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  1. Default December trip from LA to San Francisco via Hearst Castle

    We are wanting to drive from LA to San Francisco in 1 day via Hearst Castle. I realise that the Coast Highway is too long to do this in 1 day and enjoy a tour of Hearst Castle, is there a road that will take us back onto to faster route? We are coming from Australia so don't know the highways.

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

    Default A long day"

    Hi Meg, welcome to R.T.A !

    That's going to be a long day and I would recommend getting out of LA very early to get a good start and avoid the traffic build up.
    Someone will be along with first hand knowledge but I-5 to 46 to the coast and then back to the 101 would look to be the quickest option.
    If you can't find the time for an overnight stop [which I would recommend] then get out of LA at 6am and don't expect to be in SF untill late evening.
    Last edited by Southwest Dave; 04-18-2009 at 04:25 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default An Early Start is Critical

    As Dave pointed out, to have any chance of seeing Hearst Castle, some of the Pacific Coast Highway, and still make it to San Francisco in a day, you must get an early start from Los Angeles. I'd say you'll have to be in on your way out of the city well before 6:00 AM, and I do mean on your way out. It will not do to depart from, say LAX, Riverside or anywhere in Orange County at that hour as you'll initially be heading into the city as rush hour traffic is starting to build. Then, again as Dave noted, stay on I-5 until you are well north of the city. You would then head for the coast from Lost Hills on CA-46. This will put you on CA-1 just south of San Simeon. After enjoying the tour of the Castle continue north along the coast to north of Monterey where CA-156 from Castroville will both bypass Salinas and put you on US-101 for the rest of the way into San Francisco. See if you can get reservations for a tour at San Simeon that will fit your schedule. You don't want to arrive and find that there will be a two hour wait until the next available opening. And even with the best of luck, be prepared: this will be a long day.


  4. Default December trip from LA to San Fran via Hearst Castle

    Thanks for your help, we will be leaving from Anaheim, would you think 5am to be on the road would be best?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Meg, is there NO way you can take 2 days? Anaheim is a very difficult location to try to get from to the north. To properly tour Hearst Castle, you do need a few hours, and the whole stretch of CA-1 from San Luis Obispo to Monterey can be very slow going.

    Buck's routing is 500 miles. It may take 12 hours to do NOT counting your Hearst Castle tour.

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

    Default at least

    Yes, I'd say you'd want to be getting on the road by 5 if you are starting from all the way down in Anaheim.

    You can be looking at close to an hour to get from Anaheim to the mountains north of LA where traffic will thin out. If you left much later than 5, you could easily see your travel time double in traffic.

  7. Default thanks for your feedback

    I appreciate the feedback, we have taken it on board it's been very helpful, thanks so much, we will be on the road if needs be by 4pm to get out of Anaheim and across LA, we can stop for breakfast on the way any ideas of a good town to stop at say 7am or so? I know this is a Road Trip forum but thought I'd throw that in as well...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Your best selection would be to take CA-99 off of I-5 to Bakersfield. This is 135 miles from Anaheim so the timing would be about what you want. You can pick up CA-46 to the coast from CA-99.

    I can't recommend anything specific in Bakersfield, but there are tons of restaurants within a few blocks of just about every freeway exit.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    South Central Orange County

    Default Leaving early

    It's worth it to leave Anaheim around 4:00 AM instead of 5:00 AM to be on the safe side. If you were to get on I-5 north from Anaheim after 5:15 AM, you'd most likely hit heavy traffic as you approached the 605 (about 35 km northwest of Anaheim) and creep slowly until you got past the downtown area.

    Stay on I-5 until CA-46 as others have recommended. I've stopped at a number of places on this route for breakfast, but I haven't found one I'd recommend (so far I've only stopped at fast food places). If you avoid morning traffic, the trip from Anaheim to Lost Hills should only take about 2 1/2 hours. There are a number of fast food restaurants you could stop at for breakfast.

  10. #10


    My preferred route would be to get onto Hwy 101 to Hwy 1 via
    San Luis Obispo to Hearst Castle.

    After taking the tour of Hearst Castle, drive back on Hwy 101 via Hwy 46
    to Paso Robles and on to SF. Paso Robles has a nice downtown and would
    make a nice lunch stop.

    If you leave at 4am, you could eat breakfast in a number of wonderful
    towns, Santa Barbara (~6am), or Solvang (~7:00am) or even San Luis
    Obispo (~8:00am).

    Hearst Castle is about a 5 hour drive from Los Angeles.

    At 4am, you won't hit much traffic in LA/OC, even 5am is doable.
    I'd skip the 6:30am - 9:30am window though.

    Don't forget traffic on the SF end as well. Hwy 101 between San Jose
    and South SF can be somewhat heavy, it just requires some patience
    between 4:30pm and 7:00pm. Use carpool lanes when you can to speed
    things up.

    Here's the route on Google Maps.
    Last edited by roadie; 04-20-2009 at 06:35 PM.

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