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Trip from San Francisco to Hearst Castle

Stuart, Florida
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Trip from San Francisco to Hearst Castle

We will be traveling from SF May 4th and checking into Carlsbad May 5th. May 4th we would love to take the scenic route to the Hearst Castle for their tour - stay over night in the area (need recommendations for hotel and restaurants in area -moderately priced). On the 5th, travel onto Carlsbad the scenic route. What routes do you recommend and how many hours are we looking at from SF to Hearst and Hearst to Carlsbad.

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Carlsbad
Carlsbad
California
San Francisco
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1. Re: Trip from San Francisco to Hearst Castle

IMO that's biting off more than you can chew. The drive from SF to San Simeon along Highway 1 through Big Sur is 6-7 hours without stops. And through Big Sur is a tiring drive on a curvy two lane road.

I just got back to SF today from Solana Beach which is just south of Carlsbad. Even taking Highway 101, which is much faster than Highway 1 it's an 8 1/2 hour drive total (without stops and without any LA traffic mishaps).

I break it up over two days, staying in either Cambria or, this time, Pismo Beach, but it's still a tiring drive. The section through LA is very much so as highway glitches can cause delays and it's not a peaceful drive (ie other cars up your tail pipe, sections of narrow lanes, road construction and people on all sides of you).

I do this drive once a year or so but if this is a once in a life time thing, do yourself a favor and add at least one extra night/day .. if not two.

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San Simeon
San Simeon
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Big Sur
Big Sur
California
Carlsbad
Carlsbad
California
Cambria
Cambria
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Pismo Beach
Pismo Beach
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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2. Re: Trip from San Francisco to Hearst Castle

SF to Hearst Castle is a 6 hour drive WITHOUT stops. You're looking at two seriously long days behind the wheel of a car. Because you want to drive straight to Hearst from SF, it means you won't have time for stopping and seeing the sights in Monterey/Carmel or the Big Sur coast.

If it's a one or the other, I would ditch Hearst for the Highway 1 sights and scenery any day!!

This drive really needs at least 2 nights to do it justice.

IF you can only afford the one night, then you should plan on an overnight stay in Cambria, which is approx. 15-20 minutes south of Hearst Castle. I suggest you reserve the latest tour you can get that day and leave SF VERY early to ensure enough time for the drive and maybe a few stops along the way.

Cambria lodging: Fog Catcher Inn, Castle Inn, Moonstone Landing, Sand Pebbles Inn

Cambria dining: Robin's, Moonstone Bar & Grill, Madeline's, Wild Ginger.

www.cambriachamber.org/

****************************************

Drats!! This tiara is getting HEAVY, lol!!

Edited: 27 February 2013, 03:58
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Monterey
Monterey
Monterey County, CA
Carmel
Carmel
Monterey County, CA
Cambria
Cambria
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Hearst Castle
Hearst Castle
5,912 Reviews
San Simeon, CA
Moonstone Landing
Moonstone Landing
700 Reviews
Cambria, CA
Sand Pebbles Inn
Sand Pebbles Inn
855 Reviews
Cambria, CA
San Francisco...
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3. Re: Trip from San Francisco to Hearst Castle

I agree with Kibblesmom. It's not ideal to do the drive to Hearst Castle in a day in time to take the tour. When I've done the route through Monterey and Big Sur after leaving San Francisco in the post-morning commute I haven't arrived down there until early evening.

If you want to get there early enough to do a tour and also avoid some commute traffic in the bay area, you'll want to leave very early such as maybe 6am or some "crack of dawn" hour.

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Monterey
Monterey
Monterey County, CA
Big Sur
Big Sur
California
San Francisco
San Francisco
California
New Jersey
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4. Re: Trip from San Francisco to Hearst Castle

I plan to travel from SF to Hearst Castle in May but not the scenic route, as I've driven that twice before. Mapquest has me arriving in 4.5 hours from SF (245 mi) to Hearst Castle via US 101 & CA 85 & CA17. I will leave SF at 11:00 am and plan to book a night tour at the Castle for 6 pm. Is this feasible?

Limerick...
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5. Re: Trip from San Francisco to Hearst Castle

There is a Best Western right a cross the road from the castle.

May be more reasonable the the above recommended hotels.

Restaurant at B&W is okay.

WE stayed at the Sand Pebble very nice.

San Francisco
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6. Re: Trip from San Francisco to Hearst Castle

<<Is this feasible?>>

Yes, if it's a weekday. Yesterday I drove Pismo to SF in 4 hours 45 min (but I live on the north side of town). One stop for gas and coffee. Weekends there is more traffic.

HIghway 101 isn't as scenic as Route 1 but south of Salinas to Pismo it's still rather nice.

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Salinas
Salinas
California
Chicago
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7. Re: Trip from San Francisco to Hearst Castle

It's one long drive from San Francisco! I've done it before, but we stopped to spend the night in Carmel as we drove down. We wanted to visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium and enjoy dinner in Carmel. The drive back was a straight shot - and long. It's beautiful on Highway 1, but those curves upset more than a few stomaches.

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San Francisco
San Francisco
California
Carmel
Carmel
Monterey County, CA
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay Aquarium
12,335 Reviews
Monterey, CA
Grover Beach...
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8. Re: Trip from San Francisco to Hearst Castle

Gbow

Hearst Castle nights tours are usually weekend night events. Just an FYI.

I suggest the I-280 route south to Highway 85 south to Highway 101 south route. It's a MUCH nicer (Scenic) drive compared to Highway 101 through the SF/San Jose corridor. Once you roll into Paso Robles, continue south to Highway 46 West toward Cambria (NOT 46 East toward Bakersfield/Fresno). Highway 46 will end at Highway 1. Make a right turn and the castle will be 12 miles from you at that point.

Leaving @ 11:00 am should give you more than enough time to get to Hearst Castle. If you get there too early, you can always meander around the pretty town of Cambria or take a walk on Moonstone Beach Drive's wooden path along the shore.

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San Jose
San Jose
California
Paso Robles
Paso Robles
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Cambria
Cambria
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Bakersfield
Bakersfield
California
Fresno
Fresno
California
Hearst Castle
Hearst Castle
5,912 Reviews
San Simeon, CA
Moonstone Beach
Moonstone Beach
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Cambria, CA
New Jersey
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9. Re: Trip from San Francisco to Hearst Castle

Kibblesmom

Thanks for the suggestion.

10. Re: Trip from San Francisco to Hearst Castle

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