We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

SF to Monterey

Which San Francisco hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
posts: 283
reviews: 47
SF to Monterey

will arrive on 8-3 and spending 1st night at Holiday Inn Express by Oakland Airport. I think we want to head out the next day south to Monterey. I would love to drive as much of Hwy 1 right on the coast as possible. About how much time would this take....also would early morning fog be problem. we are from Kansas so our bodies will be on a 2 hour time difference. so we should be up pretty early in your area.

Hopefully 1 night in Monterey would be enough. Want to see the aquarium and the 17 mile drive and some of carmel. Should we cross the Oakland bridge and get on 1 up north or go around the bay and hit it farther south???

Then go to Yosemite. I imagine that if we can get a place to stay there - that we would only need 1 night. We are a couple of fun loving sight seeing old broads...lol - of 72 & 60 and me being the younger have asthma...so won't be doing lots of hiking. just looking -

then want to come back up SF way and maybe take a city tour and see alcatraz..would a bay cruise also be a good one our will the trip to alcatraz suffice? might need 2 days in SF - want to see Muir Woods and maybe drive around the country a little north of SF (wine country) and if enuff time over to Tahoe for 1 night. Fly out on 8-10, so have reservation again at Holiday INN Express in Oakland for the night prior.

Not sure where we will stay when back in SF...would like to use a 4 points Sheraton/Sheraton property...i see there are a few a little south and one at FW and at SF airport.

I assume from SF airport the Bart would be best to get to FW. Is there any all day parking in the area....also if we were across the bay - i believe we could take a Ferry across and can park at a garage fairly close to the Ferry.

Any thoughts would be appreciated....also, are their any cafeterias in California??

Thx so much...kc

Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 13,215
reviews: 581
1. Re: SF to Monterey


Sounds like you've been doing lots of planning....

A couple of inputs:

1) From Oakland, drive south on Highway 880 till you get to San Mateo Bay Bridge. Continue on this road - it becomes - higway 92 to Half Moon Bay.

(this is a good overview map of the drive....


I would start the drive in Half Moon Bay (this part down is the most scenic). Commute traffic might be an issue on the San Mateo Bay Bridge but will clear up very much (unless a week-end) for most of your drive to Half Moon Bay. Starting at Half Moon Bay also avoids any hard commutes into San Francisco which can have a fair amount of traffic.

Drive along the coast from here to Santa Cruz Pier.

You may want to walk out on the pier at the harbor in Half Moon Bay (to get there drive a few miles north when you get to the Highway 1 turn into Half Moon Bay - Pillar Point.


After visiting the harbor drive down the coast Highway 1 from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz. Along the way you'll see

lighthouse, the shoreline, and the countryside. During October many of the farms by Half Moon Bay grow pumpkins for the annual major Pumpkin Festival in this area.

Pigeon Point Light House Station


In Santa Cruz I'd suggest stopping by the Pier ---drive it to end of pier if you get down to the end of the pier, you'll most likely see some seals. Always fun to see these...and this is one of the best spots. If you're hungry, have an early lunch at one of the restaurants on the Pier (nice views from most of the restaurants....there is a snack shop also at end of pier.)



and you'll also get a good view of the boardwalk:


Fog should not be an issue for driving...its normally high fog (i.e. more like cloud cover till about noon.).

After stopping at Santa Cruz, continue down to Monterey and stop at Monterey Aquarium. Tour this next as it closes at 6.


You might also like to walk through the Cannery area and Fisherman Wharf area at Monterey. After that, drive the coastal route along Monterey to where 17 mile drive is and drive that...

Given these different activities you'll be done in time for dinner.

The drive itself takes about 3 hours from Half Moon Bay dependent on where you stop/traffic/etc. Its best to be in Monterey before 3:00 so you can avoid the afternoon commute traffic.

One night is adequate if this is what you want to see.

If ou want to stop by Pt. Lobos the next day ....this is a state reserve - with beautiful ocean scenery, you might want to consider that too. Do this early as parking sometimes fills up.

You can park and see the ocean very easily.....i.e. not a lot of walking around required.


Driving to Yosemite will be the hardest part of the day there so again suggest getting up early so you have better part of the day. To see the major sights...river, 2 falls, meadow, Ahwahnee Lobby....you can do this mid afternoon to evening and be quite happy. Do immediately check on reservations and ask the forum if you're having problems finding something or have questions.

Regarding your question on Tahoe....decide this up front as driving can take 4 to 5 hours from San Francisco and back.

