My husband and are will be going up to San Diego for 4 days...and we'd love to take a drive up the coast to San Fran if possible. Is 4 days way too short?
If not, any other suggestions along the coast? Any must-see sights we just have to do and what routes?
We were thinking of taking a boat/cruise or some sort of water activity too, so if you've got some ideas, let me know!
Also, is it warm enough to dip in the water yet?!! Hope so!
San Diego to San Francisco is about a 9 hour drive if you don't stop. If you want to go to a beach that you can dip your feet in there are plenty of closer options.
San Diego has amazing beaches as does Orange County. Check out Newport Beach for Huntington Beach a great surfer atmosphere or go to Laguna Beach for a more artsy vibe. Going further up the coast into Los Angeles County are Rendondo, Malibu and Santa Monica. All have fun activities (piers, etc.)
If you wanted to go on a boat trip, Catalina Island is always fun. You can find information on the Catalina Flyer online. It's a great day trip and Avalon is beautiful.
The water should also be okay. California beaches don't really have warm water... should be 64 at the highest. But it doesn't mean it doesn't feel good on a hot California day!
Hope this helps.
We drove from Malibu to San Jose in a good long day, but that was along the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway), which is the only way to do it. There is and inland highway, but that's only if you want to miss the scenery.
I'd recommend two or three days, or more if you want to see places, like Hearst castle and Carmel. Venice beach and Malibu are other notable stops. We stood on the hills above Malibu and watched the dolphins frolicking near the shore.
Four days is fine, but does this include time IN San Francisco?
Sandiego has enough interesting stuff for 2 days at least. If LA is in your list then its going to be tough. Besides, driving up and down between San Diego and SF within 4 days would be very tiring. You could consider these options:
1- Do an open-jaw ticket (land in SF and fly back from San Diego)
2- Drive to SF as soon as you land in SD. Go via highway 5 to save time. There is not much to see alone Hwy 5, and you could do this in about 7-8 hrs if there is no traffic issue. (basically Hwy 5 doesn't have any distraction that would propmpt you to stop and take photo or stop and eat -- so you dont waste much time).
I would recommend driving southwards, starting in the morning to get a good feel of the pacific coast. This way you'll be on the ocean-side of the road, and also sun won't be on the passenger side.
3 full days would be enough for catching the main attractions if you are driving from SF down to SD along highway 1(or 101) along the coast. Places i can mention from the top of my head are:
1- SF (golden gate bridge, palace of fine arts - 2 hrs).
(there is enough good stuff to do in SF for a week, but i am just marking the most striking one).
2- In SF, just drive through lombard/crooked street, mission streets, and market district to taste a bit of SF flavor - 2 hrs
3- From SF, drive down south on Hwy 280 .. its quite scenic.
4- From Hwy 280, take Hwy 17 that takes you to Santa Cruz. You may want to check Mysteryspot here (mysteryspot.com?) - 1 hr
5- From Santa cruz, drive alone the coast (hwy 1). Monterey would be your first major attraction. There are some nice restaurants. Victorian homes to drive by. i think there is this 17mile drive that is quite scenic.
6- South of Monterey, there are some cute little towns like San Louis Obispo, Morro Bay(dont miss it), .. attractions like hearst castle etc. Check <http://www.centralcoast.com/>. Each city could be a 1 hr stop. One of them could be your sleeping place for the first night.
7- Next big city i remember is Santa Barbara. If you can reach here by Day2 brunch-time, you can park your car in the huge paking garage and just wander about in SB. The town is pretty, the food is great and the people are interesting to watch.
8- Go further south, you'll go through the more "beach-y" towns .. but the scenery remains breathtaking. As some people mentioned above in the thread, there are some nice spots for water dipping as you go closer to SD. Newport, Lagula, Malibu are names i can think of..
have a good time...
ahhh, thanks so much for all the info. really appreciate it. you really can't go wrong if you follow the sun and the sand - cheers!