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best place to stay on drive up to san francisco

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Melbourne, Australia
posts: 57
reviews: 2
best place to stay on drive up to san francisco

Hi Guys we are flying into lax from australia , picking up a car and driving up the coastal road to san fran .. we would like to know a nice town to stop not too far along, as we will be jetlagged ..

we were onlly planning one night on the way ? or should we calculate 2 nights into the equation

thanks so much

Kim

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Portland
posts: 5,443
reviews: 143
1. Re: best place to stay on drive up to san francisco

I like Santa Barbara. Not too far for a jet-lag drive and easy to drive up the next day to San Francisco. Plus it is abosultely beautiful. Have a nice dinner and sleep soundly!

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 14,243
reviews: 3
2. Re: best place to stay on drive up to san francisco

Hi Kim

LA to SF via the coast route is at least a 10 hour drive WITHOUT stops. Finding a town "not too far along" from LA would mean a LONG, tiring (If not exhausting) drive the next morning.

That drive really needs at least 2 nights.

Santa Barbara would probably be the better place to stop to balance the drive out a bit, but that would still be at least 2 hours from LAX. IF you stay closer to LAX, you'll have a brutally long drive ahead of you even if you add another night. The second night should be Monterey/Carmel, but could be Cambria if you don't mind limited time in the highly scenic and gorgeous Carmel area.

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 21,516
reviews: 114
3. Re: best place to stay on drive up to san francisco

I would not want to be on the road next to jetlagged people who have been on a long transpacific flight. Please do us all a favor rest near LAX (santa monica comes to mind) and drive the next day-- if you must

What I don't get is why are you in a hurry to leave LA? why not spend the first few days seeing LA, getting over the jetlag and then starting your drive up North

Santa Monica...
Destination Expert
for Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Mammoth Lakes
posts: 20,289
reviews: 21
4. Re: best place to stay on drive up to san francisco

Stay near the airport or in Santa Monica the first night, it's too dangerous to drive after such a long flight.

Destination Expert
for Los Angeles
posts: 23,382
reviews: 50
5. Re: best place to stay on drive up to san francisco

I'm with the previous 2 posters. You'll have flown 15 hours, crossed 6 time zones, won't have slept (assuming you arrive in the early morning since it will only be midnight 'Sydney time'). You'll have to endure 60 to 90 minutes of Immigration, baggage claim and Customs as well as queuing up for the shuttle to your off-airport car hire lot where you'll queue up again.

Then, you'll be driving a left-hand drive car on the right side of the road to a place you've never been to before. I'd RELAX (it's a holiday, remember?), spend the day at the beach near L.A. (Manhattan Beach, Venice, Marina del Rey, Santa Monica) and start out early the next morning.

San Francisco, Ca
posts: 5,114
reviews: 44
6. Re: best place to stay on drive up to san francisco

In a perfect world, I'd suggest:

Arrive LAX, stay at a hotel near the airport, pick up car the next morning

Drive to Santa Barbara, spend 1 night

Drive to Cambria, spend 1 night

Drive to Big Sur, spend 1 night

Drive to Monterey/Carmel, spend 1 night

Drive to SF

In a less-than-perfect world:

Arrive LAX, drive to Santa Monica, spend 1 night

Drive to Big Sur, spend 1 night

Drive to SF

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 14,243
reviews: 3
7. Re: best place to stay on drive up to san francisco

The most logical midway stop between LA and SF is Cambria.

LA to Cambria: 4 1/2 hour drive WITHOUT stops

Cambria to SF: 6 hour drive WITHOUT stops

If you were to drive from LA to Big Sur, it would be close to a 7 hour drive WITHOUT stops. There is just too much to see/do along the coastal route and you do NOT want to drive the twists and turns of Big Sur after sundown. You would miss the great views and it can be intimidating for someone who doesn't know the road.

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
posts: 33,704
reviews: 338
8. Re: best place to stay on drive up to san francisco

I think the key is, when you do you arrive from Oz? If you get in anytime after 3PM, I'd spend the night at a hotel near LAX and then drive the next morning to Cambria as the halfway point between LA & SF.

If you get in before 12 noon, I'd get the car, spend the first night in Santa Barbara and then drive to Cambria. You COULD make the drive from SB to Monterey, but with stops that is probably 8 hours.

Point being.... there are lots of ways to go here.... if you just want to drive the CA coast between LA and SF and not experience any of the great towns along the way (esp Santa Barbara & Monterey/Carmel) then you can do it with one overnight stop in Cambria, but to experience the others areas a bit is a two or three night venture and when you arrive at LAX kind of drives if that is a two or three night drive.

Play with Google Maps, see the links below but IGNORE the drive times. Google Maps just divides distance by 50MPH and there is no way to drive 55 on Highway 1, it is mostly 35MPH tops.

http://goo.gl/maps/Ciock

http://goo.gl/maps/T7kgd

http://goo.gl/maps/NHpUx

9. Re: best place to stay on drive up to san francisco

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