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Must see stops on coastal drive

Where to stop from san diego to san francisco

2 Answers

top answer by
Tiffany from Corvallis

This absolutely depends on what you like! Do you like food, beer, wine? Are you into sports and nature? There's a little bit of everything from farming to historical sites to amazing food.

I'm certainly not an expert on the San Diego end of things, but on your way to San Francisco you'll want to stop at San Juan Capistrano. It's an old mission, one of many in California, but it's beautiful and definitely worth seeing.

I'd definitely stop in San Simeon and see the Hearst Castle if you have time.

Pismo Beach is beautiful and has sand dunes nearby.

Definitely stop in the Pacific Grove/Monterey areas. The Asilomar Beach is full of wildlife and tidepools and is a great place for a long walk along the coast. The famous Monterey Bay Aquarium is a bit pricy, but worth it. Really, if you have time and enjoy the water, the best way to see this area is to rent a kayak and kayak around the Monterey Bay.

Santa Cruz can be fun, but also a bit touristy. They do have some nice breweries though.

I personally love the tiny Pebble Beach along the coast near Pescadero with a nice pebbled beach on one side and tide pools on the other. In Pescadero, Duarte's Tavern is a bit pricey, but famous for their artichoke soup.

If you need a hearty breakfast along the way, the Three-Zero Cafe at the Half Moon Bay Airport is a local favorite that will fill you up for a reasonable price. (Amazing crab benedict).

The Devils Slide just opened up this year. The old road was converted into a 1.25 walking trail along the cliff. It's beautiful. Parking is free and it's worth the stop.

From here, depending on your actual destination, I'd hug the coast all the way into San Francisco taking Hwy 1 until you arrive and stopping when something inspires you. It's a beautiful area.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Diego (city)
  2. San Francisco (city)
  3. San Juan Capistrano (city)
  4. San Simeon (city)
  5. Pismo Beach (city)
  6. Pacific Grove (city)
  7. Monterey (city)
  8. Asilomar Beach (attraction)
  9. Monterey Bay Aquarium (attraction)
  10. Santa Cruz (city)
  11. Pescadero (attraction)
  12. Duarte's Tavern (restaurant)
  13. Three-Zero Cafe (restaurant)
  14. Half Moon Bay Airport (attraction)
  15. Devils Slide (attraction)
  16. Hearst Castle (attraction)
  17. Pebble Beach (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

If heading north from LA, spend some time on the northern areas like Malibu Beach before getting out of the metro.  Santa Barbara and surrounding areas like Montecito are a great first stop!  If you are taking it slow, I loved Pismo Beach which is a short drive from Santa Barbara.  The area around Paso Robles has some great wineries!  And as you get up towards Big Sur, make sure to stop at San Simeon to see Hearst CastleCarmel should be your last stop before heading into the Bay Area!


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Malibu Beach (attraction)
  2. Santa Barbara (city)
  3. Montecito (attraction)
  4. Pismo Beach (city)
  5. Paso Robles (city)
  6. San Simeon (city)
  7. Carmel (attraction)
  8. Hearst Castle (attraction)

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