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San Diego to San Fransico - Pacific Coast Highway

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by PDixon81, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. PDixon81

    PDixon81

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    My wife and i are taking a child free trip to the west coast in early February. We are flying into San Diego and plan to stay there for 3 days. We are going to take 2 days to drive to San Francisco on the pacific coast highway then stay in San Francisco for 2 days and fly home from there. I'm looking for hotel and entertainment suggestions in San Diego, Must see's on the road to San Francisco and then hotel and entertainment suggestions in San Francisco.

    Ive been to San Diego a few times in the past so i know the usual Zoo, Sea-World, La Jolla, Mission beach, Coronado Island.
     

  2. Daveusow

    Daveusow NES Member

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    My wife and I did the drive from LA to SF a couple years ago. My recommendation is to make sure you get a comfortable rental car with enough HP to get through the mountain switchbacks, etc. Take your time, and stop a lot to see the sights. There is something different to see around every corner. It's a great drive!
    If you are a beer guy, check out this place when you get to S.F.
    Draft List
    Never had any of the food, but the bar downstairs is a great place for a wide variety of excellent Belgium beers. Best to walk/take an Uber home from this one ;-)
     
  3. M1911

    M1911 Moderator NES Member

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    I haven't been south of Santa Barbara. Big Sur is just gorgeous. The last time we were there, we stayed at Ventana -- expensive, but a lovely place.

    Take a walk in Pfeiffer Big Sur state park. Visit the Hearts Castle (get tickets ahead of time). Drive the 17-mile-drive in Pebble Beach.

    If I was passing through LA, I'd visit the Petersen Automotive Museum.
     
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  4. Radtekk

    Radtekk NES Member

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    If there's any way to do it, drive SOUTH on PCH so you're on the ocean side of the road. Better view, easier to pull over...
     
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  5. snax

    snax NES Member

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    Check the Maps/ Caltrans. There may be closures due to rock/mudslide/fires from past events, or events around the time of your trip.
    I did SF-LA trip several times years ago and twice I was redirected off PCH because of rocks/fires. I think both times it was in or around Santa Barbara.
     
  6. blindfire

    blindfire NES Member

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    Eh...February in CA is going to be iffy. That is pretty much their winter / rainy period. Expect a lot of grey days but hope you get some sunny days too. PCH is nice, but it will be a slow drive especially between San Diego and Santa Barbara.

    In Santa Barbara, there is a GREAT sea food joint. Renovated warehouse looking building. High ceilings and open kitchen. Enterprise Seafood. I think it was even mentioned in one of Douglas Adams' books.

    Touristy thing but still cool. Hurst Castle.

    Much past Santa Barbara, I can't help. Lived in LA for 11+ years.

    Good luck and have fun!
     
  7. Lennypeters

    Lennypeters NES Member

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    Morro Bay.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2018
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  8. Rockrivr1

    Rockrivr1 NES Member

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    Just two days to drive up the PCH is not going to leave you much time for any pulling over and sight seeing. You can do it in that time, but 99% of your time will be just driving. Half the fun of driving on the PCH is stopping at different places as you drive. Just a thought as the road is slow and it's a long road between those two cities.

    As to San Diego, if you've been most places there maybe you only do two days in SD and three days in SF. One day you should visit the USS Midway. My old ship and a great time looking around. As to places to stay I'd avoid the downtown Gas Light District. We went last year and stayed at the Kona Kai over on Shelter Island on the other side of the bay. It's a great area and only 15 minutes to downtown, plus it was much cheaper then staying on Coronado.
     
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  9. Cabinetman

    Cabinetman

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    I tried not to reply here because I know the type of trip you're anticipating. Unfortunately, however, the ending destination is not going to be very appealing. I've spoken with several travelers recently and they have all agreed that what's happening in SFO now is beyond exaggeration. Here's one link to some very recent examples:

    EXCLUSIVE: 'Video vigilantes' documenting SF drug use hope for stronger city response

    My wife and I honeymooned in SFO and have returned three times since over 37 years. Each time we were sorry we did and now we won't ever go back because the problems there are systemic and are not being addressed. Please do your homework, especially about where your lodging will be.

