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Driving from San Fransisco to San Diego

Menston
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Driving from San Fransisco to San Diego

Hi, I'm planning to drive down highway 1 from SF to SD in late April '14 before flying out to Maui for a beach week.

I've got 3 nights booked in SF then have 5 full days before flying to Hawaii. I'd like some advice on how to split these 5 days between the drive and a stay in SD please. My initial thoughts are to spend 3 days/2 nights on the drive and the rest of the time in SD. Is this a good way to split the time or would it be better to have a day less on the road and an extra day in SD?

Thoughts on where to stop over in both scenarios would be most welcome.

Also, on car hire, convertible or RV? I drive a convertible at home and love it but is it better to be higher up to take in the view?

Looking forward to your thoughts.

Cheers,

Pete

Santa Cruz...
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1. Re: Driving from San Fransisco to San Diego

The usual scenario is to go to the Monterey area from San Francisco (3 hours) and spend the rest of the day and night there and then drive down the Big Sur Coast, with time to stop and explore and stay in Cambria or San Simeon or Pismo.

How you spend the rest of the time will depend upon your interests. 3 nights in SF really means only two whole days...it deserves anther day, but you may prefer to have that in SD? Up to you.

San Diego
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2. Re: Driving from San Fransisco to San Diego

The way to decide how much time you need in a city (or on a drive) is to make a list of the things you'd like to see/do and that will tell you how much time you need.

Do you really mean an RV or did you mean an SUV or just normal car makes more sense to me since you have a convertible at home why spend all that extra money for one here. You can see the scenery just as well from a car especially if you allow some time for stopping along the road.

There is a very good detailed explanation of places to stop on route 1 on the right side of this page under the Top Questions. You cannot see it if you are accessing this site from your phone.

Menston
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3. Re: Driving from San Fransisco to San Diego

Meant SUV.....but take your point about ordinary cars. Car hire costs in the US seem very reasonable compared to the UK/Europe..

San Diego
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4. Re: Driving from San Fransisco to San Diego

Didn't originally catch that you were from the UK. We usually suggest that folks book a car rental from one of the UK sites like :

http://www.carhire3000.com/ now rental cars.com

They won't charge you a drop off fee if you leave the car in a different city from where you pick it up and they'll include all the needed insurance.

Menston
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5. Re: Driving from San Fransisco to San Diego

Great advice. Thanks Riff

Grover Beach...
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6. Re: Driving from San Fransisco to San Diego

SF to San Diego via scenic Highway 1 is approx. 600 miles and 12+ hours of non-stop driving. Typically, it would need at least 3 overnight stops, including one in LA, if LA is on your list of places to explore. Otherwise, it definitely needs 2 nights to do it justice.

First night should be in Monterey, since the drive south from there is along the slow, twisty, elevated cliffs of Big Sur. Something you don't want to drive after sunset. If you were to make stops between SF and Monterey and in Monterey/Carmel, you could end up driving the worst stretch of Highway 1 in the dark. Lots of tight hairpin turns on the most southern end of that drive.

Second night should be Pismo Beach. Cambria is lovely and one of my favorite places in this area, but getting a little further south puts you that much closer to San Diego. Pismo to LA is approx. a 3 to 3 1/2 hour drive. It's another 2 hours to San Diego from LA IF you don't get caught in heavy commute traffic. If you left Pismo Beach by 9:00 am, you would roll through LA around 12:30/1:00 pm and miss the bulk of the afternoon rush. Of course, if you stop in Santa Barbara en route, then you'll be at the mercy of late afternoon commute traffic until after 7:00 pm. And that includes the rush through Santa Barbara/Ventura/Oxnard.

When I say "rush", I mean parking lot, because that's what all the freeways become when people get off work in all those areas.

7. Re: Driving from San Fransisco to San Diego

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