Road Trip!

What is “SM”? Please.

SM = Santa Maria
regional California BBQ

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Doesn’t it get pretty darn hot in Paso Robles? (Does everyone know how to pronounce “Robles”?)

Paso to SF via Highway 1 is six hours or more depending on traffic.

Is that the best way to get to SF, to go back to Hwy 1?

It’s what we’re talking about.

Only if you’re walking. Really fast.

Drive time from Paso Robles to San Francisco

Drive time from Paso Robles to Carmel

That’s the fast inland route via 101, not slow but scenic Highway 1.

This is great!

You never know what info you’ll get when starting a thread. This is pretty much planning our trip! I’ll probably have a few more questions after reading and researching everything. :relaxed: I’m not a northern traveler and know very little. Coming from a state (MA) that’s either bleak or dreary for 6-7 months a year, I tend to go for the sunny/hot places like P.S. So excited!


Make sure to say hello to the elephant seals in San Simeon!

Moonstone Beach in Cambria is a nice little place to stay.


We actually stayed in Cambria specifically to see Hearst Castle. I think our motel (pet friendly and very cute) was right across Moonstone Beach, IIRC.

BTW, @TheCookie, if you can take a detour to Ruddell’s Smokehouse, it makes for a great lunch (just be aware that there may be a huge a$$ line). Someone on CH had recommended it, and it was SO delish.

Linn’s Olallieberry Pie I think is locally famous. I have no strong memory of what I ate there, so at least it wasn’t bad?

There’s also a fine(-ish) dining place there, the name of which eludes me. Respectable, but nothing spectacular.


We saw the elephant seals at Ano Nuevo some years ago. Fantastic.

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Sea Chest in Cambria:

The San Simeon and Cambria suggestions are great, but that’s assuming you either detour from 101 N and head towards the coast westward (e.g. from Paso Robles), or you take the much longer and slower scenic route and drive up highway 1. Hearst Castle is a nice place to tour, though there are at least 4 different tours, and there’s no way to see the whole place in one day.

If your goal is to stop overnight in one area, then maximize the value of being in that region and figure out your priorities and the amount of time you are willing to allocate in terms of what you want to experience where, and cover as much ground that way, then end the evening at a hotel or B&B or AirBnB somewhere that makes sense, and then splurge on the best meals in SF if you are heading up there to spend more time. If wine is at the top of the list then Paso Robles and surrounding areas for tasting. Or would you rather invest more time in SF and head up to Napa Valley, Sonoma County, or Healdsburg? Otherwise budget more time to do these detours or side trips especially if closer to Highway 1.


Great stuff. Cambria seems to be the majority consensus. That will probably be our sleepover, then we’ll make a couple more stops along the way (Pacific Grove, Paso Robles maybe?). I know Solvang is probably touristy, but I’d still like to check it out one day. We’ll do some research on which towns are close to our route.

We’re thinking of renting a car and flying back. And trying to decide if we want to stay one night in a swanky hotel or do the real road trip thing and stay in a motel or inn. We really won’t be indoors much. But @chinchi’s recs are tempting. Both are really pretty. Regarding the Madonna Inn - who doesn’t like a little camp sometimes? :blush:


Paso Robles is inland, a bit out of the way if your goal is to drive the scenic Highway 1 route (which is at its best this time of year). And it’s likely to be hot.

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Hi @beefnoguy -


We’re more interested in stop-offs in towns along the way, not long detours. The real goal is S.F. Based on what you say Hearst Castle is more of a destination thing for another time. I’ve been to SB and Santa Ynez and would love to go back to check out Los Olivos. But on this trip we’re looking to explore new places (for me anyway, as husband’s been all over cali). Some good wine would be great only if it’s near the places we stay, because my bourbon drinking husband couldn’t care less. We probably won’t venture north of SF.

We’re not opposed to having a really nice meal along the way. Passion Fish is a definite possibility. Especially since - and don’t scream at me, people - I’m undecided (and husband has no interest) about going the Michelin star tasting menu route in SF. As much as I love living vicariously thru FTCers SF tasting menu experiences, on this trip I’m more interested in eating at places that locals love and places that really represent SF. We can get into that after I figure out the road trip part…

Based on all this :grimacing: does Monterey/Cambria and Carmel sound like the ticket, folks?


The name alone sounds like it’s right up dear husband’s alley! :sweat_smile: Thanks.

This. For us, road trips are never about the food. And if we hit on something good, yippee!

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In looking at the map, San Luis Obispo seems like a good spot as well. Hmmm… :thinking: