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Los Angeles to San Francisco drive

2 travelers   /   driving   /   general travel



Los Angeles to San Francisco road trip planner

Here's a sample itinerary for a drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco. If you're planning a road trip to San Francisco, you can research locations to stop along the way. Find the best restaurants, hotels, and attractions based on the most talked about places recommended by Trippy members. Eventually, you'll be able to customize every detail of this plan to your own preferences and save this as a private trip.


Day 1, 10:00 am:  start in Los Angeles
drive for about 1.5 hours

Day 1, 11:42 am:  Santa Barbara
eat at McConnell's Fine Ice Creams
stay for about 3.5 hours and leave at 3:12 pm
drive for about 1.5 hours

Day 1, 4:44 pm:  San Luis Obispo
stay for about 1 hour and leave at 5:56 pm
drive for about 15 minutes

Day 1, 6:14 pm:  Morro Bay
eat at Brown Butter Cookie Co
stay overnight and leave the next day around 9:00 am


Day 2, 9:00 am:  leave from Morro Bay
drive for about 33 minutes

Day 2, 9:33 am:  Hearst Castle
stay for about 1 hour and leave at 10:33 am
drive for about 1 hour

Day 2, 11:35 am:  Big Sur
eat at Nepenthe
stay for about 2 hours and leave at 1:23 pm
drive for about 28 minutes

Day 2, 1:48 pm:  Carmel
stay for about 1 hour and leave at 3:00 pm
drive for about 5 minutes

Day 2, 3:08 pm:  Monterey
stay for about 1.5 hours and leave at 4:38 pm
drive for about 36 minutes

Day 2, 5:14 pm:  Santa Cruz
stay for about 1 hour and leave at 6:14 pm
drive for about 1 hour

Day 2, 7:21 pm:  arrive in San Francisco
eat at Ike's Place
stay at Top of the Mark




Los Angeles to San Francisco questions

 Andrew Spear from New Zealand asked:
Where to stay half way between S.F. and L.A.?  (15 answers)

 Darren Thornton from Australia asked:
Where to stay driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles?  (9 answers)

 Liat Spielrein from Rehovot asked:
route between los angeles and san fracnisco  (8 answers)

 Camille Golod from Branford asked:
Two places to stop and sleep from Santa Monica to San Francisco?  (7 answers)

 Andre Breitman from Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro asked:
Driving From SF to LA- what are the best things to see and do?  (7 answers)

 Shawna Mason from Benton City, Washington asked:
Traveling in June with 18 year old girls - what can we do in 4 days?!  (6 answers)

 Lisa-Marie Gouws from Johannesburg, Gauteng asked:
Best stops en route to Los Angeles?  (6 answers)

 Micki Silk Robinette from Mayfield Heights, Ohio asked:
Half way point between LA and San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway?  (6 answers)

 Mallory Nadro from asked:
Best places to stop and see driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles?  (5 answers)




Where does my trip begin?

Your starting point is Los Angeles, California.

You can enter an exact street address if you want to get precise directions, but this is optional.




How many cars do we need?

Since there are only 2 travelers, we assume you're driving 1 car. You can adjust the number of people traveling at the top. We assume a maximum of 4 passengers per car, but you can change the number of cars to fit your situation.




Where should I stop along the way?

Santa Barbara  (181 answers)
    Butterfly Beach  (7 mentions)
    Bacara Resort & Spa  (6 mentions)
    Hendry's Beach  (4 mentions)
    Stearns Wharf  (4 mentions)
    The Funk Zone  (4 mentions)
    restaurants around Santa Barbara:
        McConnell's Fine Ice Creams
        La Super-Rica Taqueria
        The Lark - Santa Barbara
        Boathouse at Hendry's Beach
        The Palace Grill
    questions about Santa Barbara:
        Favorite restaurants in Santa Barbara?
        Best Beach in Santa Barbara?
        Bachelorette Weekend Getaway in Santa Barbara
        24 hours in Santa Barbara, what do I have to see/eat/do?
        Santa Barbara wine country ideas?
San Luis Obispo  (122 answers)
    Bishop Peak  (4 mentions)
    San Luis Obispo Mission  (3 mentions)
    California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo  (3 mentions)
    Edna Valley  (2 mentions)
    F. McLintocks Saloon and Dining House  (2 mentions)
    restaurants around San Luis Obispo:
        Firestone Grill
        Novo Restaurant & Lounge
        Bello Mundo
        Splash Cafe
        Avila Valley Barn
    questions about San Luis Obispo:
        Exploring SLO in March to scout moving there - what should I check out?
        Lodging
        Where to stay outside of San Luis Obispo for Cal Poly graduation
        What is your favorite restaurant in San Luis Obispo?
Morro Bay  (54 answers)
    Morro Bay  (8 mentions)
    Morro Rock  (6 mentions)
    Montana de Oro State Park  (4 mentions)
    Baywood inn  (4 mentions)
    Morro Bay State Park  (3 mentions)
    restaurants around Morro Bay:
        Brown Butter Cookie Co
Hearst Castle  (98 mentions)
Big Sur  (192 answers)
    Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park  (22 mentions)
    McWay Falls  (16 mentions)
    Pfeiffer State Beach  (9 mentions)
    Pfeiffer Beach  (6 mentions)
    Andrew Molera State Park  (5 mentions)
    restaurants around Big Sur:
        Nepenthe
        Post Ranch Inn
        Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant
        Coast Gallery & Cafe
        Big Sur River Inn
    questions about Big Sur:
        Whats the best hike in Big Sur? Best beach?
        First-come, first-serve camping sites in Big Sur?
Carmel  (107 answers)
    Monterey Bay Aquarium  (41 mentions)
    Pebble Beach  (21 mentions)
    Point Lobos  (9 mentions)
    Point Lobos State Reserve  (8 mentions)
    17-Mile Drive  (6 mentions)
    restaurants around Carmel:
        Passionfish
        Katy's Place
        Epsilon Fine Greek Restaurant
        Flaherty's Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar
        Sunset Lounge
    questions about Carmel:
        Favorite Restaurants & Wineries
Monterey  (163 answers)
    Monterey Bay Aquarium  (41 mentions)
    Pebble Beach  (21 mentions)
    Point Lobos  (9 mentions)
    Point Lobos State Reserve  (8 mentions)
    17-Mile Drive  (6 mentions)
    restaurants around Monterey:
        Passionfish
        Katy's Place
        Epsilon Fine Greek Restaurant
        Flaherty's Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar
        Sunset Lounge
    questions about Monterey:
        Restaurant recommendations for a large group dinner?
        What to do for a family outing in Monterey?
        Things to do with the kiddos besides the aquarium
Santa Cruz  (81 answers)
    Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk  (20 mentions)
    Natural Bridges State Beach  (4 mentions)
    The Mystery Spot  (4 mentions)
    Santa Cruz Beach  (4 mentions)
    Seabright State Beach  (3 mentions)
    restaurants around Santa Cruz:
        Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria
        Marianne's Ice Cream‎
    questions about Santa Cruz:
        Activities during reunion in santa cruz
        Names of beaches that aren't so crowded
        What are some must places to go to in Santa Cruz, CA
        Best Things To Do In Santa Cruz?
        Are there any good restaurants in Santa Cruz?




