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Can you help with our itinerary?

Slough, United...
Level Contributor
669 posts
20 reviews
Can you help with our itinerary?

Hi,

We are just finalising ideas for our honeymoon trip leaving UK for San Fran next week. We have 4 nights in San Fran before starting our drive south with our first two night stay in Carmel.

Having read through some posts about the trip south is it better to go inland on 101 and then come out by Carmel instead immediately taking Highway 1 on the coastal route?

Then my next question is when to travel through Big Sur and how long this is from Carmel. Is it better to do it on one of our full days in Carmel or drive it on route to our next stop to Santa Barbara for two nights?

Our other thoughts from Carmel to Santa Barbara is to try and see Pismo Beach, Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo. Once in Santa Barb we want to use one of our days to visit the Santa Ynez valley for a wine tour.

From there we will drive to Santa Monica for three nights then onto San Diego for our final 3 nights.

We are finding the time between San Fran and Santa Barb hard to work out!

Any advice much appreciated and apologies if I should’ve posted this elsewhere.

3 replies to this topic
Marina, California
Destination Expert
for Tucson
Level Contributor
7,351 posts
105 reviews
1. Re: Can you help with our itinerary?

There's so much to do in the Monterey and Carmel area, that I think it would be better to use for full day for some of that, and not more driving. Then just start early and see Big Sur along the way to Santa Barbara.

I think that, if you don't mind the extra time, the Highway 1 route from San Francisco is very much worth it. It's really pretty while 101 is anything but. 280 is another option, but still doesn't compare to Highway 1.

You'll drive through SLO on the way to Santa Barbara anyway. Paso Robles isn't worth the detour, especially if you're going to wineries in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Don't follow Highway 1 on its section through Lompoc; just stay on 101. There's no point as it's not scenic.

Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
Level Contributor
22,173 posts
10 reviews
2. Re: Can you help with our itinerary?

Carmel to Santa Barbara via Highway 1 is close to a 5 1/2 hour drive without stops. Factoring in stops just for Big Sur could add several hours. In other words.... no time for Paso, SLO or Pismo. I strongly suggest changing one of your Santa Barbara nights to either Cambria, Morro Bay or Pismo Beach to even the drive out better

Slough, United...
Level Contributor
669 posts
20 reviews
3. Re: Can you help with our itinerary?

Unfortunately we have our nights already booked and paid for in Santa Barbara.

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