I am wondering if renting a car is the best option?
Is there a slower way to head there?
I would rent a car and drive down the coast road, U.S. 1, stopping along the way at Big Sur (possible overnight) and, further south, touring the Hearst Castle. You can do it in two days, but I prefer to take my time and plan on two overnights. The views of the coast are great and it gives you an excellent perspective on the changing topography between northern and southern California.. about 8 years ago
Stuart's suggestion is great - we did exactly that. There are 3 routes from SF to LA, the very slow coastal road (takes you right through towns and communities), a slightly faster highway (which has a higher speed limit and mostly skirts the towns) a little further inland and then a high-speed freeway (no intersections). almost 6 years ago