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Carmel to Los Angeles via Big Sur

driving   /   2 days   /   no pets   /   no RV

Carmel to Los Angeles road trip planner

Here's a sample itinerary for a drive from Carmel to Los Angeles. If you're planning a road trip to Los Angeles, you can research locations to stop along the way. Make sure you check road conditions to double check the weather. Traveling with a dog or cat? Find pet-friendly stops. Camping along the way? Search for RV campgrounds. Find the best hotels, restaurants, and attractions based on the most talked about places recommended by Trippy members.

customize this trip
 Day 1

10:00 am  start in Carmel
drive for about 41 minutes

10:41 am  Big Sur
stay for about 2 hours
and leave at 12:41 pm
drive for about 3.5 hours

4:05 pm  Solvang
stay overnight at Ballard Inn & Restaurant
leave the next day around 10:00 am

day 1 driving ≈ 4 hours
find more stops

 Day 2

10:00 am  leave from Ballard Inn & Restaurant
drive for about 43 minutes

10:43 am  Santa Barbara
stay for about 2 hours
and leave at 12:43 pm
drive for about 1.5 hours

2:19 pm  Santa Monica
stay for about 4 hours
and leave at 6:19 pm
drive for about 26 minutes

6:44 pm  arrive in Los Angeles
eat at Gjelina
stay at Shutters On the Beach

day 2 driving ≈ 2.5 hours
find more stops

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Where should I stop along the way?

Big Sur  (203 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?
        how far is the drive to sequoia national aprk

Solvang  (46 answers)
    Firestone Vineyard  (3 mentions)
    Fess Parker Winery  (3 mentions)
    R Country Market  (2 mentions)
    Blackjack Ranch  (2 mentions)
    Saarloos And Sons Tasting Room  (2 mentions)
    restaurants around Solvang:
        Los Olivos Wine Merchant Cafe
        Olsen's Danish Village Bakery & Coffee Shop
        Industrial Eats
        Panino
        Petros
    hotels around Solvang:
        Ballard Inn & Restaurant
        HOTEL CORQUE
    questions about Solvang:
        What to do in Solvang... good places to stay, eat, etc.

Santa Barbara  (189 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?
        Bachelorette Weekend Getaway in Santa Barbara
        Best Beach in Santa Barbara?
        24 hours in Santa Barbara, what do I have to see/eat/do?
        How far from santa barbara to palm springs and PS to Phoenix?

Santa Monica  (225 answers)
    Santa Monica Pier  (70 mentions)
    Venice Beach Boardwalk  (62 mentions)
    Abbot Kinney  (56 mentions)
    Third Street Promenade  (55 mentions)
    LACMA  (50 mentions)
    restaurants around Santa Monica:
        Gjelina
        Urth Caffe
        The Apple Pan
        Joan's on Third Cafe
        Gracias Madre
    questions about Santa Monica:
        Drinks in SM?
        Fun things to do in Santa Monica?
        Fun Santa Monica hotels under $400/night?
        Good breakfast spot for a business meeting?
        Avoiding sticker shock in Santa Monica


Where's the best place to stay in Los Angeles?

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 Los Angeles.

You can also see most people recommend as the best amount of time to visit. Find out how many days in Los Angeles to stay.

If you're looking for a quick answer, you can check out Shutters On the Beach, which was mentioned 36 times on Trippy.

Here are some more hotels people talk about:

Hotel Erwin  (30 mentions)
The Standard Downtown LA  (20 mentions)
Ace Hotel Los Angeles  (17 mentions)
The Huntley Hotel  (15 mentions)

Want to research more popular hotels in Los Angeles? Click the blue button below.




Where's the best place to eat in Los Angeles?

Need some recommendations on somewhere to get food?

Trippy members suggest Gjelina, which was mentioned 44 times.

Here are some more restaurants people talk about:

Perch  (25 mentions)
Bottega Louie  (18 mentions)
Grand Central Market  (16 mentions)
Bestia  (15 mentions)

Want to research more popular restaurants in Los Angeles? Click the blue button below.




What are some things to do in Los Angeles?

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:

Santa Monica Pier  (70 mentions)
Griffith Observatory  (63 mentions)
Venice Beach Boardwalk  (62 mentions)
Abbot Kinney  (56 mentions)
Third Street Promenade  (55 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 Los Angeles. Click on any question to see answers from the community!

profile  Michelle from Mesa asked:
Where are the top 5 places to see a celebrity in L.A.?  (27 answers)

profile  Maxime from Los Angeles asked:
What's your favorite burger in L.A?  (26 answers)

profile  Clement from Singapore asked:
Free things to do in Los Angeles?  (24 answers)

profile  Steph from asked:
Area an hour away from LAX airport  (20 answers)

profile  Bianca from Miami asked:
What are the top 3 beaches in Los Angeles?  (20 answers)

Click the button below to explore more questions and answers related to Los Angeles.




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 Los Angeles to Carmel 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 Carmel to Los Angeles. Or get a full Carmel to Los Angeles flight plan.

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 Carmel well, please help your fellow travelers and answer their questions about Carmel!





At a Glance
without making any stops
total driving distance is 321 miles
driving time of 6 hours, 21 minutes
102 Carmel travel answers
203 Big Sur travel answers
46 Solvang travel answers
189 Santa Barbara travel answers
225 Santa Monica travel answers
612 Los Angeles travel answers





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