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Old 02-01-2007, 08:46 AM   #1
luvflorida
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Driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles

I posted this on the Community Board, but realized that I should have posted it here.

We will be vacationing in California in April. After spending a few days in SF, we plan on driving to LA. Along the way, we would like to spent time touring the Hearst Castle in San Simeon.

It looks like the drive from SF to LA is about 8 hours. Is this correct? Is one route better than another? Are we trying to do too much in one day?

Any help, thoughts, ideas would be much appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 02-01-2007, 01:09 PM   #2
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We did this trip last summer. If you don't stop it shouldn't be a problem to drive from SF to LA in one day, but if you want to see Hearst Castle you are probably trying to do too much. We left SF in the morning and drove down the coast (for the scenery) and stayed overnight at a little hotel on Moonstone Beach, which is near Hearst Castle (about 5 minutes away). We then did one of the Hearst Castle tours the following morning. There are 4 or 5 separate tours, depending upon which parts of the castle you want to see, and you have to take a separate bus ride up to the castle from the welcome center for each tour that you take. We only took the general tour, since we had the kids along, and that tour was about an hour and a half. (Hearst Castle is very interesting, by the way.) After that we headed inland to the freeway (I5) for the rest of the trip to Anaheim, passing LA on the way.

Whatever you decide, have a great trip!
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Old 02-01-2007, 03:20 PM   #3
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We used to do the trip on Highway one between LA and SF at least once a year when we lived in Ca. We also did the trip in 2005. It takes about 9 hours. It is very scenic and worth making at least one overnight stop. There is a pretty little town called Cambria right near San Simeon. There are a bunch of little motels along the beach (I think it is called Moonstone Beach) as well as a couple in town. Many of the motels are reasonable and nice.
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Old 02-01-2007, 03:30 PM   #4
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I think you're trying to do too much in one day only because you're missing so much by not stopping along the way. Carmel/ Monterey is a great overnighter. Point Lobos State Park if you have kids, is a great stop...there's a legend that says GNOMES live among the rocks! Santa Barbara is a nice stop, too.........and only 90 minute drive into LA. In other words, instead of arriving in Los Angeles at 9pm and just heading for bed, why not stop in Santa Barbara at 7pm for dinner and an overnight stay, walk the beach in the morning, see the town, and then head to Los Angeles after traffic at 10am in the morning ?
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Old 02-02-2007, 12:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luvflorida View Post
I posted this on the Community Board, but realized that I should have posted it here.

We will be vacationing in California in April. After spending a few days in SF, we plan on driving to LA. Along the way, we would like to spent time touring the Hearst Castle in San Simeon.

It looks like the drive from SF to LA is about 8 hours. Is this correct? Is one route better than another? Are we trying to do too much in one day?

Any help, thoughts, ideas would be much appreciated! Thanks!
Yes, you definitely need to spend the night in the Hearst Castle area. Also be sure, you make reservations at both a hotel and Hearst Castle prior to going. If you are going on a weekend, Hearst Castle tends to be booked as do the nearby Inns and hotels.

Check the Hearst Castle website as you can get lots of info:

http://www.hearstcastle.com/

Check the Cambria Lodging website:

http://www.cambria-online.com/lodging/

A great place to stop on the way down for lunch is Nepenthe in along the Big Sur Coast.
http://www.nepenthebigsur.com/

There are just so many things to do along the coast, I know it is hard to pick and choose.

If you need more help or suggestions, please pm me.

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Old 02-02-2007, 11:40 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honeymom View Post
We used to do the trip on Highway one between LA and SF at least once a year when we lived in Ca. We also did the trip in 2005. It takes about 9 hours. It is very scenic and worth making at least one overnight stop. There is a pretty little town called Cambria right near San Simeon. There are a bunch of little motels along the beach (I think it is called Moonstone Beach) as well as a couple in town. Many of the motels are reasonable and nice.
Yes, Cambria is where we stayed - I couldn't remember the name of the town when I first posted.
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Old 02-02-2007, 07:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by honeymom View Post
We used to do the trip on Highway one between LA and SF at least once a year when we lived in Ca. We also did the trip in 2005. It takes about 9 hours. It is very scenic and worth making at least one overnight stop. There is a pretty little town called Cambria right near San Simeon. There are a bunch of little motels along the beach (I think it is called Moonstone Beach) as well as a couple in town. Many of the motels are reasonable and nice.
Hello all
Also doing the drive from SF to LA but we are going to do a little different.
Driving from SF to Monterey and then the next day doing the aquarium.

