We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

SF to Carmel by Public Transport

Which Carmel hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Scotland
Level Contributor
48 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
SF to Carmel by Public Transport

Hi, we'd really like to travel from San Francisco to Carmel by public transport. Is that possible? Our plan was to spend 2 nights in Carmel and hire a car for a day to drive down the coast. My partner is a big surf fan! Appreciate any advice on how best to get to Carmel.

Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
Level Contributor
7,214 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: SF to Carmel by Public Transport

The drive from San Francisco to Carmel along Hwy 1 is a spectacular drive. This is where the most famous surf occurs (think Mavericks). Unfortunately, there's no public transit along this route.

To get to Carmel by public transit from San Francisco, there's three options that I can think of:

1. Amtrak by bus and train (check their website (amtrak.com).

2. Bart to SFO, Monterey Airbus to Monterey (http://www.montereyairbus.com/), mst to Carmel (mst.org)

3. Greyhound to Salinas (http://www.greyhound.com/), MST to Carmel (mst.org)

These are all inland routes and the fares for two people would probably be greater than a car rental. If you are going to rent a car anyway, it makes sense to do it in San Francisco.

Scotland
Level Contributor
48 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: SF to Carmel by Public Transport

Oh dear! It hadn't occurred to me that public transport might not take the coastal route. I think I might need to think this out again. I wouldn't want to miss out on such great scenery. Thanks very much Supercilious for responding so quickly.

Monterey Peninsula...
Level Contributor
2,305 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: SF to Carmel by Public Transport

I see you're from Scotland. Public transportation in most of the United States is nowhere near as good as what people in your part of the world enjoy. The sad fact is that public transportation between relatively close cities (i.e. too close to fly between) is usually inadequate at best and often nonexistent.

Renting a car is your best bet. The aforementioned Monterey Airbus is the fastest public option, and also offers the most frequent schedules.

-Mr. Toy

www.montereypeninsula.info

Berkeley, Ca.
Level Contributor
4,680 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: SF to Carmel by Public Transport

There's one more transit route, probably the best. Take Caltrain from San Francisco to San Jose. At the San Jose Caltrain station, take Monterey Salinas Transit bus 55 to Monterey, then change to a local MST bus to Carmel. The bus goes along coastal Highway 1 for something like 10 miles from Highway 156 into Monterey. There are five trips each direction per weekday.

http://www.mst.org/wp-content/media/55.pdf

Monterey Peninsula...
Level Contributor
2,305 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: SF to Carmel by Public Transport

The only problem with the Caltrain/Bus 55 option is that it takes a lot longer than the Airbus, and the schedules are a lot less frequent.

And don't get me started on why we don't have a direct train between Monterey and SF. A lot of people were working on that project for years, and we almost had it about 8 years ago, then the local city councils started getting cold feet (We can't have big smelly trains in our pretty little towns!) and effectively killed it.

Welcome to Monterey. Fly or drive, take it or leave it, is the established policy.

-Mr. Toy

www.montereypeninsula.info

San Jose, California
Destination Expert
for California
Level Contributor
14,721 posts
104 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: SF to Carmel by Public Transport

I hear ya Mr. Troy about the state of public transporation here. Grrrrrr...

Berkeley, Ca.
Level Contributor
4,680 posts
72 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: SF to Carmel by Public Transport

Mr. Toy, the Airbus is more frequent (11 trips per day vs. 5), but not necessarily much faster. If one caught BART at Embarcadero at 7:25 am, you'd get to SFO at 7:58. Presumably that's enough time to catch the 8:15 airbus, which gets you to Monterey at 10:30. So the travel time is about 3 hours.

One could catch the Caltrain Baby Bullet at 6;59 a.m leaving a hotel maybe 20 minutes earlier) . It gets to San Jose at 7:44. The MST 55 leaves at 7:55 am and gets to Monterey at 9:55 am, taking about 3 hours and 15 minutes.

The Airbus is more expensive--$45 plus $8 for BART, for $53. Caltrain/MST is $19.

There certainly should be better transit from Monterey to San Francisco.

Monterey Peninsula...
Level Contributor
2,305 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: SF to Carmel by Public Transport

Thanks for doing the math, Wanderer! I got lazy. ;-)

-Mr. Toy

www.montereypeninsula.info

Scotland
Level Contributor
48 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: SF to Carmel by Public Transport

Well you know what they say - it's not the destination, it's the glory of the ride! .... but it would have been nice to have a more direct route. Much appreciate all your help as always.

10. Re: SF to Carmel by Public Transport

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 10 June 2013, 10:45