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Road Trip from San Fran to LA

Travel Forums North America Road Trip from San Fran to LA

1. Posted by suenjo (First Time Poster 1 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

HI first time poster, My Husband & I are travelling to USA in June and want to do the self drive from San Fran to LA over 2 nights as we have limited time, the only scary thing is arrival in LA???? Any tips on how not to be frightened of this higway/concrete City??? This is our only concern that we will get lost getting to our hotel in Hollywood??
Any suggestions, and recommendations of accommodation on overnight staying on the way down the coast road?
Thanks in advance

2. Posted by beerman (Respected Member 1631 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!


Don't be afraid of driving in big cities, there's really nothing to it. If other drivers don't like the way you're driving, they'll let you know by honking their horns and shaking their fists.....rarely anything more. Just wave back and smile as if nothing is wrong.

If you are renting a car, the agency can help you with directions. Many rental cars have GPS systems in them with easy to follow directions to help you get where you're going. If you normally drive on the left in your country, make sure to drive on the right here. It takes a little getting used to, but you'll pick it up easily. If you don't have a GPS in the car, the agency will give you a map and at least point you in the direction of LA. Along the way, if you get turned around or lost, simply stop at a gas station and ask......the attendant may not know the answer, but maybe they will. It's

SF-LA can be as little as an 8 hour drive on the Interstate Highway (I-5). The scenic route (US 101) can easily take 2 full days because it winds along the coast....quite a beautiful drive though. Check out something like Google maps and you should get a pretty good idea of the distance and of the towns in between. There are plenty of small towns that will have nice and inexpensive accommodations for the night, usually places like Motel 6, Days Inn, Red Roof Inn, even some older 1950s mom-and-pop hotels.

Be fearless, be sensible, and have fun. Oh, and don't forget to take lots of pictures!!!

3. Posted by PsptJunkie (Budding Member 26 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Hi suenjo:

If you are driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles, hopefully by the time you arrive in LA you'll be comfortable driving on American roads. The getting lost part might be tougher - Hollywood can be tricky to navigate, so try to plan your route ahead of time so you know on which highway you will be entering LA. My suggestion would be to enter LA by driving along Hwy 1 through Malibu and arriving in Santa Monica. From Hwy 1 it is easy to connect to the 10 freeway, which will take you closer to Hollywood.

Here is a link to the "maximum" coastal route - what you'd drive if you wanted to follow the California coast all the way from SF to LA.

Have a good time!

4. Posted by way2goeh (Full Member 159 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

I lived in LA and drove many times from San Jose (near SF).. The drive down highway 1 is beautiful. Highway 101 GOES through Hollywood. Take hollywood Blvd exit. When highway 1 turns into 101, just stay on the 101. there are alot of small little town on the way to stay the night.

5. Posted by Ham Radio (Respected Member 285 posts) 9y Star this if you like it!

Make it easy on yourself. Take the first day on US 101 to stop in scenic San Luis Obispo-Pismo Beach area. The second day route yourself through beautiful Solvang and Santa Barbara and approach Hollywood from US 101 as the other person suggested.

6. Posted by vwsurfari (Budding Member 10 posts) 8y Star this if you like it!

Hi Suenjo,
Don't forget... most renal car companies will be able to rent you a GPS, if you don't have one already (Have i-phone? Have GPS app?) Problem solved!
We offer one for rent on our campers, but truthfully most folks do not have too much trouble figuring a way around... especially if you have a cooperative and intelligent co-pilot.
Don't be afraid. Most places you'll go will be a cinch.
Cheers, Bill

[ Edit: Edited on 06-Apr-2009, at 12:28 by vwurfari ]