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Driving from SF to LA 2525 Responses

Last post: 1 year, 10 months ago | Thread started: Jan 22, 13, 4:19 a.m.

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  • Nathan_Adams

    How many Californians do we have here on QBN?

    My wife and I are heading to the states in a month, and the last piece of the puzzle for our travel plans is getting from San Francisco back to LA (or more specifically LAX, for our flight back home). One thought I had was to book a hire car and drive back to LA, possibly leaving SF the day before our flight which would give us two days to make our way back and maybe have a small look around LA itself. (Our flight doesn't leave until the late evening).

    What's the route like in March, and am I being realistic in the two day drive? Also, how difficult is the route for someone who has never driven on the right hand side of the road?

    Any tips would be great!

    Jan 22, 13, 4:19 a.m. – Permalink
  • monospaced

    Great idea; done this many times. The weather is great in March. As long as you don't drive through SF/LA during rush hours, you should have relatively smooth sailing. As long as you stay along the ocean you can't get lost and you'll always find places to stop.

    The drive can be made in a single day, no problem, so if you extend it you might want to stay either somewhere small on the Central Coast, or grab a hotel in LA when you arrive.

    Eat tacos.

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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 5:03 a.m. – Permalink
  • wordsarepictures

    It's beautiful but why not take 3 days and stop off at a couple of places on the way? The Big Sur is possibly the most glorious stretch of road I've ever driven and there are some great log cabins and places to stay. This place is private but opens to the 'public' at midnight (there's no public around there) and you can enjoy a 1am natural spring hot tub built into the cliff face 200ft above the Pacific ocean: http://www.esalen.org

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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 5:39 a.m. – Permalink
  • Nathan_Adams

    Thanks guys.

    We'd take more time for the drive, but that would start cutting into our time in SF. We arrive in SF from Portland on a Saturday morning, and need to fly out of LAX on the Thursday evening. Don't want to really do any less than 4 days for SF.

    Definitely would like to stop one night on the road though, and eat tacos ;)
    Given my wife's love of onsen, I'm sure she's love that hot sprint.

    • It's less than 6 hrs driving without stopping, btw.monospaced1/4
      dude, you aren't going to make it down the 1 in under 6 hours...unless you are a fcuking madman behind the wheel.lvl_132/4
      There's always the 101monospaced3/4
      Ive done that drive in 6 hours with a trailer.err4/4
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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 5:52 a.m. – Permalink
  • monospaced

    Eat tacos at La Super Rica in Santa Barbara.

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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 6:10 a.m. – Permalink
  • formed

    The drive is far prettier than SF. Just my opinion, but I'd spend most of the time taking in the scenery along the coast vs. SF (just another city).

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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 6:19 a.m. – Permalink
  • HAYZ1LLLA

    Really recommend Yosemite if you can make it. Aint too far away!

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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 8:02 a.m. – Permalink
  • robotron3k

    You can see ALL of SF in 2 days, it's only 7 miles square. TAKE the Pacific Coast highway drive through Big Sur to LA and you will not regret it and will talk about it long after leaving SF. Stay the night at a small sea side hotel in Cayucos, CA if you can.

    • This is good advice.nocomply1/8
      i would say stay in SF for as long as you can. just because it's 7x7 doesn't mean shit. so much to do and see here.lvl_132/8
      obviously i'm biased :)lvl_133/8
      seriously it's pretty but boring there: junk shop, coffee shop, head shop, bar, repeat.robotron3k4/8
      you really have to have lived there to know thoughmoldero5/8
      if that's your take on SF, robo, then you aren't doing it right ;) Yes, I lived there for almost a decademonospaced6/8
      Should have been more specific that the "good advice" applied to PCH, Big Sur & sea side hotelsnocomply7/8
      SF in 2 days if you've never been there will be a bit rushed IMO. 3 or 4 day visit would be good.nocomply8/8
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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 8:09 a.m. – Permalink
  • vaxorcist

    Even in March you may want to rent a convertible, or a car with a big sunroof! Part of that drive along the coast is AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL..... stop randomly and walk around a LOT, I'd add at least 1 extra day....

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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 8:19 a.m. – Permalink
  • robotron3k

    I was on PCH this summer and I saw 3 of these on the road on my way to LA

    http://www.motorstown.com/images/ac-cobra-v8-01.jpg

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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 9:22 a.m. – Permalink
  • kota

    The Pacific Coast Highway is truly amazing. I definitely agree with people saying take the time to do that over SF. As someone who lives here, I can definitely say there's not more than 2 days worth of touristing to do.

