Road trip from San Francisco to San Diego

I was excited to take a road trip from San Francisco to San Diego, driving down the famous Pacific Coast Highway from over two days.

San Francisco to San Diego

We visited Santa Cruz and the picturesque golf courses of Pebble Beach on route to Santa Barbara where we had booked to stay a night to break up the drive.

San Francisco to San Diego Poppy Hills Golf Course Pebble Beach
Poppy Hills Golf Course at Pebble Beach
road trip from San Francisco to San Diego Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz, image from

The original plan for the road trip from San Francisco to San Diego was to take the coastal scenic route of Highway 1, and though there were signs near Carmel saying the road was closed 50 miles ahead, we opted to ignore them, incorrectly believing there would be an alternative route somewhere prior to the point where the road was closed.

There wasn’t. Soon after Lucia (and with the petrol light on due to a reluctance to pay rural petrol prices) we met a lady with a stop sign and had to turn back and take the 101 from Carmel instead.

We finally got to Santa Barbara and spent the night and following morning there, having brunch, viewing the beach (not swimming weather) and doing a little shopping.

San Diego

The HI Hostel at Point Loma in San Diego was the best value place we stayed in the USA. All the staff were extremely friendly and made an effort to get to know you. Pancakes were available for breakfast and home made meals such as BBQ Burgers or Pasta and a desert were available for only $5 all 3 of the nights we stayed. We also gained a local pub (HI Hostels are alcohol free) – Catalina’s where there were cheap drinks, sports on television and pool tables.

The San Diego Zoo is the city’s biggest attraction. The place was huge – buses and a skyline ride were required to get around and see as much as we could and we spent the whole day there seeing animals and an adapted 4D version of Happy Feet.

Our second and final full day in San Diego was more relaxed. We drove around the city and got a feel for it before driving to the Mexican border to wave at Mexico. Tijuana is not the safest place for tourists or  their vehicles and crossing the border was not advised.

Of all the cities I have visited in the States at this stage I see San Diego as the most liveable for me.