Do you suggest driving north or south on Highway-1 if we have a 5-day vacation planned?


If you're in the mood for long stretches of beautiful scenery - water, rocky cliffs, and trees, including a small section of redwoods, north is lovely. In that length of time, you could also end up in Oregon. Small towns along the way and possibly the Oregon Caves. I personally prefer going south from SF. There's a lot more to see and do. My article is focused on going south with places I pointed out that are unique to the area. You could go from SF to Santa Cruz, stop for lunch or a ride or two at the Boardwalk (maybe you have children?) or press on to Monterey and spend a night or two in Monterey (the main town on the Monterey Peninsula), Pacific Grove (a sleepy town on the water with a lot of places to go tide pooling) or Carmel with its tiny shops, restaurants, and beaches. Don't miss Pebble Beach and the 17 Mile Drive. I'd spend a couple of days in Monterey. There's a lot to see. Their Fisherman's Wharf is a LOT better than ours here in SF. The Aquarium is the best in the world and shouldn't be missed. It's a lot better than it might sound. Driving down on Hwy 1 again will take you down the more beautiful coastline with a stop at Nepenthe - the Ambrosia Burger is a hit, especially with beautiful views down the coast while you eat ... inside or on the patio. Past that is San Simeon and Hearst Castle, which is fun and fascinating (plan ahead). You could also continue down to Pismo Beach (Pismo Rock is a huge and I mean HUGE rock on their beach), then continue to San Luis Obispo and spend the night in one of the craziest motels ever - Madonna Inn. Look it up and book ahead, if you want to have a very unique experience. It has nothing to do with Madonna. It was built by Mr. and Mrs. Madonna, a local contractor and his wife. Then you could come back to SF on Hwy 101, which is faster. Paso Robles is a great stop going back if you like wine. It's a rival to Napa and frankly, I like it a lot better. It's not as expensive and not so snooty. I hope this helps?

Updated on March 4, 2020

Original Article:

Best Highway 1 Road Trip: San Francisco to Big Sur With Photos and Map
By R Randall Schroeder

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