Highway 1 Road Trip - California
Replies: 11 - Last Post: May 21, 2012 1:02 PM Last Post By: planetunited
Apr 27, 2012 5:14 AM
Highway 1 Road Trip - CaliforniaHi,
Myself and my girlfriend are planning a 2 week road trip of California, starting in San Francisco and leaving from San Diego. Our plan is a few days in San Fran, followed by a road trip to stay outside Yosemite with a day in the park and then drive down to Santa Cruz.
We will then begin the 2 day trip down highway 1 - wanting to drive on the coastal road all the way down to LA. So starting in Santa Cruz we will head down to Big Sur - just looking for ideas of where to go down the coastal road and where we should stay over night - my thinking was possibly Cambria - giving us a good day to explore Big Sur?
Any recommendation of Hotels in Santa Cruz and down highway 1?
Then a small road trip then from LA to San Diego, so again any ideas for places to visit??
Thanks for your help!!
Apr 27, 2012 5:22 AM
Apr 27, 2012 7:13 AM
2It is important to know when you are planning this trip. Summer months in Yosemite and along Hwy 1 can be brutal because of crowds and the dreaded motorhome. Trust me you never want to be behind a motorhome going south from Carmel on Hwy 1. Takes forever! Anyway, since we don't have that information here's some suggestions based on your inquiry. Spend 3 days in SF. The City has a variety of sites and neighborhoods to explore and 2 days doesn't provide enough time to explore and enjoy. Start out early the next day to beat commuter traffic and head off to Yosemite. 3 to 4 hours just to get to the ranger station entrances to pay,(depending on your rte) another 40 mins to an hour to get into the Valley. All roads into Yosemite are two lanes so if you're behind a motorhome, camper, tour bus or truck hauling supplies. See what I am saying? There's a good shuttle bus in the valley. Be sure to stop at the Awahnee for a peek. If Bridaveil is flowing nice option for hike. Crowds will be massive during the summer months, less so but still crowded in the Fall. Enjoyable in the Winter months even with the snow. If traveling in winter Always check to be certain routes into Yosemite are open and be sure to carrying chains in the car. For the drive from Yosemite Valley to Santa Cruz take 140 out of the Valley through Mariposa out to Merced and over to I-5, then south to 152, over Pacheco Pass, through Gilroy, stop at the Panera Bread restaurant (6865 Camino Arroyo Gilroy, CA 95020) then over Mt. Madonna, into Watsonville where you can catch Hwy 1 going back North to Santa Cruz. Stay the night in SC, Aptos, Capitola. Head south via 1 the next morning. Stop in Moss Landing to see the Elkhorn Slough,on into Monterey. Aquarium is nice but if that's not your thing head straight to Point Lobos State Park outside of Carmel. You'll pay a State Parks fee for Point Lobos but it's a nice park to explore. Walk from Sea Lion Cove out to China Cove and back. Lovley. Leave Pt. Lobos and head south on Hwy 1 to Big Sur. YOu'll set the pace or the traffic will. Bixby Bridge and Julia Phieffer Burns State park (another fee) are popular photo ops. The drive from Big Sur to Cambria is about an 1.5 hours.Cambria is a fun town to shop in but personally I'd stay overnight in Cayucos instead. 16-17 miles south of Cambria. It's one of the few beach towns in CA that remains true to its surfer vibe. From here you are only 4-5 hours from the megalopolis so I say take your time that day. Stop in Morro Bay and have breakfast at the Bayside Cafe 10 State Park Road. Just around the corner from the golf course. Could then drive over to Los Osos/Baywood to the fun Elfin Forest, stop to buy the best coffee at SloRoasted (not a cup but beans, Big Sky blend is fabulous). Depending on your time or desire Montana Del Oro State park is a hidden gem. Back onto visit the La purissima Mission there, connect with
Apr 27, 2012 7:25 AM
3hwy 1/101 through San Luis Obispo enroute to Santa Barbara. Walk the strand and visit the pier in SB, spend the night in Caperinteria. From there you are officially in Southern California. Can reconnect with the 1 outside of Camarillo or stay on the 101 into the outskirts of the megalopolis and catch the 405 south to San Diego. Just know I've lived in LA for over 25 years and can count the times I've driven the 405 on one hand. Absolutely the worst traffic jams in all of LA County. But most travelers want to see Santa Monica and Venice when in LA so this is the most direct route to those beach cities. Have a wonderful time in my home state. Yosemite and the Pacific Coast route from Carmel to San Simeon are truly lovely parts of it's diverse looks. Enjoy.
