Help! Clueless Brit wanting to drive from San Fran to LA

Travel Forums North America Help! Clueless Brit wanting to drive from San Fran to LA

1. Posted by luispulido (First Time Poster 1 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Hello there,

I wonder whether anyone out there could help. For years now it’s been a personal dream to drive from San Francisco to LA and, touch-wood, this ambition suspiciously looks like it could be fulfilled in the next fortnight.

My mate and I have seven days to squeeze this in and our original plan was as follows:

Day 1 (monday) Fly out - San Fransisco
Day 2 (tuesday) SF
Day 3 (wednesday) SF
Day 4 (thursday) SF- LA
Day 5 (friday) LA -
Day 6 (saturday) LA - Vegas
Day 7 (sunday/monday) Vegas - London

However, it’s been put to me by numerous friends who have trodden a similar path in the past that Vegas, although a true experience, could be omitted for the genuine beauty of what lies between SF and LA. We are both keen to spend a couple of nights in SF and, although the city’s much maligned, are excited about having a day or two in LA.

So, arriving at SF and leaving from LA then. Can anyone suggest that, bearing in mind our keenness to have a couple of nights in both SF and LA, an itinerary for travelling down? Could we spend two days/ one night on the journey and still see some stunning sights?

Any help would be appreciated on a Mount Rushmore scale.



[ Edit: Edited at Jul 13, 2006 7:18 AM by luispulido ]

2. Posted by thoier (Budding Member 5 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Plan on booking one night anywhere along the way between SF and Los Angeles. In fact, I wouldn't even book a hotel room and just stop whenever you guys feel like it along the way.

I assume you're taking the Pacific Coast Highway from SF to LA? That's the route you should take and you will not be disappointed at all. It is some of the most beautiful stretch in the entire country.

On a given day, that would take you about 11 hours...but there are places to stop, of course, possibly hike around or just enjoy the scenery.

If you're driving to Las Vegas from los Angeles, that will take you no more than four hours. However, you should leave Los Angeles at particular times during the day so you can avoid the onslught of traffic on interstate 10 and 15. if you pick your departure time wisely, it will be a smooth sailing trip.

In my opinion, you're seeing the two top cities in America (1. SF and 2. LV).

Have a great trip.

3. Posted by vegasmike6 (Travel Guru 3580 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

The section from LA-LV will take longer than 4 hours now. I-15 is under construction between Barstow & Baker Calf, causing lane restrictions.This could add another hour or more to your trip to Vegas. Day of the week will also effect your trip. Las Vegas has more visitors on Friday & Saturday than Monday through Thursday. Try not to arrive on Friday and go back on Sunday to Calif. Those are peak traffic times.

4. Posted by abcdf (Full Member 557 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I drove from LA to LV and it was a holiday. The drive took me about 6 hours. Make sure to leave either really early or later in the evening.

You can def see a lot of LA and SF in two days. It sounds like you are going to have a great trip.


5. Posted by Cupcake (Travel Guru 8468 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

Since you're NOT going to LV, two days/one night on the journey between SF and LA is fine, and if you find your really have a great time, spend one day less in LA, and take that day on the road between. I hope you have a great time! :)
P.S. San Luis Obispo is an overlooked gem, Monterey is BEAUTIFUL!! (Try to see the aquarium) You could see Hearst Castle if you are interested in that sort of thing (I enjoyed it)

6. Posted by gypsygenes (Budding Member 14 posts) 12y Star this if you like it!

I'd say it depends on what you like- if you like nature over amusements, the coast is the best bet. You can get some kitsch in SF and LA and forgo LV.

You could take in the Napa Valley wine country on a day jaunt from SF.

Santa Cruz is a blast from the past- 60's era counterculture town with amazing redwoods.

Monterey is stunning.

Cambria is a quaint village.

San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay are nice.

Santa Barbara- if you want an unususal experience and are interested in landscape design- book a reservation for Lotusland- see for details. This garden will amaze you. Advance reservations are required, but it is worth it... if you are there in August, I beleive the lotus will be blooming (but check me on that claim!).

Santa Barabara is beautiful.

Have fun!