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  1. #1

    Default Scenic Drive from San Francisco To Los Angeles

    Hi Forum members. 2 couples (35 yrs to 50 yrs old) are going to do a road trip from San Fran To LA in August this year (before flying out to Las Vegas). It seems from reading lots of posts that 3 days to do this trip would allow us a leisurely pace and still get to see some great areas along the way. We assume that Highway 1 will provide the best coastal scenery ? We are planning to fly out to Las Vegas in the evening of the 3rd day. Some questions please.

    1) What 2 places would you recommend we stay along the way ? (Monterey/Carmel & then Cambria ??) ?
    2) What are the must see places along the way ?
    3) Best hotels (no budget) at the 2 overnight stays and
    4) Top 2 or 3 places to dine (lunch or dinner) along the way.

    We really appreciate any feedback that you can give us on our proposed trip.

    PS If we need to take 4 days instead of 3 that would be ok if you think we need that extra day.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Your planning has me a little confused. You're talking about driving from SF to LA in 3 days, but then you are also flying out of Vegas? Is LA a must see and/or do you want to spend any time there? I'm also assuming you're not coming all the way from Australia for just a 3 or 4 day trip, so is this part of a larger overall trip?

    If you're planning 3 days to get from SF to Vegas via LA, then you're going to need to get farther than Cambria on the 2nd night. Some place like Santa Barbara would probably work. If you extend your trip to 4 days then you could do it after spending night 3 in the LA area.

    If LA is not a must, you could look at going down the coast to Cambria, then head over to Yosemite and across Death Valley to Vegas. That's another trip that could be done in 3 days, but 4 would be better.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

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    It's actually not that far from Cambria to LA - it can be driven in under 5 hours with no stops. Cambria is a wonderful place to spend a night, but there are plenty of other towns between there and Santa Barbara. It's only about an hour and a half from Santa Barbara into LA if you take the freeways.

    If I had a choice between flying from LA to LV or driving it, I'd drive it. As Michael said, is this part of a bigger trip? If so, details would help, we need to see the big picture. It doesn't make a lot of sense to me to pull into LA during the day then fly right out that evening - you won't have time to do or see anything in LA and all you will be doing is fighting traffic. Even if you drive as far south as Santa Barbara, you can drive from there to Las Vegas in about 6 hours avoiding LA completely.

  4. Default

    Three days for the coast will be fine. Yes you would take Highway 1 to go through the Big Sur area. Consider the 17 mile scenic drive in Carmel, Monterrey Bay Aquarium, Hearst Castle, and Cambria. You might want to visit one of the California missions on your trip. Note that Highway 101 does not follow the coast the entire route.

    As others have suggested, you might want to spend your second night further south than Cambria. Santa Barbara is an option as well as the Pismo Beach/ Shell Beach area.

    It will take hours to drive into LA, return rental car, and get to airport in sufficient time for flight which is why others have suggested driving.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,270

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    It will take hours to drive into LA, return rental car, and get to airport in sufficient time for flight which is why others have suggested driving.
    I would be willing to bet that 2 people could leave Santa Barbara at the same time, both driving. The person driving to Las Vegas would get to their hotel before the other person would, driving into LA, dumping the rental car, getting a shuttle to the airport, deal with security, fly to LV, rent a car, and get to the hotel.

    Taking domestic flights for relatively short distances just isn't time or cost effective. It shouldn't cost you much difference to drop a SF car in LA or LV, and petrol to get from LA to LV should be less than 50 bucks.

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