to mention carbon credits) only to zip through some of the most beautiful coastline in the world. Why??

Uden, The...
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8. Re: SF to LA on highway 1 in two days - where to stay?

Well, at least the p/u by 8 am is a lot better.

Grover Beach...
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9. Re: SF to LA on highway 1 in two days - where to stay?

@ RamblinSal

Me thinks that some of these visitors are unaware of what is along the SF to LA route or what they're in for in regards to the slow, twisty drive through Big Sur.

Edited: 03 July 2013, 15:03
London, United...
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10. Re: SF to LA on highway 1 in two days - where to stay?

Hi folks!

I too was advised (as I later discovered ill advised) only a one stop strategy (cambria) on my California trip. It's only since discovering this form that I have realised it would not be enough to sight see along the way. so now, I have changed my route now to the inland one - will that be ok.

On the mapping website it cuts it down a bit?