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roadtrip from LA

Level Contributor
18 posts
roadtrip from LA

Hello! My husband and I are planning to visit california from November 22 to Dec 5, and I'm trying to figure out what our best options for driving around are. We initially planned to do a one-way LA to SF roadtrip, with a detour to yosemite, but then scratched that idea as I've read it might be tricky to drive to Yosemite in winter. So this is what we have planned now:

Nov 22-28: LA

Nov 28-30: SB (day trips to pismo beach, cambria)

Nov 30-Dec 2: Palm Springs (day trip to joshua park)

Dec 2-5: SD

My main question is whether the drive from SB to pismo beach would be nice? or is it after we pass pismo beach, to monterrey and carmel, that the roads actually become scenic?

Should I add 1 night in big sur/monterrey and remove the stop in palm springs? will then visit joshua park from san diego. I'm not sure what theres to do in palm springs really, but have heard its a nice stop too.

Would appreciate feedback! thanks so much.

4 replies to this topic
San Francisco, Ca
Level Contributor
21,618 posts
79 reviews
1. Re: roadtrip from LA

The most scenic section of Hwy. 1 is between Cambria and Carmel, which is the Big Sur portion. I'd probably shorten the LA stay to add at least 2 nights in Monterey/Carmel (or Big Sur itself, if you prefer).

Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
Level Contributor
22,113 posts
10 reviews
2. Re: roadtrip from LA

That time of year I would not attempt to drive LA to Monterey in one day. There isn't enough available daylight and the Big Sur section should not be driven after dark.

Suggest driving as far as Cambria for a night, then drive through Big Sur to Monterey for 2 nights.

Edited: 26 September 2018, 09:47
So Cal
Level Contributor
12,105 posts
75 reviews
3. Re: roadtrip from LA

FYI, most of the stretch between Santa Barbara and Pismo is inland, not coastal. The 101/1 follows the coast west from SB for a while, then turns north around Gaviota and that's it till Pismo. So very little coastal driving at all.

Long Beach...
Level Contributor
7,738 posts
4. Re: roadtrip from LA

Have you purchased your flights? Because I would keep SF to LA if you want to visit Big Sur. And Yosemite is totally doable in winter with YARTS Bus.

Otherwise I would head straight to Monterey Area for a couple nights then make my way down the coast.

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