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Hwy 1 in November San Francisco - Los Angeles

Perth
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Hwy 1 in November San Francisco - Los Angeles

Hi All

I'm enjoying reading many variations of the way Hwy 1 is driven via the different itineraries. I plan to trundle my way south this November, can I please ask if these stops and sites will allow me a comfortable run without the need to drive in the dark and I plan to make plenty of photo stops?

Day 1 San Francisco - Carmel, seeing Santa Cruz and the Monterey Aquarium, overnight in Carmel

Day 2 Carmel - San Simeon, seeing Big Sur overnight in San Simeon

Day 3 San Simeon - Santa Barbara, seeing The Hearst Castle overnight in Santa Barbara

Thanks'

Ash

London, United...
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1. Re: Hwy 1 in November San Francisco - Los Angeles

Assuming you don't encounter any mudslides your itinerary will allow you to go at a comfortable pace and not drive in the dark. If you do encounter mudslides it's a different story. So make sure you know your alternatives for at least getting south.

Personally I would recommend a slight change that I think will improve the pace and experience.

Book the last Hearst Castle tour of the day on day two. You will still have plenty of time to do the drive down from Carmel, stopping where you want to (albeit not hours in any one place), and this frees up an early start the next morning for the both long and interesting drive to Santa Barbara. And gets you to Santa Barbara in enough time to see it. Which, assuming your trip does not end in Santa Barbara, will have a positive knock-on affect for the next day too.

But I would definitely book that last Hearst Castle tour of the day. It can be busy and it would be awful to turn up and find it sold out. Maybe this doesn't happen in November, the experts will let you know.

Perth
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2. Re: Hwy 1 in November San Francisco - Los Angeles

Thank you LDN_2009 for the quick response, good point for day two with a late booking for The Hearst Castle (planning to book tickets) then leaving plenty of daylight for day three through to Santa Barbara (lunch stop at either Morro Bay or Pismo Beach looks good on this route). What approximate / realistic driving time is Carmel to San Simeon allowing for sufficient time in Big Sur? From Santa Barbara we have one night in Hollywood before three nights in Anaheim to see Disneyland then onto San Diego.

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3. Re: Hwy 1 in November San Francisco - Los Angeles

You're very welcome.

I don't know exactly what you have planned down the coast but I would allow 4-6 hours, depending on when the last Hearst Castle tour of the day is. It'll probably be around 3pm.

If you only have one night in Los Angeles then I think it is even more important to plan things this way. You want to get your Santa Barbara time done on day three so you don't have to spend too much time there on the morning of day four. You want to get under way early in order to spend as much time in Los Angeles as possible as you only have a short time there.

Others may have different opinions on how you should split your time but this is how I would do it.

London, United...
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4. Re: Hwy 1 in November San Francisco - Los Angeles

Morro Bay is probably too early in the journey to be a sensible lunch choice. Pismo Beach the same but a little less so. Other options might be (especially as you are looking to make Santa Barbara early in the day) one of the Santa Ynez Valley towns, and particularly Solvang, which is a Danish themed town and worth a look. There is also some very good wine country driving and tasting to be had in this area.

Edited: 6:51 am, February 17, 2013
Perth
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5. Re: Hwy 1 in November San Francisco - Los Angeles

Great info LDN_2009... Solvang is a good suggestion for lunch before arriving into Santa Barbara for a look around and leaving day four for Hollywood. Thanks

London, United...
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6. Re: Hwy 1 in November San Francisco - Los Angeles

Again, you are very welcome. Good luck with the rest of your planning.

San Francisco, Ca
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7. Re: Hwy 1 in November San Francisco - Los Angeles

Just be aware that an early big winter storm could put paid to all these plans... I would not want to spend 3 days driving Hwy. 1 with wind and pouring rain! In which case, I'd be prepared to drive to Carmel as planned the first day, then if weather is lousy, drive 101 to Santa Barbara and spend an extra night there (or stay in Carmel). But this is all something that would have to be decided at the last possible minute -- and our weather forecasts are not always accurate!

Grover Beach...
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8. Re: Hwy 1 in November San Francisco - Los Angeles

After Cambria, I suggest just heading straight to Santa Barbara. Solvang is kinda cute, but not as interesting as it used to be. You'll find better dining options in Santa Barbara than you will in Solvang.

Cambria to Santa Barbara is about a 3 hour drive. With your time being limited as it is already, you'll want maximum amount of time for exploring Santa Barbara.

You can still stop in Morro Bay briefly on the drive down to look at the "Rock", have coffee, or walk along the embarcadero.

Perth
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9. Re: Hwy 1 in November San Francisco - Los Angeles

Thanks SFSusanW and Kibblesmom for the info...

Did any of you just 'chance' hotel bookings, I'm all for reservations normally though wondering if I do need to change route because of weather conditions I should just roll into each overnight stay and grab the best available. Do any towns book out and in early November along this trip?

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10. Re: Hwy 1 in November San Francisco - Los Angeles

I don't think you will have any trouble getting rooms in November. And you shouldn't pay over the odds for a walk in. But I don't see too many reasons not to book.

You are only talking about one night being affected, the San Simeon/Cambria night. You could book a room and have an honest conversation with the hotel manager beforehand about not checking in because of diversions. You might find they are used to it in this area and a little more lenient with their cancellation policy. Especially in November.

If the manager won't budge and you end up being charged then I'm sure this must be something that would be covered under your travel insurance.

And the cheats way out of it is to book a hotel so cheap that you're not really worried. I can recommend the Motel 6 San Simeon. It's clean, basic, comfy, safe and quiet and it's dirt cheap.