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An LA to mountain Francisco drive follow me the Pacific shore Highway in California is undoubtedly one of the best road trips in the world. When you can drive in between the 2 cities along the I-5 highway in just under 6 hours, taking your time and driving along the coastline provides travellers with some remarkable sites and also stops come see.

Combining this ar with a journey from LA to mountain Diego or occasion as component of a longer road pilgrimage to Portland or Seattle renders for the ultimate California itinerary for visitors who want to watch the best of this state!

Wondering whereby to stop on a Los Angeles to mountain Francisco drive? these stops combine a terrific mix that beautiful nature, relaxed beach towns, i know well cities and also quirky attractions!

Table of Contents

Getting indigenous LA to mountain Francisco

The street on the drive from LA to san Francisco is around 382 mile (615 kilometres) and also takes only around 6 hrs non-stop if travel on the i5 Highway.

However, the stop outlined ~ above this LA to mountain Francisco drive go primarily along Highway 1 and also you need to expect to spend at the very least 3 come 4 days to check out all the highlights of the PCH.

If you must rent a auto prior to setup off on your Los Angeles to mountain Francisco road trip then i recommendsearching on Rentalcars.com to discover the best deal for automobile hire together they accumulation prices across all the major providers.

Alternatively, if you favor a campervan or RV, climate I indicate browsing ~ above Outdoorsy which provides a huge selection of choices.

Best stop on one LA to san Francisco Drive

Below space 13 exceptional stops to gain on a road trip from Los Angeles to san Francisco along Highway 1.

1. Santa Monica

Even though Santa Monica is still a component of Los Angeles, it provides for a fantastic first stop once driving native Los Angeles to san Francisco. House to the iconic Santa Monica Pier, there are a number of an excellent coffee shops and cafes that can administer a much-needed caffeine boost before hitting the road effectively on her Los Angeles to mountain Francisco road trip.

I suggest an initial heading one of two people to key Street which has actually a neighborhood Farmer’s market on weekends. If you desire to indulge in Santa Monica’s world-famous to buy then endeavor over come the 3rd Street Promenade before ending your protect against in Santa Monica with a walk follow me the Oceanfront and an obligatory picture at the Pier!

Iconic Santa Monica Pier

2. Malibu

Next increase on your Los Angeles to mountain Francisco drive and only about a twenty-minute journey from Santa Monica is Malibu. While Malibu to be heavily impacted by wildfires in the direction of the finish of 2018, it continues to be a famous spot because that visitors because of the prestige the surrounds the town in Hollywood.

Due to the fires, a the majority of the herbal scenery here will take it time come replenish and won’t be as spectacularas what you’ll see more up in large Sur on her LA to mountain Francisco roadway trip. However, if you sophisticated seeing end the peak multi-million dollar residences or desire to inspect out few of the beautiful beaches in the area such together Zuma Beach then a protect against in Malibu because that a pair of hrs is precious it.

3. Santa Barbara

The city of Santa Barbara is a wonderful place to stop for a day and enjoy the laid earlier California lifestyle. Begin your someday in Santa Barbaraby strolling along the Harbour and exploring the iconicStearns Wharf.

You have the right to then take benefit of the plethora that watersports readily available in the area by going surfing, kayaking or paddleboarding. If friend don’t feel like acquiring into the water climate there are additionally a variety of hiking opportunities in the area.

In the afternoon, make sure to take benefit of Santa Barbara’s urban Wine Trails. There space 28 tasting rooms scattered throughout the city with several of the ideal wine you’ll discover in all of California.

Most that the tasting rooms are within walking street of each other definition you deserve to enjoy a pair of this wineries during your time in Santa Barbara. Tasting flights typically cost about $15 and also you have the right to share a tasting in between two if you want to visit multiple wineries.

If you prefer a guided experience and want come visit numerous wineries, this guided food & photo tour includes visits to a variety of tasting rooms together with food tastings and a overview to present you some surprise spots in the area.

Santa Barbara is a an excellent place to protect against for the night with the town having many good accommodation choices such as this beachside head or this contemporary condo.

