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SF to LA - best place to stop off?!

Bolton, United...
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SF to LA - best place to stop off?!

Hello everyone

We are driving from SF to LA next April as part of our honeymoon.

Just looking for suggestions at the best place to spend a night? We did initially think of San Simeon but I've read that there isn't really much there?

Thanks in advance!

Hannah

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San Simeon
San Simeon
San Luis Obispo County, CA
7 replies to this topic
San Francisco, Ca
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1. Re: SF to LA - best place to stop off?!

The 'best' thing to do is spend two nights: one in the Carmel/Monterey area and one in the Cambria/Pismo Beach area. This allows you time to explore on the way to Carmel/Monterey (redwood trees, Santa Cruz) and a little time to visit the art galleries of Carmel or the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Then the next day is all about Big Sur -- 90 miles of gorgeous coast with great views. It's only 90-ish miles, but you could stop to admire the views literally every hundred feet, take short walks or longer hikes, have lunch at Nepenthe. The highlight stops include Point Lobos (you could -- but don't -- spend hours here), Pfeiffer State Beach (purple sand and off-shore formations with waves crashing through holes in the rocks), Bixby Bridge (recognizable from pretty much any car advertisement ever), McWay Falls (a waterfall tumbling onto a beach) and more.

The road is narrow and twisty, so you can't go very fast. It requires enough of the driver's attention that they are generally happy to stop driving once you exit this portion (just north of San Simeon).

The third day, you can explore Santa Barbara before heading into LA.

Each destination's forum (Monterey, Carmel, Cambria, Pismo Beach) has previous posts on where to stay, eat, etc.

Edited: 13 June 2018, 17:52
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Carmel
Carmel
Monterey County, CA
Monterey
Monterey
Monterey County, CA
Cambria
Cambria
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Pismo Beach
Pismo Beach
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
California
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey Bay Aquarium
12,542 Reviews
Monterey, CA
Big Sur
Big Sur
California
Nepenthe
Nepenthe
2,954 Reviews
Big Sur, CA
Lobos Lodge
Lobos Lodge
480 Reviews
Carmel, CA
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
Pfeiffer Big Sur State...
643 Reviews
Big Sur, CA
Bixby Bridge
Bixby Bridge
1,090 Reviews
Big Sur, CA
McWay Falls
McWay Falls
1,007 Reviews
Big Sur, CA
San Simeon
San Simeon
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara
California
Bolton, United...
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6 posts
12 reviews
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2. Re: SF to LA - best place to stop off?!

Thanks very much! Unfortunately we only have one night so will change to Carmel instead! Cheers!

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Carmel
Carmel
Monterey County, CA
Monterey Bay...
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3. Re: SF to LA - best place to stop off?!

I'd still keep Cambria as my overnight. It will be 2 hours or so to Carmel and the next day would be unbearably long and exhausting. Wake-up early and get to Carmel ASPA, this will leave you with time to explore Big Sur as you head down the coast towards Cambria.

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Cambria
Cambria
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Carmel
Carmel
Monterey County, CA
Sur Restaurant & Grill
Sur Restaurant & Grill
834 Reviews
Los Angeles, CA
Bolton, United...
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6 posts
12 reviews
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4. Re: SF to LA - best place to stop off?!

That’s great thank you!

Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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10 reviews
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5. Re: SF to LA - best place to stop off?!

Cambria is the logical mid way stop, but be aware that it's a minimum 6 hour drive from SF without stops. You'll have a tad more daylight in April, but you'll be racing the clock to get down from the twisty, elevated Big Sur coastline before it gets dark on you.

Having only one night is seriously limitating for some of the best scenery and small coastal towns California has to offer. Hopefully you can return to do the drive justice.

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Cambria
Cambria
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Big Sur
Big Sur
California
San Francisco, Ca
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6. Re: SF to LA - best place to stop off?!

Yes, with only one night, Cambria is the better spot. It makes a slightly longer day for the driver (than starting in Carmel), and you have to watch your time so you don't get caught in the Big Sur area after dark. But if you spend the night in Carmel, you have one short day and one very long day. After the driver gets through Big Sur (which can literally take all day), they then have to drive for hours to get to LA.

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Cambria
Cambria
San Luis Obispo County, CA
Carmel
Carmel
Monterey County, CA
Big Sur
Big Sur
California
Sur Restaurant & Grill
Sur Restaurant & Grill
834 Reviews
Los Angeles, CA
Bolton, United...
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6 posts
12 reviews
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7. Re: SF to LA - best place to stop off?!

Thanks everyone! We live in Australia now so are used to having to drive for hours to get anywhere haha!

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