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Santa Monica to Monterey drive

driving   /   2 days   /   no pets   /   no RV

Santa Monica to Monterey road trip planner

Here's a sample itinerary for a drive from Santa Monica to Monterey. If you're planning a road trip to Monterey, 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

11:00 am  start in Santa Monica
drive for about 43 minutes

11:43 am  eat at Six Flags Magic Mountain
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 12:43 pm
drive for about 57 minutes

1:40 pm  Grapevine
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 2:40 pm
drive for about 1 hour

3:46 pm  Lost Hills
stay overnight and leave the next day around 10:00 am

day 1 driving ≈ 3 hours

 Day 2

10:00 am  leave from Lost Hills
drive for about 1 hour

11:02 am  Paso Robles
eat at Niner Wine Estates
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 12:02 pm
drive for about 50 minutes

12:52 pm  King City (California)
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 1:52 pm
drive for about 50 minutes

2:43 pm  Salinas
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 3:43 pm
drive for about 27 minutes

4:10 pm  arrive in Monterey
stay at Mission Ranch Hotel

day 2 driving ≈ 3 hours

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Where should I stop along the way?

Six Flags Magic Mountain  (10 mentions)

Grapevine  (4 answers)

Lost Hills

Paso Robles  (49 answers)
    Firestone Walker Brewing Company  (6 mentions)
    Villicana Winery  (5 mentions)
    Terry Hoage Vineyards  (3 mentions)
    Summerwood Winery & Inn  (3 mentions)
    DAOU Vineyards & Winery  (3 mentions)
    restaurants around Paso Robles:
        Niner Wine Estates
        Ecluse Wines
        Pier 46 Seafood Market
        Brecon Estate
        ONX
    questions about Paso Robles:
        Good wineries in Paso Robles
        Where should I eat in Paso Robles?
        Casual eats near Paso Robles?
        Favorite Wineries Near Paso Robles

King City (California)  (2 answers)

Salinas  (4 answers)


Where's the best place to stay in Monterey?

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 Monterey.

If you're looking for a quick answer, you can check out Mission Ranch Hotel, which was mentioned 4 times on Trippy.

Here are some more hotels people talk about:

Lodge at Pebble Beach  (2 mentions)
Seven Gables Inn  (2 mentions)

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




Where's the best place to eat in Monterey?

Need some recommendations on somewhere to get food?

Trippy members suggest Passionfish, which was mentioned 7 times.

Here are some more restaurants people talk about:

Katy's Place  (7 mentions)
Sunset Lounge  (3 mentions)

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




What are some things to do in Monterey?

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:

Monterey Bay Aquarium  (41 mentions)
Pebble Beach  (21 mentions)
Point Lobos  (9 mentions)
17-Mile Drive  (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 Monterey. Click on any question to see answers from the community!

profile  Anne from Durham, North Carolina asked:
Restaurant recommendations for a large group dinner?  (3 answers)

profile  Joe from Sacramento asked:
What to do for a family outing in Monterey?  (3 answers)

profile  Avery from Berkeley asked:
Things to do with the kiddos besides the aquarium  (2 answers)

profile  Cheryl from asked:
hotels in Monterey, CA  (2 answers)

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




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 Monterey to Santa Monica drive, or go to the main page to plan a new road trip.

Looking for ideas for more destinations within driving distance of Santa Monica? Try searching for places within 5 hours of Santa Monica.

You can also compare the travel time if you're flying or driving by calculating the distance from Santa Monica to Monterey. Or get a full Santa Monica to Monterey 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 Santa Monica well, please help your fellow travelers and answer their questions about Santa Monica!





At a Glance
without making any stops
total driving distance is 318 miles
driving time of 5 hours, 4 minutes
225 Santa Monica travel answers
4 Grapevine travel answers
49 Paso Robles travel answers
2 King City (California) travel answers
4 Salinas travel answers
167 Monterey travel answers





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