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San Francisco to Los Angeles

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Chat' started by makuk, May 27, 2016.

  1. makuk

    makuk Low-Roller

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    Hi

    In August I have a long 2 week trip by car from:

    Las Vegas to Lake Tahoe to Reno to San Franciso to Los Angeles to Laughlin and then back to Las Vegas.

    The drive from San Franciso to Los Angeles is about 6 hours (400 miles) and I want to stop somewhere half way for the night, does anyone know of a location along that route of the I5 worth staying the evening with something to see / do whilst there.

    Thank you
     
  2. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    There's not a lot to see on I-5. There are the outlet malls near Gilroy. :) My husband just did the trek down I-5 and stayed in Santa Nella at the Best Western Anderson Inn so he could have some Anderson's split pea soup at the restaurant for dinner.

    There's also the Harris Ranch a little further south if you love the smell of cow manure in the morning. ;)
     
  3. makikiboy

    makikiboy VIP Whale

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    If you have an extra day you could also drive down the Pacific Coast Highway to go from San Francisco to LA. Great views and you can stop off at San Luis Obispo for the night or visit Hearst castle on the way. I also passed through Solvang which is like visiting a dutch town, complete with windmills and Danish buildings.

    [​IMG]

    The drive isn't as fast as driving on the 101 or I-5 but it offers an enjoyable drive with great views of Big Sur.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2016
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  4. Bommen

    Bommen High-Roller

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    As others have mentioned driving the 1 is the only way to go if you never been. Go past Big Sur and then do an overnighter in Cambria or somewhere close.

    I would also skip Laughlin and put that extra time into maybe Carmel or Monterey while driving down the PCH.
     
  5. makuk

    makuk Low-Roller

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    Awesome thanks for the ideas, I will get Googling on those options and see what I can come up with, I feel I can't miss out on Laughlin as Harrah's have comped me the Presidential Suite for 3 days, and it would be rude not to take advantage of that :)
     
  6. Breeze147

    Breeze147 Button Man

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    Yeah and don't forget that Gilroy is the garlic capital of the world, a fact you will be reminded of on several billboards.
     
  7. lionelhutz

    lionelhutz Low-Roller

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    I'll agree with those saying take a little extra time and drive down Highway 1 instead.
    we did the drive last August and it was an absolutely INCREDIBLE experience.

    and if you're looking for somewhere to stay, I would highly recommend San Luis Obispo. Its a bit of a drive from S.F. and significantly closer to L.A, but it's such a beautiful town with great restaurants and a real nice main strip with unique stores and such.
    also, apparently it was named the 'Happiest Place on Earth' a little while ago, which doesn't seem that far off- its amazing.
     
  8. rvallez6

    rvallez6 Low-Roller

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    I agree... the drive up 5 will be incredibly boring and there is nowhere really worth staying. By the time you are somewhere worth staying, you might as well keep on going to SF.
     
  9. Bommen

    Bommen High-Roller

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    Sounds nice and all but to be honest i much rather pay for a basic room in a nice location then being stuck in Laughlin for 3 days.
     
  10. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Been up and down this state soooooooo many times. The 5 is not your friend. Hell, half the time it's not even that expeditious. Whether taking the 101 or some combo of the 101/1, do yourself a favor and do it.

    Before hitting the 1 -- Carmel to Morro Bay -- make sure there hasn't been some closure. Big Sur is one of the states' -- not just this state's -- iconic drives. While I prefer it south to north, you don't have that option and I'm really just splitting hairs. Hold your hunger and when you get to Morro find Taco Temple. Also stop in Cayucos at the Brown Butter Cookie Company. I would recommend a Hearst Castle tour; actually if you are stopping, you might as well do two of them. I don't often recommend things where they show up in droves, but this is one of them. It's just north of Cambria. As noted, Cambria would be a great place to bunk. Morro has some options. Or just inland, San Luis Obispo (where you'll be reconnecting to the 101 anyway.) SLO is a fun, funky, historic and college town that's just big enough to have all the cool stuff and not so big that it has all the commercial crap. Finally, delay that stop for the night just a few minutes more and stay in Pismo Beach by the water. Do NOT get pulled in by the Madonna Inn other than to pee in the cave. Kitsch + crap.

    OK, let's say you opt for the 101 all the way, also not a bad option, just different (and quicker, which leaves time for other things/stops). Between Salinas and King City, off to the west side of the road in the Santa Lucia Mountains foothills, is the Santa Lucia Highlands American Viticultural Area. Now I'm not suggesting getting loaded, but it is something to consider. Once you get southerly of King City it transitions from Steinbeck Country big agriculture to central coast oaks and grapes. There are a couple missions along the way if interested. I'd stick with SLO or Pismo for the night going this route. Paso Robles is another option.

    The next day you'll cruise through northern Santa Barbara County wine country, and then enjoy a 30 mile run of the prettiest ocean stretch in southern California between Gaviota and Santa Barbara. Do stop in Santa Barbara. After Ventura -- fun beach town -- and particularly Thousand Oaks, it's true So Cal, so grab the wheel tight!

    Solvang is pure kitschy and they have great chocolate and cookies, but you're not experiencing local if all you are doing is eating Danish pastries. Thankfully there are plenty of tasting rooms in town, a good brew pub and some great restaurants. I'd not trade experiencing some other parts of quintessential Central Cal Coast country for Solvang is all I'm saying. But remember, I'm weird, I far prefer Kauai to Oahu, and if going to Florida I'll take the Keys over Disney.

