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  1. Default Driving Pacific Coast Highway 1 from South to North

    Hello. Originally we were planning a roadtrip on California's PCH1 from Santa Monica to Monterey, then on to San Francisco.

    However, I am beginning to realize that Big Sur may take a lot longer than 1 day.

    Any advice on where to start instead of Santa Monica? Any "not to be missed" sights from Santa Monica to Big Sur/Monterey? Thank you.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Central Coast

    I guess I'm not really sure what you're asking. If all you want are some options farther up the coast from Santa Monica for lodging, there are plenty of cities along the way. The San Luis Obisbo/Morro Bay/Paso Robles areas would have plenty of choices.

  3. Default Is one day enough for PCH1?

    Thanks. I am asking if one day is enough to do the PCH1, starting from Santa Monica to Monterey. I'm concerned about the Big Sur drive.

    Should the starting point for our PCH1 trip be further north than Santa Monica? Should we avoid Santa Monica/Santa Barbara altogether and start up further north, say take 101 to Pismo Beach, then take PCH1 from there instead?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default One day is fine

    Quote Originally Posted by Baxterita View Post
    Thanks. I am asking if one day is enough to do the PCH1, starting from Santa Monica to Monterey. I'm concerned about the Big Sur drive.
    Most travelers don't have the luxury of that much time and drive the coastal route from LA to San Francisco in a day -- a long day--- But if you drive from Santa Monica to Monterey and stop every so often to look at the views and wildlife, lunch, etc. it will take you about 8-10 hours. If you were to drive the route without stopping it would still take about 6-7 hours. Here is some more information about the famed 17-mile drive at Pebble Beach.

    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 09-09-2006 at 01:34 PM. Reason: added link for 17-mile drive info

  5. Default Its doable in one day.... but not much fun

    I'll agree with Mark. It's a doable drive to drive PCH from Santa Monica to Monterey in one day... But it's really not much fun.

    To make it a bit more doable, you might skip the Santa Monica-Malibu-Ventura section of PCH, and go up 101 instead. That saves around an hour or more of the drive.

    The usual break point is to drive from the LA area to the San Luis Obispo/ San Simeon area the first night. It's a goodly drive, but gives you time to stop and sightsee in a number of places such as Santa Barbara or Solvang.

    The second day, you can do the tour at Hearst Castle and continue up the coast route, arriving in Monterey in early afternoon -- enough time to visit the aquarium, do the 17 mile drive in Carmel, walk the beach, visit the old wharf area, or visit Cannery Row.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Seacoast, New Hampshire

    Default Eat at the Fish Hopper in Monterey.

    They have amazing chowder and their desserts are awesome. Ask to sit on the deck, and you can watch porpoises and sea otters while you eat.

  7. Default santa monica to monterey via PCG/US1

    i did this same trip last october, started in santa monica and ended up in monterey, took us 2 full days. as larrison mentioned, we weaved on and off of US1/US101 from malibu to san luis obispo.

    you are right to be concerned about the big sur stretch of the trip. we spent the first night in cambria, just before hearst castle. so from cambria to monterey took nearly 6 hours even though it's only about 100 miles. you MUST take into account all the time that you'll want to stop off at scenic outlooks for the ENDLESS photo opps. also keep in mind that the road itself winds through the mountainside requiring a 30 mph speed limit most of the stretch.

    so again, agreeing with mark and larrison, SM to monterey is doable in 1 day but i would HIGHLY, HIGHLY recommend that you do it in at least 2. this is absolutely a drive that should not be done with haste, but rather (ideally) with the ability to take it all in. for me, it was an unbelievable spiritual and life-changing road trip. please enjoy it as it should be enjoyed!

    ps- we thoroughly enjoyed out stayover in cambria the first night. we found an oceanfront inn, put down our stuff, brought a bottle of wine down to the beach and watched the sunset, then ended the night with a fabulous dinner a walkable distance down the road.

    feel free to ask any other questions. i am in love with the california coast and would love any opportunity to speak about my experiences!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a classic

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    Thanks for sharing your the story of your trip. This thread is from 2006, so I imagine the original trip has long since taken place, but hopefully future travelers will take advantage of your first hand info!

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