California Coast Road Trip Itinerary: 1) Start in San Francisco. Its multiple … This may be a strange question but we are considering this road trip next February and I have read that the PCH can be dangerous, if not lethal, in places due to the absence of guard rails. San Jose could be described as the centre of the western world right now, thanks to the huge companies that now call Silicon Valley home. I don’t want too many stops in different locations due to all the packing and unpacking! Staying in Monterey or Carmel for a night or two is a great option for travellers taking their time on the Los Angeles to San Francisco drive. It should also come as no surprise given it’s proximity to Big Sur but there is plenty of beautiful scenery to enjoy close to the town of Carmel. Just an hour from Santa Cruz you’ll find Monterey Bay on the curve of the coast. Road trip, my 2 brothers and my 3 teenagers and I , we have Dec 26-30.. how much time to spend in LA, what to see, we fly into LA late on 25th and fly out of San Fran late on Dec 30th. LA is such an exciting place, with so much to do in Los Angeles on a budget – you can enjoy the people watching when the inevitable city traffic stops play! My parents visited me from Germany and we made a big road trip from Las Vegas via San Francisco to Los Angeles. your 13 stops article was very inspiring for us… I know you’ve had similar questions so I’ll be short and sweet, but we land in LA and take the road at 9 am and have that day and the next to reach San Fran… How many days is then optimal for between Monterey and LA? If you don’t feel like getting into the water then there are also a number of hiking opportunities in the area. Check out our other related articles for ideas on where to go south of LA or north of SF! Hi Claudia! On Pacific Avenue you’ll find all kinds of vintage goodies, visit Palomar for night time salsa dancing, Wilder Ranch State Park for hiking and the Rio Theatre for local music. That makes me so happy to read. Follow signs to Point Dume and you’ll find a beautiful sandy beach, headlands, cliffs and rocky coves. The San Francisco to Los Angeles drive is 6 h 16 mins (383.1 mi) via I-5 S – the most direct route. We are a family of 4, 2 teenagers capable of long stints in the car and quick stops if needed. Hello. We already covered Santa Monica and Malibu. A San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip will see you driving next to the coast which has several advantages. Commentdocument.getElementById("comment").setAttribute( "id", "a060d819fa1597f16373fd7fdde25c47" );document.getElementById("ba30f17c0a").setAttribute( "id", "comment" ); © 2020 The World Was Here First • All rights reserved. Do the San Francisco to LA road trip right and you’ll end up on Ventura Beach, right in front of the pier. ), Richmond Park Walks: A Perfect London Day Hike. Thanks. The town of Carmel is quite charming to walk through and there are a number of artisan shops to check out. We are so looking forward to this…thanks again! As well as possibly controlling all of our futures, San Jose also has a fascinating past. In LA you can visit the Kodak Theatre, walk along the Hollywood Walk of Fame, check out the Santa Monica Pier, drive down Sunset Boulevard and stroll down Rodeo Drive. You can even do the San Francisco to San Diego road trip … Hi! The seals spend the majority of the year living deep in the ocean however they come onto the beach throughout the year with peak season being in December to March when they are breeding. What are the must sees in between and where should we stay overnight those 2 nights? I recommend heading to San Benito House Deli for lunch where you can get enormous and delicious homemade sandwiches with a range of toppings for very reasonable prices. Another unique stop on the Los Angeles to San Francisco drive is Hearst Castle, located a short detour outside of San Simeon. Day 4: Drive from Yosemite to Los Angeles (300 miles/6 hours) Exit the park via its southern entrance and go south on CA-41. Bixby Bridge is a must-see vista. That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Does this sound like a good plan? There are several state parks and coastal walks in the area that means there is plenty of spectacular natural scenery to enjoy and you should plan to spend at least one day in Big Sur. There’s a lot of money floating about in San Jose and if you can get an invite into any of the head offices, take up the offer. We were in California at that time of year and the weather is quite mild, particularly as you get further south. The Mystery Spot – a collection of strange phenomena from the last 70 years – also makes for an entertaining few hours. Is it better to do a San Francisco to Los Angeles Drive? I’d suggest 2-3 days for Monterey to LA to see the highlights though you could obviously spend more time if you enjoy hiking and surfing! Click here to browse other hotels in Santa Barbara! You won’t get any snow on the PCH. Thank you a lot for giving everyone remarkably memorable possiblity to read in detail from this blog. Road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles and you’ll enjoy stunning coastal views, Californian sunshine villages, epic forests, cool towns and a wine making district or two, too. Pick up your rental car and drive over the Golden Gate Bridge to get off to a memorable start to your