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driving from san francisco to los angeles

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

We also plan to travel from San Francisco to Los Angeles. We go in June. We did this trip a few Years ago but only allowed 2 days not realising how much there was to see and also highway 1 was closed due to falling rocks so hopefully better luck this time. We did stay overnight at Morro bay which was beautiful.
This time we are staying for 3 nights at Fishermans wharf in San Francisco, then plan to visit my husbands brother and sister who live at San Jose and Santa Cruz, then we have 6 days to make our tour to Los Angeles. I agree that Los Angeles is a bit grim but we did enjoy a visit to Universal studios so plan to stay 2 nights in Hollywood to go there again before flying to Las Vegas. Any recommendations for stop offs on way to LA apart from Morro Bay will be appreciated. My Husbands brother got us a quote for hire car from budget rental which is 150 pounds from 12th June to 22nd June. I looked at Alamo hire and they are around the same price. Don't make the miistake we made last time trying to get petrol in the car. (you pay BEFORE you get it)
Have fun
Lin .

12. Posted by rocky_w (First Time Poster 1 posts) 11y

I'm in a similar position to Lindylou but planning to travel from Los Angeles to San Fran in a couple of weeks time. I only have two days for the drive (unfortunately) and would like to go up the Pacific Coast Highway. As I'll have two small children with me, I'd appreciate guidance as to the likely travel time. Also thoughts as to where we should stay for the one night would be gratefully received (i.e. is there a convenient half way point that we can stop for the night?)

13. Posted by hendrix147 (Full Member 44 posts) 11y

hi all, we now have 6 days to do the drive and have decided to do yosemite first , then drive the pacific highway (in june). car hire is going to cost about £120, which i thought was pretty good.
can anyone tell me how much fuel is in the states, from what i hear you dont get ripped of as much as we do here (85p a litre).
hope you all enjoy your trips.
cheers si

14. Posted by Jbender85 (Budding Member 20 posts) 11y

Not sure if you've left or not but gas prices will likely be in the upward of 3 dollar range in San Fran and slightly less in LA. Look for an average of about $2.85 a gallon.
Nice work Sander on the trip advise! I must say it made me miss the coast very much *tear*. Have fun and know that I'm jealous! ;)

15. Posted by Yuvraj (Budding Member 3 posts) 11y

Hey there,

Not sure if I am too late in replying, but I thouhgt I will add my 2c nevertheless :).

I would agree and say Route 1, or Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) as it is commonly known, is a really wonderful choice. I also took the PCH from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and though it was a day ride only, I was exhilarated by the end of it .. one of the best day road trips I have ve done, ever. Since you have 6 days you can thoroughly enjoy the entire route.

This is what I would suggest:

1> Day 1 - Drive down to Santa Cruz and spend the day and evening there. There are plenty of beaches to soak yourself in.

2> Day 2 & 3 - Drive down to Monterey and spend the entire day exploring the town and the surrounding areas Carmel/Salinas. This I would say would be the best part of your road trip on PCH, so take time and enjoy this place, there's so much to do here, kayaking, cycling, 17 mile drive and the amazing sunsets. I believe 2 days here would be justified.

3> Day 4 - Drive out to Point Lobos State Park, and check out some amazing waterfalls there. Then later drive down to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State park and check out the park, waterfalls, breathtaking cliffs. This region is called Big Sur. It has some amazing meadows with cliffs and pacific ocean on either sides. Plan ahead on your night stay here.

4> Day 5 - Drive down to Santa Barbara - Hearst Castle, Beaches, San Luis Obispo, and many other attractions.

5> Day 6 - Drive to LA :) (can head to Joshua Tree NP if u r tired of beaches else Santa Monica, Venice, and others offers another Soaking oportunity)

No trip is fun, if you dont head sideways from your trip, and on Route 1 you will find plenty of opportunities to do so ..

Check out some of the pics from my trip last nov.

Hope you have fun,

16. Posted by knibbchick (Budding Member 3 posts) 11y

Hi all, I too am wanting to do the San Francisco to LA trip down the Pacific Highway in June. We were planning to go to Yosemite for a couple of days and then drive to Monterey, spend a day and night there and then drive down the coast to LA stopping one more night on the way. However we have been told that we must not miss the Sequoia National Park.

We are now unsure what to do for the best, I see Sander has posted a reply saying that the road from Yosemite to LA is boring and long. Is this the same road that goes by Kings Canyon and Sequoia or another one. How long does it take this way and what would be other recommendations.

