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LA to San Francisco - Fly or Drive

LA to San Francisco - Fly or Drive

Old Oct 20th 2005, 5:23 pm
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Default LA to San Francisco - Fly or Drive

For those of you who live in CA would you drive from LA to San Francisco or would you fly?


Hubby's off to LA on Monday for a meeting and then on to San Francisco for a meeting on Wednesday. He has said he fancies hiring a car and driving up to SF from LA because, according to Mapquest, it takes just under 6 hours and he thinks the trip up there would be quite scenic. Personally I think he's mad and should book his flight now.
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Old Oct 20th 2005, 5:29 pm
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Default Re: LA to San Francisco - Fly or Drive

Originally Posted by mandpete
For those of you who live in CA would you drive from LA to San Francisco or would you fly?


Hubby's off to LA on Monday for a meeting and then on to San Francisco for a meeting on Wednesday. He has said he fancies hiring a car and driving up to SF from LA because, according to Mapquest, it takes just under 6 hours and he thinks the trip up there would be quite scenic. Personally I think he's mad and should book his flight now.
A matter of how much time he has, the scenic drive is going up PCH which is the coastal route 1, this goes up through Big Sur etc. Very winding cliff edge drives which will probably take a lot longer than 6 hours. Scenery he will see will be greatly reduced if he takes the normal freeways (Rte 101). I would take the weekend to do the PCH drive in order to see anything, everyone is different though. He could always go up PCH and hop back on the 101 once he gets to the central coast??
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Old Oct 20th 2005, 5:36 pm
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Default Re: LA to San Francisco - Fly or Drive

Originally Posted by mandpete
For those of you who live in CA would you drive from LA to San Francisco or would you fly?


Hubby's off to LA on Monday for a meeting and then on to San Francisco for a meeting on Wednesday. He has said he fancies hiring a car and driving up to SF from LA because, according to Mapquest, it takes just under 6 hours and he thinks the trip up there would be quite scenic. Personally I think he's mad and should book his flight now.
we had this dilemma a couple of months ago..
we figured that by the time we had driven to LAX (1 hour) checked in (2 hours) waited for bags etc a the other end we would be most of the way there by car and with 4 of us its also a lot cheaper to drive, so we drove..
Its by no means scenic going the quick way, in fact its so bleak and boring its not true..
haven't done the coastal route yet but I believe its beautiful but takes a lot longer..
if he's on his own and going for business I'd fly..
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Old Oct 20th 2005, 6:35 pm
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Default Re: LA to San Francisco - Fly or Drive

Originally Posted by lionheart
A matter of how much time he has, the scenic drive is going up PCH which is the coastal route 1, this goes up through Big Sur etc. Very winding cliff edge drives which will probably take a lot longer than 6 hours. Scenery he will see will be greatly reduced if he takes the normal freeways (Rte 101). I would take the weekend to do the PCH drive in order to see anything, everyone is different though. He could always go up PCH and hop back on the 101 once he gets to the central coast??

my understanding is that the scenic drive is at least 10 - 12 hours. The quick freeway would be the I5 wouldn't it ?.. as Woodsey said the quick (6 hour) route is dull and there's nowt to see - Fly ! where's he working in LA ? he might not need to do LAX
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Old Oct 20th 2005, 6:56 pm
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Default Re: LA to San Francisco - Fly or Drive

If you drive, don't take I-5. Do take the coastal route, if you've got the time. Otherwise its pretty bad. Sorry you California lovers, but it is bad. I've made the I-5 trip so many times. I think the special part of that way is when you pass the cows. The smell is indescribable!
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Old Oct 20th 2005, 7:07 pm
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Default Re: LA to San Francisco - Fly or Drive

Originally Posted by AmerLisa
If you drive, don't take I-5. Do take the coastal route, if you've got the time. Otherwise its pretty bad. Sorry you California lovers, but it is bad. I've made the I-5 trip so many times. I think the special part of that way is when you pass the cows. The smell is indescribable!
have to agree that smell is awful but have you ever seen so many bloody cows?
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Old Oct 20th 2005, 7:18 pm
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Default Re: LA to San Francisco - Fly or Drive

The quickest route involves using I-5 and I-580. Pretty dull route, and you need to time your drive to avoid the rush hours of SF and LA. Still, if expediency is your priority, this is your best choice -- I often go 90-95 mph through the San Joaquin Valley and have done the total run in around 5 1/2 hours. But it is bleak and boring, with nothing much to see.

The scenic route involves taking PCH (California 1) between San Luis Obispo and Monterey, using US 101 for much of the rest of the route. But this is slow, and should done at a leisurely pace, with at least one or two overnight stops along the way, plus park-and-gawk moments along the route itself. (No point in taking the drive if you don't have a few looks.) I would consider overnights in Santa Barbara, Carmel/ Monterey/ Pacific Grove, Cambria and/or Santa Cruz if doing this.

