Hi My family and I just returned from california and I wanted to thank everyone on this site who helped make our trip a huge succuess.
we drove from san fran via the pacific coast hwy with many briefs stops on the way. this part of the trip was difficult for me to plan because of time constraints and not wanting to drive big sur at night.
Our drive worked out well but I think we should of stayed two nights like most have said here we left san fran around 1030am. first stop was santa cruz we had a mexican lunch at the boardwalk and kids went on some rides about a two hour stop. Nice are to stop with the kids beach area was clean and I sat for a while water was too cold for me though.
we stopped briefly taking pictures on the pull off areas but it was so windy and foggy when I say brief I mean snap snap back in car. we stop in carmel for about 1hr just drove around got out in town and the kids want to eat in fat burger so we did that. would have like to spend night here but maybe next time.
Now driving through big sur was certainly one of the most stunning drives one could take and at the end we stop at a motel type place with convience store forgot the name but real pretty place with great view we spend around an hour here had coffee and walked around a little trail they had. get gas before you start this trip in san fran we did but everyone who didn't was very upset with gas prices.
I was a little car sick at this point. I should have known that would happen to me but was so excited forgot to take something to prevent it. so for you folks who get motion sickness be ware.
we stopped in slo and spent the night at the vegabond hotel.(see review). we arrived around 8pm still light out. this is a good area to stop everything you need is right there dennys ihop grocery and gas stores I woke up early just to walk around the madonna inn and took some nice pictures of the mountains. all and all a great drive and good time.
from slo we drove to la in few hours stopping in santa barbara for lunch at cocos great place to stop and big hit with locals from what I could tell.