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cambria or pismo beach? 1 night stay driving across pch

Ottawa, Canada
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cambria or pismo beach? 1 night stay driving across pch

hello,

i will be driving from SF to VEGAS with a few stops along the way..

2 nights in SF

1 night in Carmel

1 night in Cambria or Pismo Beach

1 night in Santa Barbara

2 nights in LA

2 nights in Vegas

Would you recommend Cambria or Pismo Beach?

We are a young married couple in our 30's.. I would like to ATV if possible..

Which is better for us to stay in? and my budget is roughly $150/night this would be for sept 6 2014.

thanks,

anna

San Francisco
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1. Re: cambria or pismo beach? 1 night stay driving across pch

For that time of year, that budget is very low for the Central Coast (btw, it's not called PCH anywhere but south of Santa Barbara -- Highway 1 is the proper designation).

Most often I say Cambria is best for couples, Pismo better for those who have kids. But there are perhaps more budget options available around Pismo.

It's close to an hour between the two and the road from Carmel to San Simeon is tiring so if that makes a difference then stay in Cambria. Additionally, I think in general the dining options are better in Cambria.

Edited: 20 April 2014, 04:50
Sacramento, CA
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2. Re: cambria or pismo beach? 1 night stay driving across pch

To me Cambria is more wine sipping relaxed beachside town while Pismo is more touristy beer-pizza surfer dude party-by-the-beach atmosphere. It's up to you what you want. Either is fine and beautiful.

BTW Puter, the official road signs in Pismo Beach designate Hwy. 1 as the PCH or Pacific Coast Highway. Evidently the PCH is creeping north.

I am currently living in Pismo Beach for work, just a couple blocks off the PCH and right on Pismo Beach. I get to be a temporary beach bum and get a per diem to do it. ;-)

Edited: 20 April 2014, 06:55
Uden, The...
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3. Re: cambria or pismo beach? 1 night stay driving across pch

Curious about that Tripjunky. We travelled all of hw 1 but never saw a roadsigh Pacific Coast hw other than between Oxnard and San Clemente. Maybe for the easy of the tourists but no road has that name in the Pismo beach area afa I remember.

Sacramento, CA
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4. Re: cambria or pismo beach? 1 night stay driving across pch

Oops...I was talking to WhiteDahlia not Puter.

Yes, Tet. It surprised me too. As you head south on 101 there is an official highway sign with the US hwy symbol and "PCH 1" in the middle. As you travel through town the city road markers say "Pacific Coast Highway - Dollivers st.

I walk down that street almost every day shaking my head in confusion. I know I'm in Pismo but it says PCH which means I'm south of SB...where am I???

Edited: 20 April 2014, 15:05
San Francisco
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5. Re: cambria or pismo beach? 1 night stay driving across pch

That's interesting because I was there in February (Cambria, didn't go as far as Pismo) and all I recall is seeing the "Cabrillo Highway" sign.

Shell Beach...
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6. Re: cambria or pismo beach? 1 night stay driving across pch

First, back to the OP's question. Pismo Beach has one of the only ATV-accessible beaches on the West Coast. If you're looking for a place to drive ATVs, that would be perfect.

http://ohv.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=1207

Second, I live in Pismo Beach and the main road through town is called Pacific Coast Highway. It's where Highway 1 splits from Highway 101 and wanders through Guadalupe and Lompoc before rejoining Highway 101 just before the Gaviota Pass.

Grover Beach...
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7. Re: cambria or pismo beach? 1 night stay driving across pch

Yep! There IS a "PCH" designation on a sign along southbound Highway 101 for the Pismo Beach/Highway 1 exit, AKA Dolliver Street. I was surprised when I noticed it myself.

But this part of the PCH (As described by Scott H) is NOT a route that follows the coastline, so travelers beware.

***** Welcome to Pismo, tripjunky ******

Edited: 20 April 2014, 15:57
Grover Beach...
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8. Re: cambria or pismo beach? 1 night stay driving across pch

"....and my budget is roughly $150/night this would be for sept 6 2014."...

*******************************************************

That's a Saturday night and most lodgings along the coast have 2 night minimum requirements on weekends.

Carmel will be especially hard to find one night lodging on a Friday night. You might have to settle for a budget hotel in Monterey.

Same for Pismo Beach or Cambria. $150.00 for weekend nights along the coast is too low for September, unless you opt for something along the lines of Motel 6. At least lodging in that genre often does not have minimum night stay requirements.

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

Monterey to Pismo Beach can be a long day's drive, especially if you take your time to savor the many sights along the Big Sur coast. The drive, alone, can take up to 4 hours, but with so much to see/do, it could take 8-12 depending on your interests (Hiking, photography, etc.), so you may not have time for ATV riding if you feel the need to move on to Santa Barbara the following morning. I suppose you could do the ATV thing on Sunday morning BEFORE heading to Santa Barbara, as it's only about an hour and 15 minute drive from Pismo Beach.

However, something else you need to consider is whether you want to include Hearst Castle in your plans. If so, you'll either need to plan on overnighting in San Simeon or Cambria and do the castle the following morning or take a late afternoon tour as you make your way down the coast on Saturday, then continue to Pismo Beach. If the latter, then you need to keep a watch on the time as you make your way through Big Sur so you don't miss your tour time (MUST book Hearst ahead of time on weekend days).

Cambria lodging: Creekside Inn, Bluebird Inn, Motel 6 (San Simeon)

Pismo Beach lodging: Motel 6, Kon Tiki Inn, Edgewater Inn, Beachcomber Inn

9. Re: cambria or pismo beach? 1 night stay driving across pch

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