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LA to San Francisco - where to stay?

Wellington, New...
Level Contributor
24 posts
57 reviews
LA to San Francisco - where to stay?

We have three days/two nights to get to San Fran (in April) and would appreciate some ideas on where the best place to stay would be. Ideally, we'd like to stay in one place for two nights - somewhere a little more than halfway to San Fran would be nice.

The options we have so far are Santa Cruz and Monterey. We are not bothered about being near the beach, but want somewhere that you can go for a nice meal in the evening and during the day have plenty of places to visit within a 45-minute drive.

Any suggestions are most welcome!

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
Level Contributor
59,774 posts
149 reviews
1. Re: LA to San Francisco - where to stay?

Pls go to the California state forum and read the top question on the SF to la drive. Plenty of info

San Francisco is abbreviated as SF

Edited: 21 December 2015, 12:22
San Francisco, Ca
Level Contributor
22,016 posts
79 reviews
2. Re: LA to San Francisco - where to stay?

Because the coastal highway (route 1) from LA to SF is bordered by ocean on one side and mountains on the other, there's really no central place to headquarter to see it. Picture a strand of pearls laid out lengthwise... you can stay two nights in the center, but on that free day you'll be exploring the same route you drove up the first day and will drive again the last day (especially if you limit yourself to a 45 minute drive).

Plus, Santa Cruz is only 90 minutes from San Francisco, so not even close to the halfway point. Cambria comes closest to a mid-way point, and you can spend two nights there (or nearby, in Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo). But you'll be exploring that area in depth at the expense of a more leisurely exploration of the coast, which you could do if you spend two nights en route. (And there are really no towns just a little further past Cambria -- that's where the lovely, secluded, scenic area of Big Sur starts.)

Generally, the recommendation is to spend he first night in the Cambria area, the second in the Monterey area.

As belomiser says, there is LOTS more info to be found in the Top Questions of the California state forum.

Norwich, United...
Level Contributor
6,219 posts
3. Re: LA to San Francisco - where to stay?

Bear in mind that there's hardly any accommodation on the coast road between Cambria and Monterey.

You can experiment with routes, check distances and search for motels using Google Maps


For example

Route https://goo.gl/maps/LRgjxUr11w92

Motels in the Cambria area https://goo.gl/maps/MjW9kfsBQG62

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
4. Re: LA to San Francisco - where to stay?

For 2 days at the same place my pick is Cambria.

San Francisco
Level Contributor
36,628 posts
26 reviews
5. Re: LA to San Francisco - where to stay?

I agree with Tet but I'd recommend spending those two nights in different places. Cambria for the first night and Monterey for the second.

But if this over a weekend you may run into 2 night stay minimums.

Southern California
Level Contributor
15,604 posts
1 review
6. Re: LA to San Francisco - where to stay?

Stay in two different places, Cambria or Pismo Beach or maybe Morro Bay, then Monterey or Carmel.

No need to pack/unpack for an overnight.

Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
Level Contributor
22,197 posts
10 reviews
7. Re: LA to San Francisco - where to stay?

Too much distance between the two cities to make one stop for 2 nights viable. There is nothing "a little more than halfway" between LA and SF that meets your criteria. That would put you somewhere along the remote Big Sur coast, which has few lodging options and even fewer dining options. Plus, Big Sur is situated on 90 miles of rugged and remote coastline. It's a slow, windy drive. If you're looking to commune with nature, then Big Sur is perfect for that, but if you're looking for a more urban area, then Big Sur doesn't work.

Monterey and Santa Cruz is too far of a drive to make in one day. Especially IF following the coastline up toward SF.

LA to Monterey via Big Sur is a 7 hour drive WITHOUT stops. Lots to see/do along that route, including Santa Barbara and Hearst Castle, which would add several hours to that 7 hour drive.

You really would be better off spending those 2 nights in separate locations in order to balance the drive and the sights out better.

Wellington, New...
Level Contributor
24 posts
57 reviews
8. Re: LA to San Francisco - where to stay?

Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! That's given me some good options.

9. Re: LA to San Francisco - where to stay?

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