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Trying to knock California off your bucket listing? Have you ever all the time dreamed of driving a convertible alongside California’s Pacific Coast Freeway (PCH) and don’t know the place to begin?

Look no additional.

California has one among America’s finest highway journeys. Learn on to be taught concerning the 9 “must-see” stops on the drive from San Francisco to San Diego together with what every vacation spot has to supply.

Editor’s Be aware: We up to date this text in October, 2022 to maintain it recent.

San Francisco bridge

CONTENTS: On this article, you’ll be taught the most effective locations to cease on a scenic drive from San Francisco to San Diego, together with the most effective issues to do and see.

The right way to Plan a California Street Journey

The Pacific Coast Freeway houses a few of California’s most luxurious gems.

When you’re planning a coast to coast road trip or simply visiting the state immediately, you’ll wish to drive the California coast.

Driving Freeway 1–also called the Pacific Coast Freeway or PCH–lets you cross a number of locations off your bucket listing, together with a few of California’s greatest cities like San Francisco and San Diego.

Between peaceable nature, pleasant meals, and hip nightlife, there’s something for everybody to like.

The most effective half about driving is that you simply’re in a position to resolve how little or how a lot time you wish to spend at every cease. You’re the motive force!

To get essentially the most out of the journey, you’ll wish to head south if you drive from San Francisco to San Diego

Heading south ensures you’ll cruise proper beside the coast which implies you’ll get the most effective views of the glowing Pacific Ocean and steep cliffs.

Associated: Ensure you know the pros and cons of car travel earlier than you start.

Cease 1: San Francisco

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Beginning in San Francisco is extraordinarily handy as a result of you’ll be able to fly into the San Francisco Worldwide Airport and get a one-way automotive rental.

San Francisco has an abundance of sights to see so staying two or three nights can be possible if you wish to match every part in earlier than hitting the highway.

Listed below are some San Francisco highlights you’ll wish to see:

  • Golden Gate Bridge
  • Alcatraz Island
  • Angel Island
  • Pier 39
  • Fisherman’s Wharf
  • Ferry Constructing Market

One technique to maximize your time is to charter or rent a boat in San Fransisco whilst you’re there.

You could possibly sail San Fransisco Bay, cruise the islands, and even simply putter round in a dinghy.

Not solely is that this an environment friendly technique to expertise San Fransisco sights, however so memorable!

Or, if you wish to path inland from the freeway, Yosemite Nationwide Park is a three-and-a-half-hour drive from San Francisco.

Yosemite has a plethora of waterfalls, animals, and mountaineering that nature lovers will get pleasure from. It’s definitely worth the detour when you’ve got the time to spare.

Cease 2: Half Moon Bay

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After wrapping up the primary few days in San Francisco, it’s time to go forty minutes south to Half Moon Bay.

Although quaint, this city may be very full of life and is an ideal vacation spot to probe for a couple of hours if you drive from San Francisco to San Diego.

When you want to splurge and keep in luxurious, Ritz Carlton has a resort and golf-course overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

Try these Half Moon Bay Highlights:

  • Pigeon Level Lighthouse
  • Golf
  • Año Nuevo State Reserve
  • California Coastal Path

Cease 3: Santa Cruz

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Subsequent cease on the freeway, about an hour from Half Moon Bay, is Santa Cruz.

Santa Cruz has a lot to supply.

Apart from the gorgeous seashores, the city is stuffed with classic shops, cafes, and galleries.

That is one among my favourite stops on a drive from San Francisco to San Diego!

Santa Cruz highlights embrace:

  • Pure Bridges State Park
  • Santa Cruz Seaside Boardwalk
  • Santa Cruz Seaside
  • Santa Cruz Wharf
  • Middle Road Antiques

Cease 4: Large Sur

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You possibly can’t drive the Pacific Coast Freeway with out dedicating time to cease at Large Sur.

Large Sur is about an hour and thirty minutes south of Santa Cruz.

It’s dwelling to probably the most iconic bridges photographed in California: Bigsby Canyon Bridge.

