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Pacific Coast Highway - CA Route 1 between SF & LA [Reopened]

Pacific Coast Highway - CA Route 1 between SF & LA [Reopened]

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Old Aug 11, 18, 5:29 am   -   Wikipost
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Construction updates of the Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge and the roadway in the Mud Creek landslide area, and the estimated reopening of the Highway belong in the following thread:
CA Hwy 1 Closed Near Big Sur - Construction Updates ONLY! [Reopened 7/18/18]
Caltrans road conditions:
SR 1 - Road Information
Big Sur visitors information on businesses and services currently open:
SeeMonterey.com - Travel Updates
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Old Feb 2, 10, 9:48 am
  #1  
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Pacific Coast Highway - CA Route 1 between SF & LA [Reopened]

Hi all,

Hi everyone,

We are driving from SFO - LA in June, and being tourists and honeymooners are definitely going to drive the coastal route.

I am looking for somewhere to stay in either Carmel/Monterey/Big Sur etc.
We would like to do the 17 mile drive and will spend 2 nights in the area so ideally want somewhere where everything the area has to offer is accessible. I have been told about the Carmel valley ranch, Highland Inn (Hyatt I think?) and the Ventana Inn. Does anyone know anything about these (except that they are painfully expensive) and have any thoughts on which hotel to stay in when in the area?

Out of interest, should we be ok for good weather in June?

Thanks for all your help,
LCG
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Old Feb 2, 10, 10:39 am
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You have named three of the most elite/expensive places in the area - omitting only Post Ranch Inn. Ventana Inn and Post Ranch Inn are in Big Sur, about 45 minute drive south of Carmel. You should certainly see Big Sur, but unless you want to drive back and forth each day, you are probably better off closer to or in Carmel/Monterey. Highlands Inn is one of my favorites, though some people have claimed it is not the same high quality it was since Hyatt started converting many of the rooms to time share. I still like it, especially for the setting, the view and what many consider the best restaurant in the area - Pacific Edge. Get a room with an ocean view.

Carmel Valley Ranch Resort is inland about 15 minute drive. I've never stayed there.

The other place I suggest you look into is the Monterey Plaza Hotel. It is of very high quality on Cannery Row, and is therefore very convenient to the whole area. If you stay there, again be sure to get an ocean view (as opposed to a city view) room.

Regarding the weather, it will almost surely not rain but it can be foggy along the coast and therefore cooler than you might expect. Some days the fog burns off early and some days late - totally unpredictable more than a couple of days in advance. But it definitely will not be hot - mostly in the 60s and 70s.
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Old Feb 2, 10, 11:07 am
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thanks for you quick reply.

we will leave san fran at about 11.00am on Saturday so I assume we will arrive in Monterey around lunchtime (1pm). By the time we have lunch and check in etc most of the day will be gone, leaving us all of the Sunday and Monday morning. we need to hit the road to make it to Santa Barbara (although may stay a night in San Luis Obispa for fun as have heard about the legendary Madonna Inn).

Do you think that is enough time/not too much time to be in the area?

Thanks again for all your help.
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Old Feb 2, 10, 12:58 pm
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Look at the last page of this thread for reviews on the Highlands Inn:

http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/hyatt...er-thread.html

We stayed there in December and loved it. On the other hand, I am top tier in Hyatt, and received a wonderful upgrade. But for anyone, the view is breathtaking, particularly from the restaurant.
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Old Feb 3, 10, 12:14 am
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Originally Posted by londonclubguy View Post
thanks for you quick reply.

we will leave san fran at about 11.00am on Saturday so I assume we will arrive in Monterey around lunchtime (1pm). By the time we have lunch and check in etc most of the day will be gone, leaving us all of the Sunday and Monday morning. we need to hit the road to make it to Santa Barbara (although may stay a night in San Luis Obispa for fun as have heard about the legendary Madonna Inn).

Do you think that is enough time/not too much time to be in the area?

Thanks again for all your help.
I wouldn't make an overnight stop for Madonna Inn. Too much else of real interest and quality. You could spend a lot more time around Monterey, depending on your interests. Point Lobos, 17 mile drive, Carmel Beach and the town of Carmel.

