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drive from SF to LA

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1. Posted by ella_g (Budding Member 3 posts) 11y

ella_g has indicated that this thread is about USA

Hi,
My husband and I are planning to drive from SF to LA around mid September. unfortunately we can spare 2-3 days max. I did this trip in 1992 and I remember that we stopped at San Simeon for a tour of Hearst Casle and that we spent one night in Monterey. I'd love my husband to see the nice places that I've already seen and add maybe some other sights. what can we do in such a short time? where do you recommend for us to stop for the night/s?
Thanks
Ella

2. Posted by jzurdogo (Full Member 14 posts) 11y

I think that you have hit the main points of interest in your post. In Monterey, I would visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium. San Simeon and a tour of Hearts Castle shouldn't be missed, it's a truely remarkable and magical place, though there are now four or five tours to select from. Also, about 5 miles north of San Simeon and south of the Piedras Blancas lighthouse is a beach that supports an elephant seal colony. Elephant seals were once near extinction. They are not at the beach year round, and I'm not sure they will be there in September, but it's right off highway 1 if you want to stop.

Also, the Central Coast wineries got a little bit of good publicity from the movie Sideways. You may want to do a little research and stop at some wineryies on the way down. I've been to Edna Valley winery in San Luis Obispo and the tasting room as a beautiful view of a valley of vinyards. The wine is OK, not great, but OK.

3. Posted by jbur816 (Budding Member 17 posts) 11y

I would add Carmel to the agenda. It is the quaint seaside village near Monterey where Clint Eastwood was once Mayor, and where he still resides and keeps an inn and restaurant, which I would also recommend, called the Mission Ranch, which is located behind the gorgeous Carmel Mission. Also, Carmel Highlands area and Big Sur are some of the most scenic places I have seen. Be sure to take Highway 1.

San Luis Obispo is a beautiful and fun college town (Cal Poly is there.) Also, Santa Barbara is one of my favorite places in the universe. I lived there for several years and loved every minute of it. Expensive? Yes, very. Worth it? Yes, very. The places to go should really be determined by your own interests. Are you into the winery scene? Do you love fine dining? Do you like being at the beach? Do you prefer warm weather?

4. Posted by garyrbeck (Budding Member 56 posts) 11y

Quoting ella_g

Hi,
My husband and I are planning to drive from SF to LA around mid September. unfortunately we can spare 2-3 days max. I did this trip in 1992 and I remember that we stopped at San Simeon for a tour of Hearst Casle and that we spent one night in Monterey. I'd love my husband to see the nice places that I've already seen and add maybe some other sights. what can we do in such a short time? where do you recommend for us to stop for the night/s?
Thanks
Ella

Ella, I was just at Hearst with big bro and we stayed at quite pricey Cambria so I sure recommend that you stay in San Luis Obispo where there is much culture, history and reasonably priced eateries. Cambria was like Carmel without the class and ambiance. Waaaaaaaay overpriced, but the tour was so superb, better than I had remembered. Saw elephant seals just north of there and some wine country a bit inland. Monterey Bay Aquarium is tops but tix go fast in summer with kids out of school. I love this area in off-season like October or April/May.

5. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 11y

On the way north from Santa Barbara, turn off the main road (101) for four miles and visit Solvang--a small town that's done up entirely like it's part of Scandinavia--enjoy a pastry or Swedish meatballs or bratwurst. The road from 101 to Solvang passes both the main restaurant/bar featured in the movie "Sideways" and it also passes an ostrich farm and horse farms on the way.

When in Carmel/Monterey, take the "17 Mile Drive". The cost is now $8.50 (took my sisters there last week), but the view of the redwoods, cyprus trees, golf courses, and magnificent coast is unbelievable. Average home cost in this area is around $8 million per, with the "Far Niente" home (near Pebble Beach) listed at $27 million. The Pebble Beach golf courses (there are 4 of them--Spyglass, Pebble Beach, Poppy Hills, and Cypress Point) are ranked the #1 golf resort in the U.S., so if your husband is a golfer--maybe you can arrange to play one of the courses (though they aren't cheap).

You can visit a winery either near in the areas north of Santa Barbara(near Solvang or Los Olivos), or go north from San Luis Obispo up to almost Paso Robles, then cut west along Highway 46--where there are good wineries on the road for the first 10 miles or so of the 25 miles you'll travel to the coast.

If you want something really different, stay at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo--they have rooms in different themes (Flintstone caveman, Swiss chalets, antique cars, safaris and pioneer cabins). Personally, it's not for me--but some people like it.

I'd prefer to stay the first night farther north--either at the "Just Inn"--a small 3 room bed and breakfast located at a beautiful winery (Justin) on the west edge of Paso Robles or someplace near Cambria on the beachside. The reason for this is that it will take you 3 hours to go through Hearst Castle, and then it will take you 3 hours to drive the coast to the Carmel/Santa Cruz area--where you will need 1/2 hour to 1 hour for the "17 mile drive". Then I'd stay in Carmel or Monterey (at someplace like the Highlands Inn) or head north to the Santa Cruz area and stay at "Chaminade", and go out to dinner at "Shadowbrook" in Capitola. (note: the Disney California adventure theme park tried to copy this restaurant in the design of their lodge--but their copy is not even close to the beauty of the original). Then I'd cruise on north to San Francisco on the third day and enjoy all the sites and activities there.

P.S. This is the bit-expensive, romantic travel plan--so if you want to go cheaper try the smaller towns to stay and less fancy restaurants to eat. Last note: Get your tickets for Hearst Castle before your trip by booking them through ticketmaster--last thing you want is to get there and then have to wait hours (or even days) to be able to take the tour.

Enjoy.

6. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 11y

Sorry, I thought you were going south to north (LA to SF). Since I see you are going from SF to LA, you'll have to read my comments with this in mind.

Enjoy.

7. Posted by ella_g (Budding Member 3 posts) 11y

Thank you all. I think I got s pretty good idea of our itinerary. what I need to check out are the distances and driving time between the points of interst in order to decide where we stop for the night (3 nights).can't wait to leave but it's still more than a month away....

8. Posted by neal4576 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 11y

My first road trip will be mid Sept. from LA to Sanfranciso (I'm going backwards) I'll have only 2 full days to make the trip but I dont want rt 5. I want the PCH. I've been from San Fran to Montery many years ago but am now going a bit further. Any ideas for stop overs (night) or sights not to miss. Is Gilroy Ca., the GARLIC capitol possible? Thanks for any and all suggestions.

9. Posted by Calcruzer (Moderator 1989 posts) 11y

Gilroy's a possible stop--but not too much to see there in September--the garlic festival is always the last weekend of July (meaning it just ended this evening).

It's a cheap place to stay though compared to other places around it--and it has great shopping outlets just on the east side of Route 101 about on the third exit heading north. (Lots of people drive all the way from San Francisco--about 90 miles each way--to go there on the weekends).

I guess the "must see" things on this route would either be a side trip to Hearst Castle, or a side trip to 17 Mile Drive--or since you only have two days--I would suggest you go up to San Jose and visit the Winchester Mystery House. If you get all the way to Gilroy on day one, you have plenty of time to see this attraction and still get to San Francisco by early afternoon.

Enjoy.