San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip. I have 3 days to do the drive so I’m planning to stop and stay the nights in Sanaa Barbara, Pismo and Monterey. However, you could easily spend a week or more if you like hiking, surfing or want to make additional detours. Hi Josiane, you can see all the stops listed in this article over 3-4 nights, staying in Santa Barbara and Monterey or Carmel. Are these areas generally ok with RV’s parking up for the night? You just can’t get a bad view on a San Francisco to LA road trip. There is absolutely no better first impression of this amazing city than seeing its most iconic site from the spectacular viewpoints of Marin Headlands! Even though Santa Monica is still a part of Los Angeles, it makes for a fantastic first stop when driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Hope you have a great trip! In our opinion, the best section of the PCH is from Santa Barbara to Monterey so if you prefer to visit Lake Tahoe after that sounds fine. Road Trip Around the USA: How Much Does the Dream Cost? Enjoy every second! We tried to visit the Esalen Institute for the views and natural hot spring baths. It’s worth also driving to the nearby town of Pacific Grove, both to enjoy more local and affordable places for lunch (I highly recommend a clam chowder bread bowl from Vivolo’s Chowder House!) When travelling away from home, it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a travel insurance policy so you’re covered for any unfortunate events! Any special precaution when driving along PCH during this period. Lunch here will ensure you’re fuelled up for the final part of your Los Angeles to San Francisco road trip! The main benefit is that you can easily pull off Highway 1 when you want to stop and enjoy a viewpoint or take a photo. Hello! Are you planning on driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco? Get around via the famous San Francisco tram and make sure to walk down crazy Lombard Street too, don’t attempt to drive it! Hi Jen! We are traveling to San Francisco for 3 nights then driving down the coast for 2 nights, then staying in Los Angeles for 2 nights. Look out the window to see the stunning Half Moon Bay as you pass from San Jose, Santa Cruz bound. How Much Will a California Trip Cost in 2020? Ok, next stop on the San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip is San Simeon. We were wanting to do the coastal road to san Fransisco but are not confident driving over there, is there any other way to visit these places if you dont have a car ? August will be peak season but the weather will be hot so you’ll be able to enjoy the beaches to their full extent! The 60s live on here, especially along the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk with its old-school Americana vibe. Would we miss anything on the coast like from SF to Monterey? Wouldn’t mind going again tbh. and then spend there a night and then rent a car there and drive to Monterey and then onwards to LA? Driving from Monterey to Santa Cruz will take approximately one hour and have you arriving in another quintessential California surf town! The seals are absolutely fascinating to watch and you can easily spend an hour or so walking along the viewing platforms and seeing them from unique vantage points. Click here to see their latest prices. On a nice day, you can walk along the pier and spend an hour or two watching surfers hitting the waves. I know you're going to have an incredible time. Thanks for the reply Michael, really appreciate your insight. First timers coming from Australia. And is it possible to cover all destinations? Hi Salah! After finishing my flight school in Germany I always wanted to go back to do that road trip … Click here to see their latest prices, Found San Francisco — One of the best-rated hostels in San Francisco, you can choose from dorms and private rooms and are known for their great atmosphere which is ideal for meeting other travellers. Hi Terri! 10 Best Stops LA to SF Coastal Road Trip There are several routes to take when driving between Los Angeles and San Francisco depending on how much travel time you have or want to endure. Home to the iconic Santa Monica Pier, there are a number of great coffee shops and cafes that can provide a much-needed caffeine boost before hitting the road properly on your Los Angeles to San Francisco road trip. My top tips for driving from San Francisco to LA, PIN SAN FRANCISCO TO LOS ANGELES ROAD TRIP FOR LATER. Discover the beauty of the California coast on a road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco via the Pacific Coast Highway. The 17-mile drive is a beautiful coastal road that has a number of lookout points to stop at. Hi Albert, I believe you need to find a campsite to park your RV for the night, however, I’m not sure about the specific rules for RVs in California. The Wharf is a great place to start for restaurants and shops and if you have the time you can go on a whale watching boat or fishing expedition too. Hope you have a good time! I’m taking my mother for her 72nd bday and my 3.5 yo daughter We ll leave santa monica on the 22-23 of july and we must travel from san francisco to las vegas on the 27-28th of july .what do u suggest us to do and Where to sleep in how many in how many cities we may spend the night and for how many nights? The Presidio Hotel — A boutique hotel in the heart of Santa Barbara. With so many different attractions to see, you will definitely be able to find something of interest for all types of travellers! We were heading straight to San Fran but have now decided to have a few nights at Lake Tahoe, so we’re thinking of going from Monterey to Lake Tahoe. Saturday am go to Monterey aquarium stop by at If you steamed ahead the whole route would take ten hours to do, but then you’d miss out on all the joys of the 1000km of impressive roads, views, and cool places to stop along the way. Hi JD! As I’m terrified of heights this is a real concern. I’m not sure if Santa Monica to Monterey is too far to drive in one day? We’ll spend a few nights at Lake Tahoe then head back to San Fran for a few nights before flying out to NY. Visit at Hearst castle It’s one of the tallest single span concrete bridges in the world and one of the most photographed bridges on the West Coast – bar the Golden Gate that you’ll have already driven over. I recommend staying near Fisherman’s Wharf as it’s in the heart of the action and right by the San Francisco … Which is a good mid way stop for the night so we can split attractions in half? The city of Santa Barbara is a fantastic place to stop for a day and enjoy the laid back California lifestyle. The best kind of road trip features great scenery, and the road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles on Highway 1 (also known as the Pacific Coast Highway) certainly fits the bill -- it boasts … Love your advise?. How long would this whole road trip take? Wow! Imagine having the money to just follow that advice on a whim – joyful! The key is to start in San Francisco and head down to Los Angeles so that you’re riding along the Pacific Coast. You can also visit Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is considered one of the best aquariums in the world and has a number of great exhibits to explore. San Francisco to San Diego – a great California coast road trip, but only the Central California and Southern California portions As you can see, you have options! I don’t mind stopping on the way down just not for trekking or surfing more for just the views. thanks! Hi Dani, that sounds like a good plan! San Francisco to Los Angeles Road Trip Itinerary – The Route The distance is a mere 450 miles or 720 kilometers. Glad you found the article helpful Abhijeet – hope you have a great time in California! On a typically sunny day, Ventura really is an amazing stop to enjoy – beautiful sunsets too. From Santa Barbara, the scenic LA to San Francisco drive goes along the 101 through picturesque mountains and wine country. Can you put my mind at rest or suggest an alternative route for the more white knuckle parts? Entrance to the Beach Boardwalk is free and you pay per ride. I would suggest spending the night in Santa Barbara or Pismo Beach if you’re going to spend the morning in LA. I understand i wouldn’t be able to make all the stops that you say in your blog but would that give me enough time to see the Golden gate bridge and main attractions in San Fran and then drive down and see the Hollywood sign and the stars on hollywood boulevard before making the trip to Vegas or would it be too rushed. It was very helpful. This magnificent San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip takes scenic route from San Francisco to Los Angeles. Hope you have a great trip! Forest, but we are only going for 5 days/4 nights. Whale watching, sailing, kayaking, golfing and biking are also popular in Monterey. The San Francisco to Los Angeles drive is still one of my absolute favourite I’ve ever done. Also the same between LA and Vegas would be great. Do you think 6 nights in Santa Monica and 5 nights in Monterey would work? And this road trip from Miami to Key West is pretty sweet too! There have been landslides in the past but they’re rare so I wouldn’t worry too much about it or let it impact your trip. May I ask in case I would like to spend more time from San Francisco to LA. Also, is August a good time to do this road trip? USA Road Trip: 11-Day San Francisco to Los Angeles Itinerary Under S$1.8k Gaze at the iconic Golden Gate Bridge of San Francisco, explore the mighty Yosemite National Park, and bask in the sun-kissed Los Angeles. Pismo Beach makes a good stop for lunch if you have spent the night in Santa Barbara as there are a number of great independent cafes and restaurants to enjoy. Get out at the top for an awesome view over the San Fernando Valley at the top of Topanga Overlook. Hike big sur and spend night in a cabin. Hope you have a great trip! For more information, see our privacy policy. Planning a LA to San Fran drive and was wondering if you have recommendations for stops with handcrafted cocktails also ? Hollywood Inn Suites Hotel — Located in the heart of Hollywood, this hotel has a range of rooms to choose from and is centrally located making it an excellent base for exploring. Hi Sanitago, While we didn’t have an RV there are campsites along the PCH so finding somewhere to stay shouldn’t be an issue. You can drive between the two cities in one day along the i5 Highway though there isn’t much to see along that route compared to going along the coast. Even better, pull over and snap a moody pic from the cliff edge before you rush away. If you need to rent a car prior to setting