Let me present you where to prevent on a mountain Francisco to Los Angeles road pilgrimage – therefore good, I’ve excellent the course twice!

The san Francisco come Los Angeles journey is still one of my pure favourite I’ve ever done.

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In fact, it’s so great I’ve excellent the Pacific shore Highway road trip twice. Wouldn’t mind driving the California coast again TBH.

The san Francisco to LA drive is famed as among the prettiest and also most scenic paths in the world, never ever mind America.It’s the can be fried California coastal road trip.

Highway 1, together it’s additionally known, in reality starts as soon as you arrive in California. It begins at the north border through Oregon and also stretches every the way down to end up in mountain Diego. If you steamed ahead the whole route would take ten hours to do, yet then you’d miss out on every the joys the the 1000km of exceptional roads, views, and cool locations to avoid along the way.

Road trip from mountain Francisco to Los Angeles and also you’ll enjoy stunning seaside views, Californian sunshine villages, epos forests, cool towns and a wine making ar or two, too.

Of course you have the right to do Highway 1 the other way, and also drive native Los Angeles to san Francisco on a roadway trip, but this way is generally taken into consideration the best. And also it’s the only way I’ve ever before done it!

Where to stop on the mountain Francisco come Los Angeles drive

Drive from san Francisco to Los Angeles and you’re in because that an significant trip!

1. Mountain Francisco

San Francisco is a an excellent city, and terrific place to begin your trip driving the California Coast. There’s a good reason why it’s used in so plenty of films together a backdrop, and why it’s on the dream perform for so many world to visit.

The golden Gate Park is an absolute should do while you’re in the city. Have a couple of days to discover Fisherman’s Wharf, Alcatraz Island and just relaxing v a coffee in Union Square. Get about via the renowned San Francisco tram and also make sure to walk down crazy Lombard Street also – don’t attempt to journey it!

Pick up her rental car and drive end the gold Gate bridge to acquire off come a memorable start to your mountain Francisco to Los Angeles road trip. It’s the many recognisable bridge in the world, and also is actually surprisingly long. A great opportunity to get used to the glory of those wide lanes in the USA.

Distance from san Francisco come Los Angeles

Here’s a map the the journey from san Francisco come LA.

The san Francisco come Los Angeles drive is 6 h 16 mins(383.1mi)via I-5 S – the most direct route.

If you desire to drive from SF to LA the scenic route, as defined here, then you’re looking at roughly 9 h 19 mins (454 miles) via Highway 1.


After landing in mountain Francisco us went right to the Hotel Zephyr in Fisherman’s Wharf come freshen up. It had only opened up a mainly before and also is in a an excellent location ideal on the waterfront – it was simple to walk to the famousPier 39 sea lions and the gold Gate bridge viewing suggest from the former desk.

For dinner I’d introduce the Boudin Bakery end the roadway for chowder in bread bowls, fish and also chips and also their signature sourdough bread and also butter pudding because that dessert. I pretty much carb coma’d right into bed the night.

2. San Jose

San Jose can be described as the center of the western people right now, many thanks to the large companies the now call Silicon sink home. Facebook and Google HQs space here, and also the well known Hewlett Packard Garage from wherein it every began.

There’s a many of money floating around in mountain Jose and also if friend can acquire an invite into any kind of of the head offices, take up the offer.

As well as maybe controlling every one of our futures, mountain Jose likewise has a fascinating past. Galleries, museums, an open air market and also a vivid downtown make mountain Jose a need to on her road pilgrimage from mountain Francisco to LA.

Also, make sure to swing by the famed Winchester secret House. It’s full of curiosities, including dead end hallways, staircases the run up to the ceiling and also 165 rooms. The late buy it Winchester constructed the location at a cost of end $20m, as instructed by her Medium. Imagine having the money to just follow that advice top top a whim – joyful!

You have to stop here on a road trip from mountain Francisco come Los Angeles –to yes, really say you’ve excellent a coastline of California road trip.

