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Day Trip from San Francisco to Carmel

Tampa, United States
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Day Trip from San Francisco to Carmel

My friend and I are going to San Francisco for a long weekend and are thinking about renting a car and driving to Carmel for the day. How long would the drive take on a Sunday and is it a do-able day trip?

Grover Beach...
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1. Re: Day Trip from San Francisco to Carmel

Hi Jane

It's approx. a 3 hour drive to Carmel from SF. Is it doable? Sure. But not at the expense of SF's sights. If you've been to SF before or have more than 3 nights, then go for it.

San Francisco...
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2. Re: Day Trip from San Francisco to Carmel

Long weekend does that give you 3 full days in SF ? If you add a 6 hour round trip to Carmel, you won't get much of Carmel nor of SF. Agree with K'mom

Santa Cruz...
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3. Re: Day Trip from San Francisco to Carmel

I agree with both messages.

Pacifica, California
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4. Re: Day Trip from San Francisco to Carmel

I would say it's 2.5 hours from downtown SF. Going down Highway 1, it takes me exactly 2 hours to get to Monterey from my house in Pacifica. Carmel is five minutes past Monterey, and it's 20 minutes from downtown SF to Pacifica.

Fremont, California
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5. Re: Day Trip from San Francisco to Carmel

Its a delightful day trip - but as mentioned decide if you want to do that instead of a day in San Francisco....

Sunday on a long week-end (assuming that means holiday) is your best bet as traffic to the ocean on a Saturday and back on a Monday will be heavier.

Do a circular route - if you want to get to carmel the fastest, then take Highway 280/101/68/1

and then leisurely drive back up the coast to Santa Cruz, Half Moon bay to San Francisco after seeing some of the sights in Carmel. Be sure to see Point Lobos


Aquarium on a holiday week-end will be super crowded so unless your heart is set on it, give it a miss due to crowds.

Of course, if you maximize your time there and just want to return the fastest just drive back the same way you drove down in the morning.

get an early start...

its your vacation ....so you decide....

By the way, you could do a really nice trip to the ocean closer to San Francisco and do Point Reyes National Seashore instead (there will be traffic but its closer to San Francisco)


You decide - its your trip....and have fun.

Edited: 2:24 am, July 26, 2013
Monterey Peninsula...
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6. Re: Day Trip from San Francisco to Carmel

It's definitely doable. People who live here do day trips to SF all the time, so there's no reason why a day trip in the opposite direction won't work.

I think 2.5 hours each way is realistic in average traffic. If you head back to The City late enough you could probably do it in 2 hours. We used to drive home from my in-laws' place in San Mateo, just south of San Francisco Airport, in 90 minutes.

-Mr. Toy


7. Re: Day Trip from San Francisco to Carmel

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