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Highway 101

Liverpool, United...
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Highway 101

Hello Everybody me and a friend will be travelling to the USA in may. We are flying to New York for three days then we will be flying to San Francisco and hiring a car. We want to spend two days here then drive to LA. We would really like to drive down the PCH but i am wondering will we be able to do it in a day as time isnt on our side. We are staying two days in LA then meeting friends in Vegas for a few days. I have read various posts regarding this but people usually have two days to complete the trip. We dont intend to make any long stops either inbetween. Any help would be much appreciated thanks !

Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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1. Re: Highway 101

Highway 1 (NOT Highway 101) is the scenic coastal drive. SF to LA is approx. a 10 hour drive WITHOUT stops!!

It can be done, but you'll feel beat up by the time you roll into LA.

Shame you have to rush through it, as there is a lot to see/do between the 2 cities.

Edited: 17 January 2014, 19:54
Los Angeles
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for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
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2. Re: Highway 101

And, as I have posted before, on recent trips, it has taken us 9.5 and 10.5 hours to get to Santa Barbara (which is still 2 hours away from LAX if we use LAX as our marker for L.A.; it's about 1:15 from the boundary of L.A. County in the northern San Fernando Valley - and that's in very good traffic; yesterday (a Thursday, which is kind of like the beginning of the weekend), the traffic bulletin board stated it was 2:15 from SB to the 405 interchange....so two hours is a good estimate).

Our 9.5 hour trip involved one stop for gas, and one 5 minute stop to look at sea lions. Our 10.5 hour trip included started south of SF (in Burlingame) but spending 30 minutes in Cambria.

Both were on weekends. Because it's very warm in California right now, people are parked up and down Highway 1 at every single place they can be parked and their entries/exits from the highway make it even slower going (not to mention people slowing to a crawl to try and find a place to pull out - which is non-existent in many places - so people just slow down to look at what they came to see - the beautiful vistas).

Allow, realistically, more than 10 hours for SF to LA via Highway 1 (especially if you take Highway 1 the entire way - the stretch through Monterey can really slow down too).

101 is the alternative. It moves faster. It is not as scenic. At various points, though, the 101 and the 1 are the same Highway - you could settle for taking the 101 and just seeing a little bit of the coast (you'd miss the most scenic parts near Big Sur...)

Liverpool, United...
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3. Re: Highway 101

Thanks alot for the information it seems we should allow 12 hours for travel. We are currently discussing sacrificing a day in New York for two days on the Highway. It's the scenary that excites us, especially Big Sur so we would definately be taking Highway 1.

Santa Cruz...
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for Santa Cruz
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4. Re: Highway 101

How many days have you planned for Las Vegas? Could you take some time from there? It would be well worth it. The Big Sur drive down Hwy 1 is one of the most spectacular drives in the country.

Corona del Mar, CA
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for San Diego, Orange County, California
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5. Re: Highway 101

Best to use numbers (Highway 1, Highway 101, 5 Freeway, etc) as names change on the roads A LOT. The 5 Freeway is in some places called the Santa Ana Freeway, Golden State Freeway or San Diego Freeway. The 1 and 101 are often the same road and the has names Pacific Coast Highway, Coast Highway, South Coast Highway, Ventura Freeway, Bayshore Highway and many, many more names. The names change, the numbers don't (usually).

Liverpool, United...
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6. Re: Highway 101

We stay in Vegas for three days but we are considering doing the two days driving Highway 1 due to all the reccomendations on here. Does anybody have any advice as were we should stay the night? Are we best driving halfway one day and the other half the next?

Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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20,907 posts
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7. Re: Highway 101

Cambria is the logical mid way stop with only one overnight stop.

SF to Cambria: 6 hours WITHOUT stops

Cambria to LA: 5+ hours WITHOUT stops

San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
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8. Re: Highway 101

Amazingly doing rte 1 to San Luis Obispo and then 101 to the 405 we did Cambria to San Diego in 5 1/2 hrs.(6with 2 short stops) today.

9. Re: Highway 101

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