After driving throughout the bridge, you’ll be able to cease within the park for hikes by means of towering redwood bushes or look to the coast for majestic coves.

You may even think about a couple of luxurious days of glamping in Big Sur when you’ve got the time in your drive from San Francisco to San Diego.

Remember to go to some these Large Sur highlights:

  • Bigsby Canyon Bridge
  • Pfeiffer Large Sur State Park

Large Sur has numerous Instagram worthy images spots. Try a few of the Top 10 Adventure Photographers to your Instagram photograph inspiration. 

Cease 5: Hearst Citadel (San Simeon)

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Ever seen the best film of all time?

No matter whether or not you’ve got, or haven’t, you’ll be able to journey an hour and forty minutes south of Large Sur to see Citizen Kane’s Xanadu inspiration, the Hearst Citadel.

With 46 rooms, artifacts, two swimming swimming pools that maintain a complete of 550,000 gallons of water, a non-public zoo, and a non-public runway, there’s loads of historical past and splendor to seize your consideration. 

Cease 6: Malibu

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After exploring the Hearst Citadel, you’ll end up again on Freeway 1 touring three and a half hours south to Malibu.

Apart from being referred to as dwelling to Hollywood film stars, Malibu affords unimaginable seashores and views.

Don’t fret both, you don’t should be a Hollywood film star to have the ability to keep and benefit from the luxuries Malibu has to supply.

A number of Malibu highlights you may get pleasure from are:

  • Malibu Movie star Properties Tour
  • Wine Hikes
  • Enjoyable on the seashores

Cease 7: Santa Monica

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When you’ve indulged and splurged in Malibu, it’s time to go to Santa Monica.

It’s simply an hour and thirty minutes from Malibu.

Santa Monica houses a few of the iconic locations alongside the California coast.

Don’t miss these Santa Monica highlights:

  • Santa Monica Pier
  • Venice Seaside Boardwalk
  • Venice Canals

If you wish to path inland from the freeway once more, the bustling City of Los Angeles is just forty-five minutes away from Santa Monica.

In Los Angeles, you’ll be able to spend time buying, visiting celeb Beverly Hills houses, or mountaineering as much as the Hollywood signal to see magnificent views of Los Angeles

Stopping to remain for a day or two would will let you sightsee in each Santa Monica and Los Angeles.

Cease 8: Laguna Seaside

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Able to get out of the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles and Santa Monica?

Then head an hour and ten minutes south to Laguna Seaside.

That’s the place you’ll end up enjoyable on a few of California’s most interesting seashores.

Listed below are some highlights you’ll love at Laguna Seaside:

  • Principal Seaside
  • Crystal Cove Park
  • Laguna Artwork Museum

Cease 9: San Diego

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After Laguna Seaside, you’ll be heading to your final cease in your drive from San Francisco to San Diego.

San Diego is an hour and quarter-hour from Laguna Seaside and has many actions so that you can get pleasure from.

It’s is the right place to spend the final days of your journey exploring extra lovely seashores, taking La Jolla kayaking tours, studying about United States historical past, and reflecting on the fantastic journey you’ve had.

Go to these San Diego highlights whilst you’re there:

  • Seal Watching at La Jolla Cove
  • San Diego Zoo
  • USS Halfway Visits
  • Coronado Seaside

San Diego can also be the right final cease since you’re in a position to flip in your one-way automotive rental and fly dwelling out of the San Diego Worldwide Airport.

Last Ideas on the Drive from San Francisco to San Diego

California is looking your title, so what are you ready for?

You’re certain to have a good time on this San Francisco to San Diogo drive.

With so many locations and actions alongside Freeway 1, chances are you’ll not even know the place to begin with packing.

You possibly can try the Top 15 Best Fashion Blogs on Instagram for the most effective outfit inspiration so you feel and look your finest on one among America’s finest highway journeys.

And for those who’re new to road-tripping altogether, we’ve put collectively this beginners guide to road trips for you.

Tell us your ideas on this California highway journey within the feedback under!

Don’t neglect to save lots of this text for in a while Pinterest!


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