San Luis Obispo has often been our halfway stop BUT about 30min. up the gorgeous rte 1 coastal road is Cambria our fave!
Are you going north on highway 1, or is it 101 or maybe 5 or 99?
I haven't really even considered a driving route yet. I'd love to hear more suggestions. It will be my husband, self and 16 year old daughter. We love hiking, biking, sightseeing, etc. Am looking for an active vacation.
For more activities, plan to take the coast route.
Coast route it is! Now tell me a great place to stay approximately halfway between SD and SF.
Thanks for all the great help.
San Luis Obispo is your best bet for a stop halfway between SD and SF. Pismo Beach, which is close by, is a good alternative.
However, I would not recommend the trip without at least one additional overnight. With overnights in Pismo Beach and Monterey, for example, you'd be able to see the most scenic stretches of the coast at a more leisurely pace.
Routing options: There are many different variants to the coastal drive. I recommend I-5 out of San Diego, then cross over to State Route (SR) 1 in San Clemente. Zig-zag through Los Angeles and pick up SR 1 again in Santa Monica. Switch over to US 101 in Ventura, and stay on US 101 until San Luis Obispo. Take SR 1 again all the way to Monterey and SF. See here: http://tinyurl.com/bd4hqd
If you need to save time, stick to the freeway through LA, and after Monterey take SR 156 east to US 101 north to SR 85 north to I-280 north. Whatever you do, don't stay on US 101 all the way to SF! See here: http://tinyurl.com/c3nazz
P.S. Don't forget to visit Hearst Castle when you pass through San Simeon! (Be sure to book tour tickets in advance.)
San Luis Obispo is a nice college town. If it interests you, I can make recommendations on lodging.
However, if you're looking for a more coastal experience, I suggest a night in either Pismo Beach or Cambria. Pismo Beach is a classic California beach town, while Cambria is a hamlet nestled in pine trees next to the sea.... a very cute town on the coast. www.cambriachamber.org/
Spend a second night on the Monterey Peninsula (specifically Carmel or Pacific Grove), for a wonderful stay in two very quaint and charming towns.
If you want shopping and a college town atmosphere, then San Luis Obispo is a good place to be. It's almost dead even between L.A. and San Francisco by 250 miles in either direction. I live in the coastal town of Morro Bay (15 miles north of SLO) where you can get smoked oysters fresh cooked at the Embarcadero, rent kayaks to paddle around in the protected inner harbor, go out whale watching, hike Montana de Oro state park or watch the surfers and walk on the beach. Lots of nice motels/hotels and restaurants. Cambria is a 25 minute drive from here...beachcombing, art galleries, that kind of thing. Also plenty of nice hotels with weekday special rates, and good restaurants for all price ranges. I also work at Hearst Castle, which is a home museum with art from all over the world and beautiful views and a great stop if you're taking Hwy1.
It's slow this time of year, so not as critical to buy tickets in advance. Have a fun trip!
Yay! Coastal route. You are going to love it. I like the other posters recommend SLO or Morro Bay or maybe Cayucos if you want a quiet base from which to explore. For the second night I would go to Pacific Grove or Monterey.