3. Santa Cruz

Look out the window to view the stunning half Moon Bay together you pass from mountain Jose, Santa Cruz bound. Even better, traction over and snap a moody pic indigenous the cliff edge prior to you rush away.

Put “Ano Nuevo State Park” into your satellite nav wherein you have the right to visit the Elephant Seals in the naval park, and take a look in ~ a san Francisco Garter line too.

Seriously, don’t miss the Elephant Seals when you’re steering the California Coast. I’ve never ever seen so plenty of in one place, it was amazing.Definitely among the highlights of the mountain Francisco come Los Angeles road trip.

Ninety minute from mountain Jose in her rental car (with no stops) you’ll discover yourself in Santa Cruz. The 60s live top top here, especially along the Santa Cruz coast Boardwalk v its old-school Americana vibe. Discover the lighthouse top top the beautiful beach, and the large Dipper along the boardwalk. The mystery Spot – a repertoire of strange phenomena native the critical 70 year – also makes for an entertaining few hours.

On Pacific way you’ll discover allkinds that vintage goodies, visit Palomar for night time salsa dancing, Wilder Ranch State Park because that hiking and also the Rio Theatre for regional music. The kai is a good place to begin for restaurants and also shops and also if you have actually the time you deserve to go ~ above a whale watching boat or fishing exploration too.

Lots to perform in Santa Cruz therefore don’t skip the on her Pacific shore Highway trip!

READ an ext on US road Trips

The ideal advice on to plan a road trip in the USA is here, and if you’re spring for help in planning your road expedition budget, simply click here.

One of my favourites is the drive from las Vegas to the cool Canyon – the sites are awesome. And this road expedition from Miami to an essential West is quite sweet too!

4. Monterey Bay

Just an hour indigenous Santa Cruz you’ll find Monterey just on the curve of the coast. Too many to execute here, including the Monterey just Aquarium, the allude Lobos State herbal Reserve, and also the Old Fisherman’s Wharf.

Don’t miss out on the scenic ’17 Mile Drive’ and have a mooch approximately Carmel-by-the-Sea – a cute seaside town with shops, cafes and also restaurants. Whale watching, sailing, kayaking, golfing and also biking are additionally popular in Monterey.

A gentle uphill journey from here takes you out to the large Sur, where the funny really begins on your mountain Francisco come Los Angeles road trip.

If you want to spend two days in Monterey, inspect out this post from California Crossroads.

5. Big Sur

The Bixby leg is your best route right into the large Sur, well, pretty much the just one from Highway 1 TBH. It’s among the tallest single span concrete bridges in the world and also one of the most photographed bridges on the West shore – bar the gold Gate the you’ll have currently driven over. The Bixby leg is 714 feet long and also 280 feet high.

There are many beautiful sights along the huge Sur control from san Fran come LA – Pfeiffer Beach, McWay Falls, suggest Sur State historical Park, Ragged suggest – lap them up by preventing often. If you have time, take it a few days come relax along the route, soak up several of the scenery and also just generally chill out.

The journey is as crucial as the destination, right?

The huge Sur holds an arty, hippy community that, in my experience were quite unwelcoming to anyone who wasn’t in it. Us tried come visit the Esalen Institute for the views and natural warm spring baths. Two of my friends to be wearing baseball caps and also I observed them eye castle up before refusing ours entry.

If you’re component of the said hippy / arty community then go along and also enjoy. If not, simply soak up the views and also take her money elsewhere!

If this is your vibe you can want to note out a few nights ~ above your san Fran to LA road trip to stay here.


I remained at the Ventana Inn & Spa in large Sur and had a hot tub, and a hammock on my balcony and life was every kinds that incredible. After ~ a delicious dinner looking out over the big Sur countryside we had a hot bath tub party and also made the most of the mini bar. This was a real deluxe trip because that us and this ar was incredible!

6. Mountain Simeon

Ok, following stop ~ above the san Francisco come Los Angeles road pilgrimage is mountain Simeon. The to mark of san Simeon is Hearst lock high increase on The enchanted Hill. More than 1 million human being visit every year – it’s the number one attraction in san Simeon. Lady Gaga filmed a video here, and you can explore the250,000 acres of rooms, suites, cottages, kitchens and also grounds.

