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Driving Monterey to LA - shortest way?

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Robina, Australia
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Driving Monterey to LA - shortest way?

Hi there,

We are visiting in September 14 and will travel from San Francisco to Sequoia NP, then onto Monterey. My question is - what's the quickest way to get from Moneterey to LA without missing the best part of the coastline (eg. Big Sur etc). Visiting Sequoia NP is adding alot of miles onto our driving however its a must see for my husband who is fascinated with trees. Given the extra miles, is the Monterey/Big Sur coastline worth the extra effort or should we just give it a miss as we are running out of days. The day we would leave Monterey is also the same day of our flight back to Australia.

Thanks in advance :)

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Driving Monterey to LA - shortest way?

Have you mapped it out to see where SF, SEKI and Monterey and LA are ?

To do big sur one has to drive from Monterey to Cambria via hwy 1 and it is not a short way -- the longer scenic way. If you want to skip Big Sur, take 101 all the way from Monterey to LA

Robina, Australia
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2. Re: Driving Monterey to LA - shortest way?

Hi belomiser,

Yes, I have mapped it out on google and its a long distance.

I didn't want to miss the Big Sur though as it looks very specatular on reviews.

Thanks

Dublin, California
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3. Re: Driving Monterey to LA - shortest way?

If you don't want to miss Big Sur then there really is only one way, on Hwy 1.

Anaheim, California
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4. Re: Driving Monterey to LA - shortest way?

You are going to have to make a tough decision, as I wouldn't want to drive from Monterey to LAX on the same day to check out Big Sur. I would want to make it a two day trip., maybe day one from Monterey to Cambria or San Simeon, and then on daty2 to LAX, so you would have to cut something else out of your schedule.

There are three main ways to get between the two area, the most scenic, and longest in time route is the combination of the 1 and 101. You can take the 101 and skip the 1, but you miss Big Sur and many other scenic sights. Or you can opt for the "express" which would be the 101 to Paso Robles, then the 46 to the I-5 to the 405 south and LAX. That is the fastest route, but very little in sightseeing.

So you have a decision to make (Well you and your husband), and figure out what is the most important to you.

Monterey Peninsula...
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5. Re: Driving Monterey to LA - shortest way?

How many days do you have in Monterey? If you have multiple days you could use half a day to drive 45-60 minutes down the coast and see the most famous highlights then head back to Monterey for the night. Then drive to LAX via Highway 101 as scheduled. 101 is also quite scenic in its own right. not as dramatic as Big Sur, but still quite pretty.

Be advised, that LAX is a good 8 hours via the inland 101 route, so I hope your flight is late in the day!

-Mr. Toy

www.montereypeninsula.info

Norwich, United...
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6. Re: Driving Monterey to LA - shortest way?

> The day we would leave Monterey is also the same day of our flight back to Australia.

The general recommendation for driving the coast road from Monterey to Los Angeles is to have an overnight stop somewhere around Cambria, Morro Bay or San Luis Obispo. It's about 520km (325 miles) but mostly a slow road.

You also need to consider possible delays on the LA freeways near the airport, the time taken for the car rental return, transport from the car rental depot to the airport, and the latest check-in time will be several hours before the flight is due to depart.

Monterey Peninsula...
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7. Re: Driving Monterey to LA - shortest way?

I gather you're flying into California at San Francisco. Why not depart from SFO as well? It's only two hours from Monterey.

-Mr. Toy

www.montereypeninsula.info

Anaheim, California
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8. Re: Driving Monterey to LA - shortest way?

John makes some good points, no matter which route you opt to take to Los Angeles, you will be on the 1, 101 0r I-5/405 at the LA County border, and if you time it from around 3 PM to 7 PM, you will be in major rush hour traffic.

Plus all rental car companies are off-property at LAX, I recommend dropping off everyone except the driver at the Terminal with all your luggage, and then just the driver return the car, and take the shuttle bus back to the terminal.

And most International flights want you to check in 3 hours in advance, to deal with the check in of luggage and tickets, then you have to deal with the TSA Security check, which can take awhile, and then finally get to your gate. Most flights in the US actually close the doors on the aircraft 10 minutes or so in advance of the posted flight time to allow for leaving the gate (tug cart).

So factor that into your plans.

Anaheim, California
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9. Re: Driving Monterey to LA - shortest way?

FYI, the OP is doing a 20 day trip flying into and out of LAX.

Here is their original schedule.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g28926-i29-k737343…

Uden, The...
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10. Re: Driving Monterey to LA - shortest way?

Not sure the OP is still following this route For one thing, there are no flights from Sedona at all.