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San Francisco to Big Sur via Carmel

driving   /   1 day   /   no pets   /   no RV

San Francisco to Big Sur road trip planner

Here's a sample itinerary for a drive from San Francisco to Big Sur. If you're planning a road trip to Big Sur, 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

11:00 am  start in San Francisco
drive for about 2 hours

1:10 pm  Carmel
stay for about 2.5 hours
and leave at 3:40 pm
drive for about 41 minutes

4:21 pm  arrive in Big Sur
stay at Fernwood Resort

driving ≈ 3 hours


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Where should I stop along the way?

Carmel  (102 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
    hotels around Carmel:
        Mission Ranch Hotel
        Lodge at Pebble Beach
        Seven Gables Inn
        Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa
        La Playa Hotel Carmel-By-The-Sea
    questions about Carmel:
        Favorite Restaurants & Wineries
        Luxurious but not pretentious hotels and any restaurant recommendations


Where's the best place to stay in Big Sur?

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 Big Sur.

If you're looking for a quick answer, you can check out Fernwood Resort, which was mentioned 3 times on Trippy.

Here are some more hotels people talk about:

Deetjen's Big Sur Inn  (2 mentions)
Ventana Inn & Spa  (2 mentions)
Deetjen's Big Sur Inn  (2 mentions)

Want to research more popular hotels in Big Sur? Click the blue button below.




Where's the best place to eat in Big Sur?

Need some recommendations on somewhere to get food?

Trippy members suggest Nepenthe, which was mentioned 33 times.

Here are some more restaurants people talk about:

Post Ranch Inn  (11 mentions)
Coast Gallery & Cafe  (4 mentions)
Big Sur River Inn  (3 mentions)

Want to research more popular restaurants in Big Sur? Click the blue button below.




What are some things to do in Big Sur?

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:

McWay Falls  (16 mentions)
Pfeiffer State Beach  (9 mentions)
Pfeiffer Beach  (6 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 Big Sur. Click on any question to see answers from the community!

profile  Carolyn from Detroit asked:
Whats the best hike in Big Sur? Best beach?  (4 answers)

profile  Shawn from Presidio asked:
First-come, first-serve camping sites in Big Sur?  (1 answer)

profile  Jennifer from asked:
how far is the drive to sequoia national aprk  (1 answer)

Click the button below to explore more questions and answers related to Big Sur.




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 Big Sur to San Francisco 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 San Francisco to Big Sur. Or get a full San Francisco to Big Sur 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 San Francisco well, please help your fellow travelers and answer their questions about San Francisco!





At a Glance
without making any stops
total driving distance is 148 miles
driving time of 2 hours, 43 minutes
630 San Francisco travel answers
102 Carmel travel answers
203 Big Sur travel answers





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