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Pacific Coast Highway in two days

Wellington
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Pacific Coast Highway in two days

Hi, we are two females visiting the United States in Sept 2014 for the first time. Our first stop is San Francisco where we're staying four nights, we then plan to drive the PCH to LA with a one night stopover. Our flight departs LAX at 6.30pm for Las Vegas so we'll need to navigate our way to the airport once we arrive in LA... this being the case I'd like to do as much of the drive as possible on day one without sacrificing any sightseeing, we can then set off in the morning for a leisurely drive to LA and to be the airport by 5pm....can anyone suggest how far we'll get day one & where we should stopover for the night? thanks in anticipation : )

Los Angeles
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1. Re: Pacific Coast Highway in two days

You should go at least as far as Cambria on day 1. Its about 4 hours from there to LAX so that should leave you plenty of time on day 2, but you could go further on Day 1 to somewhere like Pismo Beach or Morro Bay. Santa Barbara is only about 2 hours from LAX but that's probably pushing it too much on Day 1.

Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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2. Re: Pacific Coast Highway in two days

"....I'd like to do as much of the drive as possible on day one without sacrificing any sightseeing,"....

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

The recommended mid way stop is Cambria, but it WILL come at the price of some sightseeing. The drive WITHOUT stops is 6 hours. You'll have little time for Santa Cruz, Monterey or Carmel en route. You'll want to begin the drive south of Carmel no later than 3:30 pm to ensure plenty of daylight for a few stops along the Big Sur coast. You definitely don't want to drive Big Sur in the dark with the sheer dop offs and tight hairpin turns.

Cambria to LA is approx. a 4 hour drive WITHOUT stops. You'll want to get to LA early to avoid afternoon commute traffic, which starts up between 2:30 and 3:00 pm.

Wellington
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3. Re: Pacific Coast Highway in two days

Thanks for your reply : ) how much further in driving time is Pismo Beach?

Wellington
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4. Re: Pacific Coast Highway in two days

Thankyou, sounds like great advice, we don't want to be navigating our way through rush hour traffic in LA, especially as we usually drive on the left side of the road!! We also don't want to be driving PCH in the dark... so yes we'll def get away from there by 3.30pm, can you tell me what the driving time from Carmel to Pismo beach?

San Francisco
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5. Re: Pacific Coast Highway in two days

Cambria to Pismo is about an hour.

I would strongly suggest you add a night to this trip and stay in Monterey.

<< I'd like to do as much of the drive as possible on day one without sacrificing any sightseeing, we can then set off in the morning for a leisurely drive to LA >>

This is rather backwards because all the scenery is between SF and Pismo. Pismo to LA is nice in places and downright so-so in others (such as around Santa Maria). Additionally you will have driven 2 1/2 hours or more from SF to Big Sur and then start on the tiring part of the drive.

Edited: 21 May 2014, 00:22
Wellington
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6. Re: Pacific Coast Highway in two days

Hmmm it seems we should have researched this a a bit earlier.....unfortunately we've already booked flights & accommodation either side of this drive so we have no option than to go with the two days & make the most of it now. We are early risers so will be on the road by 7.30am each day, hopefully that will help : ) Is the road from Cambria to Pismo straight forward to that it would be possible to drive this stretch in the dark or is it still hilly & with sharp bends? really appreciate your advice, thanks so much!

Edited: 21 May 2014, 01:03
Grover Beach...
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7. Re: Pacific Coast Highway in two days

"....Is the road from Cambria to Pismo straight forward to that it would be possible to drive this stretch in the dark or is it still hilly & with sharp bends?"....

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

No worries. Most of that stretch is on multi lane highways with a few rolling hills. Highway 1 will turn inland at Morro Bay and leads into San Luis Obispo. Keep an eye open for the sign indicating the right turn for Highway 101 (There's a Taco Bell on the corner).

San Francisco
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8. Re: Pacific Coast Highway in two days

You booked non-cancelable reservations?

Santa Cruz...
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9. Re: Pacific Coast Highway in two days

>>>You booked non-cancellable reservations?<<

My question as well. Did you get such a good deal that whatever third party engine you used made you pay upfront with no ability to change your mind?

Sorry if you fell for this. Not worth it.

Wellington
8 posts
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10. Re: Pacific Coast Highway in two days

Thanks for the great advice, we've managed to cancel our last nights accommodation in San Fran & have booked to stay in Monterey the first night, we don't arrive until late afternoon but it'll give us a head start in the morning. We did get an amazing deal on accommodation in Las Vegas with advance purchasing & our hotel is now more than double the price to rebook so we don't want cancel that.

Is it achievable to drive from Monterey to Pismo beach in a day & still appreciate the sights ?