We are heading to California in June/July for three weeks, planning first to spend some days in San Francisco and Sonoma and Napa valleys before driving down the coast to LA. Can anyone recommend a few of the best things and places to stop off and take a look at along the route (other than the amazing scenery, of course!). Thanks.
I can tell you it is one of the most amazing drives. From SF, stay on HWY 1 and the first place to stop would be Santa Cruz. Continuing down the coast I would stop over in Monterrey, the cannery row and aqaurium (if you have time) are worth the stop. If you want to stop in on a ritzy little artist community, then hit up Carmel. Big Sur is amazing where the Forest hits hwy 1 on one side the the cliffs to the ocean on the other side. Any of the state beaches along the way are worth the visit.
The next pocket of places is Hearst Castle, Avila State Beach (my favorite beach in CA), & Pismo Beach (go the pier and get some clam chowder from Splash Cafe, it put's anything you get in New England to shame). There are some great wineries in this area, so it is worth while to check it out.
At this point you will have moved over to HWY 101 and will arrive in Santa Barbara, the downtown area is pretty cool to wonder around....well the rest is close to LA. Have a great drive! about 10 years ago
A few months I drove from San Francisco as far as Monterey it was a really great drive - I agree with james!
Take the 280 out of SF to Daly City, and exit off to Cabrillo Highway and stay on it to the coast town of Pacifica. This will turn into the Coast Highway will take you to down to Santa Cruz with some amazing views of the coastline! Half Moon bay is a good stop along the way.
I hope you enjoy your trip! about 10 years ago
From San Francisco there are lots of cool places to see before you get to L.A. I did this exact drive 2 years ago and stopped in these places:
Santa Cruz-great hippie surf town!
Half Moon Bay- where the annual big wave competion Mavericks is held
Monterey Bay Acquarium-a must see!
Carmel by the Sea
Pismo Beach-another great surf town
Santa Monica and Venice Beach!!
Enjoy :) about 10 years ago