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  1. Default Best time to do San Fran to San Diego

    My husband and I are planning a trip down highway 1 in the next few months time. What would be the best month for this kind of trip? I have been to San Fran a number of times and am aware that at certain times there is mist/fog. We are coming over from the UK.

    We are planning on spending a couple of days in San Fran since my husband has never been and then heading down the coast. My husband is a keen surfer so are basically planning on taking in beach towns on the way and spending longer between LA and San Diego since I loved 'The O.C.' TV show (sad I know) so would love to spend some time looking around that area!

    We thought we would hire a car in San Fran and perhaps drop it off in LA, staying in motels on the way down.

    Any hints/tips/recommendations would be really appreciated.

    Thank you,


  2. Default End of the summer is a good time..

    Pretty much anytime before the end of October should be a reasonable bet. You never know with the weather though -- here it is June, and there was enough mist outside today that I had to turn the wipers on a couple of times. (We're in "June Gloom" weather here -- low "marine layer" clouds in the morning, that typically burn off about noon or 1...) The water almost never gets super warm along California, but its warmer typically from about April to October (+/- a month), and depending upon what's going on in the Pacific, you can get good surf on southerly facing or westerly facign beaches. Have your husband bring a wetsuit, or you can get one from one of the many vendors or manufacturers. (Hurley, Oakly, Tyr, O'Neil, RipCurl, Quicksilver and CoralReef are all headquartered in the OC, and you can sometimes get some amazing deals when the clean out their warehouses at the end of the summer.)

    If you're looking for surfing/ beach type places to stop, if I may suggest a couple of places? In general, the surfing beaches in california break down between the Monterey Bay area (Santa Cruz, Monterey), and the southern beaches starting about Santa Barbara which continue down to San Diego area. The best beaches for surfing depend upon your tastes, and the weather in the Pacific which generate the waves -- either from southen hemisphere storms, or storms in the pacific. In general, there's a warmer current that comes up along the coast from the south (the prevailing current in the winter is from the north), so the sand on the beaches builds up and you get a warmer, fuller swell from the south or south west.

    For real surfing affectionados I'd recommend several beaches

    - Santa Cruz. The other "Surf city". Colder water, but usually a good break. Some huge waves at times in a couple of locations.

    - Jalama Beach. One of the hidden surfing beaches -- about 15 miles off PCH near Lompoc CA, and a fairly isolated beach with a westerly exposure, tending to the southwest. Big surf usually.

    - Rincon area. This is between Santa Barbara and Ventura, and is a section of southwest facing beaches. Can sometimes gets funky surf due to the channel islands off shore, but usually pretty good for southwest swells. The Rincon Cliff House hotel is a surfer hangout -- you can practically drop your board out the window and paddle out...

    - Malibu -- South facing. Good beaches, good swells if there's a storm in the south pacfic, but can be crowded

    - North OC beaches (Seal beach, Sunset beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Crystal Cove, Laguna) South-west facing beaches with typically a wide sandy runout. Usually good surf in the summer, but seldom spectacular. Good beach life, particularly in Huntington Beach/ Main street, Newport/ Balboa, and Laguna. HB is the "Surf City" from the old Jan & Dean song from the 60's, and home of the international surfing musuem.

    - South OC Beaches (Doheny/ Dana Point, San Clemente, Trestles/ San Onofre). Southwest facing beaches -- sandy beaches with usually a good swell. Not a lot of beach life, but you can camp at San Onofre state beach.

    - North San Diego Beaches (Oceanside, Del Mar, Encinitas). Westerly beaches, but usually Ok with a SW swell. Sandy, and usually not too crowded. The beaches are a nice long run, down almost to La Jolla (when you run into rocks -- good snorkling, but can get nasty for surf)

  3. Default Thank you

    Thank you so much for the information. I'm a scuba diver so sounds like there'll be some opportunity for diving too.

  4. Default Bringing your gear?

    If you want to dive, there are some good spots along the way. I've done a bit of snorkling through the area, but not too much diving. The Channel Islands National Park have good diving, but the specific spots to get into the water are limited and there aren't diving services on the islands. (Usually you're going up and down a ladder at the boat docks -- not from a beach.) If you can hook up with a kayaker company which offers some diving support, that would probably be about the best.

    Other than that, Catalina Island is very good diving, either near Avalon or Two Harbors. Avalon you can dive right off the Casino Point or on Lover's beach slightly south of the town. Two Harbors has a couple of sea caves, but they're a bit away from the closest beach, so you sort of need to have a boat to get there (there's a dive shop and boat at Two Harbors).

    There's fairly good diving around Palo Verdes near LA, and through Laguna Beach area in the OC, and near La Jolla Cove north of San Diego. I've snorkled all of these, swimming out from shore at a local beach. The flat sandy beaches aren't super interesting, so you're always looking for a beach with a rocky point next door -- like Laguna has. There's also good diving on a couple of the other offshore islands -- San Clemente for example, but you can't land since its a military reservation on the island.

    I've seen sea lions, giant rays, and lots of other things off shore. But unless its really unusual, it is cold water diving, with water temps in the 65 F range, so you'll need a suit..

  5. Default Thank you

    Thanks again for this great information. We are just trying to book our time off work and will then be getting to the exciting bit of planning.

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