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San Francisco to Santa Cruz and San Jose

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posts: 44
San Francisco to Santa Cruz and San Jose

I'm driving from San Francisco to Santa Cruz and San Jose. It doesn't matter which city I hit first. I have an errand in San Jose and have never check out Santa Cruz so I thought I would drive on down. Scenic without too many hours to the drive would be ultimate for me. Which route should I take?

Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 13,235
reviews: 588
1. Re: San Francisco to Santa Cruz and San Jose

Since you've got an errand in San Jose, I'd do that first.

Take 280 versus 101 for best scenic route. You'll see a lake, some green hills, etc. and then get to San Jose. You might want to check out Santana Row area while in San Jose and also downtown San Jose (Sonoma Chicken Coop) for a good inexpensive lunch.



Then drive over Highway 17 (note: this has lots of twists and turns on it but lots of people drive it every day.) If not comfortable on taking Highway 17, you can drive back up and first go to Half Moon Bay and then drive to Santa Cruz and back. This however adds significant time to the trip.

So, I'd just go over Highway 17 if ok with that and see Santa Cruz and return the coastal route up Highway 1 to San Francisco....

Hvae fun.

Destination Expert
for San Jose
posts: 5,683
reviews: 94
2. Re: San Francisco to Santa Cruz and San Jose

Traffic. SF to San Jose

weekday morning rushhour. 101 is quite bad. 280 will be busy but ok.

weekday afternoon rushhour. 85 is extremely bad. 280 will be busy but ok.

Traffic. San Jose to Santa Cruz

weekday afternoon rushhour. very bad.

weekend midday summer beach traffic. very bad.

Here's a good website to forecast real-time traffic:


Santa Cruz...
posts: 13
reviews: 3
3. Re: San Francisco to Santa Cruz and San Jose

i dont know if you still need this info but i would drive down the cost from san fran to santa cruz on highway 1 .. this is very senic.. it might take alittle longer but if you have never driven it well worth it.

And then take highway 17 over to san jose..

4. Re: San Francisco to Santa Cruz and San Jose

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