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  1. Default Driving down the West Coast

    We are trying to figure out the best place to stay over night on our trip down to La. We'll be leaving Tacoma, Wa on a Friday Morning and arriving at a friend house in LA on Tuesday night. I'm starting to think we may need to leave Thursday morning since even though i accounted for a slow drive down the coast I'm thinking I might not added in enough time, but I if change things I'm not sure where to stay each night.

    Currently the itinerary looks like this:
    Friday Home to Crescent City
    Saturday to Fort Bragg
    Sunday to San Fran
    Mon to Big Sur
    Tues to LA.

    Home to California we are okay with internal roads, but would like to take the coast hwy once in Ca. We want to have time to walk around the red woods near Crescent city, which why we have it as an over night stop.
    Fort bragg is more of a "nice looking stopping point" so it can shift if we change the itinerary. Not to thing about stay over night in San Fran but do want to spend a few hours in the area. Big Sur is a big must.

    So the Tuesday in La is very fixed, but the leaving day can be either Friday or Thursday. Trip will be late this month, early next month.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Western/Central Massachusetts

    Default Welcome!

    Welcome to the RoadTrip America Forum!

    The first day is the only long drive you have on that itinerary. Were you planning on going mostly Interstate, or on other roads during that day? If it's not going to be Interstate, then I perhaps leaving Thursday instead of Friday would work to your advantage.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area


    Somewhere along the line I developed a negative view of Crescent City. If I were coming down 5 I'd stop at Grants Pass, if down the coast then Gold Beach or Bandon. If you have anybody in the party that likes caves you might consider Oregon Caves (between Grants Pass and Crescent City... there's an old lodge there that has a lot of character, if a little worn.

  4. Default

    From Tacoma to Crescent City we are planning to take 5. Then once we hit the CA border start heading towards 101.

    Staying in Crescent City isn't a have to but wearing out our toddler on the 1 mile loop hike in Jedediah Smith Redwood Park was. We have learned we can get a really good solid first day no problem with him, but if we don't travel conservatively with lots of chances for him to burn energy it's miserable.

    The lodge sounded like a good idea, but they are booked. other suggestions for around that area would be great.

    Now we've seen all of WA and OR coast before. How essential is right on the coast on 1 versus inland on 101 in Northern California (Crescent to San Fran)? Are there any must see sights on either that you can suggest?

    What about from San Fran to Monterey? Is 1 or 101 better? And of the two cities which city would be the better to stay the night before going to Big Sur?

    Thanks for all your suggestions already and thanks in advance for anything else you might add.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area


    You'll make better time on 101. If you have no urgent need to spend a night in San Francisco, you can peel back to 101 from the coast (south of Fort Bragg) on 128 through the Anderson Valley wine country to 101, then continue on to Monterey. That's about 300 miles or a solid 8 hour day (including minimal stops).

    From there (next morning) you can spend the morning enjoying some of the Monterey Peninsula (M. Bay aquarium, Carmel, etc), then after lunch head down CA1 through Big Sur to San Simeon, Cambria, or thereabouts. The stretch from Carmel to San Simeon is short on food options, which is why I suggest after lunch, or pack a picnic to have in one of the overlooks or state parks along the way.

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