The lovely Santa Barbara waterfront

4. Solvang

From Santa Barbara, the scenic LA to mountain Francisco journey goes along the 101 through picturesque mountains and also wine country. About 45 minutes north from Santa Barbara, you have actually the alternative of detouring to Solvang – a town that will make girlfriend feel together if you’ve been transported toCopenhagen, Denmark!

Solvang was started by Danish immigrants that wanted a emotion of familiarly after immigrating come the USA.

Solvang is fairly compact and also you might spend an hour or for this reason walking roughly here and enjoying the northern European architecture and also shops. If you’ve saw Copenhagen prior to you might also an alert a replica the a many the city’s well known sites such together the little Mermaid Statue and Hans Christian Anderson Museum.

Solvang is an inexplicable stop and also not something friend would expect to uncover on a Los Angeles to san Francisco road trip but it makes for a great detour if you are longing for a taste of Europe!

Windmills in Solvang

5. Pismo Beach

After Solvang, your next opportunity to stop on the California coast will be in ~ Pismo beach – a quintessential California surf town!

The main attraction of Pismo coast is the stunning coastline that you find here in addition to the old college California feel. Top top a nice day, you can walk follow me the pier and spend one hour or 2 watching surfers hitting the waves. Alternatively, if you’re a surfer yourself, climate you deserve to rent a board and enjoying the great conditions i m sorry are perfect for beginner and progressed surfers.

Pismo Beach makes a good stop for lunch if you have spent the night in Santa Barbara as there space a number of good independent cafes and also restaurants to enjoy. We quit at Shin’s Pokewhich is fantastic place come eat if you’re ~ a new poke bowl!

Pismo Beach

6. Hearst Castle

Another distinct stop on the Los Angeles to mountain Francisco journey is Hearst Castle, located a short detour outside of mountain Simeon. The castle was developed by newspaper mogul william Hearst and will when again do you feel together if you’ve to be transported come Europe!

Visiting the castle expenses $25 and takes a couple of hrs making this a relatively expensive detour if you’re trying to minimise yourCalifornia pilgrimage cost, however, girlfriend can get a check out of the castle from Highway 1 if you prefer to stick come the coast. Make sure to additionally keep one eye the end for zebras and also other pets when driving past Hearst castle which space remanents of what was as soon as the world’s biggest private zoo.

7. Elephant Seal Vista Point

Located just a couple of kilometres indigenous the detour to Hearst Castle, Elephant Seal Vista suggest gives you the chance to watch elephant seals relaxing top top the beach and also waddling in the ocean.

The seals invest the majority of the year living deep in the ocean however they come top top the beach throughout the year with peak season gift in December come March when they space breeding.

The seals space absolutely fascinating to watch and also you can conveniently spend one hour or for this reason walking along the city hall platforms and seeing them from distinct vantage points.

The viewing platforms right here are wheelchair accessible, cost-free to visit and also maintained by friend of the Elephant Seal which are a non-profit organisation working hard to maintain these magnificent animals.

Elephant Seals relaxing on the beach!

8. Huge Sur

Arguably the highlight of the LA to mountain Francisco drive, huge Sur is an area the California that will undoubtedly blow girlfriend away! over there are several state parks and seaside walks in the area that means there is plenty of spectacular natural scenery to enjoy and you should arrangement to spend at the very least one day in huge Sur.

From the dramatic coast to beautiful waterfalls to lush redwoods over there is something because that everybody at big Sur. Make certain to prevent at iconic website such as Bixby Creek bridge & McWay Waterfall which are located on Highway 1.

Spend a couple of hours hiking in Pfieffer big Sur State Park and make certain to take advantage of the plethora of short coastal walks that you can access by pulling turn off Highway 1. The seaside walks to be the highlight of our time in huge Sur as watching the waves crash versus the cliffs is infatuating!

Bixby Creek Bridge

9. Carmel

Located just north of huge Sur, Carmel is a town that deserves to be quit at in its very own right as soon as driving native Los Angeles to san Francisco. The town of Carmel is rather charming to walk through and also there space a variety of artisan shops to examine out. Similarly to Santa Barbara, Carmel is additionally a good town to prevent at a alcohol tasting room to gain a glass or flight!

