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San Francisco to La with one night stay in Santa Barbara

Auckland Central...
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San Francisco to La with one night stay in Santa Barbara

We would like to travel State Highway 1 from San Francisco, stay 1 night in Santa Barbara then on to Aneheim the following day.

Are there any bus tours that do this? We would rather not self-drive.

If we self-drive, does anyone have any advisce on doing this?

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1. Re: San Francisco to La with one night stay in Santa Barbara

There are no tours I know of and Santa Barbara is very long drive from San Francisco when using Highway One. Most people driving SF to LA or vice versa stop in Cambria or Pismo Beach.

If you look at the map below you can see how far below half way Santa Barbara is.

http://goo.gl/maps/Ufb8t

It is a pretty easy drive, just take your time and you'll be fine. Look for cars from CarHire3000, they don't charge drop off fees and use major US carriers.

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Auckland Central...
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2. Re: San Francisco to La with one night stay in Santa Barbara

Thanks scottca075 thats useful information.

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3. Re: San Francisco to La with one night stay in Santa Barbara

SF to Santa Barbara via Highway 1 is an 8 1/2 hour drive WITHOUT stops.

When is your visit? That will determine how far down the coast you can get in one day before it gets dark and how much you can see en route.

This drive really deserves at least 2 nights to do it justice, but if you only have 1, then Cambria, San Luis Obispo or Pismo Beach would be better halfway points to stop for the night. Since the best scenery is between SF and Cambria, it seriously limits your sightseeing along that route, since you'll want to be off the Big Sur leg of the drive BEFORE dark. That section sits hundreds of feet above the ocean with sheer drop offs and lots of tight hairpin turns. It's a great drive by daylight. Kinda pointless after it gets dark.

If you linger too long in Santa Cruz, Monterey/Carmel, you could end up driving Big Sur in the dark.

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Auckland Central...
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4. Re: San Francisco to La with one night stay in Santa Barbara

Thanks for the tips. We intend doing this late July.

Still unsure about driving as we are from NZ and drive on the opposite side of the road, so it could be a bit tricky getting used to driving on the other side of the road. We can do the two nights though so would definately do the stops along the way if this is the way we decide to go.

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5. Re: San Francisco to La with one night stay in Santa Barbara

I've driven in Oz, NZ and the UK and it is a lot easier than you think. You just have to slow down everything you do and think before you take an action. it is really the best way to go. It allows you to see what you want to see, when you want to see it.

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6. Re: San Francisco to La with one night stay in Santa Barbara

I would talk to other folks from your neck of the woods and there are many who do visit and do that drive. Perhaps others can chime in but as Scott said, we've driven on the other side of the road (the wrong side ;-)) and after about 5 or 10 minutes on the road, we got used to it.

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7. Re: San Francisco to La with one night stay in Santa Barbara

I'm feeling it for the OP --- obviously stopping for two nights would be best. Whenever I hear someone say, "driving on the other/wrong (whatever you are used to) side of the road is easy," I cringe. I tried it once and was an abysmal failure. Some people (me, I guess) are so naturally inclined to one-direction that trying to adjust and also having a relaxing vacation tend to be an oxymoron.

To the OP --- if there is any way you can spend some leisurely time getting down Highway 1 (like a couple or three days at least), you will enjoy it so much more.

To be blunt --- Highway 1 is really not a " transportation highway" (for that distance). It's a scenic and experiential (and spiritual) journey on that stretch of asphalt along the Pacific Coast. You will want to stop several times, to stay overnight as well as stopping to take it all in. If you rush it, you will miss what it's all about.

The last time I did the whole route, it was actually on the train. Amtrak. Coast Starlight. Might be better than renting a car if you are directionally-challenged, as I am.

Have a wonderful trip.

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8. Re: San Francisco to La with one night stay in Santa Barbara

There isn't much cross traffic on Highway 1 itself, so the challenges of driving on the right side of the road may be limited. I'd be more worried about driving through town!

This drive needs at least 2 overnight stopovers. Depending upon your specific interests, the first night should be spent in the Monterey area (includes Pacific Grove and Carmel) or Cambria (not San Simeon unless budget is a real concern). The second night should be in Santa Barbara (not Goleta or Carpinteria).

If you really do not want to drive, I recommend taking the train instead. You'll miss the Big Sur coastline, but you will get to see the remote coastline through Vandenberg Air Force Base. It isn't as impressive, but what it lacks in cliffs it makes up for with lack of human presence and the ability to travel without the distraction of driving. As with driving, the Amtrak trip is even better with stopovers.

P.S. Forgive me for saying, but Anaheim is not in Los Angeles. It is in Orange County. Are you really planning to skip over LA? It seems like a waste to come this far and skip LA for Disneyland. If you are seeing both, I recommend separating your hotel stay into both destinations. Anaheim is a pretty dull town outside of Disneyland.

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9. Re: San Francisco to La with one night stay in Santa Barbara

You could take the train to SB, spend the night, then continue to Union Station in L.A. and on to Anaheim, but you'd follow 101, not 1. Your itinerary is very specific. Sort of rushing down Highway 1 in one day to get to SB. If you decide to drive yourself, get a very, very early start and be prepared to skip a lot of stops.

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10. Re: San Francisco to La with one night stay in Santa Barbara

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