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San Francisco, San Luis Obispo

Things to do along the drive from San Francisco to San Luis Obispo

I'll be taking a mini weekend road trip down to San Luis Obispo from San Francisco next month.  Everyone keeps telling me to check out Hearst Castle.  Is there anything else worthy of a visit on the 3-4 hour drive down and up?

3 Answers

answered first by
Andrew from Manhattan Beach

If you're willing to add about 90 minutes of drive time, it would be worth driving through Monterey.  There's beautiful coastline along the way and you'll definitely get some photographic moments if you take the 17 Mile Dr which wraps around and through the iconic Pebble Beach Golf Course.  There's also some good lookout spots in Big Sur where you can usually catch a glimpse of some wild-life like seals, sea lions, and otters.  The Monterey Bay Aquarium is also a great place to learn about the local wildlife, but you'll want to allow for a couple hours for that as well -- maybe for the return trip!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Monterey (city)
  2. 17 Mile Dr (attraction)
  3. Pebble Beach Golf Course (attraction)
  4. Big Sur (city)
  5. Monterey Bay Aquarium (attraction)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Beverly from San Luis Obispo

I'm taking a road trip from SLO to Napa soon and I know you've already seen my itinerary since you gave me suggestions on it (thank you again!), but here's what I have a Day 1, it's a drive from SLO up to Half Moon Bay, and I added a couple more:

I've done the drive between SLO and San Francisco quite a few times and I feel like after Carmel, unless you want to go hiking or beaching at Big Sur, there's not much going on until you get closer to SLO.  Once you're closer, here are some other places to check out:

Have fun on your road trip!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Napa (city)
  2. Half Moon Bay (city)
  3. Monterey (city)
  4. Monterey Bay Aquarium (attraction)
  5. Santa Cruz (city)
  6. Carmel Beach (attraction)
  7. Big Sur (city)
  8. Paso Robles (city)
  9. Morro Bay (attraction)
  10. Morro Rock (attraction)
  11. Avila Beach (city)
3 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Peter from Bloomington (Indiana)

I agree with the recommendations given here for places to go near Hearst Castle. Here are three other recommendations, though:

Don't go to the castle first thing in the morning -- give the fog time to lift, so you can get the best distance view of the ocean. A 10:30 tour will work well.

When you have had your tour, you'll want lunch. Just down the road in San Simeon, we liked El Chorlito Mexican Restaurant. It looks unpromising from the road, like a tourist trap, but it's not -- the lunch was great and the outside seating is in a beautiful garden with a view of the ocean.

Go watch elephant seals just north of the castle's entrance at San Simeon State Beach.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. El Chorlito Mexican Restaurant (restaurant)
  2. San Simeon State Beach (attraction)
  3. Hearst Castle (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

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