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Scenic Routes between SC & SF

Humble, Texas
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Scenic Routes between SC & SF

Our mid-May trip has us flying in and out of SFO. The first night (Sunday) we plan to spend in SC (at The Darling House); the last full day (Friday) has us originating from Pacific Grove (leaving early to mid-morning), ending up in SF (via SC) by mid-afternoon. I would prefer not to take the same route coming in to SC as going out. Since we may be more pressed for time Sunday, I'm looking at the 280-85-17 route, which I heard is pretty scenic. With a bit more time on our hands Friday, what would you suggest as an alternate route? I'm looking at either: a) SC-San Gregorio, then 84 to 280; or b) SC-HMB, then 35 to 280. I realize that the HMB route is both shorter & less time consuming, but am I missing that much coastal scenery if I jump off at San Gregorio (I will get my share during our drives during the week around the Monterey Peninsula and points south)? I was mainly interested in stopping briefly at Pigeon Point Lighthouse that day, and obviously I accomplish that with either option. Are there any other scenic vistas/stops I need to consider along the way? Thanks for any insight you can provide...

San Francisco
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1. Re: Scenic Routes between SC & SF

So you are looking for a more scenic return from Santa Cruz on Friday? (Paragraphs are a good thing! -- I had to copy/past this into Word and reformat to figure out what you wanted).

There are choices:

1. Highway 1 all the way to SF

2. Highway 1 to 92 at Half Moon Bay to I280

3. Highway 9 to Skyline (Highway 35)

4. Highway 84 and connect to Skyline or on to I280.

5. Highway 1 to Pescadero Creek Road to 84.

Some of these are very winding and if anyone gets car sick might not be advisable. If you want to get off the beaten path then I'd say #3 or #4 or #5. Then check out Alice's Restaurant at the intersection of 84 at 35 in Woodside.

Santa Cruz...
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for Santa Cruz
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2. Re: Scenic Routes between SC & SF

Welcome to Santa Cruz.

You are right that if you are short of time 280, 85, 17 is the best route when you are short of time. Not only that, 280, as it runs through the foothills of the coast range, has been called 'the most beautiful freeway in the world. You will enjoy it.

On the way back, taking San Gregorio/84/280 is a pretty drive, but narrow. quite long and very curvy as it crosses the coast range. I have not been on it for years. Hopefully someone who knows more about it will say something. Half Moon Bay would give you 10 more miles on the coast, and is is 92, not 35, which you would take from there to get to 280. 35 comes into 92 at the top of the 'summit' and ends there, while 92 continues on.

You may be thinking of taking 84 from San Gregorio to Hwy 35, and then taking it along the crest to where it runs into Hwy 92. This is called Skyline Drive and is a very pretty drive, but you are adding quite a few miles. I hope you have a map, so that you can see what I am saying. Hard to describe on paper (well, 'screen')

You will enjoy the Darling House. I hope you have a room with a view of the Bay.

Here is a traveler article on Santa Cruz. Since MontereyPacific Grove is only 45 minutes away you may have some time to poke around Santa Cruz on Monday Morning.


3. Re: Scenic Routes between SC & SF

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