    That being said, it's going to be a little hairy for you driving though. The highway south of Carmel is all blasted out of the side of the cliffs, windy as hell, and often it's few hundred foot drop to the ocean, with no guardrails. You're gonna want to go slow anyways.

    • That does sound a bit hairy indeed? What speed do most do through that section?Nathan_Adams1/3
      65mphmonospaced2/3
      sounds like some stuff i drove on in Iceland.mg333/3
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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 9:42 a.m. – Permalink
  • arthur

    PCH for sure. Try to stop here for lunch on one of your days: http://www.nepenthebigsur.com/

    Also, Hearst Castle if you have the time.

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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 9:52 a.m. – Permalink
  • moldero

    Ive done this drive easily 50+ times in my life

    6 hour drive on hwy5
    your looking at 3 - 2 hour stretches
    • SF to hwy5 east of Gilroy
    • the 5 stretch to the grapevine
    • grapevine to LAX (DEPENDING ON THE TIME OF DAY)

    what times your flight out of LA?
    if you didn't already book your flight
    I would plan according to dealing with a 2 hour drive from the grapevine and entering the LA area, traffic starts around Valencia which is about 1.5 hours from LAX

    • "dude, you aren't going to make it down the 1 in under 6 hours...unless you are a fcuking madman behind the wheel."monospaced1/8
      yes, I know this isn't the 1monospaced2/8
      hey now! i see what you did there!lvl_133/8
      hwy5 for efficiency
      pch will easily double your drive time, but it is very nice
      moldero4/8
      Flight out is at 10.30pm, but obviously have to check-in earlier for all the customs malarkey.Nathan_Adams5/8
      to aim at being at LAX at 9:am I would leave SF after at 7:pm the night before avoiding its traffic, you can get a hotel by LAX by 1:30 ammoldero6/8
      1:30ammoldero7/8
      dealing with these 2 cities and a flight, traffic should be your main concernmoldero8/8
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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 2:03 p.m. – Permalink
  • moldero

    @ mono, ive driven my stock R1 on the 5 from SF to LA hitting peaks of 186mph, and it still took me 6 hours, with all the gas breaks and soar back breaks, haha

    • pch 12 hours either way, lots of sunday drivers on that routemoldero1/2
      or was it 10 hours? I forget, i only did that entire drive 2 times maybemoldero2/2
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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 2:11 p.m. – Permalink
  • Llyod

    take highway 1

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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 3:25 p.m. – Permalink
  • monospaced

    @moldero
    That's crazy. I've driven it countless times. It's basically 400 miles from SF to LAX, and at 60mph it would only take 6 1/2 hours. Anyway, if Nathan's taking over a day to do this, he can sight see on the way and never have to take the 5 at all. Have fun!

    • Yeah, 400mi seems easily doable. I've done the 450mi between Adelaide & Melbourne in < 1 day many times.Nathan_Adams
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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 3:38 p.m. – Permalink
  • moldero

    ^
    oops, when i said "6 hour drive on hwy5 "
    i meant "6 hours using hwy5 over pch"
    not 6 hours on 5 itself, its really only 3 1/2 including south of the grapevine.
    i drive a V8 truck though at a higher speed, but more gas, more stops, my average is 6 hours when scheduling to avoid traffic.

    • the 5 is boring, but i enjoy itmoldero
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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 3:44 p.m. – Permalink
  • moldero

    if you do choose 5 and your traveling with a girl, roll down your windows about 3 hours south of SF, she will love this smell:

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/41/85489589_3a6657501d.jpg

    • Choose 5 if you want to bore yourself to death.
      dasohr1/4
      hahaha modleroMiguex2/4
      lolsea_sea3/4
      stay away from the 5, unless you're in a rush. Even taking 101 is better, though adds a couple hours.arthur4/4
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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 3:51 p.m. – Permalink
  • ghandolf

    I've done this a few times.
    You MUST stay here, if you're staying overnight along the way.
    Very cool spot...
    http://www.deetjens.com/history.…

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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 4:55 p.m. – Permalink
  • BusterBoy

    I did this with my wife (then girlfriend) a few years back...hired a convertible Mustang in SF and took 4 days to do the drive. Spent a couple of days in and around Carmel...being a golfer, it's god's country.

    I ended up proposing to my wife on the beach at Carmel.

    Would love to do the trip again some day with my kids.

    • carmel is fantastic.lvl_13
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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 5:01 p.m. – Permalink
  • Miguex

    great idea man! do it!
    Make santa barbara one of the stops for sure. It's a nice stop to stroll around and check out old people in fancy cars

    • +1BusterBoy1/2
      Santa Barbaran born and raised here. MUST STOP there. Gorgeous.monospaced2/2
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    Dog-earJan 22, 13, 8:04 p.m. – Permalink

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