We love a great road trip. Also if it’s simply a quick weekend pilgrimage (or job trip) under the coast of California! In this post, we desire to show you why the worth acquisition the much longer route to obtain from san Fransisco come Monterey, CA and also beyond. Indigenous lighthouses to tide pools, world-renowned aquariums come nostalgic roller coasters, i guarantee you will love what Highway 1 top top the northern California coastline has come offer!Though it’s very possible to do the drive from mountain Francisco to Monterey in 2 hours, you’d be absent out on every the fun along the way. Together you’ll establish after reading this post, over there is so much to check out along the way.Before zipping off directly to Monterey, CA, we recommend taking your time and stopping in ~ a couple of of the towns, state parks, and also roadside stops provided below!This article may save affiliate links. You i will not ~ be payment a cent more, yet in the event of a sale, the small affiliate board of directors I obtain will help keep this blog running/pumping out useful and totally free content. Thanks a lot!
HOW far IS MONTEREY FROM san FRANCISCO?HOW plenty of DAYS because that A san FRANCISCO come MONTEREY roadway TRIP?HOW TO obtain TO MONTEREY, CABEST TIME TO take A ROAD pilgrimage TO MONTEREY, CAMONTEREY ROAD expedition PREPARATION: RENTAL CARSMAP of STOPS: HIGHWAY 1 FROM mountain FRANCISCO come MONTEREY, CASAN FRANCISCO come MONTEREY VIA HIGHWAY 1: 23 best STOPSWHERE TO continue to be IN MONTEREY, CASF come MONTEREY roadway TRIP: essential PACKING LIST

HOW far IS MONTEREY FROM mountain FRANCISCO?

The journey from san Francisco, CA to Monterey, CA is about 120 miles. Without traffic, travelers can easily complete the drive point-to-point in just under 2 hrs by taking the US-101 S. When this path may acquire you there the fastest, the course we recommend because that this road pilgrimage is Highway 1.Taking the 1 opens you as much as a human being of coastal bluffs, towns, beaches, and also roadside attractions not uncovered anywhere else. It does take it a bit longer, however with every the amazing stops come entertain you yourself with, who’s maintaining an eye ~ above the time?With no traffic, the takes less than 3 hours to acquire from the large city come the seaside town town that Monterey via Highway 1, for this reason you’ll have plenty that time to make a grasp of stop in a short duration of time.

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HOW numerous DAYS because that A san FRANCISCO come MONTEREY roadway TRIP?

You can definitely do this road pilgrimage as a job trip, however with minimal time, girlfriend won’t be able to hit all the stops detailed here. At best, you’ll have actually time to visit 5-7 stops before making it to Monterey in the so late afternoon.But some of the communities you’ll encounter like Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Carmel, CA deserve way more than a fraction of a day! To get the many out of the stop from mountain Francisco to Monterey, and have enough time to perform all the things in Monterey, ns recommend security a night or 2 down there.Ideally, you’d have actually 2-3 full days to embark ~ above this coastal adventure! the should give you sufficient time to explore roadside attractions, visit farms, and hike in the daytime, then relax in a larger city in the evening before continuing ~ above your roadway trip.

HOW TO acquire TO MONTEREY, CA

The best way to get to Monterey is by driving. Either lug your very own car, or rental one!There space two paths to Monterey through car: Highway 1, which runs from san Francisco come Los Angeles follow me the Pacific coastline, and US route 101, i m sorry runs v the well-off valley.Here room some straightforward driving times from noteworthy California cities:San Jose – around 1 hourOakland – about 1.5 hoursSan Francisco – roughly 2 hoursSacramento – about 3 hoursLos Angeles – roughly 5.5 hoursOf course, we’ll be focusing on the Highway 1 course here!If you’re flying into the bay Area, the SJC international airport in san Jose, CA will land you closest to Monterey, CA. There is likewise Monterey regional Airport (MRY), located simply 10 minute door-to-door indigenous downtown Monterey, but expect this flights come be very expensive (since this is just a local airport).If she flying into SFO, you will do it be a bit additional away, but perfectly positioned for the road expedition route noted in this post!