Moonstone beach is additionally a well-known spot in san Simeon, together is the Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery and shopping at Cambria village too. All 3 are good stops on your California seaside road trip.

7. Mountain Luis Obispo

Right, this is in reality kinda absolutely disgusting but in san Luis Obispo there’s a 15-foot high, 70-foot long alley lined with bubblegum. Like, top top purpose. You have the right to go and include your note on the world, if girlfriend like.

If you’ve gained time to preventive in mountain Luis Obispo hike up black Hill, Islay Hill, Bishop Peak and also round theSan luis Obispo factory Garden. The Fremont Theatre is additionally worth a visit, if just for the amazing facade in the evening. Soda Lake is one awesome sight too, especially for anyone through an eye for design.

Pismo coast is a close sufficient walk and you have the right to enjoy the tasty restaurants, ATV rentals, wine tasting, fishing, surfing, skydiving, bowling and mineral springs there. Also, they choose to feeding you clams.

We walk sand dune buggying – ever tried it? It’s a lot harder than I thought, and also at time pretty cursed scary too. It’s perfectly safe as you’re in a role car and the guys from sunlight Buggy in Oceano stated there’d never ever been one accident, however as ns was stuck in the sand trying come traverse the substantial dunes ns was sureI’d it is in the first.


We lastly arrivedat cottage Inn by the Sea, ideal on PismoBeach in a sea view room inSan louis ObispoCounty. It was right out again ready for the alcohol tasting with the theAdelaida Winery. Reds, white skin - man andan 11% cider later and we went turn off to the famous Madonna Inn because that chicken, rice and also their famous creamy cakes.

8. Solvang

On your method to the well known Santa Barbara you’ll travel on the 101 with an excellent views that the area’s it s as beautiful as picture mountains and also vineyards. It’s totally worth a detour right here to visit Solvang –a pretty city that will take you back to Europe, however you’re in Cali.

You have to see it to believe. Solvang was established by Danish immigrants that wanted to feeling at house in the USA. Recently it’s a an excellent tourist attraction, and also a ar where world actually live.

Visit and also you deserve to expect north European architecture and shops, and also lots of replicas that iconic point out in Copenhagen. Save an eye out for the small Mermaid Statue and the Hans Christian Anderson Museum.

You’ll only require an hour or 2 here, but it’s a cute protect against along the san Francisco come LA road pilgrimage route.

And if girlfriend have also longer to spend, check out the Santa Ynez Valley right here too.

9. Santa Barbara

Next up on her California coastline drive is Santa Barbara. It’s the perfect prevent off before you hit increase the craziness the LA. Hug the shore here and also you’ll gain to view Stearns Wharf and East coast too. Santa Barbara Zoo, Santa Barbara Botanic Garden and also Lotusland space all well-known things to carry out in Santa Barbara, while culture vultures can hone in top top the Lobero Theatre, the Arlington Theatre and also the Santa Barbara historical Museum.

Keep an eye ~ above the road markings and also signs, rather than the satellite nav, to it is in in the right lane for Ventura ~ above the Pacific coastline Highway to carry on through your drive from mountain Francisco to Los Angeles.

10. Ventura

Do the san Francisco to LA road pilgrimage right and also you’ll end up top top Ventura Beach, appropriate in former of the pier. Thisis the spot if you want to do some surfing. If not, take it a look approximately the historic Downtown Ventura and also make the many of the vintage boutiques and 2nd hand stores.

On a generally sunny day, Ventura yes, really is one amazing protect against to reap – beautiful sunsets too.

11. Malibu

Oh Malibu – not the Barbie, or the drink, however the destination. The journey from Ventura to Malibu is stunning. Follow indications to allude Dume and you’ll uncover a beautiful sandy beach, headlands, cliffs and also rocky coves. Wander around Malibu and you’ll discover piers, sickeningly beautiful weekend homes and also super healthy and balanced restaurants – and also maybe also the odd celebrity or two.

