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Traveling from San Francisco to San Diego

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Traveling from San Francisco to San Diego

Hi Folks,

My husband and I will be visiting California to attend a function on Sunday Sept 1 in San Francisco. We are arriving on Friday and expect to be at the hotel around 1:30 pm. My intention is to sight see in and around San Francisco, Napa, Muir Woods, and Sausalito by 3pm Sunday, the function is at 6pm. Monday there will be a brunch south of San Francisco (not sure where yet) but after that we are on our way south with no time limit other than a hotel reservation in San Diego on Friday the 6th.

Things that are on our list while heading south; Half Moon Bay, Carmel, Monterey, Big Sur, Hearst Castle, Solvang,Santa Ynez (actress on my favorite soap owns winery here...lol) Santa Barbara, Malibu, Santa Monica not sure what else ... a little overwhelming :)

Not sure what we are going to be able to do in 4 1/2 days to San Diego...we are returning home on Sunday the 8th.

What we like; a little hiking so small hikes to see wonderful scenery or hikes along rivers would be in line, love the ocean scenery, charming towns, swimming, eating...we are not on a budget so much but we don't need 5 star hotels.

Would need suggestions on timeline, places to see, when to stay overnight...any suggestions will help - coming from the east coast and neither of us has been to California.

Thank you

Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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1. Re: Traveling from San Francisco to San Diego

Hi Elaine

With 4 nights, I suggest the following:

Monterey Peninsula: 1 night (Bear in mind that this will be Labor Day and everywhere will be packed, including the highways.)

Cambria: 1 night (Big Sur en route: Bixby Bridge, Pfeiffer Falls Trail inside Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, Nepenthe for lunch, McWay Falls, Ragged Point, elephant seal rookery)

Santa Barbara: 1 night (Early tour of Hearst Castle, Morro Bay/Rock, Solvang)

Santa Monica: 1 night

Drive times:

SF to Monterey: 3 hours via Highway 1 (Again, this is a holiday and the roads will be packed with people getting to and back from their destination. May take longer than 3 hours)

Monterey to Cambria: 3 hours WITHOUT stops, but plan on a more realistic 6-8 hours depending on stops made and time spent on them)

Cambria to Solvang: 90 minutes

Solvang to Santa Barbara: 30-45 minutes

Santa Barbara to Santa Monica: Approx. 2 - 2 1/2 hours

Santa Monica to San Diego: Approx. 2 - 2 1/2 hours

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2. Re: Traveling from San Francisco to San Diego

Thank you Kibblesmom! I really appreciate your input. So much to do in so little time...lol.

Fremont, California
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for San Francisco
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3. Re: Traveling from San Francisco to San Diego

Kibblesmom has given you a good itineary, so just filling in some of the details.

For hikes in Monterey, suggest Pt. Lobos - a few miles south of Carmel.


For Cambria the best area to stay at is Cambria Moonstone beach area - directly by the ocean.


South of Cambria is Morro Bay - worth seeing. In this area is good hiking at


Montana d'Oro state beach has some nice trails


Decide if you want to see Solvang - has a nice wind mill and danish pastries - but you could also opt to spend the time instead at some of Santa Barbara beautiful beach areas.

In Santa Monica, its a city beach. A lot of restaurants on 3rd street promenade


Lodging in Santa Monica can be pricey - take a look at




and post questions in the Santa Monica forum if you need help with lodging or restaurant choices (there are many restaurants so let them know what type of cuisine, atmospher you like).

If you decide to skip Santa Monica, the other nice place to stay would be in Orange County in Huntington Beach area either The Hyatt Regency or the Hilton.



or if you want a cute inn just a few miles further south is


Surfer pictures in room, 5 minute walk to the ocean; 5 minute walk to the beach; nice roof top seating area (bring your own bottle of wine and enjoy the views).

Edited: 17 August 2013, 23:55
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4. Re: Traveling from San Francisco to San Diego

Thank you Mini, really appreciate your input. Not knowing the area but having all these great suggestions from you and kibblesmom will really help the planning. Thanks again!

5. Re: Traveling from San Francisco to San Diego

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