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Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to San Diego

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Rosario, Argentina
posts: 1
reviews: 2
Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to San Diego

Hi,

My friend and I wanna rent a car and drive from SF to SD along the PCH and are not sure on which cities to stop to spend the night. We want to do this in 1 complete week. Any suggestions?

Thanks in advance!

6 replies to this topic
Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
posts: 38,328
reviews: 59
1. Re: Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to San Diego

Hi

Do you have a week for the driving portion of the trip, no time needed for cities? What time of year will you be traveling? What kinds of things do you like to do? (Museums, watersports, walking, shopping, photography, etc.)

The Top Questions on the right side of this page is loaded with tips for folks driving Hwy 1. (full TripAdvisor website, not the app.)

Anaheim, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
posts: 23,686
reviews: 13
2. Re: Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to San Diego

OK, first I would go to Google Maps or something similar and check out the route(s).

The Coastal drive is made up of multiple highways and names, Pacific Coast Highway is one of the many names, also you will find names like the Coast Highway, and the 1 and 101 used. And also there are a few segments that are city streets instead of a highway, such as the Palos Verdes area in Southern California.

So, as mentioned above, figure out what else you want to do besides driving down the coast, and then split it up into segments.

Los Angeles
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 13,708
reviews: 57
3. Re: Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to San Diego

Once you reach Santa Monica in LA its probably better just to use the freeways to get to San Diego - up to you of course but for long stretches in LA, Pacific Coast Highway isn't so much a highway (lots of traffic signals) and heads a bit inland before coming back to the coast around Seal Beach. Eventually, it merges with I-5 in Dana Point which is quite a bit north of San Diego so you'd have to take I-5 the rest of the way, regardless.

In any case, the FAQ's and Top Questions on the right side of this page cover the Pacific Coast Highway drive between San Francisco and LA quite extensively, so start there.

Anaheim, California
Destination Expert
for Anaheim
posts: 23,686
reviews: 13
4. Re: Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to San Diego

OK, Southern California has some awesome drives south of Santa Monica, so I would not avoid it.

The SoCal portion is talked about in this Top Question.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c174834/Califo…

Some of my favorites are the Palos Verdes segment (a detour not using "PCH"), Huntington Beach, the Balboa Peninsula area of Newport Beach, and talking the Balboa Ferry in the LA/Orange County segment.

In Northern San Diego County (Basically San Clemente to Oceanside), you will have to get onto the I-5 Freeway to drive through the large Camp Pendleton Military Base, but then you can get back on the "Coast Highway/Route 101" in Oceanside and take it all the way down to the La Jolla area of San Diego.

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 14,385
reviews: 3
5. Re: Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to San Diego

IF you only have 1 week that includes SF, SD and everything else in between, then you don't have enough time budgeted. SF to San Diego is 600 miles and 12 hours of driving WITHOUT stops.

IF you have 1 week for the drive between the two cities, then I would recommend this:

Monterey: 2 nights

Cambria: 1 night

Santa Barbara: 2 nights

Los Angeles: 2 nights

New York City, New...
posts: 80
reviews: 16
6. Re: Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to San Diego

I am doing a similar trip except stopping in San Luis as I only have 4 days

Do you suggest

1 monterey/carmel area

Cambira 1 night

San Luis 1 night?

Then back to San Fran

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