I'm travelling from San Fran to LA in a few weeks, I'm hoping the journey will take 24 hours, including a six hour stop somewhere to sleep. Does anybody have any recommendations for stops along the way and a recomendation of where we should spend the night?
Actually, the whole duration f the SAN FRAN - LA roadtrip might be upto 40 hours! :-)
If you're driving the most scenic trip is Route 1, and the fastest is Interstate 5 (Highway 101 is a compromise of the 2.) I like the Monterey Peninsula and Big Sur the best. Monterey Peninsula has the wonderful town of Carmel, the Monterey Aquarium and the Pt. Lobos Park to boast of. Big Sur is a very scenic and bohemian area right on the cliffs of the Pacific. Both of these areas are quite pricey! The Hearst Castle State Park at Cambria is also quite interesting to see how the ultra rich once lived.
If you want the cheapest place to stay while still enjoying the journey, take Highway 101 and stay in the small town of Atascadero (halfway between Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo)--it's only about 1/2 south of Paso and 1/2 north of the Obispo. There's a Motel 6 that you can stay at weekdays for real cheap if you book ahead.
If you want the most scenic place (though often sold out), then book at Pismo Beach or Avila Beach (about 20 minutes south of San Luis Obispo).
The whole trip by car if you drove straight through on Highway 101 would take about 9 hours. The places I mentioned are both near the halfway point (which is San Luis Obispo).
I would recommend San Luis Obispo, some amazing beaches and it's the half way point. If you have 40 hours to spend on the journey do factor in some stopovers in the towns along the way, Monteray etc.
Like the post before me mentioned, it takes less than half a day to drive straight through.