What are your plans for Santa Barbara? That is another great choice for spending some time.
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Old Feb 3, 10, 3:04 am
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We can either stay one night in between Carmel and Santa Barbara if there is anywhere worth staying, if not we will stay 2 nights in Santa Barbara. I know nothing about Santa Barbara though and would very much welcome things to do there.

I have heard of a hotel called the Canary which is meant to be great - do you know anything about it?


Originally Posted by JerryFF View Post
I wouldn't make an overnight stop for Madonna Inn. Too much else of real interest and quality. You could spend a lot more time around Monterey, depending on your interests. Point Lobos, 17 mile drive, Carmel Beach and the town of Carmel.

What are your plans for Santa Barbara? That is another great choice for spending some time.
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Old Feb 3, 10, 11:13 am
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I, too, would skip the Madonna Inn, its okay as a lunch stop, but, that's more than enough.

In Big Sur, consider: Deetjen's Big Sur Inn
Inn and Restaurant
48865 Highway 1
Big Sur, California (CA) 93920
Telephone: 831-667-2377 ~ Fax: 831-667-0466
Website: www.deetjens.com

And, try to visit the famous Henry Miller Library.

Best thing to do in Big Sur is take a walk.

Are you planning to stop at Hearst Castle? If so, reserve now for the mandatory tour via California State Parks website.
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Old Feb 3, 10, 1:24 pm
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Originally Posted by londonclubguy View Post
thanks for you quick reply.

we will leave san fran at about 11.00am on Saturday so I assume we will arrive in Monterey around lunchtime (1pm). By the time we have lunch and check in etc most of the day will be gone, leaving us all of the Sunday and Monday morning. we need to hit the road to make it to Santa Barbara (although may stay a night in San Luis Obispa for fun as have heard about the legendary Madonna Inn).
While you *can* likely make it from SFO straight to Monterey in two hours...

I wouldn't. Instead, I would make a leisurely day touring some of the sights between the two places. I'd either take Highway 92 West over to the coast and pickup Highway 1 South, hitting Ano Nuevo State Reserve (book a walk to the largest elephant seal colony in North America) and/or Big Basin Redwoods State Park.....or I'd swing down Highway 17 towards Santa Cruz (a great seaside community with a traditional boardwalk) making a detour to hit the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. I'd plan on *dinner* in Monterey.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ ++++

As for the Madona Inn, if your tastes run to pop-culture kitsch, it might be O.K.....but it's more of a novelty than a decent hotel. Frankly, I'd stay either at one of the boutique hotels in Cambria or Morro Bay.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ +++++

Santa Barbara's a great tourist town, if a little pricey. Great beaches, a walkable downtown full of boutiques, good restaurants, and small nightspots. Historic mission and presidio. You might consider a whale watching, day fishing, or sailing charter out of the harbor. There are all sorts of interesting wineries scattered across the north county. Go visit the local orchid farms. Or just kick back on the beach.
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Old Feb 4, 10, 2:31 pm
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If you take highway 101 from Monterey to Santa Barbara, it is probably about 4 hours - no need to stop overnight on the way. If you do go this way, I recommend a "short cut" - at exit 146 south of Santa Maria and just north of Buellton, take highway 154 to Santa Barbara. It goes through the town of Los Olivos, the center of the Santa Ynez wine country, past Lake Cachuma and some great scenery. Even though it is not a freeway, it is much shorter than 101 and takes the same amount of time. Or you could take the next exit at Buellton (exit 140A - highway 246) and go east on 246 to the Danish town of Solvang (definitely worth a lunch stop) and pick up highway 154 just east of Santa Ynez.