BEST TIME TO take A ROAD expedition TO MONTEREY, CA

The best time to take a road pilgrimage from mountain Francisco only Area come Monterey is either in the springtime, so late summer, or early on fall. This will be your ideal bet for sunshine and clear skies.Why? since California coastal weather is weird. One minute, you could experience fog, wind, and mist, and also the following minute–sunny blue skies! Oddly, summer weather tends to be generally overcast, v a few extremely sunny days here and also there. If she lucky, you’ll obtain some sun!Regardless of as soon as you go, the coast can constantly get breezy, misty, or foggy, for this reason be certain to lug a irradiate jacket.In terms of Monterey ar itself, because of its Mediterranean-like weather, this is a year-round destination. Because of its steady weather conditions, there’s constantly a range of activities you deserve to do when you visit, no issue the time that year.Spring is beautiful top top the Monterey Peninsula, with wildflowers blooming everywhere and also moderate weather.Summer brings cooler, foggier, and also windier weather (compared come the spring and fall seasons). If you arrangement on travel throughout the summer months, do note that marine overcast is most prevalent during June to July. These would be the month to protect against if you want to ensure blue skies and also sunny days. The overcast usually burns off by mid-day.Fall brings heat temperatures and sunny skies throughout the Indian summer.Winter does carry slightly colder weather and occasional rain, however winter sunrises and sunsets are particularly beautiful here. Because that optimal whale watching, November is the ideal time come visit.If I had to pick the best time to visit, I’d recommend late September to at an early stage October
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Plan because that a visit to the ferry building (houses a bunch of artisan shops and restaurants, and also an great farmer’s industry on Saturday mornings), a trip to Alcatraz or a sunset only cruise, and also a visit to Golden door Park and Sutro Baths.No issue what you decide to do here, you’re sure to have actually a wonderful time. Simply be sure to lug layers and prepare for part unpredictable wind and also fog!Read More: 55+ free and Affordable things To perform In mountain Francisco, California

FITZGERALD marine RESERVE, CA

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Once you room all souped up on caffeine, head to Arcangeli Grocery (aka Norm’s Market). Execute not miss out on your chance to pick up their locally famed homemade artichoke garlic bread. As a issue of fact, choose up a loaf because that someone friend love, too!
In Pescadero throughout the afternoon or evening? monitor it up with a enjoy the meal at Duarte’s Tavern. The rural town of Pescadero is small, but a fun stop nonetheless on any seaside California road trip.

HARLEY ranches GOAT dairy products (PESCADERO)

If friend or your youngsters have a love for farm animals, don’t miss the possibility to play v goats in ~ Harley farms Goat Dairy, conveniently located in Pescadero! and also if you happen to it is in visiting throughout the early on spring (March-April), don’t miss out on the teensy weensy baby goats! They’re also cute come miss!Foodies should also pay a visit come the Harley ranches to purchase award-winning cheese and also locally produced jams or come attend one of the unique Farm Dinners, which space candlelit meals hosted in the revitalized Victorian barn. Harley Farms likewise offers farm yard tours and also picnics!

PIDGEON suggest LIGHTHOUSE (PESCADERO)


Welcome to California’s many photographed lighthouse! constructed in 1871 to guide ships top top the Pacific coastline of California, the Pigeon suggest Lighthouse continues to be the tallest lighthouse top top the west coast.After breathing in the fresh air and also snapping a couple of pictures, take it a stroll about the grounds the the lighthouse, climate onto the nearby trails. You’ll get to reap sweeping coastal views on all sides! Views choose this are the reason why the Highway 1 journey is for this reason iconic!

PIE RANCH (PESCADERO)

If you love pie, store an eye out, since this one is basic to miss. Below you’ll find sustainable and also locally get an impression produce, preserves, coffee, flour, local goods, and (wait because that it…) homemade pies and pastries!The pie menu alters frequently, relying on what’s gift grown and picked at the time, so you recognize you’re getting the freshest pies possible. They’re open from 10am-5pm, but try to acquire there as early as feasible because they have the right to run the end early!The parking lot for Pie Ranch comes up quickly, therefore be certain to sluggish down and veer into the lot as soon as you obtain your chance! this is the address to help you out: 2080 CA-1, Pescadero, CA 94060

BIG basin REDWOODS STATE PARK

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While the soot of the drops varies depending on the time of year (the ideal season is spring), the entire park is drop-dead gorgeous and worth a visit every year round.FIRE CLOSURE: together of march 2021 there room closures in this park or area because of wildfire. For the latest information, you re welcome visit your website here.