    ON the way there, however,I would recommend you stop at LaBrea. The Tarpits are just extraordinarily interesting and I, for one, loved browsing the displays there. It's worth the small diversion. Sterns' Warf at Santa Barbara is also pretty fun and there's great food out toward the end.
    Oh....one more thing. All the wineries north of San Jose have gone really commercial with their tasting rooms. Search out some smaller, newer wineries on the way up south of San Jose as they are still in the mode the big ones were back 20 years or so, with small, intimate tasting rooms that are free in most places.
    At least you won't be worried about fires. Last time we were there helicopters were scooping up sea water to extinguish fire just 1/2 mile on our left.

    Rome
     
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  10. ioman2

    ioman2 NES Member

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    I've surfed all up and down the coast.

    I second morro bay. An amazing beach. Salt creek in Dana point and san o in san Clemente.

    Also San Louis Obispo, Ventura, and Laguna beach.
     
  11. drgrant

    drgrant Moderator NES Member

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    This.

    Don't even bother with SF, it's done... you might as well pull in on the peninsula at the end and spend the day there, or go to Half Moon Bay or something.

    My mother loved SF and even she won't go visit anymore, because it's gotten all shitholed out. Most of the rest of her family (who live in CA) don't either, the only exception is to go to AT&T to watch the giants games or to the airport. Otherwise just stay away.

    -Mike
     
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  12. PDixon81

    PDixon81

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    Yes, i would agree 2 days probably wont be enough time. San Francisco is really just a destination for us to fly out of that i figure we could sight see while there. Most likely scenario we stay 2 days in San Diego then the rest of the time driving and sight seeing and only staying that last quick overnight in San Francisco to leave early the next day.
     
  13. PDixon81

    PDixon81

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    Thanks for the tip, i just checked that website out and will be helpful
     
  14. PDixon81

    PDixon81

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    Yea, unfortunately with my work winters are the best time for me to travel.
     
  15. jhblaze1

    jhblaze1

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    dude that will take a month. unless you skip off of it through LA. Takes me an hour to get from the 10 to Malibu on pretty much any day of the week and it's like 8 miles.

    I doubt the whole drive on the PCH is really worth it. Go inland for the mountains and stuff and then hit the PCH in Big Sur and Monterrey.
     
  16. Greg

    Greg NES Member

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    Like others have said,PCH will take a really really long time,best bet us to pick out some destinations and drive to the coast from Hwy 101.

    Monterey is cool,Cannery Row.

    Skip SF,go North.

    Muir Woods,just right over the GG bridge.Reservations mandatory now.

    Bodega Bay.

    Mendocino Coast.

    Google all of those..You can spend time in wine country and hit the coast from there.Can also go even farther North to Ft Bragg and ride the Skunk Train.

    I'm out in the area now,seen Humpback whales last week and today seen a bunch of dolphins.For coastline scenery,NoCal is the best.I could post pics of the coastline,probably change your mind.
     
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  17. Picton

    Picton NES Member

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    Hearst Castle. It’s one of the few tourist attractions that lives up to the hype.

    San Luis Obispo is a beautiful little city just a bit inland.

    Visit one of the California missions. You’ve got 21 to pick from and they’re all interesting. Santa Barbara or San Juan Capistrano are excellent, but SLO’s is nice too.

    I know SF is a liberal death trap, but it’s a fantastic city to visit.
     
  18. 71montess

    71montess NES Member

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    Dont go further north than Monterey, turn right and head to the Tetons.
     
  19. Viper22

    Viper22 NES Member

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    Did that trip in a brand new Camaro RS convertible on my honeymoon. Awesome drive. The car stuck to the road like glue.
     
