Skip Navigation

LA to San Francisco by car

Travel Forums North America LA to San Francisco by car

1. Posted by Norks21 (Budding Member 48 posts) 1y

Hi everyone

A friend and I are planning on travelling the west coast of America in May next year.

We will be flying into Vegas, and then plan to hire a car and drive between San Francisco and LA. We'd be grateful for any tips on the best routes, which way to do this, and tips on car hire, if anyone has done this route.

Thanks in advance. πŸ‘πŸΌπŸ˜Š
Charlotte.

2. Posted by robmer (Full Member 105 posts) 1y

Charlotte,

The most scenic route between San Francisco and LA is California State Highway 1. It is a longer trip, but you will get to see much on this route (after all, that is the purpose of a road trip). Monterey is a must see on this route. Do check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You will love it. There is so much to do there. Also, just slightly south of Monterey is Big Sur which is another good spot to see. The whole drive is beautiful and very scenic.

As far as car rentals, just search the internet for good deals. How much you will be taking with you will determine the size of the car that you will need. The trip is a good length, so make sure it is not an old wreck (you do not need car problems while you are traveling). May is a good month to travel, so air conditioning may not be a problem. You can rent cars with a GPS but you will pay for it. I would recommend bringing your own portable GPS (it will pay for itself). Keep in mind that you will need the maps of the USA for your GPS. Whereas you are from Australia, you may need to purchase this. It shouldn't be a lot.

Bob

3. Posted by backpackblogger (Budding Member 58 posts) 1y

Hey there! I would recommend Hwy1 as well, but don't count on your phone's GPS. If you're from OZ, America will shock you with its lack of phone service - especially in remote places. And sometimes even pretty near rather populated places.

If you do Hwy 1 - sun is everything! I've done it on a rainy day, too, and it was nothing like the sunny ones!

Are you driving from Las Vegas? How many days do you have? My only tip for L.A. is to get a bit out of town the night before - to Ventura or maybe even Santa Barbara to avoid the morning traffic. Or just sleep in!

Hope that helps a bit!

4. Posted by Norks21 (Budding Member 48 posts) 1y

Thanks Backpackblogger.

We will definitely look into getting a GPS.

I think we were looking at flying from Vegas to San Francisco and then driving down to LA. We have just under 3 weeks in the U.S, so we can have a few days in different places.

I think we will definitely go for the sleep in option!! Haha. :)

Charlotte.

5. Posted by Norks21 (Budding Member 48 posts) 1y

Robmer

Thanks for your reply.

We were definitely looking to take the ace ice route along the coast.

I'm actually from the UK, so it shouldn't be a problem getting hold of a U.S. Satnav.

Do you have any tips on accommodation? Should we book in advance, or when we get over there?

Thanks!
Charlotte.

6. Posted by robmer (Full Member 105 posts) 1y

Quoting Norks21

Robmer

Thanks for your reply.

We were definitely looking to take the ace ice route along the coast.

I'm actually from the UK, so it shouldn't be a problem getting hold of a U.S. Satnav.

Do you have any tips on accommodation? Should we book in advance, or when we get over there?

Thanks!
Charlotte.

Charlotte,

You can book in advance if you want, but there are many places along the way that you could probably get to stay at without previous reservations. You should find motels along your route. If you know where you will be on each date, then there is no reason not to make reservations in advance. There are some really nice places in Monterey. The last time that I was there, I stayed at the Embassy Suites; however, you may find this a bit costly. It is a very beautiful place if you wish to check it out. You can google other places to find ones that are more reasonably priced.

Bob

7. Posted by backpackblogger (Budding Member 58 posts) 1y

May is a pretty okay month for accommodation. I think it's nice to just stay as you go. However, booking online before showing up at the front door can save you heaps. You might have to arrive at your final destination (because of no service) shop for a hotel, book it, then walk in to check in.

Sounds like you won't have the traffic problem in L.A. unless you arrive during peak hour. So... sleep in in San Fran! :)

Cheers!