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SF to LA in 3 days - doubt about 2nd night

Goiania, GO
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SF to LA in 3 days - doubt about 2nd night

Hi all. I'm planning a 3 days road trip from SF to LA between July 30th and August 1st. I'm gonna leave SF at 9am and my plan is spend the first night in Carmel or Monterey. In the morning of July 31st (Tuesday) my plan is a drive trip to Sand Dollar Beach (no hiking, just pull-offs and eat) and after that my plan is head south through 101 to Santa Barbara. Will I reach SB too late? How long would this take?

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Carmel
Carmel
Monterey County, CA
Monterey
Monterey
Monterey County, CA
Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara
California
8 replies to this topic
San Francisco...
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1. Re: SF to LA in 3 days - doubt about 2nd night

No you won’t. 101 is a 65-70 MPH freeway. Not as fast as 75MPH in Co.

San Luis Obispo...
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2. Re: SF to LA in 3 days - doubt about 2nd night

Without accounting for stops the drive down to Sand Dollar Beach and back around to 101 down to Santa Barbara takes just over 7 hours per Google Map; I would guess more like 8 hours. This is a long driving day, made all the more stressful by having to drive past your starting point some 3+ hours into the drive. A long drive to get nowhere. I'd try to get another night in Monterey, although with a long summer day and an early start, it is possible. Maybe consider aiming for Morro Bay or Pismo Beach rather than all the way to Santa Barbara.

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3. Re: SF to LA in 3 days - doubt about 2nd night

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Grover Beach...
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4. Re: SF to LA in 3 days - doubt about 2nd night

There's no viable route over to Highway 101 from Sand Dollar Beach, except to head back to Monterey and east toward Salinas. Not sure you're aware of the road closure south of Sand Dollar Beach or not, but, currently, you can't travel all the way down through Big Sur because of a massive mud slide last year that took out the Highway.

I estimate the Montetey to Santa Barbara plan will take approx. 8 hours. Maybe more depending on what additional stops you make along the Big Sur coast.

Also, there are very few dining places along the Big Sur coast, so you might want to pick up food in Monterey/Carmel before hitting the Big Sur drive.

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Carmel
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Goiania, GO
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5. Re: SF to LA in 3 days - doubt about 2nd night

Thanks for answering guys. Yes I'm aware of the road closure south of Sand Dollar Beach, so my plan is drive back up and take the 101 detour.

So, just to conclude. The itinerary (Monterey - Sand Dollar Beach - Monterey - Santa Barbara) will take approx. 8 hours plus the time I'll spend with additional stops along the Big Sur coast, right?

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San Francisco...
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6. Re: SF to LA in 3 days - doubt about 2nd night

Why don’t you leave early from SF. And see Big Sur on day 1. Then spend time in Monterey on day 2 and drive South

As was suggested you could stay an hour or so before Santa Barbara

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Grover Beach...
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7. Re: SF to LA in 3 days - doubt about 2nd night

I factored in time to eat and the possible road construction hold up at Highway 1 and Rio Road in Carmel.

Approx. drive times:

Monterey to Sand Dollar Beach: 2 hours

Lunch at a restaurant (Big Sur Deli, Nepenthe, etc.): 1 to 1 1/2 hours

Brown bag lunch: 30 minutes

Sand Dollar Beach to Monterey: 2 hours

Monterey to Santa Barbara via Highway 68 East/Highway 101 south: 4 1/2 hours

Additional recommended stops:

Bixby Bridge: 10 to 15 minutes

McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park: 20 to 30 minutes

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Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
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Goiania, GO
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8. Re: SF to LA in 3 days - doubt about 2nd night

I'll follow your suggestions.

Day 1: San Fran to Sand Dollar beach and back up to Monterey.

Day 2: Monterey to Santa Barbara via Highway 68 East/Highway 101 south.

I think it is the best to do. Thank you all!

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