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  1. Default Road trip from SF

    Flying in and out of SF in Sept. We plan to spend a few days touring SF then a road trip via Hwy 101. We aren't going into LA but will turn around since flying out of SF. I know nothing of this area but have vacationed Yosemite, Tahoe,etc. and only am interested in SF, Big Sur drive and wine country (anything in those areas) if time allows. We have 9 days, including two flight days, so 7 for touring. Thinking of getting rental car at the airport and starting road trip first, turning in car at the end (due to parking?) and tour SF,2-3 days before flying out. IS this advisable? Also, am not sure how long we may need on the coastal drive, advice anyone, but do want to spend nights along the way down or back up to have a relaxing trip. Plan to see Hearst Castle . Can anyone advise of towns to overnight along the coast and sites not to miss. Also in Wine country.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Welcome to RTA!

    If you want to see Big Sur and Hearst Castle, you want to take CA-1, not US-101.

    Are you referring to the wine country north of SF?

    7 days should be adequate for what you want to do. You could take 2 to 3 days for the coast, as far as Cambria - then head back toward SF on 101, go to the wine country, then back to SF and turn in the car. Via 101 and I-680, you can get from Cambria to, say, Napa, in less than 5 hours.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    I'm not sure where you are flying in from, but you might want to take at least one of your SF days before getting your rental car and setting out if you are coming from overseas. Your body will appreciate the time it takes to recover from jet-lag, before setting out immediately on a sightseeing tour!


  4. #4


    Here are few places that have hotel/motel chains and decent food eateries along PCH 1.

    - Santa Cruz (college town)
    - Monterrey
    - Morro Bay
    - San Luis Obispo / San Simon area (college town)
    - and many other small towns

    For visiting SF landmarks (Lombard street, Coit tower, Pier 39, and Golden Gate Bridge) You can take a BART (local metro train) from SFO (international airport) to downtown SF. You may need additional metro bus service to reach GG Bridge.

  5. #5


    Quote Originally Posted by kabo View Post
    Also, am not sure how long we may need on the coastal drive, advice anyone, but do want to spend nights along the way down or back up to have a relaxing trip.
    I done coastal trip from SF/LA or LA/SF in one day drive (during spring and summer time). This includes most lookout points stops, a trip to strawberry farm store, quick snack/lunch and couple of light houses like pigeon point. If you plan to stop for night somewhere in between that can make trip even more enjoyable. You can also do same on the way back from LA to SF direction. Rental car is way to go. You will see at least 100 other rental cars on PCH1.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    The only way I'd ever try to drive from LA to SF or vice versa in 1 day would be on 101 or I-5. You WILL be too rushed trying to do it on the PCH.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Not really relevant to this thread.

    The OP has already mentioned that they have 7 days for touring and that the whole point of the trip is to see the coast and wine country and not to go into LA.

    I take it that the 7 days is to include the 2 to 3 days in SF, so here's what I would consider. First night in Monterey and the second in Cayacus/Cambria area which will give you time to stop and see the sights along the coast. Next day head to Napa on 101/I680 avoiding SF followed by some sight seeing north of SF, perhaps Muir Woods, Point Reyes and Golden Gate recreation area where you can get some great photo's of the Golden Gate bridge with the City in the background. Day 5 head back to SF and spend a couple of days seeing the sights, Fishermans Wharf, China town, Coit tower and most importantly I would advise booking an Alcatraz tour in advance. Do this through the National parks website to avoid agents fees.

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