Maggie and Cliff

The Coastal Routes

Driving I-5 is efficient, but if you have time and prefer to see something pretty, take the coast.

The SF -> Paso Coastal Route

The SF -> Paso Coastal Route

If you're flying into SFO or OAK, and you're heading back to the Bay Area during DAYLIGHT hours on Sunday, consider taking the Pacific Coast Highway route. You'll go through Carmel and Big Sur. We're pretty sure it's the most beautiful drive in America--unless it's raining or dark outside and then it's pretty scary. In good weather, it takes about 2 extra hours (it's really curvy). So figure about 5 hours total, not counting all the pictures you'll want to stop and take along the way.

A sample map is linked above--just plug in your start/end point and drag the route as far west as possible!

The LA -> Paso Coastal Route

The LA -> Paso Coastal Route

If you're driving up from LA, there's a shorter, but still beautiful coastal route for you too. Just take the 101 and ignore your GPS when she tries to make you cut inland on the 154. (That only leads to an annoying single-lane road--and it cuts the corner of the most beautiful part of the drive.) A sample map is linked above. There's basically no excuse to take the 5--this only adds about half an hour to our drive. We nearly always go this way. In traffic, it might take 4 hours, but Santa Barbara is in the middle, so stop for some Alambre de Lomito at La Colmena and you can thank us later.