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Coastal trip ideas

Level Contributor
82 posts
15 reviews
Coastal trip ideas

Just beginning to think of a fall trip to the coastal CA. Wanted to include the 17 mile drive, see Carmel, Penble Beach, Solvang perhaps, Hearst Castle, and end in Long Beach area for the mini cruise South. We have done LA and San Fran before. Not sure if its feasible and if we can see the beauty of it in a not too rushed way? Where to fly into and tent a car? The road closure still an issue? Where /how would you recommend dividing our nights? Any recommendations for reasonable hotels ($200/ night ave. ) Thanks in advance!

2 replies to this topic
Manhattan Beach...
Level Contributor
4,842 posts
120 reviews
1. Re: Coastal trip ideas

I just saw an article predicting an opening date of mid Sept for Route 1 through Big Sur.

We once flew into San Jose (SJC) and then rented a car to do something similar to what you are planning. Two nights, or three days is a relaxed drive. You will need to factor in time if you are doing wine tasting, hiking, or visiting Hearst Castle. In your case it sounds like you will be doing a one way car rental, probably with a return in Long Beach. This may limit your rental car company choices.

On our recent trip we targeted the Thursday night San Luis Obispo farmers market, the otters in Moro Bay, wine tasting in Paso Robles, a night in Carmel, and time in Los Gatos/Saratoga. If we had more time I could have added San Simeon, Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara, and more time in Monterey Bay.

Edited: 08 June 2018, 02:47
Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
Level Contributor
22,062 posts
10 reviews
2. Re: Coastal trip ideas

How many nights can you give the coastal drive? 3 or more would be best with all you would like to see/ do. There's a lot of distance between SF and LA and parts of the drive can be slow (The section currently with the closure).

IF Highway 1 isn't fully open by the time of your visit, you'll want at least 2 nights in the Monterey/Carmel area in order to day trip into the accessible parts of Big Sur and still have time to explore Monterey/Carmel.

IF the road closure is still on-going and you want to tour Hearst Castle and/or visit the nearby elephant seal rookery, you'll need to detour via Highway 101 to Highway 46 West back to Highway 1. An overnight in Cambria recommended.

If you have an additional night, then spend in Santa Barbara. If not, at least hang around Santa Barbara until rush hour traffic has subsided. Usually by 7 pm.

If you only have 2 nights, your trip will be a bit rushed and you'll likely have to skip things on your list.

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