On the other hand, if you take the coast road (highway 1) south from Monterey, it will take at least 2 hours longer and you may want to stop overnight in Cambria or Morro Bay. Be advised that for a good stretch of highway 1, it runs along the side of the cliffs (beautiful scenery) but the road is quite winding and you are driving on the ocean side of the highway. Some people are not comfortable with this drive, although it really is quite safe.
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Old Feb 5, 10, 4:15 am
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Originally Posted by JerryFF View Post
If you take highway 101 from Monterey to Santa Barbara, it is probably about 4 hours - no need to stop overnight on the way. If you do go this way, I recommend a "short cut" - at exit 146 south of Santa Maria and just north of Buellton, take highway 154 to Santa Barbara. It goes through the town of Los Olivos, the center of the Santa Ynez wine country, past Lake Cachuma and some great scenery. Even though it is not a freeway, it is much shorter than 101 and takes the same amount of time. Or you could take the next exit at Buellton (exit 140A - highway 246) and go east on 246 to the Danish town of Solvang (definitely worth a lunch stop) and pick up highway 154 just east of Santa Ynez.
Second both of these recommendations. Take the quick detour through Solvang if you have time for a stop or just 154 over the pass if you're in a hurry. Either way is much more scenic and interesting than 101 along the coast (which is really a good half-mile from the coast most of the way and therefore not really all that scenic).

You could also get some bread/cheese/pastries in Solvang and then enjoy dinner at the Cold Spring Tavern under the well-known Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge (you'll likely recognize it from several movie scenes).
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Old Feb 5, 10, 11:40 am
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Originally Posted by jackal View Post
and then enjoy dinner at the Cold Spring Tavern under the well-known Cold Spring Canyon Arch Bridge (you'll likely recognize it from several movie scenes).
This is really a neat restaurant with lots of history. It can be hard to find - look for the sign for Stagecoach Road on the right just east of the Arch Bridge.
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Old Feb 5, 10, 5:15 pm
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Sorry for my slow response guys I have been travelling for a couple of days.
Thanks for all the suggestions I really do appreciate it and am going to spend some time over the weekend route-planning.
It really is great to be have people to discuss this trip with who have first hand experience so thank you all again.
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Old Feb 6, 10, 5:51 pm
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Last time we were in Big Sur, we stayed at the Esalen Institute. You can't book very far in advance, but if they have space, they allow people to book "personal retreats." I don't know if it's ideal for a honeymoon, but it is incredibly peaceful and beautiful and you get your own room. The food is actually very good (they grow a lot of it on site) and they have these incredible hot springs that are otherwise only open to the public between 1am and 3am or something like that. We had actually wanted to eat at Post Ranch Inn (I'm suddenly blanking on the name of the restaurant) but we weren't sure how accessible Esalen would be or if it would be rude to use it just as lodging, but as long as you check in early enough to get your keys, I think it is easy to come and go.
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Old Feb 6, 10, 6:10 pm
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Originally Posted by JerryFF View Post
I recommend a "short cut" - at exit 146 south of Santa Maria and just north of Buellton, take highway 154 to Santa Barbara. It goes through the town of Los Olivos, the center of the Santa Ynez wine country, past Lake Cachuma and some great scenery. Even though it is not a freeway, it is much shorter than 101 and takes the same amount of time.
While it's a lovely drive...it certainly does *NOT* take the same amount of time.... While 101 is 45 miles vs. 154's 34 miles, the former is a two+ lane limited access highway the full length....while the latter is mostly one lane in each direction and rather winding for much of its length. One can easily average 55 MPH on 101 (with some 65 MPH stretches) ....while 154's *maximum* speed is 55...and much of it is speed limited to 40 MPH or less, with cross traffic, blind curves and traffic signals along the route.....and traffic along the route can slow everything. 101 is roughly 40-45 minutes, I'd expect 154 to take an hour....the only reason to chose it is if one wants to go winery hopping, visit Los Olivos, Santa Yenz, and /or Solvang, or stop at Lake Cachuma.
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Old Feb 6, 10, 6:59 pm
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I like Monterrey Bay Inn on Cannery Row. There's a hot tub on the roof. You can take your wine up there and sit and watch the sunset. The bedrooms are all kings (I think). Across the street is a place where you can rent bikes and kayaks. Biking down to Asilomar (spelling?) is cool. It also has a spa. I'd take 1 down from SF. It's a lovely drive.
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