Unfortunately, there isn’t an alternative route if you want to see the majority of these sites! These stops combine a fantastic mix of beautiful nature, relaxed beach towns, hip cities and quirky attractions! I'm glad you enjoyed it and hope it's given you a few ideas on what to do and where to go on the road trip! Is it even possible to include? Hope you have a great trip! 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. Hello, Michael. A gentle uphill drive from here takes you out to the Big Sur, where the fun really begins on your San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip. We would be leaving from Anaheim to San Fran Could this drive be done in one day? How about booking an Airbnb for your time in LA, yeah? Like, on purpose. Even better, pull over and snap a moody pic from the cliff edge before you rush away. This ultimate San Francisco to LA road trip ended at Santa Monica beach with a nice dinner at Pier followed by checking out the nightlife in LA. They have a range of rooms available and their location is ideal for people that are only staying in the area for one night. Hello my name is josiane i am planning road trip from LA to san fransisco Wander around Malibu and you’ll find piers, sickeningly beautiful weekend homes and super healthy restaurants – and maybe even the odd celebrity or two. After exploring central Santa Cruz, take a drive or walk along West Cliff Drive for another dose of spectacular views and watching surfers go about their day! Glad you found the article helpful Abhijeet – hope you have a great time in California! 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. xx 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! Make it a comfortable one with no rush. Hi Terri! 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. This is a perfect road trip plan. You can also compare the travel time if you're flying or driving by calculating the distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Thanks for writing this blog. Hi Andrea, I don’t have any specific recommendations however I’m sure you’ll be able to find one in the major towns along the route such as Santa Barbara, Monterey or Carmel. Solvang was founded by Danish immigrants who wanted a feeling of familiarly after immigrating to the USA. Thank you from the bottom of my heart?? Potentially the earliest i can fly into San Fran is on the 5th April. I’m not sure if Santa Monica to Monterey is too far to drive in one day? While you can find accommodation anywhere along the Los Angeles to San Francisco drive, I recommend basing yourself in Santa Barbara and Carmel or Monterey out of all these stops along Highway 1. Click here to browse other hotels close to Carmel or Monterey! The city of Santa Barbara is a fantastic place to stop for a day and enjoy the laid back California lifestyle. My friends and I are planning on doing this trip in reverse because we have to end on Los Angeles. From Santa Barbara, the scenic LA to San Francisco drive goes along the 101 through picturesque mountains and wine country. The coastal walks were the highlight of our time in Big Sur as watching the waves crash against the cliffs is infatuating! Can’t wait❣️? Any special precaution when driving along PCH during this period. It begins at the northern border with Oregon and stretches all the way down to finish in San Diego. Half moon 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. I’m hiring an RV (relocation) from LA and dropping off in San Fran. And this road trip from Miami to Key West is pretty sweet too! Really appreciate your response. We plan to do this in June 2020 with our 4 year old daughter. I haven’t driven from LA to Vegas so can’t offer any advice there. May I ask in case I would like to spend more time from San Francisco to LA. Hope you have a great trip! A San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip will see you driving next to the coast which has several advantages. We are a family my husband and i and two girls 23 and 21 If not, take a look around the historic Downtown Ventura and make the most of the vintage boutiques and second hand stores. Thanks kindly. Hope you have a good time! I already booked my flight BNE to LAX then SFO back to brisbane so will be doing the trip la to san fran. Click here to see their latest prices. 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. My parents visited me from Germany and we made a big road trip from Las Vegas via San Francisco to Los Angeles. and then spend there a night and then rent a car there and drive to Monterey and then onwards to LA? Traveling oct 24-november 3 and driving the coast. Not a hiker or surfer but I am sure we will discover lots, Glad you liked the article – hope you enjoy it! https://www.theworldwasherefirst.com/big-sur-day-trip-itinerary/ & https://www.theworldwasherefirst.com/santa-barbara-day-trip/. I would also recommend spending some time at Big Sur as there are plenty of great hikes and things to see and do! Galleries, museums, an open air market and a lively downtown make San Jose a must on your road trip from San Francisco to LA. I don’t want too many stops in different locations due to all the packing and unpacking! Lady Gaga filmed a video here, and you can explore the 250,000 acres of rooms, suites, cottages, kitchens and grounds. And spend 2 nights in Sf I suggest basing yourself near Monterey/Carmel & Santa Barbara if you have 4 nights. Do the San Francisco to LA road trip right and you’ll end up on Ventura Beach, right in front of the pier. We are planning a road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles to see the famous west coast in the end of December. Keep an eye on the road markings and signs, rather than the sat nav, to be in the right lane for Ventura on the Pacific Coast Highway to carry on with your drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles. thanks! The San Francisco to Los Angeles drive is 6 h 16 mins (383.1 mi) via I-5 S – the most direct route. A San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip will see you driving next to the coast which has several advantages. When beginning your LA to San Francisco drive, I suggest marking your final stop as Marin Headlands in San Francisco. Can tou give me an idea please?! That means if you click a link and make a purchase, we make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Ill then fly out of vegas on the 16th. 