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.

road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

Southampton, New...
13 posts
road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

We arrive by train in Santa Barbara in mid May at 6pm. Before we go straight back to Northern CA by train, we want to stay 1 or 2 nights in a coastal town in a hotel with a gorgeous ocean view. Not interested in shops or shopping; Where should we stay for 1 or 2 nights: Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach or Carmel? looking for clean beach with clean water and great views.

any hotel recommendations also appreciated. Thank you!

Southampton, New...
13 posts
21. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

Thanks very much. I was thinking about staying 2 nights in Santa Barbara, and then renting a car

and driving to Monterey... the map says it is 3 and half hours... I would stay on route 101

is this drive very mountainous or difficult?

then we would stay a night in Monterey and take a taxi to Salinas to catch the Amtrak Starlight going north

to Emeryville.

if you have ever done this drive, would like to know your opinion if it is worth it ???

yes I looked into staying at Bacara and it is great place and we would get alot of perks wiht American Express card, but maybe we should stay closer to town.

thanks very much for the hotels you listed and yes I have been reviewing alot of them on TripAdvisor

Southampton, New...
13 posts
22. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

just one other question: do you think Santa Barbara has changed much since you were last there?

sometimes once gorgeous places get overcrowded and touristy.

my brother who lived in LA many many years ago, says we should stay in SB, but it might be different now?

Southampton, New...
13 posts
23. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

Thanks for your suggestion on the BW in Monterey (Seaside); we decided to stay in Santa Barbara for

one or 2 nights, and then thinking about renting a car to drive from SB to Monterey, along route 101

which the map says is 3 and half hours... my brother (who lived in LA) says route 1 is too difficult drive and going from south to north is not as great views as from north to south

do you think the drive to SB to Monterey on route 101 will take 3 and half hours and is not too winding and moutainous? do you think it is worth it to inlcude Monterey? then we would take a taxi from Monterey to Salinas and catch the Amtrak back to Emeryville.

thank you

Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
Level Contributor
22,062 posts
10 reviews
24. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

Highway 101 is a multi lane highway through agricultural areas and not a difficult drive. However, it isn't anywhere near as scenic as Highway 1 up through Big Sur. That drive isn't all that difficult, either. You just have to take it slow and use the available turn outs to take in the views. South to north has great views, too. Some say even better because the sun is behind you and the further north you get, the prettier the scenery gets.

3 1/2 hours is about right for the drive via Highway 101. You can always drive part of the Big Sur coast south from Monterey to see some of the sights. Keep in mind, though, that north to south puts you on the ocean side of the highway with some sheer drop offs in places. Kinda puts the south to north drive in perspective.

Avila Beach...
Level Contributor
1,305 posts
9 reviews
25. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

Oh my goodness, if you're renting a car and driving to Monterey PLEASE don't miss the drive up Highway 1 through Big Sur. It is one of the most beautiful drives in the world. It is equally beautiful in either direction. You will be driving slow, and as Kibblesmom said, there are plenty of places to pull over.

Sacramento
Level Contributor
22 posts
6 reviews
26. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

<<do you think Santa Barbara has changed much since you were last there?>> I was there last year, so no it hasn't changed. Has it changed since I lived there in the 80's? Yes, of course, but in some ways for the better (ther freeway no longer has stop lights for instance- an excellent change!). The basic "aura" of the city is the same. Relaxed, upscale and to die for views (except for the oil rigs off the coast, but don't get a native Santa Barbaran started on that!). You will love it- I insist! Walk State Street. Check out the little side alleys for interesting shops and art. Eat mexican food at Casa Blanca, have a drink at Joe's (both are institutions), eat fresh caught seafood on the pier. Feed a pelican on the pier, possibly get chased by same pelican :). Walk or ride a bike down Cabrillo Blvd and back. Ride on the carousel, go the the terribly cute zoo. Feed other kinds of birds at the bird refuge. Drive around Montecito looking for famous people-lots of them live there part time (tip- they shop at Vons grocery store just like us sometimes).

<<and driving to Monterey... the map says it is 3 and half hours... I would stay on route 101

is this drive very mountainous or difficult?>>

No, not difficult at all, but once you pass San Luis Obispo, not very scenic and boring (you leave the ocean for the rest of the drive). If you have the day to get to Monterey, then you really MUST drive hwy 1. I'm sorry, but I really must insist on this like I insisted you love SB ;) Frankly, I prefer the drive north as I am afraid of heights, and the cliffs are HIGH in some places. There are plenty of pull outs and vista points to get pictures. Trust me, I know as I stopped in every one of them when I took my kids on that drive for the first time. They insisted. In Big Sur, get out at Julia Pfieffer SP and take the easy, short walk to see McWay Falls which drops right into the ocean. You'll see lots of crashing waves on this route! Then, have a late lunch, early dinner depending on how many times you stop to take yet another picture (and you will) at Nepenthe. This restaurant has the most spectacular view looking south down the coast. Even if you don't eat there, stop to take it in. Monterey is an easy drive from there (you get off the cliffs and the road straightens out). Hwy 1 is slow and windy, but everyone is going slowly so there's no pressure. Just plan on 3 hrs minimum to get from SLO to Big Sur, but plan on it taking longer so you can stop and take pictures when you want. The drive from SB to SLO is easy- multi lane hwy all the way and no mountains. Do a trip report so we know how it went!

Pasadena, California
Destination Expert
for Pasadena
Level Contributor
7,048 posts
50 reviews
27. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

Before you decide to rent a car in Santa Barbara and drop it off in Monterey, please check prices. One way rentals starting from a small city and ending in another small city can be quite expensive.

And why wouldn't you drop the car in Salinas rather than Monterey, anyway?

Corona del Mar...
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
Level Contributor
59,282 posts
435 reviews
28. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

Sorry but I've been confused this whole topic. You are arriving in Santa Barbara from the Bay Area?

I am not sure you understand the great distances between Santa Barbara & Monterey, it is well over 200 miles. it would be like staying in Southampton and the driving to Atlantic City before getting a train to NYC.

If you've driven all the way to Monterey, why wouldn't you just drive the rest of the way to SFO and drop the car there? Or even drive to SJC (San Jose), drop the car there and take CalTrain back to San Francisco?

Or, just stay in SB the whole time, it is a great city. You could book a winery trip one day.

Lastly, there is very little transportation between cities on the coast. I think Amtrak runs some buses, but not how I would choose to travel in CA, especially up the coast. I also the cost of a taxi between Monterey and Salinas would be high, assuming you could find one willing to take you since he probably wouldn't be able to find a return fare.

29. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

-:- 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: 02 April 2014, 06:16