Stay on route 27 and also you’ll come throughout offbeat stores, diners and ramshackle saloons along the roadside. Obtain out at the optimal for an awesome see over the mountain Fernando sink at the optimal of Topanga Overlook.

You just can’t acquire a negative view top top a san Francisco to LA road trip.

12. Los Angeles

And you’ve make it!

Your LA to san Francisco road pilgrimage is done. In LA you deserve to visit theKodak Theatre, walk follow me the Hollywood walk of Fame, examine out the Santa Monica Pier, drive under Sunset Boulevard and stroll under Rodeo Drive. Girlfriend could inspect out the awesome see of the Hollywood sign from Griffith Observatory, visit universal Studios or walk on a stars houses tour.

Universal Studios is awesome.

They’ve got a entirety Springfield area set up whereby you have the right to drink in ~ Moe’s Tavern, eat a Krusty Burger and also go on the brand-new Simpsons simulator ride. I additionally thoroughly delighted in being turned right into a minion ~ above the Despicable Me simulator and also screaming when the bugs came to get me ~ above the Mummy return ride.

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We also got to walk on a Movie set tour and saw them filming Home and Family (yeah, never ever heard of that either) and accessibility Hollywood, we witnessed the set for Jaws and also the stages they offered for Jurassic Park 3 and Pitch Perfect 2 too.

LA is such an amazing place, with so lot to do in Los Angeles top top a budget plan – you can enjoy the human being watching once the unpreventable city traffic stops play!

Los Angeles accommodation

How around booking an apartment for her time in LA? when you’ve done the road trip San Francisco to Los Angeles, you’ll want somewhere comfortable come stay.

Bonus stop: mountain Diego

If you have actually time ~ your mountain Fran come LA road trip, I’d certainly recommend going to mountain Diego – love it there! check out the san Diego Zoo (one the the largest zoos in the world) and Coronada Island too.

Visas for the USA

If you need an ESTA visa for the USA you can order one on that link. Type your visas because that the USA before you walk to make certain you’re prepared for her trip and don’t have any type of last minute worries. Girlfriend don’t want to be worrying around getting one in the airport!

Q&A ~ above the SF come LA road expedition

What perform you require to recognize driving from san Francisco come Los Angeles?

Everything you require to understand for your California road pilgrimage route is above. Various other road expedition tips incorporate making certain you’re no travelling with annoying people, having sufficient money because that snacks and also petrol, knowing where the gas train station are, and also making certain you stick come the correct side of the road and know the neighborhood laws.

That must do it!

I’d strongly recommend booking your automobile hire in advance, so friend can obtain the best deals. Use the price checker below to get an idea of price for your journey.

How long to drive from san Francisco come Los Angeles?

The mountain Francisco to Los Angeles road trip time is approximately 6 hrs direct, but that’d be missing all these great California attractions along the way. You don’t desire that!

You deserve to do this san Francisco come Los Angeles road expedition itinerary in 3 days, come an boundless amount. There’ll be more cool clues to stop along the way that aren’t noted too.

How plenty of times have to I prevent on the san Fran come LA drive?

Your California road trip itinerary is completely up come you! There’s no gold ratio of the perfect amount of time to avoid on the SF come LA drive, it depends how long you have, how long you desire to take, and whether you have actually some place to it is in or not.

When’s the best time to drive from mountain Fran to LA?

The first time ns did the Pacific coastline Highway road expedition I did the in April, just prior to Coachella Festival. This to be a beautiful time that year, and also there to be still a fresh chill in the air.

The 2nd time i drove from mountain to LA, ns did the in July, in a Mustang soft top. Gawd it to be incredible. The was certainly warmer, but with the breeze from the fresh coastal air in my air, it was great!

I deserve to recommend feather or summer, and I’m sure loss would be a pretty sweet time too. Maybe spend winter conserving up your pennies / cents, because that a far better time the year for this California road trip.