  20. blindfire

    blindfire NES Member

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    What THAT guy said! :)
     
  21. AntiHippie

    AntiHippie

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    Hearst Castle is definitely worth it. SLO is just a bit inland, but Rte 1 goes right through it (as does 101). I saw something recently in the local news (I'm in SLO County for a few years) that part of the PCH (Rte 1) is going to be closed again between here and Monterey. I'll see if I can dig it up. If you do end up having to go over to 101, you're going to want to take the 1 all the way into Morro Bay, take 41 over to Atascadero, go up two exits to San Anselmo St. exit, stop at the In-N-Out Burger before getting back on 101. It's almost directly across the street from the exit. Or if you're looking for something better, get off the Traffic Rd exit and hit Street Side Diner. Outstanding food, and rotating taps from Firestone Walker Brewing (ten minutes north of there.) In fact, if you take 101, stop at Firestone and try one of their Vintage, or Heritage, or whatever its called beers. Sticky Monkey or Bravo Porter. Decent food there, too, but I prefer Street Side.

    If you like tacos - before you get to Morro Bay, San Miguel Market in Los Osos. Chalapa in Morro Bay. Some other place in Cayucas, forget the name, gas station/mini-mart/taco joint all in one.

    Morro Bay is kind of a cool little town. Skateboard museum if you're into that, lot of good places to eat, couple microbreweries, all kinds of wine, great breakfast burritos and tuna melts from Bottle Liquor Deli. The F/V Northwestern's (from Deadliest Catch) sister ship is moored for the winter right by the Coast Guard Station (right on the other side of the pier).

    Rte 1 between Morro Bay and Monterey is scenic, but takes longer than 101 does. If you're in it for the scenery, take 1. If you want to get from from MB to Monterey quickly, take 41 to Atascadero and jump on 101. Or jump on 101 in SLO and drive up the grade and skip Morro Bay.
     
  22. Varmint

    Varmint NES Member

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    We loved Monterey, got to see sea otters up close at Moss Landing (see pic). Point Lobos was really beautiful. Big Sur was ok, i was more impressed by the Oregon coast.
    Moss Landing otters.jpg
     
  23. W.E.C

    W.E.C NES Member

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    Spent some time in San Francisco,
    Spent a night there in the can
    They threw this drunk man in my jail cell,
    I took fifteen dollars from that man.
    I left him my watch and my old house keys,
    I don't like folks thinking that I'd steal
    Then I thanked him as he was sleeping,
    And I headed out for Bakersfield.
     
  24. Spanz

    Spanz NES Member

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    about 50 miles south of SF are some forests of redwood trees. Worth going off the highway to see them....just a little inland

    Big Basin redwood state park is one of them
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
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  25. Lennypeters

    Lennypeters NES Member

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    No matter how bad San Francisco has become spend a little time there before it gets worse. Ride a cable car. Visit Alcatraz. Drive down Lombard St. See the five sisters. Have lunch at Fisherman's Wharf. Tour Ghirardelli's.
     
  26. Spanz

    Spanz NES Member

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    I would wander around the waterfront, maybe do alcatraz, then take a cable car to china town for lunch. Cable car museum was fun too.

    Sounds like you have a car, so at least drive across the golden gate bridge. There is a neat observation park on the far side you can turn around in easily, and get a close up look at the bridge.
     
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2018
  27. PDixon81

    PDixon81

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    Thanks everyone a lot of great info i need to digest and research. i will definitely look into either increasing my road time or going around L.A. to avoid the traffic. That was one of my biggest questions i had was how long it would take me to basically be clear of the traffic in and around L.A. Maybe San Diego to San Francisco in 2.5-3 days is still ambitious
     
  28. whalerman69

    whalerman69 NES Member

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    Just did SF to LA two weeks ago. Stayed couple nights at Monterey Paza Hotel on Cannery Row. NICE. Lunch on 18th green Pebble Beach was worth it. One night Cambria one night Santa Barbara. Cool drive south till you get to Malibu then shit show starts. Did Getty Villa was OK but Hearst Castle way better. You know you are getting old when I got to car rental there were three cars sitting there a BMW convertible, Mercedes sport and a Cadillac. I took the caddy. Great ride. :) Have fun...
     
  29. Jason m

    Jason m NES Member

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    Watch out for poop.
     
  30. PDixon81

    PDixon81

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    So like others have said would you suggest avoiding route 1 around LA? Someone suggested going east around LA and picking the road back up north of LA. (I'm going San Diego to San Fran)
     

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