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San Francisco to LA along the pacific coast highway

Travel Forums North America San Francisco to LA along the pacific coast highway

1. Posted by extracrunc (First Time Poster 1 posts) 5y

Hey guys,

Me and my girlfriend are flying to SF, and are planning to drive to LA using highway1. We have a limited number of days, so the plan is to get the driving done in a single day. With ~9 hours of driving time, and an additional couple of hours for stoppage/pictures/sightseeing, we're budgeting 12 hours for the entire trip. Of course, we'd be willing to stop overnight if we think we might not be able to make it all the way.

A couple of questions for the more experienced travelers who have done this before:

1. We're planning to take highway1 all the way from SF to LA. Does that make sense? or should we switch to highway1 near big surr or around that area?
2. If you had the choice, what would be the top three places you would stop at during the drive from SF to LA?
3. How bad should we expect traffic to be if we set out at ~8 in the morning?

Thanks for all the suggestions!!

2. Posted by golfwidow (First Time Poster 1 posts) 5y

I would also be interested in the replies to this post! We are flying into Monterey, CA to golf Pebble Beach and then traveling PCH to San Diego, so some of this may be helpful to me also :)

3. Posted by KIER (Budding Member 16 posts) 5y

Hi I did this trip about three years ago. In answer to question 1 if u want to get there in one day take the highway straight from san fran.

Question 2. We stopped of in monterray for a couple of hours which was nice, for some scenery and food. For an overnight stop a place called San Louis Abisbo (not sure about that spelling) its a college town and the nightlife is mental.

Questin 3. Traffic around san fran is ok at that hour, its not that busy of a city for traffic. From then on its also quiet until u get to surrounding areas of LA. its mental with the amount of cars and can slow down a fair bit but u would be very unlucky to be stuck in total gridlock. The motorway is so big so it keeps moving.

Hope that was some help, Any more questions feel free


4. Posted by Daawgon (Travel Guru 1993 posts) 5y

First off, Highway 1 is not for speedy travel, and since the scenery here is the attraction, you will certainly want at least 2 days for the drive. If you want to get to LA in one day, take 101 or even I-5.

Try to avoid weekend travel on the route - it gets very heavy traffic in the Monterey Peninsula area, and you could well end up in bumper-to-bumper traffic moving at 0 to 10mph!

Highway 1 merges into 101 in a few places, so you will be forced to drive on more than 1 road.

Top 3 places: Monterey Peninsula (see below), Big Sur and Hearst Castle

Monterey - Monterey Aquarium
Carmel - Carmel Village (shopping, restaurants, 17mile drive, Pebble Beach & other golf courses)
Pt. Lobos State Park - Nature reserve, tidepools

(The Coast north of San Francisco is equally scenic through Western Marin and Sonoma Counties - you can connect eastward to the Napa/Sonoma Wine Valleys)

[ Edit: Edited on 04-Feb-2011, at 08:42 by Daawgon ]