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Los Angeles San Francisco

route between los angeles and san fracnisco

How would like to know which road is the most beautiful between Los Angeles and San Francisco? (I prefer to travel this distance in two or three days)

8 Answers

answered first by
John from Chicago

Trippy actually has everything you need to plan a road trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco. That page gives you a 2-day itinerary based on the places Trippy members most often recommend.

You'll see that most people suggest driving along the coast on Highway 1 (Pacific Coast Highway, or PCH) and/or Highway 101.

That's way more scenic than following the directions on Google Maps along I-5. That route is faster of course, but real travelers would tell you to explore the coast if you have the time.

You can choose to stop at lots of different places along the way, so feel free to dig into any of the locations tagged by other members, or you can post detailed questions to the community if you want more help. Good luck planning your trip!

2 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Jack from San Diego, California

Highway # 1 best thing you can see

1 thanks

answered by
Hazel from Port St. Lucie

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Freeway Trail (attraction)
1 thanks

answered by
Janelle from Charleston

You could take the coast route (see my first answer), or, if you really want to get off the beaten path and see a part of California that few tourists get to see, you can take the route through the Central Valley.  Most Californians in San Francisco and L.A. turn their noses at the Central Valley, but it can be interesting if you're into going where few others go. 

From L.A. head north on I-5 out of town, past Santa Clarita, Castaic and Tejon Pass ("The Grapevine").  Then bear left onto Route 99 towards Bakersfield.  Bakersfield has a few small but interesting museums, great music and good Mexican and Basque food.  Stay north on 99 past Tulare towards Fresno.  Fresno isn't the most happening place, but it is the only large city in the Central Valley so it makes a good place to stop.  Some of the smaller towns near Fresno such as Reedley and Kingsburg are delightful, quintessential small American towns and are definitely worth seeing.  Continuing on 99 you'll pass Merced and Modesto before reaching Stockton.  Near Stockton is Locke, a semi-ghost town that has a great deal of history behind it.  It was the first town in California founded by Chinese immigrants who came over to build the railroads in the 1800s and has been turned into an open-air museum that's quirky but worth seeing.  At Stockton you can decide to turn west on I-205 and then I-580 towards San Francisco or head north on I-5 to Sacramento (California's capital city) before turning southwest towards San Francisco.  Sacramento has some good museums and a great food scene.

I would recommend staying overnight in Fresno and Sacramento.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Clarita (city)
  2. Castaic (city)
  3. Tejon Pass (attraction)
  4. Bakersfield (city)
  5. Tulare (city)
  6. Fresno (city)
  7. Reedley (city)
  8. Kingsburg (city)
  9. Merced (city)
  10. Modesto (city)
  11. Stockton (city)
  12. Locke (attraction)
  13. Sacramento (city)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Janelle from Charleston

Make your way from L.A. to Santa Monica, then pick up Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) heading north.  Stay on PCH through Malibu and Port Hueneme, then turn right on Rice Avenue, then get on Highway 101 heading north.  Take the 101 past Santa Barbara, Buellton and San Luis Obispo, then pick up Highway 1 (again PCH) and head up the coast past Pismo Beach, Avila Beach, Cambria, San Simeon, Big Sur, Monterey and Santa Cruz until you get to Half Moon Bay.  Finally, turn right on Highway 92 and then head north on I-280 and it'll take you right into San Francisco.  Without overnight stops the drive should take about 8-9 hours.  I'd recommend staying overnight in Santa Barbara, Cambria, Big Sur, Monterey/Carmel and/or Santa Cruz.

N.B. Los Angeles has a huge Israeli expat community.  There are a few local Hebrew newspapers and plenty of Israeli restaurants and shops selling Israeli products.  Also, please be warned that the further north you go in California, the more radically left-wing the locals generally become, which means they tend to be pro-Arab and anti-Israel.

 !שיהיה לך טיול בטוח! להנות

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Santa Monica (city)
  2. Malibu (city)
  3. Port Hueneme (city)
  4. Santa Barbara (city)
  5. Buellton (city)
  6. San Luis Obispo (city)
  7. Pismo Beach (city)
  8. Avila Beach (city)
  9. Cambria (city)
  10. San Simeon (city)
  11. Big Sur (city)
  12. Monterey (city)
  13. Santa Cruz (city)
  14. Half Moon Bay (city)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Z from Los Angeles

If you're doing a roundtrip, consider returning via a non-traditional route: down Rte 395!

In winter you'll have to go through Reno But this weekend they are opening Tioga Pass so you can see Yosemite National Park 

Eat at the Whoah Nelly Deli in Lee Vining. Marvel at Mono LakeThen head down 395 through the Owens Valley along the Eastern Sierra through Bishop (California) 

with an optional side trip to Death Valley

It's longer than PCH, but a totally different kind of stunning! The high sierra is my favorite place in the world. It's especially amazing in the springtime, through about June, and again starting in October, with the snowcapped peaks.

You could do it in 3 days if you skipped Death Valley. The route along 395 is mostly lower elevation and usually clear, but plan ahead with chains or 4WD in case.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Reno (city)
  2. Yosemite National Park (park)
  3. Lee Vining (city)
  4. Mono Lake (attraction)
  5. Bishop (California) (city)
  6. Death Valley (park)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Marcus from Los Angeles

I think the Pacific Coast Hwy Pacific Coast Highway is what you are looking for.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pacific Coast Hwy (attraction)
1 thankscomments (1)

answered by

If you like the view of an ocean, Pacific Coast Hwy (or Highway 1 as it is also called) will be the most scenic.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Pacific Coast Hwy (attraction)

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