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Two night road trip from San Fran to LA - best stops.

Toowoomba, Australia
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Two night road trip from San Fran to LA - best stops.

Hi,

My wife and I are driving from SF to LA between the 1st and 3rd of January 2015. We are planning to leave around noon on the 1st and have to be in LA before 7PM on the 3rd.

Would love some suggestions on routes and where we should spend our two night. At the moment I'm thinking of spending the first night in Monterey and the second night in Cambria.

Any other tips are also welcome - e.g. Diners, food, scenery, attractions.

Thanks

Leith

Santa Monica...
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1. Re: Two night road trip from San Fran to LA - best stops.

If you go to the California forum, rather than the Los Angeles forum, you'll find many FAQs and Top Questions that give you all the answers and information.

That time of year can be raining.

Santa Monica, CA
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2. Re: Two night road trip from San Fran to LA - best stops.

Welcome to TripAdvisor and the Los Angeles forum, Leith. The California state forum has a lot on this very popular (and beautiful) drive. Here is a link:

tripadvisor.com/ShowForum-g28926-i29-Califor…

If and when you have specific questions about a city, such as LA, that is where the city forums work best.

Santa Cruz...
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3. Re: Two night road trip from San Fran to LA - best stops.

I think your choices are good ones, though perhaps a bit too close together. perhaps Monterey OR Cambria and then the second night in Santa Barbara.

Grover Beach...
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4. Re: Two night road trip from San Fran to LA - best stops.

"....I think your choices are good ones, though perhaps a bit too close together. perhaps Monterey OR Cambria and then the second night in Santa Barbara.".....

I have to disagree with this statement.

First.... While Monterey and Cambria are about 100 miles apart from each other, the drive can take hours, as there is a lot so see/do between the two towns. I would NOT recommend driving SF to Cambria in one day in January with our MUCH shorter daylight hours, especially with a noon departure time! You would end up driving part Big Sur in the dark, which you don't want to do! You would miss out on the views. Plus, that part of the highway sits hundreds of feet above the ocean with sheer drop offs and several really tight hairpin turns.

I also think attempting to drive Monterey to Santa Barbara in one day is too much for one day. Again, due to the shorter daylight hours.

SF to Monterey to Cambria (Or Pismo Beach) to LA is a good plan.

Santa Cruz...
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5. Re: Two night road trip from San Fran to LA - best stops.

I can only say we make quite successful trips back and forth several times each winter, so I do know it is quite easily doable. My reasoning is that the full day of driving sandwiched between two partial days will not consist of the shortest leg of the journey.

San Francisco, Ca
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6. Re: Two night road trip from San Fran to LA - best stops.

I agree that Monterey and Cambria/Pismo make the most sense for visitors. Leaving at noon on the first day, you don't have a lot of time to take in every stop (redwood trees, Santa Cruz, etc.), but you'll be in Monterey before dark without doing unreasonable rushing. The next day is your leisurely day -- perhaps visit the Aquarium, definitely Point Lobos, have lunch at Nepenthe (heavenly hamburgers, divine view), stop at McWay Falls. You'll have to watch your time to make sure you are at least near Cambria before dark.

The next day you can perhaps visit Hearst Castle (although if there is an evening tour the night prior, those are really atmospheric -- local people dress as if they were Hearst's house guests in the 30s -- very easy to imagine that Errol Flynn just left the room), lunch in Santa Barbara, then a relatively short/easy drive to LA. Depending on where you are staying, don't try to drive in LA's evening rush hour (my guess is between 3 pm and 7 pm?).

(The leg between Monterey and Cambria may be the shortest by mileage, but I think it is packed with more stop-worthy sights than either other leg, and therefore deserves the most time.)

7. Re: Two night road trip from San Fran to LA - best stops.

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