Alternatively, if you prefer a campervan or RV, then I suggest browsing on Outdoorsy which offers a huge selection of choices. The Bixby Bridge is your best route into the Big Sur, well, pretty much the only one from Highway 1 tbh. Next up on your California coast drive is Santa Barbara. Hope you have a good time! A San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip will see you driving next to the coast which has several advantages. A great opportunity to get used to the glory of those wide lanes in the USA. Not a hiker or surfer but I am sure we will discover lots, Glad you liked the article – hope you enjoy it! ? Oh Malibu – not the Barbie, or the drink, but the destination. 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. 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. 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 … On a nice day, you can walk along the pier and spend an hour or two watching surfers hitting the waves. Visit at Hearst castle Thanks! Hi! Santa Barbara is a great place to stop for the night with the town having many great accommodation options such as this secluded studio with panoramic views or this luxury private room near the beach. In fact, it’s so good I’ve done the Pacific Coast Highway road trip twice. Dear Michael, appreciate your help in planning a trip to California [we did leave it late…]. 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 city of Santa Barbara is a fantastic place to stop for a day and enjoy the laid back California lifestyle. 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. Also, they like to feed you clams. What a helpful article – thank you! Hi Salah! Where to Stay on an LA to San Francisco Drive. Head to Marin headlands 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. Hi JD! Ill then fly out of vegas on the 16th. 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. Solvang was founded by Danish immigrants who wanted a feeling of familiarly after immigrating to the USA. 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. 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. An LA to San Francisco drive along the Pacific Coast Highway in California is undoubtedly one of the best road trips in the world. Moonstone Beach is also a popular spot in San Simeon, as is the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery and shopping at Cambria Village too. Thank you. There are private rooms as well as dorms available. And it’s the only way I’ve ever done it! Also, make sure to swing by the famous Winchester Mystery House. We already covered Santa Monica and Malibu. If you want to stop somewhere, I suggest Santa Barbara. Is it better to do a San Francisco to Los Angeles Drive? 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). Enjoy every second! 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 ? 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. We want to do the coast down to LA… but what would be a good loop route, to keep things interesting and maximise time? 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. Post Thanksgiving, Praveen was supposed to shift back to SLC, where I live. Can you give us any tips. Unfortunately, there isn’t an alternative route if you want to see the majority of these sites! We stopped at Shin’s Poke which is an excellent place to eat if you’re after a fresh poke bowl! Can tou give me an idea please?! I would suggest spending the night in Monterey/Carmel and seeing Big Sur and the surrounding area. Thank you a lot for giving everyone remarkably memorable possiblity to read in detail from this blog. The castle was built by newspaper mogul William Hearst and will once again make you feel as if you’ve been transported to Europe! The short road trip from San Francisco to Bolinas is worth it with amazing views of the coastline and the town feels incredibly down to Earth despite prices for a small delapidated shack starting at a couple … 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? Oh fab! 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. Hi John, that sounds do-able if you don’t plan on making any of these stops. 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. Thank Michael. It begins at the northern border with Oregon and stretches all the way down to finish in San Diego. From Santa Barbara, the scenic LA to San Francisco drive goes along the 101 through picturesque mountains and wine country. We rented a convertible for the drive and gave ourselves from Sep 25 to Sep 29 to complete the route. – Los Angeles to San Francisco, California. This will direct you to drive across the famous Golden Gate Bridge and towards Marin Headlands where you can enjoy several viewpoints of the bridge and the city of San Francisco! If you’re part of the said hippy / arty community then go along and enjoy. 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. A fantastic breakfast is included in the room rate. •, a longer road trip to Portland or Seattle, Best stops on an LA to San Francisco Drive. Potentially the earliest i can fly into San Fran is on the 5th April. 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. Thank you from the bottom of my heart?? Everything fell in place for the Thanksgiving weekend. My 2-Week California Road Trip Itinerary Itinerary Day 1-3: San Francisco. love the blog very excited! If you want to spend two days in Monterey, check out this post from California Crossroads. Click here to browse other hotels in Santa Barbara! Posted on Last updated: October 26, 2020 By: Author VickyFlipFlop. Get out at the top for an awesome view over the San Fernando Valley at the top of Topanga Overlook. Last time in California was during my exchange year as a high school student in 2004. You could spend 2 days in SF, drive down to LA and then spend one day in LA before heading to Las Vegas. Seriously, don’t miss the Elephant Seals. Also the same between LA and Vegas would be great. Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and Lotusland are all popular things to do in Santa Barbara, while culture vultures can hone in on the Lobero Theatre, the Arlington Theatre and the Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Planning a LA to San Fran drive and was wondering if you have recommendations for stops with handcrafted cocktails also ? Hi Dani, that sounds like a good plan! Similarly to Santa Barbara, Carmel is also a great town to stop at a wine tasting room to enjoy a glass or flight! I have 3 days to do the drive so I’m planning to stop and stay the nights in Sanaa Barbara, Pismo and Monterey. This San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip itinerary … Commentdocument.getElementById("comment").setAttribute( "id", "a060d819fa1597f16373fd7fdde25c47" );document.getElementById("ba30f17c0a").setAttribute( "id", "comment" ); © 2020 The World Was Here First • All rights reserved. Hi Jayde! Ahhh, SF, my favorite city; although technically I’m biased because I chose to move to the city by the bay from NYC a few years ago. 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. 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! You won’t get any snow on the PCH. I’m looking forward to this drive in September, leaving from San Diego to San Francisco. The best advice on planning a road trip in the USA is here, and if you’re looking for help in planning your road trip budget, just click here. I recommend staying near Fisherman’s Wharf as it’s in the heart of the action and right by the San Francisco … Hope you have a great trip! Hike big sur and spend night in a cabin. A San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip will see you driving next to the coast which has several advantages. 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. Get around via the famous San Francisco tram and make sure to walk down crazy Lombard Street too, don’t attempt to drive it! The Golden Gate Park is an absolute must do while you’re in the city. I think a minimum of 3 to 4 days to enjoy this stretch of the PCH. Click here to browse other hotels in San Francisco! I think you can easily drive between Santa Monica & Monterey in one day, particularly as you can go back to Big Sur on one of the days when you are in Monterey. Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. Make sure to also keep an eye out for zebras and other animals when driving past Hearst Castle which are remanents of what was once the world’s largest private zoo. These are some accommodation recommendations on an LA to San Francisco drive, along with places to stay in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. Jen, Hi Jen! It was very helpful. Right, this is actually kinda absolutely disgusting but in San Luis Obispo there’s a 15-foot high, 70-foot long alley lined with bubblegum. Click here to see their latest prices. Bixby Bridge is a must-see vista. The 14-day California road trip itinerary would take us from San Francisco, through Monterey, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Big Sur, Santa Barbara, Malibu, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and finally … Thanks for the reply Michael, really appreciate your insight. 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. We would like to spend a min time to see SF attractions and then drive along the cost to LA and presumably tale a flight to LV at the end of the trip. However, you could easily spend a week or more if you like hiking, surfing or want to make additional detours. Definitely one of the highlights of the San Francisco to Los Angeles road trip. Follow signs to Point Dume and you’ll find a beautiful sandy beach, headlands, cliffs and rocky coves. 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. 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 Rentalcars.com to find the best deal for car hire as they aggregate prices across all the major providers. 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. 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! I’m so glad that I came across this blog that recommends what cities to consider for overnight accommodations. We have 11 nights/days to drive LA – San Fran. Really appreciate your response. 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. San Francisco to Los Angeles Road Trip Itinerary – The Route The distance is a mere 450 miles or 720 kilometers. The Big Sur holds an arty, hippy community that, in my experience were quite unwelcoming to anyone who wasn’t in it. There’s a good reason why it’s used in so many films as a backdrop, and why it’s on the dream list for so many people to visit. You could drive in a day on a long clear highway with minimum traffic, but this would deprive you of an exhilarating experience which money could never buy. Thanks . Have a few days to explore Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz Island and just relaxing with a coffee in Union Square. Even better, pull over and snap a moody pic from the cliff edge before you rush away. There are 28 tasting rooms scattered across the city with some of the best wine you’ll find in all of California. 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. Lots to do here, including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Point Lobos State Natural Reserve, and the Old Fisherman’s Wharf. 