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Where to Spend a night driving from San Fran to LA and Stops

Toronto, Canada
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Where to Spend a night driving from San Fran to LA and Stops

I'm planning to drive from San Fran to LA along Highway 1. I plan to spend 1 night somewhere along the route and split the drive into 2 days. Along the route, I'd like to make some stops. I'm planning to drive down Sept 25-26 (Wed Morning around 9 - Thur).

Thus far, I have planned to stop at Pfeifer Beach and Monterey Peninsula on the first day.

I'm looking for recommendations on where to spend a night? I'm hoping to find something along the coast. Budget is for around $100 (whether hotel or airbnb, but a bit more flexible). As of right now, I'm thinking either Pismo Beach, Cambria or Moonstone Beach. Where would people recommend I'd spend a night?

On the 2nd day of driving, I'm not sure if I should make a few stops or drive straight to Anaheim and explore the town. (I've planned to spend 2 full days at Disney on the Fri and Sat). Would people recommend stopping in Santa Barbara? and Malibu as well? However, Malibu, I was thinking i could visit later on when I'm in LA.

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Where to Spend a night driving from San Fran to LA and Stops

Here is a primer to get you started. It has links to all the articles plus the photo blog

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c197885/Califo…

Cambria is half way but most would suggest 2 nights with one night in Monterey

San Diego...
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2. Re: Where to Spend a night driving from San Fran to LA and Stops

Two nights would be much better. The first night in Monterey, Carmel or Pacific Grove, then the second night at either San Simeon, Cambria, Cayucos or Morro Bay. For sights and stops see this travelogue https:/…5621071823861282305

Santa Barbara would make a good stop for lunch. As for Malibu, you can see it on your way into Los Angeles, if you take the coast road (1) instead of the 101 into Los Angeles. I wouldn't make a special trip back to Malibu. About all there is to see in Malibu are the beaches and the Getty Museum anyway, and there are plenty of other beaches in California.

Edited: 03 September 2013, 22:42
Los Angeles
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3. Re: Where to Spend a night driving from San Fran to LA and Stops

If you do decide to see Malibu when heading south, try using Las Posas road as your exit to get to it rather than wasting 45 minutes at stoplights through Oxnard.

Your problem is that you will have to really hurry your time in Monterey if you decide to stay in Cambria/Moonstone (and it would be even further to get to Pismo, so Cambria is the best of your suggestions). Lodging in Big Sur itself tends to book up, but you could try for the GlenOaks Motel or something similar there to get you a little further along (but no point driving in the dark and lots to see in Big Sur itself).

Cambria to Anaheim via Highway 1/Malibu is a looong drive.

Toronto, Canada
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4. Re: Where to Spend a night driving from San Fran to LA and Stops

Thanks for all the tips everyone. Looks like I could just skip Malibu all-together since I do plan to see lots of other beaches (New port, santa monica, venice beach).

As for taking 2 nights, unfortunately I don't have that much time available, My itinerary looks something along the lines of this: I'd like to spend atleast 2 days at disney, 1/2 day checking on Anaheim (day I arrive from San Fran drive), 2 days in san diago (including drive), 3.5 days in LA (universal, tourist spots, dodgers game) and 1 day in santa monica area.

Grover Beach...
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5. Re: Where to Spend a night driving from San Fran to LA and Stops

The problem you could potentially run into with only 1 night between the cities is the loss of daylight for driving the elevated, twisty road of Big Sur if you linger in Monterey or Big Sur proper for too long. Our days are getting shorter and the best mid way stop between SF and LA, which would be Cambria, is a 6 hour drive WITHOUT stops!

Toronto, Canada
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6. Re: Where to Spend a night driving from San Fran to LA and Stops

I do plan to leave San Fran around 9 am on the Wednesday. Assuming sunset is at 7pm, I would have roughly 10 hours that day? I hope that'll be enough with my stops?

San Diego...
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7. Re: Where to Spend a night driving from San Fran to LA and Stops

Where are you staying that night?

Toronto, Canada
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8. Re: Where to Spend a night driving from San Fran to LA and Stops

I'm thinking Cambria?

Fortaleza, CE
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9. Re: Where to Spend a night driving from San Fran to LA and Stops

I assume you'll be taking Highway 1 only as far as San Luis Obispo, and then Highway 101. That first part will be the slower drive, both in terms of traffic speeds and the number of stops you'll want to take. http://goo.gl/maps/A79eh

Getting back on Highway around Oxnard and going through Malibu wouldn't add a lot of time; whether it makes sense logistically depends on where in L.A. is your final destination, http://goo.gl/maps/VjHOi But, you're right, it won't add scenery like that you will have seen around Big Sur, etc; it's just more scenic than the 101 freeway through Calabasas, etc.. If you have time, you could tour the Getty Villa in Malibu http://www.getty.edu/visit/

Grover Beach...
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10. Re: Where to Spend a night driving from San Fran to LA and Stops

"..... Assuming sunset is at 7pm, I would have roughly 10 hours that day?"

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

That means you only have 4 hours to fit in Monterey/Carmel AND all the sights along the Big Sur coast before you lose daylight starting around 7 pm. Pfeiffer Beach, alone will take up to an hour getting there and back up to Highway 1. Down to less than 3 hours now for everything else!