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LA to San Francisco - Overnight Stops on Highway 1?

Travel Forums North America LA to San Francisco - Overnight Stops on Highway 1?

1. Posted by guarro (Budding Member 5 posts) 11y

guarro has indicated that this thread is about USA

Hi all,

In two weeks I'll be driving from LAX to San Francisco - I've given myself two days for the trip, leaving LA midday-ish on the Thursday and need to check into SFO by 10am on the Saturday (I'll be driving Highway 1 all the way).

I'm therefore looking for two overnight stops, the first roughly half-way between LA and SF for the Thursday night, and the second a very short (i.e. less than 1 hour) drive from SFO for the Friday night.

Does anyone have any suggestions? At the moment I'm thinking of anywhere between San Luis Obispo and Monterey for the Thursday, and Half Moon Bay for the Friday. But as I don't know California at all I've no idea what would be a good option. I wouldn't want to be paying more than $100 dollars a night for a room. Any recommendations?


2. Posted by missness (Budding Member 5 posts) 11y

If you like crazy and hitchsy places you could try the Madonna Inn. I use to go to school in Monterey and went back in forth from LA. But I never found it necessary to stay the night. But we would always stop at the Madonna Inn for lunch or dinner... It is very fun and strange!!!! I don't know try and find info on it on the web.
Good Luck!

3. Posted by vsrajan (Budding Member 12 posts) 11y

i did a bike ride along route 1 from monterey to santa barbara a few years ago. i remember we spent a night at a youth hostel in san luis obispo. nothing fancy. bunk beds. but cheap. around $20, with breakfast, if i remember correctly.

4. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

It is only a 5 -5 1/2 hour drive between the two. I would drive the entire distance and try to get in more of San Fran! Is there anything in particular that you would like to see. I do agree...the Madonna Inn is interesting;)
Enjoy your journey!

5. Posted by guarro (Budding Member 5 posts) 11y

Quoting Cupcake

It is only a 5 -5 1/2 hour drive between the two. I would drive the entire distance and try to get in more of San Fran!

Really? I'd heard that it was about an 8 hour drive, and that's taking the fast roads! I've been told that it'll take me about 10 hours in total using PCH1, and it could take me a good couple of hours just to get out of LA! Isn't it about 450 miles between LA and SF? I want it to be a fairly leisurely drive so I can take in the views, stop for photos etc.

I'll already have spent 4 nights in San Fran at the start of the trip, so I just wanted to see something of the coast. I've heard that PCH1 is one of the most beautiful routes in the country, so couldn't come all this way without doing it properly!

The Madonna Inn certainly looks interesting (!), but slightly dearer than I'd hoped to pay.

6. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

I thought it was under 400 miles? It has been about 5 years since I drove it. Maybe I am inncorrect, has anyone made the trip recently?
There are a lot of roadside hotels/motels along the way for under 50 USD a night. Have you been to Hearst Castle?
That is a nice way to spend a few hours...Morro Bay is a nice place to spend an afternoon too!

7. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 11y

I apologize, I think I was thinking of US 5 or even the 101.

8. Posted by missness (Budding Member 5 posts) 11y

Well I'm glad to see I'm not the only one that likes the Madonna Inn... But you don't have to stay the night... Just go have lunch there. It is definately worth it :) I've never been anywhere like it.
Also I have to say if you want scenic definately take PCH for some part of your trip.... Preferably between LAX and Santa Barabara... take the 405 north to the 10 west and it turns into PCH. You can't go wrong....
Also here are a few places you have to stop....
Monecito, before Santa Barabara...
Monterey, Santa Cruz, and Carmel....
The last three are all in the same area...closer to San Jose and san fran.
Monterey- go to pebal beach...awsome veiws go to 7 or 17 mile drive too (can't remember the number but it's beautiful!!!)
Santa Cruz- the beach walk
Carmel- it's just beautiful and that's where Clint Eastwood is mayor.... Good shopping.
Also Monecito is really small but very beautiful. you want to go to the main street. There are tons of great shops and cafes. Very artsy. Definately stop there for breakfast or lunch. It's only about an hour from Malibu, which you should also check out. See the famous people. I use to live there and I loved it.
Also you have to go to the main street in Santa Barabara... its very so-cal and fun.... You might want to think about staying a night there and going out to some of the bars or clubs. I here they are very fun. It is a college town and full of parties. Also if you have time drive through IV in Santa Barabara. It is where all the college kids party and live.
Well I hope this helps!
Good Luck and have a BLAST!!!

9. Posted by missness (Budding Member 5 posts) 11y

By the way you only need about 1/2 a day for Monterey.... so you could always go to Carmel the rest of the day, it's only like 20 mins. from there.

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

Thanks for the info - I'm traveling LAX to SFO (1 day for the trip), and was stressing about the distance. Your directions from the freeways in LA look straightforward.