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  1. Default family roadtrip sf to la

    Hi, we are 2 families travelling from the island of cyprus in the mediterranean, to san francisco in april. We will be travelling with 4 kids, all below the age of 8. Please advice us on how best we could break this journey into 2 or 3 days, making stops to see the sights and recommending any places the kids may like to visit. Also please suggest where we may stay for the 2 nights. Since this is our first US trip and first road trip, we are apprehensive about road safety, child safety and would also like suggestions on which places may have accomodation for us to stay. Any advice on what the weather will be like in late april. thanks,
    Last edited by SMM; 02-20-2009 at 10:38 PM. Reason: spell check

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Don't worry,but be cautious.

    Hello and welcome to the R.T.A. forums.

    With 2-3 days for your journey I would recommend the very scenic PCH, [route 1] that follows the coast through Carmel, Big Sur and the 17 mile drive down to Morro bay. It is slow going as it winds it way around the coast but the views are fantastic.

    Along the way you will find State parks such as Point lobos, Julia Pfeiffer burns, Limekiln and San Simeon and the much visited Hearst castle and on to Morro bay. From here head through San Louis Obispo towards Santa Barbara.

    There are lots of quaint little towns to stay at along the route and plenty to see and do. I am not quite sure why you are apprehensive about road and child safety in particular as this is one of the most visited tourist areas and visited by families all year around, as well as being home to lots of people. Just do as you would at home and use your natural instincts when in the city's that might sound alarm bells if you start to wander away from the main areas.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default For Kids of All Ages

    I absolutely agree with Dave that you should take the PCH (CA-1) down the coast. Besides the many state parks along the way, there will be occasional pull outs (lay-bys) that will let you see the elephant seal and sea lion rookeries, just don't get too close to the big bulls. In Monterey, be sure to set aside the better part of a day to explore the Aquarium. If it's the right time of year, take a short hike through the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary in nearby Pacific Grove. So, I'd suggest three days. The first would be to explore Monterey and spend the night in that area, the second driving down the northern Big Sur Coast with lots of nature walk time and spending the night around San Simeon or Cambria, the third to tour Hearst Castle and see the rest of the coast on the way down to Los Angeles.


  4. Default thanks

    Dear sir, thank you very much. You have indeed set our minds at ease. We are building in your recommendations into our trip. if anything else crosses your mind, please do send us a message. with kind regards and many thanks. SMM

  5. Default the 49 mile drive thru san fran/ getting from san fran to pch1

    1)hi, could anyone advice us as to what is the best and most effecient way to get onto the PCH fheading out of san francisco?

    2)has anyone done the 49 mile drive thru sanfrancisco? any recommendations or anyone with a detailed map of a modified /updated 49 mile drive ?
    how long does this take usually?

    We have 4 kids all below the age of 8.

    with kind regards and many thanks.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 02-25-2009 at 06:46 AM. Reason: Merged - Please do not create new threads to ask questions about the same trip

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Sf

    I haven't done the 49 mile drive myself, but I found an interesting newspaper article about it which indicates it takes about 4 hours to drive without stopping.

    If you want to drive the entire PCH between SF and LA, I think I'd just start right at the Golden Gate Bridge and follow it from there.

  7. Default

    With regards to leaving San Francisco and heading south, I recommend taking California-85 south to CA-9 west and then CA-236 through Big Basin Redwoods State Park and the Mystery Spot. Continue to Monterey, where you can spend your first night. In the morning check out the aquarium, then head south through Pebble Beach onto CA-1. Spend your second night near Hearst Castle. On your third day, tour the castle, then head south. When you get to San Luis Obispo, stay on US-101 instead of CA-1. Once you hit Oxnard, take CA-1 again to drive through Malibu and Santa Monica.

    Enjoy your wonderful road trip!

  8. #8


    There are many choices of roads to take from SF to Monterey.
    billtron offered a very good option, the roads take you into the
    Santa Cruz mountains to see redwood trees. Big Basin is a great spot
    for hiking, you can also camp or rent a rustic cabin.

    Another choice would be to drive from SF to Monterey on Hwy 1.
    Take the Great Highway to Hwy 1 and drive the coast all the way down to Monterey.

    This will take you down the San Mateo coast, along Devil's Slide, through
    the towns of Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz among others.

    You could craft your route to see both mountains and coast as well.

    The fastest route would be to take Hwy 101 south to Hwy 156.

  9. Default getting to the monterey peninsula from san francisco

    We are planning this roadtrip(absolute novices) from Cyprus in the mediterranean and relying on the good folks on 'roadtrip america' for guidance. (thank you much).
    We would like to know which is the most scenic route to santa cruz from san francisco? Where can we turn off onto HW1, because it seems to be quicker from Los gatos? There also seems to be a route through half moon bay.
    Is the boardwalk in santa cruz worth stopping for. We are planning to lunch here and then drive to the MB Aquarium and stay the night at carmel or monterey. Any suggestions? We are a bunch of 4 kids, 4 adults.

    Any other suggestions , please recommend/advice, etc.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 03-09-2009 at 09:11 AM. Reason: Merged threads. As previously requested please keep all posts about this trip in the one thread.

  10. #10


    When we visited CA last year, we took the route through Half Moon Bay coming from San Francisco. The road follows the coast all the way to Santa Cruz, and it was quite scenic. Many pull over points with nice beaches.

    If you're going to be in the Santa Cruz area, as a family side-trip, I would highly recommend taking the short drive to San Jose and visiting the Winchester Mystery House. The kids would like it too - bizarre but cool.
    Last edited by AZBuck; 03-09-2009 at 09:03 AM. Reason: Preferred link format

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