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! Do you think 6 nights in Santa Monica and 5 nights in Monterey would work? Is Monterey a good place to stop half way if we do a quick tour of LA and the stops before Monterey on day 1 and continue the rest of the stops and do a quick tour of San Fran on day 2? Starting from San Francisco… Want to plan the trip back? This year after visiting family in San Fran we are driving back to LA on the scenic route on the July 4 long weekend period. Half moon 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. Saturday am go to Monterey aquarium stop by at Thanks. The other advantage is that the views are obviously better for the passengers if driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles! Wondering where to stop on a Los Angeles to San Francisco drive? If going down the coastal route in one day I would suggest stopping somewhere like Pismo Beach which is about halfway. Thanks for all the tips as I have never visited California before. Any suggestions on how to do this? The main benefit is that you can easily pull off Highway 1 when you want to stop … Thanks. Hello, We tried to visit the Esalen Institute for the views and natural hot spring baths. 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. My top tips for driving from San Francisco to LA, PIN SAN FRANCISCO TO LOS ANGELES ROAD TRIP FOR LATER. At the end of the day though, you should drive along Highway 1 whichever way makes the most sense to you! Looking forward to going now. The journey is as important as the destination, right? Really enjoyed your blog and all the insights. The majority of the trip will be spent on CA-99 South before using I-5 South, CA … You can also compare the travel time if you're flying or driving by calculating the distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco. Your LA to San Francisco road trip is done. Whale watching, sailing, kayaking, golfing and biking are also popular in Monterey. Would we miss anything on the coast like from SF to Monterey? Begin your one day in Santa Barbara by strolling along the Harbour and exploring the iconic Stearns Wharf. Lady Gaga filmed a video here, and you can explore the 250,000 acres of rooms, suites, cottages, kitchens and grounds. 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. 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. My husband and I are traveling from LAX-San Francisco-Bob Hope Airport (he surprised me with trip) in a little more than a week. 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. Hope you have a great trip! Are you planning on driving from Los Angeles to San Francisco? May I ask in case I would like to spend more time from San Francisco to LA. Alternatively, if you’re a surfer yourself, then you can rent a board and enjoying the great conditions which are suitable for beginners and advanced surfers. Two of my friends were wearing baseball caps and I saw them eye them up before refusing our entry. In the afternoon, make sure to take advantage of Santa Barbara’s Urban Wine Trails. 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. 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. 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. We are a family of 4, 2 teenagers capable of long stints in the car and quick stops if needed. I don’t think you’ll have time to drive through Big Sur on day 1 if you’re spending time in LA as well. Let us know in the comments below! We are flying into LV from UK in mid August [was the only route available from London using miles] and immediately to SF. From the dramatic coastline to beautiful waterfalls to lush redwoods there is something for everybody at Big Sur. We like WorldNomads and always use them for our trips – click here to get a quote from WorldNomads. 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. I would suggest spending the night in Santa Barbara or Pismo Beach if you’re going to spend the morning in LA. Is it a good idea to leave from riverside county on a Friday at 5 am Lots to do in Santa Cruz so don’t skip it on your Pacific Coast Highway trip! 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. Hi Claudia! Soda Lake is an awesome sight too, especially for anyone with an eye for design. 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. My husband was hoping to add the Sequoia Nat. https://www.theworldwasherefirst.com/san-francisco-to-seattle-drive/ & https://www.theworldwasherefirst.com/la-to-san-diego-drive/. It’s the most recognisable bridge in the world, and is actually surprisingly long. Thank you so very much for all of your information. Glad you found the article helpful! 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. We are planning this drive in December and have loved reading your advice. My husband and I have just looked our tickets to LA from Australia in November Do the San Francisco to LA road trip right and you’ll end up on Ventura Beach, right in front of the pier. The drive gets extremely busy so I highly recommend doing the drive first thing in the morning before the tour buses arrive! Click here to see their latest prices. First timers coming from Australia. 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. We understand we wouldn’t have the chance to stop at all the stops but wonder if it could be done? I’ve never seen so many in one place, it was amazing. We will depart early in the morning from SF and … Located only a few kilometres from the detour to Hearst Castle, Elephant Seal Vista Point gives you the opportunity to see elephant seals relaxing on the beach and waddling in the ocean. The Fremont Theatre is also worth a visit, if only for the awesome facade in the evening. How long would this whole road trip take? Hope you have a great trip! 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. I’m hiring an RV (relocation) from LA and dropping off in San Fran. What kind of weather should one expect between Christmas and New Years? Planning a Road Trip in the USA: 11 Best Routes! Many thanks Answer 1 of 3: Hello there! 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. Hope you have a great trip!