Apr 27, 2012 2:20 PM
Apr 27, 2012 2:48 PM
5Firstly thanks so much for that response! It was great and suits us!
Secondly, sorry for missing some serious details..
When: Last week of August, first week of September
Interests: Food, a little partying. Really into photography and a bit of culture. Love the beaches, enjoy a bit of touristy stuff and my girlfriend fancies a bit of star spotting!
Budget: hotels about £80-120 per night
Apr 27, 2012 4:18 PM
6I found a variety of good cheap hotels in the Pacific Grove area near Monterrey. Note that September 3 is a public holiday and everything is going to be jammed that entire weekend. You can drive from Monterrey to Morro Bay in about 4 hours if conditions are right. So it depends on what you want to do in Big Sur. Just take pictures from the road side or do some hikes? Next time I go back I'm planning on staying at http://www.raggedpointinn.net/ . Awesome view, food on site, even a hike. If you want to enjoy the road, it's almost empty in the early morning. Best time to find a parking space at popular spots too.
Apr 27, 2012 5:39 PM
7Star spotting huh. The Gelson's grocery store in the Hollywood Hills on Franklin off the 101 always has someone in there. Over the years have seen, Helen Mirren, Lily Tomlin, Diane Keaton, James Marsden, Tim Curry. Concheta Farrell (Berta on Two and Half Men) is there nearly every morning. Hey, they live or lived nearby. It's the local market. Stars are every where in this town. At gas stations filling up their cars, at Starbucks buying coffee, shopping, hiking and walking with their dogs, jogging, and yes, some are clubbing. Be aware of your surroundings. Look at the driver in the Range Rover or Mercedes next to you at a light. If you think you see someone it's probably them. The guys are usually shorter than you think. The women without makeup. Most dressed in worn jeans and tees with ball caps pulled low. Guys with some peach fuzz, girls with hair in ponytails. Will you see Tom Cruise? Probably not. Then again he does drive his kids to school.
Apr 28, 2012 5:04 AM
8Getting xYosemite lodging should be your top priority. Even outside the park, it gets full fast that time of year.
If you fail that, maybe visit the xBig Basin Redwoods and/or the xChannel Islands. They aren't the same, but they will likely be much less crowded.
Try to time your trip to be in xSan Luis Obispo on a Thursday night. Their evening market is part farmers market, part festival.
You may also like xHearst Castle. Book ahead.
Apr 28, 2012 4:54 PM
9Many thanks, my girlfriend will be happy knowing how to spot star!
With Yosemite we are def going to book, probably next week! Inside the park seems too much so we may stay somewhere like Groveland with a crack of dawn start!
We will drive Santa Cruz to Cambria/Cayocus in one day so a bit I time I think for small hike along Big Sur??
Can anyone give advice for hiring the car? We start in San Fran and end in San Diego accross 12 days? Do you have any good comparison sites for this??
Apr 30, 2012 8:18 PM
10Any/every site will compare car rentals. hotels.com, orbitz.com, expedia.com. With a car rental you generally do not need to provide a credit card to reserve it and therefore no penalty for not showing up. A one way rental may be different. I generally get an idea of prices and then go to the direct site to actually book it. Print out your details so they don't charge you more at the counter.
In big sur, stop when you see a bunch of cars and a pretty view. Probably a popular hike. Most hikes are not that long as they just go to the ocean.
May 21, 2012 1:02 PM
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