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  1. Default san diego to san francisco in 5 days

    Hi - hope you can help me with some trip planning ideas. We (family of four, with two pre teens)are planning to be in cailfornia in march. After a few days in Disneyland, we'd like to tour north. We leave Disneyland 12 March, and fly out of San Francisco 18 March.After reading this forum, I have some general questions. First, would we have time to go to San Diego? If so, how long would it then take to drive through to San Francisco? And how should we go? (We don't need to spend any time in LA.)

    It would be useful to know how long driving times for each day would be.

    thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Just the Right Amount of Time

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Los Angeles to San Diego and back up the coast to San Francisco is under 700 miles of driving, so it's quite feasible in the 6 days or so that you have available. San Diego is a great place to visit with kids. besides their world famous zoo, be sure to wander around Balboa Park for a day or two, take a harbor tour, and visit SeaWorld. Then on your way back up to San Francisco, once north of L.A., hug the coast on CA-1 and visit Carmel and Monterey. While you could get from San Diego to San Francisco in a single day's hard drive on the freeways, you and your kids will have a much better time if you leave at least two or possibly three days to take your time stopping along the way at some of the many state parks.

    (By the way, you should also read this post.)

    AZBuck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default My favorite places on the So-Cal coast

    I would encourage you to stop in the beautiful city of Santa Barbara and to tour Hearst Castle. Besides Disneyland, I think Hearst Castle is one of the coolest things in California. Quite an amazing place. If you enjoy that, you might also enjoy a tour of quite a difference type of residence: Winchester House in San Jose. I really think your kids are at an age where they should enjoy both. Of the two, they'll probably enjoy Winchester House the most. Just the heebie-jeebie reasons for why the house is built as it is and the stories told on the tour make for a very fun time.

  4. Default Enough time, but you need to pick your targets...

    Quote Originally Posted by felicityb@clear.net.nz View Post
    Hi - hope you can help me with some trip planning ideas. We (family of four, with two pre teens)are planning to be in cailfornia in march. After a few days in Disneyland, we'd like to tour north. We leave Disneyland 12 March, and fly out of San Francisco 18 March.After reading this forum, I have some general questions. First, would we have time to go to San Diego? If so, how long would it then take to drive through to San Francisco? And how should we go? (We don't need to spend any time in LA.)

    It would be useful to know how long driving times for each day would be.
    From LA area to San Diego is from 2-3 hours typically (depending upon traffic, and where in the LA area you start from). Starting from the Anaheim area, you have a pretty fast straight shot to San Diego down the I-5. Given 5 days you have enough time to go to San Diego and back to San Francisco. You'll have to return that distance coming back north to get to San Francisco of course, and the LA area is on the direct path from San Diego to points north.

    You can make it from San Diego or the LA area to San Francisco in a day's drive. The fastest route is up I-5, but while its the fastest way, most visitors either take the slower route up the 101/ Coast Highway, or go inland along the eastern side of the Cental Valley to visit places like Sequoia National Park, Yosemite National Park, Death Valley, Lake Tahoe, etc.

    Both routes -- the coast or the more eastern route have potentially spectacular stops. Judy has mentioned a couple on the coast route -- Hearst Castle, Santa Barbara (definitely stop at the mission), Big Sur, the Elephant Seal Colony, Carmel, Monterey (Cannery Row, the Aquarium, and the beaches), Santa Cruz, and etc. are very nice places. The eastern route has the potential for stopping at Escondido (San DIego Wild Animal Park), Riverside's Mission Inn, Death Valley/ the Mojave, Sequoia National Park, Yosemite National Park, California Gold Country, Lake Tahoe and Sacramento (State Rail Musuem is spectacular for kids to visit).

    You can pick and chose and do some weaving back and forth -- its about a half day from Yosemite to the coast, for example. There have been lots of discussions of routes like San Diego to Death Valley, to Yosemite, to Monterey for example. But I'm afraid you can't do both routes in 5 days, so you'll have to pick your targets.

  5. Default

    Thanks for all those suggestions, sounds like we should have a great trip. If we took the coast route, what would be a good half way point between san diego and san francisco to stop? We might take longer , but I 'll start at two days and go from there.

  6. Default Roughly half way...

    The typical place to stop for the night, is somewhere between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo. You have several good options with a choice of motels, ranging from Santa Barbara (about 1-2 hours north of LA), to Buelton/ Solvang (about 30 minutes) to Santa Maria (about another 30 minutes to an hour), to San Luis Obispo (about another hour). Where you stop will probably depend upon what you'd like to see or visit, and how leisurely you want the trip to be. Each city has its own area of interests and side trips possible, and there are lots of little towns in between as well.

    From San Luis Obispo it's about 30 minutes to the coast again at Morro Bay, and then you start up past Hearst Castle and into the scenic Big Sur drive to Carmel and Monterey. It's a very doable drive from SLO to San Francisco this way, but most folks turn inland at about Santa Cruz instead of going all the way up around the SF penninsula to get to the city.

    My only concern is from San Diego heading north you have to go through LA, which can have significant traffic, particularly at rush hour. I-5 goes through the core of the city and is not known as the fastest or least congested route at the best of times. A better route through LA if you're planning on the coast route is to catch the 405 freeway in El Toro (south of LA) and take it up through Long Beach and Santa Monica to hook up with the 101 in the San Fernando Valley, and then head west and north on 101. The 405 has carpool lanes over most of its route (for cars with 2 or more people on board) so even at rush hour you can still move along at pretty good speeds (45+ mph). Of course, a major accident can clog things up -- but that can happen on any freeway.

  7. Default

    Thank you for that detail. Do you have any approximate information on time from San Diego to SLO using the route you suggest? I guess it would be best to leave after rush hour (am) in any case.

  8. Default 300 miles from San Diego to San Luis Obispo

    The maps say its about 300 miles from San Diego to San Luis Obispo. Without traffic considerations, that will take you about 5 hours in the car. If you want to cut that back a bit, and maybe do some sightseeing or wine tasting, you can also look at accomodations in Santa Maria, or the Buelton/ Solvang area, which are from 30 minutes to about an hour south of SLO.

    If you want to hit LA after the traffic, about a 7 am start from San Diego will put you into the midst of the LA traffic about 9 am when the rush hour traffic is decreasing. Again, I would recommend following the I-5 north from San Diego, and then take the 405 freeway through Long Beach and towards Santa Monica instead of the I-5 through downtown LA. There's a "diamond lane" or carpool lane for cars with 2 or more people on board along most of that route. That will really help keep you moving even in rush hour.

    Like any big city, traffic & commuters ebbs and flows from the business centers of the LA at rush hour. In LA the big centers are Downtown/ Hollywood, Santa Ana, and to a lesser extent Irvine, Northridge, and the LAX area. The route I suggest avoids 2 (Downtown and Santa Ana) which are right on I-5, and gives you a faster carpool lane through others.

  9. Default

    thansk for all your help - its just what i needed to know!

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