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Old 03-25-2011, 10:54 AM   #1
betaztest
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Actual Drive Time - Highway 1 - SF to LA

We're planning a trip to California in July. Flying to SF, spending a few days there, then driving to Hollywood before heading to Disney. I'd like to drive down the Pacific Coast Highway as I've heard / read about how beautiful it is, but I'm wondering what I can expect for the ACTUAL drive time along this route.

Here's the preliminary plan:

Day 4 (Saturday) - Leave SF - travel via Highway 1
- detour along 17 Mile Drive to see Peeble Beach (this is optional - I'm the only one in my family that really wants to do this)
- stop at Hearst Castle (this is the only "tourist" stop we're planning other than gas, restrooms and the occasional photo op)
- stay overnight somewhere around Pismo Beach / Santa Maria

Day 5 (Sunday) - Leave Pismo Beach
- travel to Venice Beach
- afternoon at Venice Beach
- drive to our hotel in Hollywood

Travel time wise, is that do-able? About how long are the ACTUAL drive times for SF to Pismo Beach (Google Maps says 5hrs 4min via Hwy 1) and for Pismo Beach to Venice Beach (Google says 3 hrs 21 min). I'm worried that Google estimates may be WAY off so any help from those familiar with this drive would be great. Thanks!
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Old 03-25-2011, 11:26 AM   #2
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I live in Santa Cruz and it takes us 3 1/2 hours with no stops to get to Cambria, so SF to Pismo should be 6 1/2 to 7 hours with no stops. So with your detours add 45 minutes for 17 mile drive and 2 to 3 hours to tour San Simeon. In other words a long day. If is was me I'd stay in Cambria or San Simeon vs. going on to Pismo.
You didn't say if you wanted to tour Hearst Castle. If it's just a stop be aware that there isn't really anything to see unless you take tour and go up to the castle.
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Old 03-25-2011, 02:51 PM   #3
Salome
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Is it worth it to visit Hearst Castle? The price seems a little high for 90 min tour?
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Old 03-25-2011, 03:21 PM   #4
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A stop at Hearst Castle is most definitely worth it! It's the closest thing we have to a royal castle in the US. But a word to the OP -- if you want to do this, you MUST buy your tickets in advance. Tours to Hearst Castle sell out.

I doubt that you can do justice to the drive down the Big Sur coast and still arrive in San Simeon in time to do a castle tour. IIRC, the last tour leaves by 4:30 PM or so. If I were you, I'd take my time driving down the coast, stopping for lunch at Nepenthe's (views to die for), take your time on the rest of the coast, and stay in San Simeon or Cambria, as suggested by my neighbor from Santa Cruz. Book the first castle tour of the morning (and book it soon), take the tour, then continue your trip to Pismo and Venice beaches.

-Bob
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Old 03-25-2011, 06:07 PM   #5
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time from Pismo to Venice 3 hours ! That is an impossible feat in my book.
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:50 PM   #6
betaztest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrandBob View Post
A stop at Hearst Castle is most definitely worth it! It's the closest thing we have to a royal castle in the US. But a word to the OP -- if you want to do this, you MUST in advance. Tours to Hearst Castle sell out.

-Bob
I've been told by several people that the tours sell out - I tried to get tickets earlier this week but they aren't on sale online yet for July. It's on my to-do list - thanks!
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Old 03-25-2011, 08:52 PM   #7
betaztest
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Judy from Boise View Post
time from Pismo to Venice 3 hours ! That is an impossible feat in my book.
I figured as much - Google maps estimates are often inaccurate. What would a realistic time be for this drive - 4 hours? 5 Hours?
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:34 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by betaztest View Post
I figured as much - Google maps estimates are often inaccurate. What would a realistic time be for this drive - 4 hours? 5 Hours?
I drove the other way.

I left Long Beach at about 11 am, stopped for lunch (and some shopping) at Camarillo for about 1.5 hours and made it to Solvang before 5 pm. We only made it to Solvang *that early* because we detoured off the 101. It was crazy around Santa Barbara at 3 pm. We stayed the night at Solvang.

The next day, we drove up to Monterey and stayed the night there. We didn't stop at Hearst Castle because we had already done it on a previous trip. But IMO, it is worth the stop and tour. We stopped to see the Monarch butterflies at Pismo, the elephant seals at San Simeon and McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer State Beach.

We then drove Monterey to SF the next day.
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Old 03-25-2011, 09:47 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Salome View Post
Is it worth it to visit Hearst Castle? The price seems a little high for 90 min tour?
Yes.

We did it and the Biltmore house in Ashville NC

The two have one thing in common. When they were built there was no or little income tax. It would be impossible to build them today.

Hearst was given to the state because the heirs didn't want to or couldn't pay the taxes and the state almost passed on it because it thought it couldn't afford it.

The pool alone is amazing.

http://www.google.com/images?hl=en&s...w=1251&bih=754
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Old 03-29-2011, 11:10 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by PrincessInOz View Post
We stopped to see the Monarch butterflies at Pismo, the elephant seals at San Simeon and McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer State Beach.

We then drove Monterey to SF the next day.
Those are two stops that are very worth it. The Elephant seals are just north of San Simeon and it's an easy turn off to see the seals. Depending on the time of year different sexes and ages of seals are lounging on the beach. It's especially dramatic when the huge males are there.
McWay Falls are and easy hike off of highway1. It's one of the most beautiful sights on the California coast.
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:20 PM   #11
betaztest
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Thanks all for the info. Based on this and reading some other posts, I think we will leave SF a night earlier and drive to Monterey and stay there and then drive to Pismo the next day. Breaks up the tripa bit and let's us enjoy the drive through Big Sur at a better pace.
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:47 PM   #12
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Somegirl I was born and raised in Watsonville!! Graduated from Aptos High, family all still lives there.

Try stopping in Monterey and Big Sur (though be careful because I heard part of highway 1 fell into the ocean.) The coastline is beautiful and stop by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Cannery Row, if you have the $$ there is a beautiful hptel on Cannery Row right on the ocean and the rooms all overlook the ocean, it's wonderful but pricey.

I don't recommend the castle. It's boring but they recently re did their prices and the expensive 90 minute tour isn't even the whole castle, it's only a section of it, you have to pay $$$ to tour the other parts of the castle. Each section of the castle is a separate tour and a separate charge.
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