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SFO to LAX drive, via Big Sur, which route should I consider

Melbourne, Australia
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SFO to LAX drive, via Big Sur, which route should I consider

So I finally have a day to myself for driving and I can stop whenever I want since I will be kid free for a day and a half.

I am arriving in San Francisco around 6pm on a Monday afternoon and I need to be at LAX airport the following day at 9pm at the very latest.

I am considering whether to drive from SFO on Monday afternoon/evening all the way to Carmel and start my drive the following morning via Big Sur.

Will I be missing out on any sights if I drive through the evening/night from SFO down to Carmel?

And also, do you suggest any other stops past San Simeon on the way to LAX? I have already been to Hearst Castle twice so I may give it a miss this time in the hope of seeing something else.

Santa Cruz...
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1. Re: SFO to LAX drive, via Big Sur, which route should I consider

First, it is 3 hours from San Francisco to Monterey/Carmel.

Are you considering, then, driving Hwy 1 the next day to San Simeon all the way to LAX? And you are asking about stops on the way? Are you thinking you have time to stop at Hearst Castle?

I think you need to look at the mileage and realize that Hwy 1 between Monterey/Carme. and San Simeon is a slow drive.

I don't see any time for any stops on your itinerary.

Dublin, California
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2. Re: SFO to LAX drive, via Big Sur, which route should I consider

I think it's more like a 2 hr drive to Monterey if you take 101 south. So yes I would do that on the first night. Have a good night's rest, get up early the next morning, and start your drive through Big Sur. Santa Barbara would be a good stopping point.

Melbourne, Australia
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3. Re: SFO to LAX drive, via Big Sur, which route should I consider

thanks for the reply Puter. My idea was to drive on Monday afternoon/evening to Monterey/Carmel or start first thing in the morning on Tuesday (around 6-7am). All depending whether or not there are sights worth seeing during the day between SFO-Monterey/Carmel.

And the following morning (Tuesday) i was thinking to start my drive from Monterey/Carmel to either San Simeon or LAX via Hwy 1. I won't go to Hearst Castle this time because I've already seen it twice. Instead I thought to maybe stop somewhere else along the way such as Santa Barbara or anywhere else if time permits. I do have to be at LAX no later than 9pm

I guess my question is, after seeing Big Sur is there anything else I should see on my way to LAX or perhaps Big Sure should be the highlight of the trip and then just simply take a leisurely drive towards the airport.

San Francisco...
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4. Re: SFO to LAX drive, via Big Sur, which route should I consider

Most would suggest an overnight in Cambria if you want to do the drive from SF (I presume you mean SF the city and not SFO the airport) to get from SF to LA

Now you don't have much time in the evening if you are leaving SF at 6 or 7 and not sure when this is but you may have zero to an hour or so of daylight. So the best thing would be to drive to Carmel for the night and leave early morning to drive all the way to LAX.

There is a photoblog on the Top Questions that is a great way to preview what you can see from say Half Moon Bay which is close to SF (via hwy 1) to Cambria

As mentioned before it is a long drive on your day 2 so leave early

Dublin, California
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5. Re: SFO to LAX drive, via Big Sur, which route should I consider

I think OP meant SFO the airport. He flies into SFO and starts his drive around 6 pm.

Melbourne, Australia
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6. Re: SFO to LAX drive, via Big Sur, which route should I consider

Thanks for the suggestions. Looks like I will be driving from the airport in the afternoon/evening to Carmel/Monterey and then start my drive early in the morning.

Do you recommend any other short "side trips" or stops along the route? I will be bringing the camera with me and while I'm no professional photographer I do enjoy taking some nice shots every now and then.

San Francisco...
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7. Re: SFO to LAX drive, via Big Sur, which route should I consider

Cool TSS, you may be right. If that is the case by the time the bags arrive and then the OP gets the car, it may be around 7pm and unless that is July or August, I don't think one can see anything enroute. Plus there will be traffic until 7ish anyway so perhaps a dinner in the area and then the drive south would be best

Melbourne, Australia
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8. Re: SFO to LAX drive, via Big Sur, which route should I consider

Sorry I should have clarified: because i have a few flights I'll be taking all I'm thinking at the moment is airports :) So yes it was San Francisco the airport I was flying into.

San Francisco, Ca
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9. Re: SFO to LAX drive, via Big Sur, which route should I consider

I think Big Sur will be your highlight, especially if you make stops at some of the major scenic spots. (There's a list on a recent post somewhere...) Santa Barbara will be a bonus, maybe for a late lunch/early dinner.

Grover Beach...
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10. Re: SFO to LAX drive, via Big Sur, which route should I consider

The sad thing with this plan is that you will have NO time for seeing Monterey/Carmel AT ALL, then have an exhausting drive down Highway 1 to LAX (7 hours WITHOUT stops, BTW!!). Most of us are pretty tired of driving by the time we get down the elevated, twisty Big Sur drive and you'll still have 2 to 3 hundred miles to go!!