    Now near Solvang you have other options. Buellton, which is on the 101, is sadly known for that Anderson's split pea soup monstrosity but it also has the bar/steakery made famous in Sideways, "Hitching Post II." It is worth a dinner stop if the timing is such -- and it won't be unless you push through that first day and bunk somewhere around here -- to experience California's endemic "barbecue" variant -- oak grilling. (There's another Hitching Post tucked away in the hills to which some of our friends attest more loyalty.) Now if you are through earlier in the day, and the timing sounds better, FIND Industrial Eats just west of the 101 for lunch. Trust me trust me trust me on this one. Community tables, farm to table, eclectic. Trust me trust me trust me on this one. There also are two brew pubs in town and an up and coming distillery. Just inland from Buellton/Solvang are two historic ranch/horse towns become uberfave of the LA crowd -- Los Olivos and Santa Ynez. FOOD heaven. (Actually, just northerly, off the 101, Los Alamos ... Bell Street Farms for lunch or arrive at opening, 4:30 or 5p, for dinner at Full of Life Flatbread if pushing through that first day.) If any of this stuff for later in the day sounds bueno then continue that hour southerly of SLO/Pismo and bunk in Solvang -- yes, I did say don't go there, but now you are.

    When you get to Santa Maria on the 101 -- 25 miles south of Pismo, so 30 miles north of Buellton -- you're now at the start of Santa Barbara County wine country. Most everything is grown, and done well, since the region goes from coastal cool to inland hot, but Pinot, Chardonnay and Rhone varietals are the stars. (Through Paso Robles, the wines are notable, too, and given the weather and topo, Zin and Bordeaux varietals predominate.) There are various AVAs and sub-AVAs scattered about from Santa Maria, inland to Los Olivos and back across through Solvang, Buellton and then westerly toward the coast to where we are in the Santa Rita Hills AVA and Lompoc -- which is Pinot/Chardonnay HEAVEN. Again, you are driving, and I won't belabor the particularities. But if you have time or inclination to sample CA wines not overwrought by Napa-dom, you're passing though a long stretch of it.

    Wow, I've not said anything about golf en route.

    Please PM if you have any specific questions about our little part of the world.
     
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  11. makuk

    makuk Low-Roller

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    Wow Ken2V I am going to have to read that a few more times to take it all in, thank you for such an extensive reply :) I am sure I will have some more questions :)
     
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  12. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    I love Highway 1 and try to make the drive as often as I can. The Santa Cruz/Monterey area used to be my stomping grounds. It's a long day's drive though. The road is winding and narrow and typically goes slow. If you don't have time for it, do consider the 101. And get yourself a sugar high with a plate of ebelskivers in Solvang.
     
  13. Johnzimbo

    Johnzimbo Low-Roller

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    Gotta agree on Highway 1, staying in Cambria and taking a tour at Hearst Castle.
     
  14. Aces and Eights

    Aces and Eights VIP Whale

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    For a place to stay in San Luis Obispo, Madonna Inn or Apple Farm.
     
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  15. lionelhutz

    lionelhutz Low-Roller

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    we stayed at Apple Farm and absolutely loved it.
    the restaurant there was great for breakfast as well.

    good call.
     
  16. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    My pleasure. Ask away. Nice part of the world here!
     
  17. bobby jones

    bobby jones Low-Roller

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    Just booked our November flights for a bit of a whirlwind - one week BUF-LAX SFO-LAS-BUF!

    Flying direct BUF-LAX on Jet Blue evening flight. I have little interest in LA so going to spend night at LAX airport hotel and hit the road in the AM up the pacific coast. Booked a night in Cambria to split up the trip. One night to be booked in Monterey/San Fran (leaning towards Monterey) then a day hitting San Francisco before spending the night in Sonoma or Napa. One full day in wine country. Should we take the wine train,a tour or drive around ourselves??? Since there are no direct flights from SFO to BUF, we are forced to taking a late evening flight out of SFO to LAS and then 3 nights at CP before an early AM flight back to BUF (only 2 full days in LV) :)

    Got my Tender myvegas reward for dinner one night and have two diamond dinners to use up. Was thinking of Bacchanal for breakfast/brunch one day and one dinner the next. If using Tender, don't really want another steak house. We have been to Mesa and Raos before. They were fine but, always looking for something different. I could also give up Tender and go with another reward such as Portofino and then do Ramsay or Old Homestead as our steakhouse night. No one ever mentions Old Homestead on their top steakhouse lists in Vegas. why? - I would suspect it to be decent enough, no?

    Thoughts appreciated

    Unfortunately, the clubs are staying home - had thoughts about PB or Cascata. Perhaps, next time:(
     
  18. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Stay at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn in Boyes Hot Springs (Sonoma, effectively). Call a few days in advance and have the wine concierge set you up with some visits not typically available to the tour-bus crowd. If not a spitter, have her hook you up with a driver, too.
     
  19. Imperial_Palace_King

    Imperial_Palace_King High-Roller

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    Travelzoo sometimes has a deal for the fairmont. I was booked to stay there last year but work intervened.
     
  20. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Oh, and I know you said no sticks ... but Fairmont gains access to Sonoma Golf Club, a great old school layout.

    And the resort has one of my fave spas anywhere.

    Stop at Vella in town and have some cheese shipped home, too.