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Best driving route to Sonora from San Fran Int Airport

Portsmouth, England
Level Contributor
60 posts
40 reviews
Best driving route to Sonora from San Fran Int Airport

I think the title says it all :-)

We will be driving from the San Francisco International Airport to Sonora next year after a 3 night stay in the Golden Gate City

Just wondering if anyone out there can tell me the best and most direct route to take?

We will have GPS in the car but getting tips from real people and not a GPS is always much better!

Thank you all in advance

Level Contributor
8 posts
5 reviews
1. Re: Best driving route to Sonora from San Fran Int Airport

Aug 1, 2011

Hello Travel Man From Portsmouth

Your question caught my attention as I recently sold a B&B in the village of the historic downtown part of Sonora, CA. As you can imagine, I have given travel directions to countless guests over the last twelve years.

Here is what I recommend --

Coming to Sonora from San Francisco, get yourself away from "the airport" by heading SOUTH from the SF Intl Airport on US-101, then EAST on CA-92 (San Mateo Bay Bridge) over the San Francisco Bay, then NORTH on I-880, then EAST on I-238 which automatically hooks up to I-580.

(Are you still with me - OK, good! - because this is where it starts to get a tad bit easier!!!)

Now, drive EAST on l-580 to Livermore and to Tracy, CA. A few miles east of Tracy, I-580 automatically hooks up with I-205. Continue EAST on I-205 (in a few miles, I-5 merges with I-205 but only for just a few miles as I-5 goes north to Stockton and to Sacramento). Now then, while still on I-205 watch for YOSEMITE freeway signs directing you to continue EAST on I-205 to Manteca, CA. Manteca is a town situated on US-99.

When you get to US-99 and Manteca, drive one mile NORTH on US-99, then watch for more YOSEMITE freeway signs telling you to go EAST on CA-120. Yes, there will be some stoplights as you make your way east out of Manteca to Escalon, CA which is a cute little town, and then continue EAST on CA-120 to Oakdale, CA.

Oakdale is called the Cowboy Capital Of The World and now the driving gets really easy - and the scenery much more beautiful.

In Oakdale, you pick up CA-108 and you will drive EAST right through this so called cowboy-capital-of-the-world-little-town for 34 miles to Sonora,CA.

Approx 20 miles east of Oakdale you will automatically pick up CA-49 and at almost the same junction but not quite the same junction you will drop CA-120 ( Highway 120 takes you to Yosemite National Park, not to Sonora)

Are you still with me? Good, because three miles before you get to Sonora on CA-108/49 there is a cute little authentic gold rush hamlet called Jamestown. It is worth a drive through -- Main Street speeds top 15 mph.

After Jamestown, get back on CA-108/49 and head EAST. I recommend that you take the first Sonora exit. This is called Stockton Street and it will take you smack dab to the heart of the historic downtown village of Sonora which is a "T" intersection..

(Don't tell anyone this but at this intersection you will be just a block or two from the B&B mentioned earlier but of course, I cannot mention the name here. HINT: It is still operating as a knock out B&B and it is still listed on Trip Advisor with 100% "excellent" reviews as I write this.)

Sonora has a pretty cute main street you will no doubt enjoy immensely (Talula's Restaurant is a big hit) and you will also want to visit Columbia State Historic Park just three miles northeast of Sonora.

BTW, I recommend that you allow approximately 3 hours drive time from San Francisco to Sonora -- plus an additional hour for reading these directions!

Have fun!

2. Re: Best driving route to Sonora from San Fran Int Airport

Thank you so much! Love Sonora. My dad was born and raised in Sonora but has lived in Georgia since 1974. He turns 80 In Oct and am bringingbhim home for his birthday. He only has 1 brother left that still lives in Sonora as well. I will save this and use this! Thanks again!

3. Re: Best driving route to Sonora from San Fran Int Airport

Can I get the name of the B&B so I can make some reservations? Thanks!

4. Re: Best driving route to Sonora from San Fran Int Airport

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