My question is we were going to drive down Hwy 1 from SF to Monterey (through Santa Cruz). I was wondering if this stretch of the highway is comparable to the Big Sur stretch of road (scenic wise)?

Thanks
Drew
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Old 02-02-2007, 07:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by birkner View Post
Yes, you definitely need to spend the night in the Hearst Castle area. Also be sure, you make reservations at both a hotel and Hearst Castle prior to going. If you are going on a weekend, Hearst Castle tends to be booked as do the nearby Inns and hotels.

Check the Hearst Castle website as you can get lots of info:

http://www.hearstcastle.com/

Check the Cambria Lodging website:

http://www.cambria-online.com/lodging/

A great place to stop on the way down for lunch is Nepenthe in along the Big Sur Coast.
http://www.nepenthebigsur.com/

There are just so many things to do along the coast, I know it is hard to pick and choose.

If you need more help or suggestions, please pm me.

Thanks for all the info! It will a Sunday that we visit Hearst Castle, so I'll be sure to make our reservations before we leave.
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Old 02-05-2007, 12:34 AM   #9
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Traveling down 101 is going to be a longer drive than going down I-5. I'm not sure if you plan on cutting over to I-5 after Hearst Castle or continuing down on 101, but 101 will most likely be a little longer than going down I-5.

101, though, is MUCH more scenic than I-5, so if you're looking for a nicer drive and don't mind the slightly longer time, then I'd recommend driving down the coast.
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Old 02-05-2007, 08:01 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by amjt660 View Post
Hello all
Also doing the drive from SF to LA but we are going to do a little different.
Driving from SF to Monterey and then the next day doing the aquarium.

My question is we were going to drive down Hwy 1 from SF to Monterey (through Santa Cruz). I was wondering if this stretch of the highway is comparable to the Big Sur stretch of road (scenic wise)?

Thanks
Drew

It is much more scenic in the Big Sur area (twisty though and not everyone is comfortable driving it).
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Old 02-05-2007, 11:17 AM   #11
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Great info, just jumping on board

Cheers
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Old 02-05-2007, 11:44 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amjt660 View Post
Hello all
Also doing the drive from SF to LA but we are going to do a little different.
Driving from SF to Monterey and then the next day doing the aquarium.

My question is we were going to drive down Hwy 1 from SF to Monterey (through Santa Cruz). I was wondering if this stretch of the highway is comparable to the Big Sur stretch of road (scenic wise)?

Thanks
Drew
If it were my drive, I would drive through Golden Gate Park to The Beach Chalet. http://www.beachchalet.com/

From The Beach Chalet, I would proceed south to Half Moon Bay should take about 46 minutes. If you are intersted in seals, there is the Fitzgerald Reserve http://www.fitzgeraldreserve.org/

If are looking for some great pic opportunities, drive out to the Ritz Carlton Half Moon Bay. http://www.ritzcarlton.com/home.asp

Beyond Half Moon Bay is Ano Nuevo State Reserve (55 miles south of San Francisco) which is a major gathering place for elephant seals. http://parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=523

Also nearby is the 115 foot tall Pidgeon Point Lighthouse. http://parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=533

From Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz is another 1 and half drive or less. There is Point Loma You can keep going or drive to the admission free Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. http://www.beachboardwalk.com/

If you drive past Santa Cruz without stopping, it is about another 40 miles. If you are interested in doing other things than I have mentioned, let me know.

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Old 02-05-2007, 07:11 PM   #13
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Thanks for the advice on the drive. You listed a quite a view web pages so I have some homework to do!
Thanks again
Drew
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