The compromise route is to take US 101 for the entire drive. It's more scenic in parts, but much of it isn't terribly exciting. You can probably make it from downtown LA to SF in about 7 hours.

Flying is more relaxing, but compared to driving I-5, you save very little time for the total trip if you factor in the travel times to and from the airport, and the time spent waiting for the flight. If you need a car for your final destination (a must for LA, not so essential for SF), driving yourself could make sense.
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Old Oct 20th 2005, 7:18 pm
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Default Re: LA to San Francisco - Fly or Drive

Originally Posted by Eskimo
my understanding is that the scenic drive is at least 10 - 12 hours. The quick freeway would be the I5 wouldn't it ?.. as Woodsey said the quick (6 hour) route is dull and there's nowt to see - Fly ! where's he working in LA ? he might not need to do LAX
Thanks for the replies.


"Bo**ocks to driving it then" were his exact words and he has decided to fly instead. So the only driving he'll be doing is to Thousand Oaks and back from LAX and then flying up to SF.

We are hoping to 'do the West Coast' next year so he can drive all he wants to then.
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Old Oct 20th 2005, 7:23 pm
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Default Re: LA to San Francisco - Fly or Drive

Originally Posted by mandpete
So the only driving he'll be doing is to Thousand Oaks and back from LAX and then flying up to SF.
The trip from Thousand Oaks to LAX is fairly long, and going well out of your way. If you are going to fly, consider flying from Burbank, instead, which would save a few miles worth of driving. And explore flying into Oakland Airport, rather than SFO, when comparing fares.
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Old Oct 20th 2005, 7:32 pm
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Default Re: LA to San Francisco - Fly or Drive

10-12 hours?!!! 2 or 3 overnight stops?!!! Are you lot mad?!!!

We've driven the scenic route. It took around 8 hours (with several stops along the way for photo opportunities) and was really lovely. We're in the South Bay though so I guess you need to add another 45 mins - 1 hour onto that time to get to SF city. I would say definitely drive it, apart from the fact that if he's on his own he won't be able to do quite as much scenery gazing as he might like, unless he plans to drive his car down the cliff
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Old Oct 20th 2005, 7:37 pm
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Default Re: LA to San Francisco - Fly or Drive

Originally Posted by Wintersong
2 or 3 overnight stops?!!! Are you lot mad?!!!
The stops aren't necessary, they just make the journey more interest and pleasant. Blasting up PCH with just a fuel stop and a photo seems to be a bit of a waste, considering how much there is to do along the way.
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Old Oct 20th 2005, 7:38 pm
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Default Re: LA to San Francisco - Fly or Drive

Originally Posted by mandpete
Thanks for the replies.


"Bo**ocks to driving it then" were his exact words and he has decided to fly instead. So the only driving he'll be doing is to Thousand Oaks and back from LAX and then flying up to SF.

We are hoping to 'do the West Coast' next year so he can drive all he wants to then.
Interviewing with a biotech??
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Old Oct 20th 2005, 7:42 pm
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Default Re: LA to San Francisco - Fly or Drive

I haven't driven all the way along route 1, but I would recommend it if you have the time. Amazing scenery.

Woodsey already mentioned it about the length of time spent going too and from the airport plus all the waiting time, which is why we drive to Vegas instead of fly. 4 hours driving or 3 hours sat in the airport.
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Old Oct 20th 2005, 7:43 pm
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Default Re: LA to San Francisco - Fly or Drive

Originally Posted by bored-silly
Interviewing with a biotech??
Yes, how did you know?
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Old Oct 20th 2005, 7:43 pm
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Default Re: LA to San Francisco - Fly or Drive

Originally Posted by RoadWarriorFromLP
The stops aren't necessary, they just make the journey more interest and pleasant. Blasting up PCH with just a fuel stop and a photo seems to be a bit of a waste, considering how much there is to do along the way.
The guy's got a meeting to get to - from the OP, I would guess that he'll be doing his travelling on Tuesday and he won't have time to make any overnight stops. You don't need to stay overnight to appreciate the beauty of the Pacific coast.

Think about it - he's got to get to LAX, check in, go through security, wait for flight, fly, land, collect baggage, get hire car and then drive to SF city and find the hotel. Or spend 8 hours driving what is quite possibly one of the most beautifully scenic routes in America, if not the world. It's breathtaking. You can't blast up PCH anyway - at least, not if you want to stay on the road.

Honestly, given the choice I would go for the drive every day and twice on Sundays.
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