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! We have the Boardwalk at Santa Cruz, Monterey Aquarium, Hearst Castle, Tinker Toys and Sweet Shop at Carmel and Pismo Beach listed but was just interested if you had any other suggestions. First timers coming from Australia. There are many beautiful sights along the Big Sur driving from San Fran to LA – Pfeiffer Beach, McWay Falls, Point Sur State Historic Park, Ragged Point – lap them up by stopping often. If you want to go there, it’s about a 4-hour drive from LAX so you can potentially go there first and then drive back onto the PCH towards Pismo Beach. 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. Similarly to Santa Barbara, Carmel is also a great town to stop at a wine tasting room to enjoy a glass or flight! Are there any ‘must see’ locations for children aged 8/11 that spring to mind and do you have any recommendations for family friendly accomodation along the way. 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! Thank you. We tried to visit the Esalen Institute for the views and natural hot spring baths. Post Thanksgiving, Praveen was supposed to shift back to SLC, where I live. 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. 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. ), Richmond Park Walks: A Perfect London Day Hike. During this part of your Los Angeles to San Francisco road trip, take some time to explore the cute town of Pismo Beach. If you’ve visited Copenhagen before you might also notice a replica of a lot of the city’s famous sites such as the Little Mermaid Statue and Hans Christian Anderson Museum. How RV friendly would you say it is? A number of the accommodation recs listed in this article have options for rooms that can accommodate up to 4 people so worth checking out some of them! My 2-Week California Road Trip Itinerary Itinerary Day 1-3: San Francisco. Highway 1 road trip … Click here to browse other hotels in Los Angeles! 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. If you’ve got time to spare in San Luis Obispo hike up Black Hill, Islay Hill, Bishop Peak and round theSan Luis Obispo Botanical Garden. 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. Hug the coastline here and you’ll get to see Stearns Wharf and East Beach too. A California road trip that develops into an American road trip through the United States. Wouldn’t mind going again tbh. Driving from LA to Vegas. There are unique accommodation options such as cosy seaside cottage in Monterey or this elegant private studio apartment in Carmel. S tarting from the west coast at San Francisco, the Californian road trip first touches Los Angles, travels through multiple cities and the heartlands before c oncluding with the E ast C oa st. and to stop at the Pacific Grove Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary. Thanks for all the tips as I have never visited California before. Begin your one day in Santa Barbara by strolling along the Harbour and exploring the iconic Stearns Wharf. I personally think it might be too rushed to include it if you only have 5 days as there’s a lot to see along the PCH. 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! Can you put my mind at rest or suggest an alternative route for the more white knuckle parts? As well as possibly controlling all of our futures, San Jose also has a fascinating past. love the blog very excited! Love your advise?. The key is to start in San Francisco and head down to Los Angeles so that you’re riding along the Pacific Coast. Also, is August a good time to do this road trip? I’m looking forward to this drive in September, leaving from San Diego to San Francisco. These are some accommodation recommendations on an LA to San Francisco drive, along with places to stay in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. The Bixby Bridge is 714 feet long and 280 feet high. The quickest and most popular route … Thank you so very much for all of your information. Hello! thanks. Thanks for the tips, going to Cali this month cant wait. Hi! Aside from hostels or hotels, it is also worth considering Airbnb as there are a number of rooms available in the area such as this secluded studio with panoramic views in Santa Barbara. 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. It was very helpful. Road Trips - Road Trip-San Francisco and Los Angeles - We family of 3, visiting US in early June 2017; would like to do the Pacific Coast Highway road trip between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Both these areas have a number of attractions that can be explored over a couple of days while the other stops work better as pitstops when driving. San Francisco ⇨ Los Angeles 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. A fantastic breakfast is included in the room rate. The late Sarah Winchester built the place at a cost of over $20m, as instructed by her Medium. Jen, Hi Jen! This is going to help us immensely in fulfilling our Californian road trip dream. 