ANO NUEVO STATE PARK, CA

Año Nuevo State Park is a nature reserve special wetland marshes, dune fields, coastal scrub, and beaches. There is one main attract that renders this state park stand out. Every winter, from December v April, a must-see-for-yourself event occurs here–thousands of massive elephant seals arrive on the shores because that their reproduction season.In fact, Año Nuevo State Park is the world’s largest mainland reproduction colony for the northern elephant seal. As plenty of as 10,000 seals will pay a visit come the dunes and beaches that Año Nuevo State Park come breed and also give birth to their pups. If she lucky, you can even capture a mother seal offering birth.The sheer variety of seals is definitely impressive, but so is your size. Bull elephant seals can be up to 16 feet vast and sweet an median of three lots each!Año Nuevo State reserve is only open for guided tourism from December through April, and also reservations room required. For the remainder of the year, travellers are complimentary to take self-guided walking tours, but will still must obtain free permits. Inspect the Año Nuevo State Park website for more info.

SWANTON BERRY farm (DAVENPORT)


A visit to Swanton Berry farm yard will provide you the classic u-pick experience in the summertime! families have been visiting this concealed gem for years to choose strawberries and grab freshly made pies, jams, and also other delicious treats.As soon as you step out the the car, you’ll be greeted through the sweet, sweet aroma of fresh strawberries in the air! You have the right to either pick your own berries or browser the store for currently picked berries and also other goods.
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If you desire to choose your own berries, just pick up a crate from within the market, head the end to pick to your heart’s content, then pay inside. Within the market, you’ll discover goods prefer olallieberry pie, strawberry shortcake, berry jams, freshly squeezed strawberry lemonade, and even t-shirts for sale.If she planning on skipping on the desserts, don’t! trust me once I call you, your strawberry shortcake is for sure delightful. Please perform yourself a favor and get a slice of pie or shortcake per person–it’ll be so great that friend won’t desire to share!
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Once you’re prepared to pay, head come the counter and also weigh her berries. They have actually a self-checkout system, however usually, someone is approximately to help if you require it.Swanton Berry farm yard really is a strawberry lover’s dream come true! We had actually such a blast picking strawberries top top our many recent expedition from SF to Santa Cruz!

DAVENPORT, CA

Davenport, CA is a tiny town and also a fun, rapid stop situated along Highway 1. Davenport supplied to it is in a bustling whaling village, created in 1867 by a whaling captain named John Pope Davenport.One the the main attractions that Davenport is the famous Shark Fin Cove, one of the coolest-looking beaches in all of California. The views room stunning and the rock formation really walk look similar to a shark fin!
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Another entirely Instagram-worthy point out is Davenport Pier, a frequently photographed landmark. At times, you’ll discover a random swing anchored to among the pier structure arches i m sorry stretch out into the surf. The pier deck has been gone because that years, but that provides this spot even more photogenic.Davenport Pier is located at the beach listed below the bluff, but it is not basic to obtain to. You’ll need sturdy shoes and also should only attempt if a rope to guide you down the bluff is present (or, bring your very own ropes). Photos can likewise be taken indigenous the bluff which is lot safer.All in all, this is a good spot because that snapping a few photos, grabbing lunch (try American Abalone Farms because that oysters, abalone, sea urchin, and crab!), or taking a quick coastal stroll.

SANTA CRUZ, CA


Congrats, friend made it to Santa Cruz, floor of the surf and also laidback vibes!From gnarly waves to beachside boardwalks come redwood forests, Santa Cruz, CA is the iconic coastal town that you’re probably picturing once someone utters the word “California”. Yes literally so lot to do in Santa Cruz, so lot that we specialized an entire post to the best things to do in Santa Cruz, CA!To gain you started, visit The Santa Cruz Surfing Museum to find out all around the city’s far-ranging surf history with artifacts, photographs, and plenty the old-school boards. Due to its numerous expansive beaches and some that the world’s finest off-shore breaks, Santa Cruz is really well known for that is laidback surf culture.Not interested in the surf? don’t worry, there’s for this reason much much more to this city than meets the eye! from there, head come Pleasure Point to reap some of the best breakfast burios in maybe every one of California at Point sector (an unsuspecting convenience store that just so wake up to offer some large and yummy breakfast burritos).
Grab some refreshing tiki drink at Hula’s Island Grill, climate stroll around downtown Santa Cruz, being certain to enjoy all the restaurants, coffee shops, surf shops, and vintage shops in the area.We constantly enjoy taking a peek inside vintage/consignment stores favor Moon Zooom and Crossroads trade Co. before grabbing a midday pick-me-up in ~ Verve Coffee Roasters nearby.
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Round the end your late afternoon by heading to Santa Cruz coast Boardwalk. Constructed in 1907 together the “Coney Island of the West,” the Santa Cruz coast Boardwalk oozes nostalgic California vibes. Ride part coasters, stroll approximately (walking roughly is admission-free), and eat some funnel cake!
For dinner, us highly introduce Jack’s Hamburgers or Lillian’s Italian Kitchen! (If you had actually to pick simply one, I’d indicate picking Lillian’s.)Santa Cruz is a good place come relax and grab dinner. The sunsets right here are excellent, making the the ideal location to contact it a night. The following morning, begin your job off v a jog by the coast or at a i know good breakfast joint!Where come Stay:Sea & Sand Inn – situated a 10-minute walk indigenous Santa Cruz Wharf and Boardwalk, this hotel features modern, spacious rooms with s views, complimentary guest parking, and a day-to-day continental breakfast.Hyatt place Santa Cruz – Experience modern-day accommodations in Santa Cruz style, conveniently situated near the Boardwalk and also Downtown. Attributes a pool and hot tub.West Cliff Inn – A four Sisters Inn – A renovated Victorian-style inn located on a bluff throughout from the beach. Because that a classy historic hotel stay, look at no further!Read More: ideal Things To carry out In Santa Cruz, CA

