Leave after 9:30 am. Any earlier and you will be in bumper to bumper no matter which way you go. Leaving late morning, you'll be in the lightest traffic of the day no matter which route you choose. Best case, no traffic, probably 2.5 hours. Worst case, sky's the limit. If you decide to travel at a different time of day, get back to us for route advice.
Leave at 9:00 am and drive the coastal route, it is way worth it. LA traffic is not so bad. I just visited Honolulu and will never again complain about LA traffic. The horror stories of past decades, while true, are being repeated all across America now. We are orderly and mostly friendly, so adjust those mirrors, start up Google maps and enjoy the ride!
If you decide to do the coast route, I would not drive the coast thru Orange County and LA...probably the 5 N. to the 10 west; 10 W ends at the beach, and turns into the Pacific Coast Highway. PCH to Rice Avenue (farmland just before Oxnard). Rice Avenue to 101-- then 101 to Santa Barbara.
I'd stick with 9:30. Safer than 9. I agree that other parts of the country are giving us good competition for bad traffic (we just got back from Seattle-- AWFUL traffic). However, our distances are long and the traffic can be very slow.
Freeway in area around Downtown LA is very confusing. Lots of interchanges, freeways weaving in and out. Turn off the radio and pay attention.
p.s. know that folks in L.A., my hometown, typically refer to freeways by "the" and a number (e.g, take the 5 to the 405 to the 10, and then get on Pacific Coast Highway). The freeways have names, too, but those are used less often (e.g., I remember when the San Diego Freeway was built).Edited: 26 August 2014, 15:34
Thanks for the tips guys, much appreciated. I think I will wait to leave for around 9:30 and do as told here, pay attention to websites/traffic reports and if it seems doable take the coastal highway to enjoy the view.. if not then just go with the fastest route available.
We live in the prairies, as land locked as it gets, so any view of the ocean is stunning to us. :)
I know of this website : http://www.nbclosangeles.com/traffic/
Any other traffic recommendations?
edit: Wow I just checked that website.. everything at a stand still. I see now why you guys advise not to go through LA at this time, lol.Edited: 26 August 2014, 15:48
Definitely take the 10 to PCH and drive the coastal route.
If I really wanted to avoid LA traffic I'd take the route below.
57 Freeway to the 210 to the 5 to the 126 to the 101. It takes along the outside of metro LA and is going opposite most traffic in the morning.
The best online site for traffic in So Cal is SigAlert.com.
That website is amazing, thank you so much. Real time updates, very handy.. for instance if this happens that morning:
Closed due to accident - 10 (I-10 Santa Monica Fwy) West at Pacific Ave 6:11 AM
* !! SIGALERT !! Santa Monica - 10 WEST at McClure Tunnel: A motorcycle crash has ALL LANES blocked. Traffic is being diverted off at Lincoln. It's backed up to the 5. EAST is slow from Robertson to the 110. ALT: Santa Monica Blvd or Wilshire.
Definitely want to take a different route :)
Well, since you're getting a lesson in Angelese,here's info on what a Sigalert.is http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sig_Alert You can show off by saying you know it was named after Loyd C. "Sig" Sigmon, If you go up to the 101, keep in mind the 405 over Sepulveda Pass, near UCLA and the Getty Center, can be busy both directions, though in the morning, southbound should usually be the worst.Edited: 26 August 2014, 17:33