Seattle to San Diego

Day 12: San Francisco, CA to Monterey, CA

Pacific Coast Road Trip - Day 12: San Francisco, CA to Monterey, CA

Postcard from Monterey, California.

Another relatively short leg, 139 miles of uneventful and almost anonymous driving, mostly along the coast on the Cabrillo Highway portion of the California State Route 1, or on smaller and less crowded streets sandwiched between the highway and the Pacific Ocean.

After spending most of the morning drive complaining about the first real traffic I encountered in this road trip and about the once again disappointing weather, things got a bit better: the clouds stuck around a bit longer, almost teasing me – sunny and blue sky a few miles inland on my left, cloudy and gray over my head and over the ocean coast – but the traffic magically evaporated right after San Francisco’s city borders, allowing for another easy drive south.

In Santa Cruz, they took turns: the traffic came back but the clouds were sucked away, replaced by a glorious blue sky and, finally, a mini heat wave, warming up my old bones and my car.

The further south I got, the more cities with Spanish-sounding names, the more comfortable the temperature, and the larger the number of surfers.

Entering Monterey, traffic and gray sky reached an agreement to come back in full mode to my utter disappointment.

Note: tacos y Negra Modelo till San Diego.

Driving from San Francisco to Monterey Cheat Sheet

Accommodation in Monterey:

  • Quality Inn2075 N Fremont St, Monterey, CA 93940. Nice and clean motel. About 45 minutes walk to downtown.

Where to eat and what to see between San Francisco CA and Monterey CA

  • Pigeon Point LighthousePigeon Point Rd, Pescadero, CA 94060 I think the northern Cali misty weather might have helped here but this lighthouse felt like coming out of a dramatic movie.
  • Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, 400 Beach St, Santa Cruz, CA 95060. Ok I do not recommend going there per se, way too “American” (?) for my taste but it was an interesting place to pass by. The palm tree lined road on the side of the Boardwalk was much more my type of place)
  • Mission 19 Taqueria, 598 Lighthouse Ave, Monterey, CA 93940 decent tacos in a family run place.

Driving from San Francisco to Monterey FAQ

How many miles are from San Francisco to Monterey?

There are about 112 miles from San Francisco to Monterey if you take the fastest and shortest route. Avoiding the highway and following the coast will add about 20 miles to that number.

How long does it take to drive from San Francisco to Monterey?

The fastest way will take 2 to 3 hours depending on the traffic you’ll face leaving San Francisco. It took me almost 6 hours cause of a couple of stops along the route.

What’s the best thing about driving from San Francisco to Monterey?

You get to drive along the ocean and some part of the trip are boosting incredible views

What are the major attractions along the way in a road trip from San Francisco to Monterey?

Pigeon Point lighthouse was probably my favorite attraction in the San Francisco to Monterey leg of my road trip.

What type of car is best to drive from San Francisco to Monterey?

The street is all paved: if the weather is good a convertible is the best choice. Consider that pretty often no matter the season San Francisco’s morning are misty and foggy.

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