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.

Driving Route

Level Contributor
65 posts
100 reviews
Save Topic
Driving Route

We’ll be driving from Newport Coast to Monterey on a Saturday in mid-October; being that it’s over a six hour drive and we’re hoping to arrive in Monterey before it get dark which route should we take and which stops should we make along the way that are worth while? Should we expect heavy traffic along the way? Thanks!

Level Contributor
2,672 posts
95 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Driving Route

Nobody answered?To get the ball rolling.... I have done the drive a few times, but the last time was 15 yrs ago or so. At that time I remember it was 7ish hours up the 5, and 9-10 hrs on the coast

The coast is the most picturesque, really neat lookouts all along the way, there are places where you walk up to a group of large seals sunning on the beach,and they barely notice you maybe worth spending a night and seeing Hearst Castle? Pismo Beach & or Morro Bay?

Level Contributor
5,660 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Driving Route

I would think you would find the coastal route nicest. My 2 favorite stops are Hearst Castle and the Elephant seals nearby. Another popular stop is Solvang.

Edited: 04 February 2012, 15:21
Level Contributor
10,475 posts
1 review
Save Reply
3. Re: Driving Route

If you want the fastest drive, then take I-5. If you want scenic then take, Highway 1. The highway 1 drive is one of the most beautiful drives in the country. However, you are going to have to go through LA and it will add another couple of hours, depending on the day of the week and time of day.

You aren't going to do the coastal route in 6 hours. It's worth it to spend an overnight on the way, Cambria and Morro Bay are great.

If you are taking I-5, I think it is going to take about 8 hours, depending on how far south you are in the Newport area.

Edited: 04 February 2012, 16:26
Uden, The...
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Driving Route

You hardly can get to Monterey from Newport in one day if you take hw1 That will be 9-10 hours of driving without stops.

Newport Beach, CA
Level Contributor
1,931 posts
23 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Driving Route

Newport Coast is a neighborhood within Newport Beach. There are only a couple of properties there unless you are staying with friends or relatives. From there you would just go up the hill a bit and pickup the 73 Freeway (small toll fee, usually a dollar, just throw quarters into the basket), take the 73 to the 55 and head north. About five miles up you will meet the I-5.

If you have a time frame to meet then the I-5 is your best bet. If you have a little 'playtime' then 101 is (as others have said) spectacular but you're better off stopping overnight. The weather in October should be terrific.

I like the ideas of Cambria and Morro Bay as a way to break up the drive. Have a nice dinner along the water, get up the next morning and take an easy, beautiful drive into Monterey.

On a Saturday morning in October traffic should be pretty mild. However, keep the local radio on (KCBS, 1070 AM gives local traffic every 10 minutes) or if you have a Garman, etc. Driving through LA should not be too tough at that time.

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
Level Contributor
55,517 posts
422 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Driving Route

There are three basic ways to get to Monterey from Newport Beach.

The fastest is to use the 5 Freeway over the Grapevine and cut over on the 152/156. It is fast, but mind numbingly boring. There is zero on the 5 once you clear the Grapevine. You can also take the 5 to the 46 and cut over to the 101. Google Maps show the 46 route as faster, but in real life the 5 all the way is much faster because you can drive much faster on the 5.



The second route is to use the 405 Freeway to the 101 and pass through Santa Barbara and the Central Coast wine country. A much nicer route than the 5 and almost as fast.


The last route is the longest, but most scenic. It would be the 405, 101 and then cut over to the coast at San Luis Obispo to Highway 1.


A lot of people who choose the coastal route stop in Cambria for the night and tackle the coast in the morning.

Level Contributor
65 posts
100 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Driving Route

Thanks Scottca - I like your variety - Maybe we will leave a day earlier than planned and stop overnite in Cambria and coast our way into Monterey.

8. Re: Driving Route

-:- 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: 17 May 2013, 10:19