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Sea Ranch to Monterey-best route

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Glendale, CA
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Sea Ranch to Monterey-best route

We're heading to Monterey after a week of relaxation in Mendocino and Sea Ranch. We would like travel on Highway 1 for some of it including a stop in the Point Reyes area.

What is the best route to both enjoy portions of the 1 and also reduce some driving time? Thanks!

Monterey, California
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1. Re: Sea Ranch to Monterey-best route

I'll be honest - I'm not that familiar with Highway One north of San Francisco.

However, coming through SF toward points south, I'd take the 280 south (it almost never has traffic and there's great hillside views) and probably cut over to Highway One on 84 West around Menlo Park. You'll get on Highway One just north of Pescadero.

Another option - slower but absolutely breathtaking with a great variety of terrain - is to take 280 south to 84 West to 35 South/Skyline Blvd. to 9 South to Highway One. This will take you through hills, along a gorgeous ridgeline with valley and occasional ocean views, and through redwoods. Seriously breathtaking. You'll reconnect with Highway One at Santa Cruz.

If you're going for pure speed along with a chunk of Highway One, take 280 South to 17 South - but be warned that 17 South is twisty and very fast, except during rush hour, when it is very slow. (As far as I can tell, rush hour is 6am to 10am and 3pm to 7pm.) 17 is a gorgeous drive, but the driver will be far too focused on staying on the road to take in the beauty.

I am sure that other people on this board will have even more advice!

Mill Valley/Marin...
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2. Re: Sea Ranch to Monterey-best route

If you want to see Point Reyes, then I would take Highway 1 down the coast from Mendocino until you reach Stinson Beach. Then, go inland and over the mountain to the Golden Gate Bridge.

From there you can follow the directions of the previous poster.

Highway 1 and reducing driving time are opposite concepts. The coast is gorgeous and can be slow but beautiful.

Glendale, CA
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3. Re: Sea Ranch to Monterey-best route

Thanks for the tips! I have driven highway 1 all the way to Oregon-though in pieces during different trips, and it is an experience to be savored. But this time we have a toddler on board and need to reduce the road time when we can.

I've actually decided to change my itinerary around a bit, but I think we will definitely use the 280. I keep hearing good things about it-so I'm convinced. I have been on the 17 before-it is beautiful and not for the timid. Luckily we aren't!

Thanks again!

Santa Cruz...
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4. Re: Sea Ranch to Monterey-best route

If you want Point Reyes, you have some choices. You can take Hwy 128, just south of Mendocino, over to Hwy 101. Getting back to Hwy 1 for Point Reyes I would take Hwy 12 from Santa Rosa to Sebastopol, then stay on course on the Bodega highway until you come to the Highway 1 turnoff before Bodega Bay. Highway 1 goes inland from here a little, and skirts Tomales Bay before Point Reyes. If you stay on 101, say, to San Rafael, then you need to drive 20 miles north on Sir Francis Drake Boulevard to get to Point Reyes. You miss most of the coast this way.

I love to stay on Highway 1 all the way down from Sea Ranch (BIL and SIL have a house there), going past Fort Ross State Historical Park and the little town of Jenner, on the cliffs, and through Bodega Bay.

If you think you are up for this, Highway 1 from Sea Ranch is flat and fairly straight until you get to an 8 mile stretch after Fort Ross which will remind you of Big Sur, if you have been there, or think of a TV automobile ad with the car high on the cliffs and down in the coves and winding around.

This can be avoided. When you get to Timber Cove....marked by the lovely Timber Cove Inn, take Timber Cove Road (across from the Inn) up to where it ends and turn right. You will be driving down the ridge and miss the drama of the road below you. After the tiny town of Jenner, watch for the right turnoff to cross the Russian River and continue on Hwy 1. The next 10 miles are a piece of cake and pass several state beaches. When you get to Bodega Bay continue south and watch for the right turn to continue on Hwy 1, as above.

After Point Reyes, to get to Hwy 101, there is also some 'cliffy' driving. I might take the aforementioned Sir Francis Drake Boulevard south to San Rafael, but Marin County residents know more about this than I.

Enjoy your trip.

Santa Cruz...
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5. Re: Sea Ranch to Monterey-best route

Oh....if you are coming to Santa Cruz, definitely take Highway 280 from San Francisco, but when you get to Sunnyvale, take the Hwy 85 exit (it is marked Gilroy) to Hwy 17. This bypasses any traffic through San Jose, although we usually find 280 pretty traffic free.

Highway 17 is just fine, if you follow the speed limit and pay attention to the speed limits around curves. It is a well-engineered four lane road with dividers.

Pacific Grove...
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6. Re: Sea Ranch to Monterey-best route

If it were me with my two small kids, I would avoid the first part of Hwy 1, from Medicino to Bodega Bay. When I was small, I use to get car sick. We went that route a lot. I would go inland to 101, then take 12 when you get to Santa Rosa (there are some back roads from Windsor to Sebastopol if you want to get or look up a local map) to the Bodega Hwy, which is Hwy 1, just west of Bodega, then fallow Hwy 1 through Tomales and out to inverness and Point Reyes Station, then east again at Sir Francis Drake Blvd, at Olema. That is also a long route. That would give me enough of Hwy 1. And if it is any better, take Hwy 1 all the way to the golden gate, but looking at the map, Sir Francis Drake, and Hwy 1 look about the same. Someone may jump in to correct me. Sir Francis Drake Blvd takes you through Fairfax with nice eateries, where we saw George Lucus once.

Another choice is take 101 all the way to SF then stick on the 'scenic route' http://maps.google.com/maps?hl=en&tab=wl

you have to get on that route right after the toll gates at the Goden Gate, a right into the presidio at Lincoln

See how it takes you into 280 at Westbourough dr, then you take 280 to 84 and out to Hwy 1. 84 is a very nice route with Roberts deli at the east end.

7. Re: Sea Ranch to Monterey-best route

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