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Is this an unrealistic plan?

Verona, New Jersey
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130 posts
65 reviews
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Is this an unrealistic plan?

My DH and 14 yr old son and I are coming to SF next week for 6 nights and then driving down to the Monterey Bay area, staying in Carmel for a night and then driving on down to LA the next day. I want to drive along route 1 through Big Sur and view the scenery and everything. We have a 1 pm reservation for a tour at the Hearst Castle in San Simeon and then after that we'll continue on down to LA, expecting to get there at around 7 pm. I was planning on leaving our B&B in Carmel early, at around 8:30 to head out to Big Sur and the surrounding area, will it be totally fogged in early in the day, and is it realistic to think I can drive from Big Sur, stopping and seeing the sights and make it to San Simeon by 12:30 for our tour? We're not big hikers, so I don't expect to do anything like that, but I do want to savor the scenery and not just whiz by it.

Also, is the drive down Route 1 really as hair raising as some of my co-workers led me to believe today? No guard rails? I'm afraid I'm not very good with heights.

Any tips or help would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Shell Beach...
Destination Expert
for Big Sur
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3,163 posts
13 reviews
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1. Re: Is this an unrealistic plan?

This itinerary is certainly possible, but it doesn't sound like much fun, as you will probably be rushing through some of the best scenery on earth. Why the hurry to get to LA? There are many wonderful sights on the way besides Big Sur, such as Cambria, Morro Bay, Avila Beach, San Luis Obispo...

Also, at this time of year, fog can be heavy and may not clear until well after noon. Highway 1 has guardrails, and is very well maintained. Certainly, under no circumstances should you gaze at the scenery while driving. There are a lot of marked "vista points" where you can get out and admire the view. This goList might give more ideas for Big Sur:

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i14592-Big_Sur_…

Verona, New Jersey
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130 posts
65 reviews
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2. Re: Is this an unrealistic plan?

Thanks you allayed some of my fears...

I wish we could take our time and go slower, but it's towards the end of our trip and we're visiting my sister-in-law and staying with her that night, and will only have two nights with her and didn't want to get in too late, since I think she'll be expecting us for dinner. Still I think she'd understand if we show up late, and we can always call her from the road.

I'm just concerned about driving from Big Sur to San Simeon in 4 hours, I wasn't sure if that seemed realistic or not. Regarding the fog, I suppose we could always drive around there the day before when we're in the area to see it in the afternoon when it's not fogged in.

Thanks again!

Shell Beach...
Destination Expert
for Big Sur
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3,163 posts
13 reviews
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3. Re: Is this an unrealistic plan?

I'm glad I could help, and I certainly understand the reason for your timing. In my opinion, you're missing the best part of California, but I'm sure you'll have a great trip.

Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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20,696 posts
10 reviews
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4. Re: Is this an unrealistic plan?

Carmel to Hearst Castle is a two hour drive without stops. That gives you two hours to play with.

My recommendations?

Stop for Bixby Bridge

The Phoenix Shop (if open)

McWay Falls at Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park

Ragged Point

Elephant seal rookery

You don't have to spend a lot of time at any of these scenic spots, but I do suggest making sure to arrive at Hearst Castle at least 15 minutes before your tour starts.

Highway 1 through Big Sur can be intimidating for the first time. As long as you take the drive slow (especially at the hairpin turns) and use the turn-outs to allow faster traffic to go around you, you should be just fine. There are people who live off Highway 1 that are used to the road and want to get home quick. Let them.

5. Re: Is this an unrealistic plan?

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