Where does my trip end?

Your final destination is San Francisco, California.

You can enter the exact street address of your destination, but this is optional.




Where's the best place to stay in San Francisco?

Are you going straight to a hotel, or looking for a vacation rental or Airbnb?

The best resource on neighborhoods, areas, and hotels is the Trippy page on where to stay in San Francisco.

But if you're looking for a quick answer, you can check out Top of the Mark, which was mentioned 13 times on Trippy.

Here are some more hotels people talk about:

Hotel Vitale  (8 mentions)
Cavallo Point  (4 mentions)

Want to research more popular hotels in San Francisco? Click the blue button below.






Where's the best place to eat in San Francisco?

Need some recommendations on somewhere to get food?

Trippy members suggest Ike's Place, which was mentioned 23 times.

Here are some more restaurants people talk about:

Swan Oyster Depot  (22 mentions)
Kokkari Estiatorio  (21 mentions)
Tartine bakery  (20 mentions)

Want to research more popular restaurants in San Francisco? Click the blue button below.






What are some things to do in San Francisco?

This section could be endless, so rather than trying to suggest every local activity or attraction, we'll leave it open-ended.

These are some of the places people talk about on Trippy:

Golden Gate Bridge  (130 mentions)
Golden Gate Park  (112 mentions)
Alcatraz  (85 mentions)
Fisherman's Wharf  (82 mentions)
Union Square  (79 mentions)

Of course, Trippy is the perfect place to ask questions because there's an entire community of travelers talking to each other and sharing tips and advice. Trippy is where you can get answers personalized for your tastes, budgets, trip dates & more!

For example, here are some questions people have asked about San Francisco. Click on any question to see answers from the community!

 Jessica Franco from asked:
Best seafood restaurant in S.F.?  (29 answers)

 Dina Romanov from Dallas asked:
What are the top 5 can't miss tourist attractions in S.F.?  (22 answers)

 Julie Griffin from Atlanta asked:
Best activities for kids  (19 answers)

 Valerie Axworthy from Los Angeles asked:
What is your favorite restaurant in San Francisco?  (19 answers)

 Jillian Geer from Los Angeles asked:
What are some unusual things to do in San Francisco?  (18 answers)

Click the button below to explore more questions and answers related to San Francisco.






Do I really have to go back home?

Yes, even this step is optional, because if you're on vacation who wants the trip to end? It's okay, you can start planning your next trip!

Want to plan the trip back? Get the reverse directions for a San Francisco to Los Angeles drive, or go to the main page to plan a new road trip.

You can also compare the travel time if you're flying or driving by calculating the distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Don't forget about exploring your own hometown with a staycation. You can also find some cool day trips or get away for a weekend. Maybe try typing in a faraway location like London, Hong Kong, or Sydney, and get inspired for your dream trip around the world.

And if you know Los Angeles well, please help your fellow travelers and answer their questions about Los Angeles!






Return to top of page
At a Glance
without making any stops
total driving distance is 381 miles
driving time of 5 hours, 37 minutes
550 Los Angeles travel answers
181 Santa Barbara travel answers
122 San Luis Obispo travel answers
54 Morro Bay travel answers
192 Big Sur travel answers
107 Carmel travel answers
163 Monterey travel answers
81 Santa Cruz travel answers
568 San Francisco travel answers





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