off on your Los Angeles to San Francisco road trip then I recommend searching on to find the best deal for car hire as they aggregate prices across all the major providers. Beyond the road part, which I assume won´t be an issue, I mean where would you recommend we stop along the way (we have four nights to spare and four alone). No worries. The Big Sur holds an arty, hippy community that, in my experience were quite unwelcoming to anyone who wasn’t in it. Highway 1 Road Trip in California was the much awaited road trip of 2016. There are several rooms to choose from and breakfast and parking are included in the room rate. The castle was built by newspaper mogul William Hearst and will once again make you feel as if you’ve been transported to Europe! Lady Gaga filmed a video here, and you can explore the 250,000 acres of rooms, suites, cottages, kitchens and grounds. I havent booked any flights yet and am contemplating flying into San Fran, driving down to La and then driving across to Las vegas on the 9th. It begins at the northern border with Oregon and stretches all the way down to finish in San Diego. Don’t miss the scenic ’17 Mile Drive’ and have a mooch around Carmel-by-the-Sea – a cute seaside village with shops, cafes and restaurants. Visiting the castle costs $25 and takes a couple of hours making this a fairly expensive detour if you’re trying to minimise your California trip cost, however, you can get a view of the castle from Highway 1 if you prefer to stick to the coast. Pismo Beach is a close enough walk and you can enjoy the tasty restaurants, ATV rentals, wine tasting, fishing, surfing, skydiving, bowling and mineral springs there. Due to the fires, a lot of the natural scenery here will take time to replenish and won’t be as spectacular as what you’ll see further up in Big Sur on your LA to San Francisco road trip. Is it a good idea to leave from riverside county on a Friday at 5 am I would also recommend spending some time at Big Sur as there are plenty of great hikes and things to see and do! If you want to allocate nights to San Francisco as well then you’ll probably need to cut out some of the stops as it will be rushed! Two of my friends were wearing baseball caps and I saw them eye them up before refusing our entry. I’ve never seen so many in one place, it was amazing. I think that’s a shorter drive through. The distance on the drive from LA to San Francisco is about 382 miles (615 kilometres) and takes only around 6 hours non-stop if travelling on the i5 Highway. You can also see Redwoods in Muir Woods or Redwood Regional Park in Oakland which might be a more logical stop if flying from SF. The most popular place to visit in Santa Cruz is the Beach Boardwalk which is home to one of the oldest roller coasters in the USA. Combining this section with a drive from LA to San Diego or event as part of a longer road trip to Portland or Seattle makes for the ultimate California itinerary for visitors who want to see the best of this state! Where to Stay on an LA to San Francisco Drive. Galleries, museums, an open air market and a lively downtown make San Jose a must on your road trip from San Francisco to LA. you advice is much appreciate as I am already in a panic state…. Last time in California was during my exchange year as a high school student in 2004. Hi Natalia! San Francisco is a great way to kick off your California experience because the traffic is not nearly as bad as Los Angeles. Road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles and you’ll enjoy stunning coastal views, Californian sunshine villages, epic forests, cool towns and a wine making district or two, too. Also, is this a busy time of year for travelers in these locations? If you want to indulge in Santa Monica’s world-famous shopping then venture over to the Third Street Promenade before ending your stop in Santa Monica with a walk along the Oceanfront and an obligatory photo at the Pier! Then driving from there to SF on day 2, taking in Big Sur and Monterey/Carmel. Exciting! After Solvang, your next opportunity to stop on the California Coast will be at Pismo Beach – a quintessential California surf town! The Bixby Bridge is your best route into the Big Sur, well, pretty much the only one from Highway 1 tbh. Click here to see their latest prices. We have 11 nights/days to drive LA – San Fran. My husband was hoping to add the Sequoia Nat. Awesome! Thank you. Hi Tamara, I’d personally rather spend the time driving along the PCH and spending a couple of days in San Francisco rather than time in LA. Put “Ano Nuevo State Park” into your sat nav where you can visit the Elephant Seals in the marine park, and take a look at a San Francisco Garter Snake too. The late Sarah Winchester built the place at a cost of over $20m, as instructed by her Medium. Of course you can do Highway 1 the other way, and drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco on a road trip… When beginning your LA to San Francisco drive, I suggest marking your final stop as Marin Headlands in San Francisco. Jen, Hi Jen! Is there anywhere you can recommend for a shopping stop or a food stop between San Francisco and LA as it seems to be about a 6 hour drive. Solvang is an unusual stop and not something you would expect to find on a Los Angeles to San Francisco road trip however it makes for a good detour if you are longing for a taste of