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Best road from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara

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East Anglia
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342 posts
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Best road from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara

Hello all

What is the best route from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara. We do not want to do the quickest route we want the most beautiful and the best scenery route.

Thanks

Kam

Pismo Beach...
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1. Re: Best road from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara

My preference is to stick to the 101, a major four lane divided freeway. Most of it is inland, but the last third is along the coastline.

Many GPS programs will direct you down the 154. It's maybe a few minutes faster than the 101, but it's a narrow, winding 2-3 lane mountain road that I simply don't care for.

Lastly, note that highway 1 (sometimes known as the Pacific Coast Highway) is NOT on the coastline in this area. It can make for an interesting drive, but it is slow and perhaps a bit confusing.

Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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2. Re: Best road from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara

I haven't driven it myself, but you might want to detour east of Santa Maria to Foxen Canyon Road through wine country. You would access it via the Betteravia Rd off-ramp off Highway 101 and turn left. Stay to the right to avoid getting into the left turns lanes getting on to 101 north. Foxen Canyon Rd will eventually deposit you on Highway 154. You would turn left and drive past Santa Ynez and Lake Cachuma with views of the coastal mountains. Not my favorite drive, either, but mainly because there seems to be a lot of accidents on that highway. But it does offer a breathtaking view of the ocean when you descend into Santa Barbara.

As mentioned, Highway 1 in this area does NOT follow the coastline. That's because there's a U.S. Air Force base that takes up 50 miles of shoreline and Highway 1 steers way clear of it. It's an inland route that meanders through small towns, ranches and farm land.

Petaluma, California
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3. Re: Best road from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara

I agree with everyone that Hwy 154 is not the safest route. Many accidents and it's not anymore beautiful a drive than Hwy 101. While Hwy 101 is inland for a bit from Santa Maria, it's still gorgeous, some wine country lots of greenery. Then when you round the corner in Goleta it's all ocean views. Breathtaking. I would just enjoy Hwy 101. I do it monthly and love it myself.

4. Re: Best road from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara

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