Depends on what you want to see. I am assuming if you do the coastal route, you will go via Santa Cruz and up to Half Moon Bay. While the scenery is good, it will not be as dramatic as the Monterey area. Are you going to Point Lobos or big Sur too? If so, and you are keen on seeing Stanford, I would skip Hwy 1. Will you be stopping along the way? Going to Año Nuevo?
Depending on traffic, you can also take 280 or various other routs to go to Stanford. If you have a smartphone, use Google maps with traffic to see the path of least resistance. But 101 would be the safest if you don't have a navigator and want to stick with one freeway.
I'd rather take the coast than visit Stanford, but that's me. I don't really enjoy visiting university campuses and I really like hanging out on the coast.
What's the reason to visit Stanford?
Thanks for the feedback.
FYI our Northern California trip is as follows:
May 25 drive to South Lake Tahoe and spend 2 nights @ the Alder Inn
May 27 drive to Yosemite and spend 4 nights @ the Tenaya Lodge
June 1 drive to Monterey and spend 3 nights in the Best Western Victoria Inn on Foam STreet
June 4 drive back t the airport & drop off the car @ the airport. Take a taxi to San Franciso with a 4 night stay @ the Chancellor on Union Square
As far as my original post we are just starting to work on the specifics of what to do but I think it is likely that we will pick the coast taking 1 from Monterey up to Half Moon Bay. My wife is more inclined to do the coast & I am more interested in Stanford. As far as stopping along the way going up the coast I would guess we will stop at places that look interesting. Any suggestions? Any comments on Ano Nuevo State Reserve?
I don't have any great reason to see Stanford but I have heard it is quite beautiful. Additionally since Andrew Luck is now an Indianapolis Colt & I have season tickets....
As far as Big Sur & Point Lobos I think we will likely take a day trip south out of Monterey to see these. I am not sure how far south we will go so any comments on the Hearst Castle?
Also any comments about the drive from the airport to Half Moon Bay. I thought since we will be arriving in the early afternoon on a Thursday we would take the loner route going North on 101 to 380 to 280 to 1 and following 1 towards Pacifica to the coast and stay on1 all the way to Half Moon Bay. Is this part of 1 a pretty drive for our first afternoon? We are both first time visitors to the area.
Stanford is an amazing campus, unlike some others in this thread I love spending time on college campuses across the country, as well as travel every year to college football and basketball games across the country I also like the coast and live on the coast, do both.
While I commend you for taking the time to come up with an Itinerary, you should now be looking at the California forum and the respective city sight forums for more info as this is not about Palo Alto anymore. There is a wealth of info on the Hwy 1 drive and what to do and see. Ano Nuevo state park -- you need to make reservations during the breeding season.
It is hard for strangers to say if you want to see Stanford or do the coast. Apple and Peanuts (not oranges as they are so different) . Sure you can drive around. Would you drive or walk around IU and Purdue ? well if that interests you, then you can check Stanford out, check out the museum while you are there.Edited: 23 April 2013, 23:21
>>>Also any comments about the drive from the airport to Half Moon Bay. I thought since we will be arriving in the early afternoon on a Thursday we would take the loner route going North on 101 to 380 to 280 to 1 and following 1 towards Pacifica to the coast and stay on1 all the way to Half Moon Bay. Is this part of 1 a pretty drive for our first afternoon? We are both first time visitors to the area.
When you pick up your car, you will then see signs for 380/280 and then you can take 280 S to 92 W and go to HMB. You have 2 days there to explore the area around HMB (not much to do in HMB besides a very small downtown the beach and restaurants and golf so that may be a good time to go North check out Pacifica.
What is it about Half Moon Bay that made you pick that spot for two days ? If you wanted to you can drive from HMB to Stanford for a few hours and go back to Pacifica (do it outside the rush hour and you will be fine)
HMB was picked because the wife wanted to have a place on the ocean for the first 2 nights that was not far from the airport. Our plane is scheduled to land at Noon local time, but with a layover & a stop in Chicago we will have been up for 11 hours when we land. Therefore we did not plan much for the first day accept maybe for a nap after we get to the Jasmine Inn. The first full day, Friday, will be spent going to Muir Woods National Monument +/- Point Reyes and possibly a side trip to the Sonoma/Napa Valley areas for half a day. I don't think that there will be enough time to put Stanford in on that day if we opt to go to wine country.
Also I will post the itinerary at various other applicable forums.