It should likewise come together no surprise given it’s proximity to big Sur yet there is many of beautiful see to reap close to the city of Carmel. Surrounding Point Lobos State Reserve renders for a fantastic sunset stop and also a great place to gain a scenic drive together there are commonly fewer visitors here contrasted to huge Sur.

Sunset at allude Lobos State to make reservation in Carmel

10. Monterey

From Carmel, take it the well known 17-mile drive in the direction of Monterey. The 17-mile journey is a beautiful coastal road that has actually a variety of lookoutpoints to stop at. The journey gets exceptionally busy therefore I highly recommend law the drive first thing in the morning prior to the tourism buses arrive!

In Monterey, gain a walk under Cannery heat while spotting tributes to several of the literature greats that have actually come from this component of the world. Girlfriend can likewise visit Monterey just Aquarium, i beg your pardon is taken into consideration one of the finest aquariums in the world and has a number of good exhibits to check out or go on a whale the town hall tour to check out sea ife in the wild.

It’s worth also driving to the adjacent town the Pacific Grove, both to enjoy more local and affordable areas for having lunch (I extremely recommend a clam chowder bread bowl fromVivolo’s Chowder House!) and to stop at the Pacific Grove king Butterfly Sanctuary.

From the month of October come February, thousands of monarch butterflies migrate here and also you can walk through the sanctuary and also see castle flying about between trees and colourful plants. Enntrance gate to the sanctuary is free.

Staying in Monterey or Carmel because that a night or two is a good option for tourists taking their time on the Los Angeles to mountain Francisco drive. Over there are distinct accommodation choices such together this peaceful cottage in Carmel or this beachside home in Monterey.

Cannery heat in Monterey

11. Santa Cruz

Driving indigenous Monterey come Santa Cruz will certainly take approximately one hour and also have you showing up in another quintessential California surf town!

The most popular place to visit in Santa Cruz is the beach Boardwalk i beg your pardon is house to among the earliest roller coasters in the USA. It has actually been significantly upgraded end the years and is currently a good mix of old institution charm and contemporary attractions. Enntrance gate to the coast Boardwalk is cost-free and friend pay per ride.

After exploring main Santa Cruz, take a drive or walk along West Cliff drive for another dose of spectacular views and watching surfers go around their day!

Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz

12. Fifty percent Moon Bay

Located only 30 miles southern of san Francisco, fifty percent Moon just makes an excellent lunch stop before heading towards the large city! fifty percent Moon just is a fairly small town and also has a number of an excellent little cafes and boutique shops to explore if you desire to stretch her legs.

I introduce heading to mountain Benito home Deli for lunch where you can obtain enormous and also delicious homemade sandwiches through a variety of toppings for really reasonable prices. Lunch below will certain you’re sustained up because that the final part of her Los Angeles to mountain Francisco roadway trip!

13. Marin Headlands

When start your LA to mountain Francisco drive, I imply marking your final stop together Marin Headlands in san Francisco. This will straight you come drive across the famous gold Gate Bridge and towards Marin Headlands wherein you have the right to enjoy several philosophies of the bridge and also the city of mountain Francisco!

There is absolutely no better first impression that this impressive city 보다 seeing its most iconic website from the spectacular philosophies of Marin Headlands!

The golden Gate bridge in san Francisco in ~ sunset

Is it better to execute a mountain Francisco come Los Angeles Drive?

While we explored all of the stops in this post by driving native Los Angeles to mountain Francisco, the is arguably better to perform this expedition in reverse.

A mountain Francisco come Los Angeles road pilgrimage will check out you driving alongside the coastline which has several advantages. The main advantage is the you can conveniently pull turn off Highway 1 once you desire to stop and enjoy a viewpoint or take a photo.

This is an especially beneficial when driving in large Sur together the roads are narrow and it have the right to be more daunting to pull right into a car park from the other side that the road. The other benefit is the the views space obviously much better for the passenger if driving from mountain Francisco come Los Angeles!