We are also going to San Diego so wondered if we should do the inland road from San Fran to Yosemite and down and then the coast road from LA to San Diego. Does anyone know what the scenery is like from LA to San Diego.

17. Posted by Sander (Moderator 4817 posts) 11y

The usual route from Yosemite to LA completely bypasses King's Canyon and Sequoia National Parks, and is just the 5 - long and boring.
King's Canyon and Sequoia are however definitely worth a visit, and not that far out of the way from Yosemite. You might want to do San Francisco to Yosemite to Sequoia - and then back to the coast from there. Not many roads you could take, but there seems to be one near Los Banos cutting west from the 5 (past the San Luis Reservoir State Rec Area), which would have you end up near Watsonville/Monterey, ready to start driving down the coast. (I haven't driven this, and most of this stretch won't be going over highways, so isn't that fast, but I'd figure you could drive Sequoia to the coast in five or six hours, as the pure distance is not much more than San Francisco to Yosemite, which takes four. Actually, google says 4 hours 17 minutes. directions)
You definitely should do the Monterey to Santa Maria stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway, as this is by far the most beautiful stretch.
No idea what the road is like south of LA, but I can guarantee it won't be similar in any way.

18. Posted by antsyb0y (First Time Poster 1 posts) 10y

HI new to the forum and to the west coast....
Am planning to drive from LA to San Fran in march...have 8 days to do it and have an 11 year old daughter with us....any suggestions as to what we and she should see in LA and on the way up?
Am planning then to go skiing in Heavenly in TAhoe and staying at MArriot timber lodge..anyone have any experience of this place
thank you all so much in advance

19. Posted by colrus (Budding Member 13 posts) 9y

We did this trip in July, except we were coming from the Eastern part of California. We drove over the Tioga Pass into Yosemite. The scenery was breathtaking and on our visit from Australia was our most memorable highlight. We were able to see Sequoia trees in a part of the park which was amazing. A large segment of the road was closed due to a rock slide and the road was going to remain closed for a long time eg the remainder of the year! This meant having to drive several hours out of our way to use different roads but it was still worth it. We stayed at Mariposa which was a nice little town. I didn't think I would enjoy a National Park and I was surprised at how much I loved it.

Then we headed to San Francisco where we stayed at Nob Hill. We loved San Francisco too. We went to Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz and did a 1/2 day tour of the city. This was great for us parents but about one hour too long for our 13, 10 and 7 year olds. Nonetheless they loved the Golden Gate Bridge. We were extremely disappointed with the Bir Sur as it was covered in fog ... in July!!! The views were just not able to be seen.

We then headed down the coast and stayed at the Deer Haven in at Pacific Grove for one night. We were extremely disappointed with the accommodation there. Nearly everyone else we ran into there was also having problems with their accommodation. We visited Hertz Castle which was wonderful and even the kids liked that too.

Then we stayed at the Best Western Shore Cliff Lodge at Pismo Beach which was wonderful and then the next night we were in LA where we stayed at Disneyland.

20. Posted by forehowe (Budding Member 2 posts) 9y

It does take longer going down the coast to Los Angeles but it is beautiful.

If you are interested, there are some great wineries where you can sample the wine. Many are free but this depends on the area. On your trip you will find many wineries in Santa Cruz, Carmel Valley, Monterey, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, and Santa Barbara. The movie Sideways was filmed in Santa Barbara and you can visit the same wineries and restaurants as in the movie....they loved the free publicity. Check out for info on the wineries and restaurants in this area.

Some other things that are worth doing if they seem appealing to you in this area are: visit the Santa Cruz Beach boardwalk...a beachside amusement park in Santa Cruz, take a romantic tram down to Shadowbrook Restaurant in Capitola to dine or enjoy a drink at this very romantic restaurant overlooking a creek, the Aquarium in Monterey, Hearst Castle near Paso Robles, rent a 4 wheeler and ride the sand dunes at Pismo Beach, spend an hour in a private hot tub nestled on the hills at Sycamore Mineral Springs in Avila Beach south of San Luis Obispo and, of course, watch lots of sunsets. Many of the beaches allow bonfires and even have firepits if you want to roast marshmellows on the beach.

In San Luis Obispo visitors like to pay a visit to Madonna Inn (it's right on Hwy. 101) where you could stay or eat, but the biggest attraction is the men's bathroom. (It has a motion sensitive fountain that automatically comes on as it is being used.)

Have fun whatever you do!