ROARING CAMP RAILROADS / FELTON, CA


One that the most distinctive things to do close to Santa Cruz is come head to Roaring Camp Railroads in the Santa Cruz Mountains, wherein you have the right to take an authentic steam train ride through the redwoods!These 19th-century trains to be once used to haul huge redwood logs the end of the mountains, yet nowadays, they’re devoted to transferring passengers curious to see the beauty, beauty of the redwoods.The classic train redwood forest route bring away you up Bear Mountain. During the train ride (a bit over 1 hour long), you’ll gain to gain unbeatable forest views as well as hear the conductor narrate the story that Roaring Camp.You can also catch a vapor train from Roaring Camp every the means to the Santa Cruz beach Boardwalk throughout the high season. Reverse roundtrips departing indigenous the beach in Santa Cruz come Roaring Camp and earlier may it is in purchased native the conductor ~ above the train departing from Santa Cruz. Read an ext about Roaring Camp and see the train schedules here.

CAPITOLA, CA


As the West Coast’s oldest beach resort, Capitola, CA sure is worth a visit. This tiny resort city located just minutes native Santa Cruz uses a wide range of trendy beachfront stores, restaurants, and also museums.Aside from enjoy it the heat sand and sun at Capitola Beach, take part time come stroll with Capitola Village, being certain to gain the ambiance, eateries, and also shops.
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Planning a visit in the summer? Be certain to check the city’s event calendar! throughout the summer months, a range of special occasions are held at the beach, including cost-free family movies, arts shows, and a twilight concert series.Looking because that a ar to remain for the night in Capitola, CA? Inn in ~ Depot Hill – A 10-minute walk from Capitola Beach and also Wharf, this luxurious B&B offers an night wine reception finish with appetizers. A full breakfast through wonderful warm items is included.Capitola Hotel – A charming boutique hotel in the heart of Capitola Village, procedures to the beach, restaurants, alcohol tasting, and also shopping.
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Whale-watching tours are likewise all the fury here. In fact, because whales space so common in this region, tours are available year-round in Monterey! depending upon the time that year, you might see gray whales, humpback whales, blue whales, or killer whales.

See more: Which Is Not A Common Extrusive Igneous Rock S, A List Of Extrusive Igneous Rocks

Read More: 34+ finest Things To perform In Monterey Bay, CA

17-MILE DRIVE with PEBBLE BEACH

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lone cypress 17 mile journey - finest Things To perform Monterey CA - lifwynnfoundation.orgThe 17-Mile drive is an to exclude, stretch of road that takes you from Monterey to Carmel (longer, scenic route), full of dramatic seaside cliffs, tranquil beaches and forests, and world-class golf courses. It sure is beautiful! yet the catch? friend do have to pay an entrance fee simply to journey on it.Admission is $10.75 every vehicle. The gate fee is reimbursed through a acquisition of $35 or more at all Pebble beach Resorts restaurants, excluding Pebble coast Market. Bicycles can get in for complimentary if they enter through the Pacific Grove gate.There are four entry gateways where you will avoid to pay the entry fee and also pick up a map. The one closest to Monterey is the Pacific Grove entrance, despite if you’re already on Hwy 1, the Highway 1 entrance may it is in the many convenient. Follow this control map as you wind through and admire the beauty follow me the way.Allow 2-3 hrs or much more for the whole drive, especially if you setup to stop and eat. Must-stop points follow me the route incorporate the famous Lone Cypress, Bird Rock, Fan shell Beach, and the Cypresses that Crocker Grove. Over there are miscellaneous pullouts wherein you deserve to stop to photograph and admire the sweeping seaside views.

CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA, CA