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! We were in California at that time of year and the weather is quite mild, particularly as you get further south. Hi Bob, you could possibly go down to the coast to LA and then travel inland, stopping at places like Sequoia National Forest, Yosemite National Park and Death Valley before returning to SF. About 45 minutes north from Santa Barbara, you have the option of detouring to Solvang – a town that will make you feel as if you’ve been transported to Copenhagen, Denmark! If visiting several wineries, it’s worth investing in this Self-Guided Wine Tour as it gives you complimentary wine at a number of tasting rooms and discounts on flights which will easily be worth the money if visiting multiple tasting rooms. At the end of the day though, you should drive along Highway 1 whichever way makes the most sense to you! Just an hour from Santa Cruz you’ll find Monterey Bay on the curve of the coast. Their guest rooms have private entrance making this a great option for people looking for more privacy. If you want to get from LA to San Francisco while also seeing some of the best views in California, pack up a car and take a road trip on the Pacific Coast Highway, also known as Highway 1. They have a range of clean and comfortable rooms available and a friendly staff that will go above and beyond to ensure you have a great stay. Looking forward to going now. Does this sound like a good plan? I have 3 days to do the drive so I’m planning to stop and stay the nights in Sanaa Barbara, Pismo and Monterey. How long would this whole road trip take? Click here to see their latest prices, The Stevenson Monterey – If you want to stay in Monterey, then this motel is a great budget option and located just off Highway 1. Hi Michael When traveling along the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles, you'll have your pick of majestic viewpoints worthy of stopping the car. Hi John, that sounds do-able if you don’t plan on making any of these stops. I don’t mind stopping on the way down just not for trekking or surfing more for just the views. 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. Hi Abdul, I don’t think you can make all the stops in one night. Hi JD! There is a desire to include a detour into Yosemite into the trip. Hope you have a great trip! The journey is as important as the destination, right? 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. You won’t get any snow on the PCH. 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! The 60s live on here, especially along the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk with its old-school Americana vibe. 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. 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. 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. Wondering where to stop on a Los Angeles to San Francisco drive? Hi Michael, I have a hotel booked in Las vegas from 9th-16th April next year. Many thanks While Malibu was heavily affected by wildfires towards the end of 2018, it remains a popular spot for visitors due to the prestige that surrounds the town in Hollywood. However, the stops outlined on this LA to San Francisco drive go primarily along Highway 1 and you should expect to spend at least 3 to 4 days to see all the highlights of the PCH. However … If you don’t feel like getting into the water then there are also a number of hiking opportunities in the area. For more information, see our privacy policy. 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. We want to do the coast down to LA… but what would be a good loop route, to keep things interesting and maximise time? If you want to spend two days in Monterey, check out this post from California Crossroads. Thanks Michael. There are several rooms to choose from and breakfast and parking are included in the room rate. Highway 1 Road Trip in California was the much awaited road trip of 2016. 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. Hope you have a great trip! Can you give us any tips. We already covered Santa Monica and Malibu. Hope you have a great trip! Discover the beauty of the California coast on a road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco via the Pacific Coast Highway. With the age of sixteen, it was a great adventure. How many days is then optimal for between Monterey and LA? If not, just soak up the views and take your money elsewhere! and also get a good sunset? I wish I had seen your blog before I booked my flight and went in the opposite direction from San Francisco to la instead of the north drive, wonderful ideas here and will probably investigate many. Really enjoyed your blog and all the insights. What are the must sees in between and where should we stay overnight those 2 nights? Are these areas generally ok with RV’s parking up for the night? This is particularly beneficial when driving in Big Sur as the roads are narrow and it can be more challenging to pull into a car park from the other side of the road. Is this advisable and will we miss anything between Monterey and San Fran if we do this? Oh fab! You could spend 2 days in SF, drive down to LA and then spend one day in LA before heading to Las Vegas. Hi Daniel! . In the afternoon, make sure to take advantage of Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trails. It has been significantly upgraded over the years and is now a great mix of old school charm and modern attractions. Go between the glitz and glam of LA and Vegas with this road trip… I wouldn’t recommend flying as it will likely take more time than driving and you’ll have a lot more options for car rental in SF. Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. We stopped at Shin’s Poke which is an excellent place to eat if you’re after a fresh poke bowl! For an adventure, head to Oceano Dunes … We are a family of 4, 2 teenagers capable of long stints in the car and quick stops if needed.