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Driving from San Francisco to LA in early December

Travel Forums North America Driving from San Francisco to LA in early December

1. Posted by leochee (Budding Member 2 posts) 5y


Our family of 5, all adults, are planning our first trip to the US this December. Our flight arrives in SF and departs from LA. We have about 2 weeks of vacation time.

After a few days in SF, we intend to hire a car and drive via the west coast to LA, staying and visiting some places of interest along the way.

Being our first trip to USA, we were recently advised against driving on the roads in December because of the cold and slippery roads. Furthermore, where we come from, our cars are right-hand drive. How long is the journey and what would the temperatures be like?

Please advise coz we were really looking forward to this year-end trip.


2. Posted by rwood8 (Budding Member 4 posts) 5y

December is the start of our rainy season. However it can go either way, some years the rain doesn't start for real until January. It never gets really cold along the coast, so ice is not a consideration. The primary road between San Francisco and LA is Highway 101, it has a few bad areas, where you need to be heads up. My advice is to take Hwy. 280 south out of San Francisco to Hwy 85 south near San Jose to 101 south. This should avoid the bad traffic getting out of SF and through busy San Jose.

I do this drive often, (heads up around Salinas) it's about an 8 hour drive. Places you would want to see along the way are Monterey, 17-mile drive, Carmel, Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara and Ventura.

If you want to take route 1 through Big Sur it is amazingly beautiful but winding, narrow slow and slow, slow. If you go this way take in Hearst's Castle, there are tons of hotels in Cambria.

In case the weather is bad there are many airlines that fly between these 2 cities, Pacific Southwest Airlines, leaving from Oakland airport, is the best deal. They have flights leaving every hour. The whole trip takes an hour.

I don't recommend taking interstate 5 that time of year due to the Tule fog, there are many bad accidents because folks can't see and continue to speed.

Have a good trip, hope I helped.

3. Posted by DaveinMD (Respected Member 198 posts) 5y

You simply have to get off the interstate and take part of your drive along the Coastal Highway through Monterey, Pebble Beach etc. Especially if you are traveling south you will be on the ocean side. There is a reason they filmed a ton of car commercials here.