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Compare two driving trips for me, please.

Chesterfield, Mich.
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Compare two driving trips for me, please.

Please help me out here. I need thoughts on two different driving trips. Here are the two;

#1. San Diego to Santa Monica via the coast.

Or....#2. Santa Monica to SF via the coast highway?

This might seem like a strange question, and I think I have an opinion. But would like to know if it is possible to get a feel for true coast driving, and beautiful views, doing #1 vs. #2.?

I have done Santa Monica to SF via the PCH, and it was incredible! I have driven down from L.A. to San Diego, but it wasn't hugging the coast. Relatives...of mine have told me that, if time becomes an issue, one drive is as good as the other.

What do you experts think??

San Diego
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1. Re: Compare two driving trips for me, please.

The topography and scenery is more dramatic/spectacular going from Santa Monica to San Francisco.

There ARE beautiful spots along the coast in southern California but the drive is not the same.(IMO)

Cuenca, Ecuador
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2. Re: Compare two driving trips for me, please.

There's no comparison between the two routes. Santa Monica north to San Francisco wins by a country mile.

If you are short on time as you state, AND you are in Southern California, I would recommend the following: take Coast Highway (formerly Hill Street) in Oceanside south to La Jolla. To get there, use Interstate 5 and exit at Harbor Drive North going west a very small stretch. Turn left onto Coast Highway. . . and your adventure begins.

The real continuous coast hugging stretch isn't until you get to Carlsbad and Tamarack Avenue (Tamarack Beach). Beautiful views around Ponto and Solana Beach. Del Mar isn't too shabby, either.

This route is the original US Route 101 alignment that existed pre World War II. Allow an hour without stops for your travel. Enjoy!

San Diego...
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3. Re: Compare two driving trips for me, please.

Southern California coast: monarchbeachcondo.com/1-california-coast2.jpg

Central California coast: …tripadvisor.com/media/…big-sur-coast.jpg

Chesterfield, Mich.
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4. Re: Compare two driving trips for me, please.

bw, WOW what a contrast!! Thank you for the pics!!

cambs
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5. Re: Compare two driving trips for me, please.

hi

san diego is probably my fav calif city just ahead of san ran and way ahead of la

but i would say san fran has it all its own way for coastal scenery - the route NORTH of san fran is also spectacular and MUCH quieter - if you can manage to find the time to frive across the golden gate bridge them pick up cal 1 and ahead acroos to the coast then north via point reyes national park and jenner say as far as anchor bay or mendocino i'd go for that (do take the time to drive inland to visit armsttrong np for the giant redwoods)

Berkeley, Ca.
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6. Re: Compare two driving trips for me, please.

The southerly drive is only roughly 1/3 as long as the northerly one. The driving time distance is probably even greater, because you've got more small roads on the drive north.

It also takes some doing to drive right along the coast for portions of the southern drive. "Pacific Coast Highway" for example isn't really on the coast for about the first 20 miles south out of Santa Monica, though you could stitch together some local roads. There are certainly some nice stretches and spots on the southerly road, but the northern route is definitely more spectacular if you've got the time.

Chesterfield, Mich.
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7. Re: Compare two driving trips for me, please.

Thanks for the replies! Just as I had thought. I think my relatives kind of ran out of time, and decided the trip to SF was not going to happen. I will do the PCH to SF in my fure plans, as I've done in the past. The Santa Monica to San Diego route sounds ok, but just that.

Thanks for the comparisons!

Anaheim, California
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8. Re: Compare two driving trips for me, please.

Here is a recent thread talking about Coastal drives.

As you can tell in the thread, I am a fan of the Southern California drive from San Diego to Los Angeles County (Santa Monica). Also in the thread are some marked maps.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g32655-i61-k469987…

9. Re: Compare two driving trips for me, please.

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