It would be easier to leave Yosemite and drive though Toulumne Meadows and down Tioga Pass and to Tahoe on your way back. (hopefully Tioga Pass will be open then...its always opened by end of June....except most likely this year.)

Stay one overnight in Tahoe.....and then drive to Old Sacramento and have lunch in Old Sacramento the following day.


And then continue to Napa and stay overnight close to Napa.

This will allow you to see some wineries in the afternoon

and enjoy the Napa Valley.

The following day drive from Napa Valley to San Francisco.

I would suggest stopping at Viansa - great views, nice tasting room and food tasting as well...and then drive to Muir Woods on way back....crossing the Golden Gate.



If you do the above - 1 night Monterey, 1 night Yosemite,

1 night Tahoe, 1 night Napa, you will still have 2 nights in San Francisco which is fine to do what you want, followed by 1 night in Oakland.

Alcatraz tour is enough to get out on the water unless you want to be on the water under the Golden Gate. If that is the case, do take the water tour.

There are all day parking in the area.....in terms of the Sheraton I'd probably stay at Sheraton Fisherman Wharf....given your group, you'll probably do day activities and head to bed early....(Note: If budget is an issue you can stay at Sherataon Gateway...inexpensive rates and park in San Francisco....parking rates can be high....you can get validated parking at Fisherman's whaf if you have lunch at Alioto's).

I would suggest Sheraton Fishermans' because it is also more level walking ground of all the sheraton's in San Francisco.

There are some cafeterias in California....but you will find more buffets. There are inexpensive Chinese buffets in many areas; another good buffet in the area is Hometown Buffet

and for Japanese food Todai (http://www.todai.com/) is quite good.

Here's another link you might find helpful:


posts: 283
reviews: 47
2. Re: SF to Monterey

mini - thanks so much - about how long is the drive down to Monterey and then about how long to Yosemite.

I see you are in Fremont. I had been searching for several years for a childhood friend that lived in Fremont. I just found out a few months ago - that she died a few years ago. But may stop in Fremont and see where she lived.


posts: 155
reviews: 8
3. Re: SF to Monterey

you're right; the best way to get to FW from SFO is via BART.

You take BART to the Embarcadero station. Exit and then catch the F train (the historic trolleys/streetcars) going north to the wharf. BART will cost around $4 and the street car $1.25.

There is all-day parking to be found pretty much everywhere, but it's prohibitively expensive. Leaving the car in the hotel lots if the parking is free and taking public transpo is a good option.

Tell us a bit more about where you're going in SF and around the Bay and i'm sure you'll get a ton of suggestions for transpo and parking. have fun and a great trip!

posts: 155
reviews: 8
4. Re: SF to Monterey

another thing: if you're not into hiking at yosemite there's a two hour valley tram tour, about $20. there are several other tram tours at the park; just check at the visitor's center. we were about the tram tour but then i realized we saw almost everything hiking and biking anyway, but the tram is a nice option. also, i would suggest, if you have time, the drive up to glacier point for the breathtaking view of the valley after your tram tours.

posts: 1,087
reviews: 2
5. Re: SF to Monterey

That day to Monterey from Oakland will be a very full day for you. First morning weekday rush hour traffic from 7-9:30 am. out of Oakland southbound on 880 Frwy. Expect stop 'n go traffic, then there's the 92 San Mateo Bridge going westward like everyone else in the morning headed into the Peninsula. That's even worse than the 880 Frwy. 92 and 280 is the world famous Filoli (filoli.org). Don't miss out! It's a fantastic mid-peninsula attraction that locals know about, and very few outsiders do. Once past the 92 & 101 frwy intersect, there will be no traffic for you. It'll be going in the opposite direction. Coming over the 17 freeway westvound, stop in Scott's VAlley at the Henry Cowell State Redwoods Park. Don't miss out on these giant coastal redwoods! Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk & Pier are very crowed on the weekends, when tourists and locals opt for the same destinational place. It can take you as much as an hour to go 2 miles, fromthe 17 frwy & PCH Hwy 1 intersect to the parking lot. Same goes for Monterey if there's a major city event happening that weekend. Monterey can get crowed at times at Cannery Row and around the Aquarium for traffic & parking. This doesn't include time for getting to visit and play tourist. The drive to Yosemite heading eastbound on Hwy 68 to Hwy 1401 north to Hwy 152 east to Yosemite's Main Gate and across the San Joaquin Valley should take you at least a minimum of 4 hours. Most definitely go see Muir Woods and the rare swooping white cranes that live/nest amongst the tree tops there. there's lots to see and do in Tahoe & the wine country too. Hope this helps in trying to keep it real...