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  1. Default Seattle to L.A.--Recommendations?

    Hello! This is such a great forum!

    My sister is moving to L.A., and my husband and I volunteered to drive down from Seattle to L.A. to drop off some boxes. We're taking a flight back to Seattle.

    We were going to power through in two days and fly back to Seattle, but we've managed to get some additional driving time (4-5 days). Unfortunately, we have to start driving next week. We have no plans and don't know what we can reasonably achieve in the additional time we have.

    We think it may be best to power through the first day as far as we can on I-5. We would love your suggestions on where to stop that first day.

    We'd also be very grateful for any additional itinerary suggestions. The only thing we had originally hoped we could do was stop at Hearst Castle/San Simeon on our way to L.A.

    My husband is from England and loves nature and the coast-line--he'd be really happy if our schedule permits driving down scenic roads and getting some good eats. He would also be very happy if we could drive through/stop briefly in San Francisco, see the Winchester Castle (he saw some show in England about it :) ), and/or see redwoods. Any help is much appreciated!

    Thank you very much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default Not a great deal of time, but doable.

    Hi, and Welcome to the The Great American RoadTrip Forum.

    Five days will give you possibly enough time to briefly do those things on your wish list. Be aware, that the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to LA is a two day drive, with the halfway point being in the San Simeon / Cambria area.

    For a first day, you could aim for Crescent City. This would be a long day driving, taking I-5 as far as Grant's Pass. You would then be in a good position to drive through the Humboldt Redwoods State Park and The Avenue of Giants the next day. From there the options are highway 101 or the coast road, CA1. The latter being significantly slower.

    This would allow you a day in SF, before heading down the coast to LA.

    As for the Winchester Mystery House... frankly I think it is much overrated, and at $25 seemed like a waste. (That was in 2007... probably more now.) You can walk through the gardens and all around the house, for free. Still, for me, there are many more great and unforgetable places in San Francisco I would put higher on my list.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Good suggestions, Lifey!.

    Seattle to Crescent City is 500 miles via I-5 and US-199. This is about as far as you should try for in one day.

    On the second day, you don't have time to take CA-1 if you want to be in SF that night. Via US-101 it's 350 miles, which gives you time to do some sightseeing, I highly recommend the Avenue of the Giants.

    Now - 2 days from SF to LA via Hearst Castle. You will need to prebook a Hearst Castle tour. You need to check on availability in the afternoon/evening of the first day and the morning of the second day. For planning purposes, the quickest you can make it from SF to San Simeon is about 6 hours. This would be using US-101/CA-156/CA-1. The quickest you can make it from there to LA is also about 6 hours via CA-1 and US-101. There are a few hotels/motels in San Simeon, if you prefer something classier and more quaint (also more expensive), check out Cambria. There are some B&B's there.

  4. Default

    Thank you so much for your suggestions! We've managed to prebook our lodging and the Hearst Castle, and per your recommendations, we'll pass on the Winchester and spend a bit more time in SF. Thanks again!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Alcatraz?

    If you are spending a day in SF then you could consider an Alcatraz visit, followed up with a meal/visit on Pier 39, I would highly recommend both. If you wanted to book in advance for Alcatraz, this is the only official ticket office where you won't pay agents fees or book other tours.

    Have a great trip !

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Melbourne, Australia

    Default The late tour.

    Yeah! Alcatraz is one of the hilights in SF. And if it fits into your schedule, see if you can do the late tour. It is great watching the sun sink into the Pacific Ocean behind the GG bridge, and seeing the lights come on, all over SF and the bridges (after you have been through the prison, of course).


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