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  1. Default Monterey to Santa Barbara

    We have a 4 week road trip, almost all planned - the only bit I cannot get my head around is how much time it will REALLY take to drive from Monterey to Santa Barbara (coast road) - looked through the forum - this has probably been answered a hundred times - sorry.

    Planning to stop on the way for a few photos, and would like to catch Hearst Castle.

    Should I be looking to take it easy and stop in San Simeon and catch the castle the following morning, or is that too short a drive for the first day?

    Mod Note] Please keep all questions about this trip in one thread. Thank-you.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 06-21-2013 at 01:21 AM. Reason: Merged threads.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,053

    Default Do you have two days?

    Quote Originally Posted by kmeand View Post
    We have a 4 week road trip, almost all planned - the only bit I cannot get my head around is how much time it will REALLY take to drive from Monterey to Santa Barbara (coast road)
    This is one of those questions that is really nearly impossible to answer. If you stopped at all of the viewpoints, took a walk to see the waterfall that drops into the Pacific, (McWay Creek Waterfall ) had lunch... Etc. it could easily take 14+ hours. If you drove through, without stopping and there wasn't much traffic maybe six hours. Here are some more ideas about this route!
    Planning to stop on the way for a few photos, and would like to catch Hearst Castle.
    This entirely depends upon which tour you get. But if it were me, I would spend the day enjoying the coast route, takes some walks, stay overnight at San Simeon -- take an early tour and cruise on down the coast to Santa Barbara.

  3. Default

    OK the more I think about it that seems more sensible - I have trimmed a day elsewhere and booked to stay in Cambria so we can do the tour AM and then head of to SB.

    Thanks again - your web site is VERY much appreciated.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,328

    Default The Other Side of the Coin

    While I agree with Mark in that I, too, would probably take two days for the drive you have envisioned if it were my first time seeing the coast road, and it is true that as a matter of course the 'regulars' here recommend two solid days for the drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles following the PCH, neither of those exactly fits your situation. And then of course we don't know your travel style. So let's lay out the logistics and let you decide.

    In your favor (for a shorter drive) you don't have to clear San Francisco or get into Los Angeles, so those are two major traffic headaches and time sinks that you don't have to worry about. If, in addition, you'll have already seen the sights around Monterey before setting off on this segment of your trip, including 17-Mile Drive, Point Lobos, and Garrapata State Beach, then you might want to consider making it a one-day drive to Santa Barbara.

    The driving itself would take about five hours. Making a few beach stops on the way including, say, Julia Pfeiffer Burns Sate Park, Limekiln State Park, and a sea lion rookery or two would add another two or three hours. Toss in a couple of hours for one of the shorter (but still quite informative) tours of San Simeon and an hour for lunch and you're looking at a 10-12 hour day. But that's a fairly well paced day with a good mix of hiking, driving, sight-seeing, and relaxing. With a reasonable start, say 9:00 AM after a good breakfast, you'd still arrive in Santa Barbara at a reasonable time in the evening, say around 8:00 PM.

    In the end, the choice is yours.

    AZBuck

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,220

    Default

    Note that you should prebook your Hearst Castle tour. I would book the last one of the afternoon if you are staying in Cambria, it's only about 3 hours from Monterey to the castle with no sightseeing stops. It's a very easy 3 hour drive from Cambria to Santa Barbara, I'd suggest you may want to look at stopping in Solvang for lunch.

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