At the end of the job though, you need to drive along Highway 1 whichever means makes the many sense to you! nevertheless of whether you travel from san Francisco to LA or the other way around, the stops will be the same and also you will still gain to see every one of the magnificent attractions in this beautiful component of California!

There space plenty of vehicle hire choices in both Los Angeles and San Francisco if you have to rent a vehicle – browse on Rentalcars.com because that the finest deals.

Viewpoint native a coastal walk in huge Sur

Where to stay on an LA to san Francisco Drive

While girlfriend can discover accommodation almost everywhere along the Los Angeles to san Francisco drive, i recommend basing yourself in Santa Barbara and also Carmel or Montereyout of all these stops along Highway 1.

Both these areas have a variety of attractions that can be explored over a couple of work while the various other stops work much better as pitstops once driving. The being said, if you desire to invest a pair of job surfing or breaking up her journey more than both Pismo beach or Santa Cruz are also logical locations to spend a pair of nights.

These space someaccommodation recommendations on one LA to san Francisco drive, along with places to continue to be in both Los Angeles and San Francisco. As well as hostels or hotels, that is also worth considering private rentals as there are a variety of rooms available in the area such together this beachside cottage in Santa Barbara. You can click here to watch the ideal private rentals in California.

Los Angeles

Hollywood Inn Suites Hotel — located in the heart of Hollywood, this hotel has actually a range of rooms to pick from and is centrally located making it terrific base because that exploring. Click right here to view their recent prices

Freehand Los Angeles — A modern-day hostel situated downtown, the is a great place to continue to be for solo tourists or people trying to reduced down costs. Over there are personal rooms and dorms available.Click here to check out their recent prices

Not quite what you’re spring for? Click right here to browse various other hotels in Los Angeles!

Santa Barbara

The Presidio Hotel — A boutique hotel in the heart of Santa Barbara. They have actually a variety of clean and comfortable rooms accessible and a friendly employee that will certainly go above and past to certain you have actually a great stay.Click below to watch their latest prices

Cheshire Cat Inn— This weird bed and also breakfast is perfect because that couples who desire a romantic location to stay. A an excellent breakfast is had in the room rate. Click right here to watch their latest prices

Not quite what you’re looking for? Click here to browse various other hotels in Santa Barbara!


Carmel Lodge — Another great place for couples who desire a romantic hotel stay in Carmel. There are several rooms to choose from and also breakfast and also parking are contained in the room rate. Click here to view their latest prices

Carmel green Lantern Inn — located next come Carmel Beach, this cosy bed and also breakfast is a lovely place to continue to be in Carmel. Their guest rooms have private enntrance gate making this a an excellent option for people looking for an ext privacy.

See more: New Orleans To Atlanta Drive Time, Driving Time From New Orleans, La To Atlanta, Ga

Click right here to see their recent prices

The Stevenson Monterey – If you desire to stay in Monterey, climate this motel is a good budget option and located just off Highway 1. They have actually a selection of rooms available and their ar is right for human being that are just staying in the area because that one night.Click here to watch their latest prices

Not rather what you’re spring for? Click below to browse other hotels close to Carmel or Monterey!

San Francisco

Orchard Hotel— A boutique hotel, situated in downtown san Francisco, they have actually several different species of rooms obtainable and breakfast consisted of in the rate. Click right here to see their recent prices

Found san Francisco — one of the best-rated hostels in mountain Francisco, friend can pick from dorms and also private rooms and also are known for their good atmosphere i m sorry is best for meeting various other travellers. Click right here to view their latest prices

Not fairly what you’re spring for? Click below to browse various other hotels in mountain Francisco!

Sunset in Carmel, California

An LA to mountain Francisco drive along Highway 1 is without doubt one that the best road trips that we have ever been on! through so numerous different attractions to see, you will certainly definitely be able to find something of attention for all types of travellers!

When travelling away from home, it’s constantly a good idea come make sure you have a take trip insurance plan so you’re spanned for any kind of unfortunate events! We prefer WorldNomads and always use them for our trips –click here to get a quote indigenous WorldNomads

Are friend planning top top driving native Los Angeles to mountain Francisco? have you propelled this path before? let us know in the comments below!