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Pacific Coast Highway

Dunfermline, United...
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Pacific Coast Highway

Hi. As part of our 3 week trip to Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco next May, we are going to drive from Anaheim to San Francisco over 3 days up the PCH.

Where would you consider to be the best two places to stop on the way that mean we would be driving 100-150 miles each day on this route and any hotel recommendations for the two nights, please? Up to $150 per night, two travelling

Was thinking San Luis Obispo and Carmel unless you have better suggestions.

Thanks

Uden, The...
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1. Re: Pacific Coast Highway

Read the Top Questions about California on the upper right hand side of this page.

3 days is a good amount of time. Instead SLO you also can stay Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, Cambria or San Simeon that first night. Carmel/Monterey makes a good 2nd night.

It's not called Pacific Coast hw. PCH comes first from LA to the Oxnard area and it's called Cabrillo hw from there but we all refer to it as hw1.

Tet

London, United...
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2. Re: Pacific Coast Highway

Santa Barbara would be my first choice although this is a long drive to Monterey. Then one of the Santa Ynez Valley towns. Then one of the beach towns, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, Avila Beach or Cambria. Then Paso Robles or San Luis Obispo.

One of the Monterey Peninsula towns is a no-brainer for the other night. I'd pick Pacific Grove over Carmel or Monterey.

Hotels:

Santa Barbara: Avania Inn

Buellton: Days Inn

Cambria: Motel 6 San Simeon

San Luis Obispo: Peach Tree Inn or Madonna Inn

Pacific Grove: Lighthouse Lodge & Suites

San Francisco
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3. Re: Pacific Coast Highway

Does 3 days mean just 2 nights or 3?

If you're spending only 2 nights (arriving SF at the end of the 3rd day) then I think Santa Barbara isn't far enough for your first night's stay.

I would pick Cambria and Carmel/Monterey. The drive from Cambria to Carmel is the most scenic and you'll want to have as much time as possible to make stops and enjoy the scenery. It's also the slowest part of the drive as Highway 1 in this section is only a two lane (and rather curvy) road.

However IF you do indeed mean 3 nights on the road between Anaheim and SF then I would add Santa Barbara as a stop and keep the other two. While it's only a couple of hours from Anaheim to SB much of it is through LA traffic and not very relaxing.

(Hi dicanio ... I think we met at a TALF pub meet-up in October 2010!)

Dunfermline, United...
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4. Re: Pacific Coast Highway

Thanks very much all. Most helpful.

Tet - thanks for putting my right about the name, I knew it was Nighway 1 but didn't realise PCH only referred to a piece of it

Leaning towards Pismo Beach/Cambria then Carmel.

Hi RamblinSal, yes I do remember meeting you in London, at The Victoria near Paddington if I recall. Hope you are well! Yes, it is two nights and 3 days to do this. Leaving Anaheim after breakfast and didn't want to spend too long on the road as we want to see some sights on the way and not rush things.

Perth, Australia
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5. Re: Pacific Coast Highway

Here's a couple of websites for you .. there's a good historic walking map on the Santa Barbara website for you ...

santabarbaraca.com/visitor-info/…

I would stay one night at Cambria .. so SB could be a lunch stop with a walk around the town on the way.

Cambria has some nice hotels on Moonstone Beach....

http://seecambria.com/

visitcambriacalifornia.com/lodging/index.html

www.cambriainns.com/sandpebblesinn.html

http://www.fogcatcherinn.com/

If you find these too expensive, a bit further up is San Simeon with some cheaper motels... and is close to Hearst Castle. You can take a short tour or longer tours of the castle... but worth at least a look.

http://www.hearstcastle.org/

Then the next stop would be Carmel... I prefer Carmel to Monterey as it's such a "quaint town".

http://www.carmelcalifornia.com/

http://www.seemonterey.com/

You will enjoy the drive .. it really is one of the most scenic I've driven on.

Dunfermline, United...
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6. Re: Pacific Coast Highway

Thanks eaglemaniac, great suggestions. Would like to see Hearst castle and lunch in Santa Barbara sounds like a good idea.

Cheers!

London, United...
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7. Re: Pacific Coast Highway

Book a time for Hearst Castle so you spend as little wasted time there as possible. As you are now planning to stay in this area you will most likely want to book the last tour of the day which is around 4pm.

Dunfermline, United...
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8. Re: Pacific Coast Highway

Thanks LDN_2009, yes we will probably stay in Cambria which is about the nearest town to Hearst Castle. 4pm sounds doable. Didn't realise you needed to book so appreciate the tip

London, United...
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9. Re: Pacific Coast Highway

You don't need to book but it can get amazingly busy (you'll realise that when you see the set-up at the welcome center) and the last thing you want or need is to queue up for tickets, have a delay until an available tour and waste an hour or two. Time that can be much better spent. Or you could get there and they're sold out for the rest of the day.

There are times to go with the flow and times to plan. Don't fear planning!

San Francisco
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10. Re: Pacific Coast Highway

What time of year will you be traveling? During off season things are quite a bit slower but days are shorter (albeit not as short as London's -- SF is on latitude with southern Spain).

There's quite a difference between Pismo and Cambria. Pismo is more a "typical" (if any such thing exists) California beach town. Cambria is a charming spot where a pine forest meets the Pacific. Moonstone Beach in Cambria has all sorts of accomodations all on the east side of the road (this is a road west of Highway 1). On the west side is a wooden boardwalk that runs along the beach. Often there are sea lions on the rocks along the beach. It's truly a lovely spot.

Hopefully, Kibblesmom who is the wonderful DE for the central coast of California will be along soon to provide her excellent advice as well.

(Yes ... it was the Victoria! That was my last big trip ... chained to a desk these days!)