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California, Pacific Coast Hwy

Pacific Coast Highway drive during late January

I would love some input on whether it would be a good idea to do this drive from SF to LA on the PCH during late January. Also, some suggestions on where to stop, eat, stay and what to see. 

Style is laid back, but a clean, nice hotel is a must.

No set budget, but not looking for extravagant. Hubby is a hotel snob, but we don't need to stay at the Ritz on this trip.

Traveling with a group consisting of four 60+ year olds, my hubby who will be 42 by then, myself 30 and our son 9 months. I know, we're an interesting bunch. We're flying from NYC to CA for a wedding, so my hubby's parents and aunts will be with us. 

We hope to do the drive in 2 days, since we'll be en route to Las Vegas.

Thanks in advance!

4 Answers

top answer by
D from California

The road to winding, but beautiful. I would drive to Monterey the first day. Pebble Beach is a must see. Then Santa Barbara and onto Los Angeles. Long drive to Las Vegas from the coast. Try Trip Advisor.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Monterey (city)
  2. Pebble Beach (attraction)
  3. Santa Barbara (city)
  4. Los Angeles (city)
  5. Las Vegas (city)
3 thanks

answered first by

If you want laid back, forget Las Vegas. Its not California, and perhaps not even the USA.

As for taking US 101 south from San FranciscoSan Francisco, some nice stopping off places are Santa CruzMontereyHearst CastleSanta Barbara and Malibu Beach.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. San Francisco (city)
  2. San Francisco (city)
  3. Santa Cruz (city)
  4. Monterey (city)
  5. Hearst Castle (attraction)
  6. Santa Barbara (city)
  7. Malibu Beach (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Valerie from Los Angeles

Hi Irene!

The drive from SF to LA is a beautiful one...depending on what road you take. Avoid highway 5 at all costs, unless you're into seeing flat farmland and stinky cows for 5+ hours. 

I would suggest taking the 101 down to LA. The drive is so beautiful, especially through Carmel Valley Village and Big Sur. A great restaurant to stop at in Big Sur is Nepenthe. You have a gorgeous view and great food to eat! It would be perfect for your family.

If you do decide to go through Big Sur, you must, must, must stop at McWay Falls . It is truly a sight to see.

I hope you have a fabulous time on your trip! 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Carmel Valley Village (attraction)
  2. Big Sur (city)
  3. Nepenthe (restaurant)
  4. McWay Falls (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Jacey & Scott from Fort Collins

My favorites were to get right out of the LA area and stop first in Santa Barbara-stay as long as you want.  It's fabulous.  Further up Hwy 1, I loved Pismo Beach.  You can also jump off the Hwy just a bit and do central California wine country - think the movie "Sideways"-stay in Solvang.  Make sure to at least spend a few hours watching the amazing waves just south of Carmel and definitely stay here.  The city is a time-warp, so lovely, friendly, full of great shops and places to eat.  Hearst Castle is worth your time as well.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Barbara (city)
  2. Pismo Beach (city)
  3. Solvang (city)
  4. Carmel (attraction)
  5. Hearst Castle (attraction)

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