Europe! Highway 1 Road Trip! Can’t wait❣️? Thanks for writing this blog. This San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip itinerary … The main attraction of Pismo Beach is the stunning coastline that you find here along with the old school California feel. Road Trip San francisco to Los Angeles. Is it all managable or should we drop smth out of it? Relax and take your time as you are on a road trip holiday! However … Regardless of whether you travel from San Francisco to LA or the other way around, the stops will be the same and you will still get to see all of the magnificent attractions in this beautiful part of California! Really enjoyed your blog and all the insights. The Bixby Bridge is 714 feet long and 280 feet high. The quickest and most popular route … Potentially the earliest i can fly into San Fran is on the 5th April. Head to Marin headlands If you want to spend two days in Monterey, check out this post from California Crossroads. If going down the coastal route in one day I would suggest stopping somewhere like Pismo Beach which is about halfway. Hello! Hello my name is josiane i am planning road trip from LA to san fransisco These are some accommodation recommendations on an LA to San Francisco drive, along with places to stay in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Get the reverse directions for a San Francisco to Los Angeles drive, or go to the main page to plan a new road trip. Carmel Lodge — Another great place for couples who want a romantic hotel stay in Carmel. Of course you can do Highway 1 the other way, and drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco on a road trip, but this way is generally considered the best. Click here to browse other hotels close to Carmel or Monterey! Below are 13 amazing stops to enjoy on a road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco along Highway 1. In Monterey, enjoy a walk down Cannery Row while spotting tributes to some of the literary greats that have come from this part of the world. Hi Gemma, you can see and stop at some but not all of these stops by taking the Amtrack Coastal Train and there are also some shuttle buses but it’s going to add a lot of travel time compared to driving. As the per the information I am going to make road trip on my Harley Davidson. & 12 Best Ways to Save Money on a USA Road Trip, 12 Awesome Stops on a San Francisco to Seattle Road Trip. You can go and add your mark on the world, if you like. If you want an additional place to stay the night, I suggest Pismo Beach. Click here to see their latest prices. How about booking an Airbnb for your time in LA, yeah? The highlight of San Simeon is Hearst Castle high up on The Enchanted Hill. Hello, Next up on your Los Angeles to San Francisco drive and only about a twenty-minute drive from Santa Monica is Malibu. Really appreciate your response. Click here to see their latest prices. These stops combine a fantastic mix of beautiful nature, relaxed beach towns, hip cities and quirky attractions! Thanks. love the blog very excited! Oh fab! Hi Jayde! Post Thanksgiving, Praveen was supposed to shift back to SLC, where I live. Orchard Hotel —  A boutique hotel, located in downtown San Francisco, they have several different types of rooms available and breakfast included in the rate. What would be the best use of our time, travelling with kids? The San Francisco to Los Angeles drive is well known as one of the prettiest and most scenic routes in the world, never mind America. Click here to see their latest prices, Cheshire Cat Inn — This quaint bed and breakfast is perfect for couples who want a romantic place to stay. I am travelling to LA in August 2020 with my husband and two young children for the first time. Drive back to riverside Monday 5 am, Any suggestions on itenerary I have in mind. If you have time, take a few days to relax along the route, soak up some of the scenery and just generally chill out. I suggest first heading either to Main Street which has a local Farmer’s Market on weekends. How RV friendly would you say it is? That being said, if you want to spend a couple of days surfing or breaking up your journey further than both Pismo Beach or Santa Cruz are also logical places to spend a couple of nights. Half Moon Bay is a relatively small town and has a number of great little cafes and boutique shops to explore if you want to stretch your legs. Click here to see their latest prices, Carmel Green Lantern Inn — Located next to Carmel Beach, this cosy bed and breakfast is a lovely place to stay in Carmel. Thank you from the bottom of my heart?? and also get a good sunset? If so, can you recommend a stop in between? Michael is a co-founder and writer for The World Was Here First. 16 Top Tips for Driving the Pacific Coast Highway, 7 Ways to Make the Most of Your Road Trip Budget, 58 Brilliant Things to Do on the Isle of Wight. Thank you so very much for all of your information. If not, take a look around the historic Downtown Ventura and make the most of the vintage boutiques and second hand stores. For an adventure, head to Oceano Dunes … I’m hiring an RV (relocation) from LA and dropping off in San Fran. Moonstone Beach is also a popular spot in San Simeon, as is the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery and shopping at Cambria Village too. We are a family my husband and i and two girls 23 and 21