me asked in TravelUnited StatesSan Francisco · 1 decade ago

TIme to Drive the Golden Gate Bridge?

We will be driving from Sacramento to L.A. as part of our vacation and will take the Pacific Coast Highway for at least part of the trip. I am thinking about going north of San Francisco first so that we can cross the Golden Gate Bridge and then follow the PCH.

Is it worth the extra time? Will the traffic be heavy in San Francisco (we plan to leave Sacramento first thing in the morning)?

3 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    This is a great drive if you have the time. It can be a real drag if you are on a strict timeline or aren't patient. I strongly advise against driving across the Golden Gate bridge between 6 - 9 am. If you do, it won't be a fun trip.

    The scenic drive from Sacramento, across the GG bridge and down the coastal highway to LA can be done in a day, but you likely will not enjoy it. Plan on stopping halfway and do the trip over two days. If you have the time, you could easily turn this into a half week or a one week vacation. Plan on about 550 miles or more, depending on side trips.

    For the scenic route across the Golden Gate bridge, from Sacramento take I-80 west towards San Francisco. At Hwy 37, go west across the north end of the bay (if you have time, you could stop in Napa and/or Sonoma). Continue on 37 to 101 south.

    If you're running ahead of schedule, make a stop rather than sit in rush hour traffic. I recommend Mt. Tamalpais (great views if it's not foggy), Muir Beach (if the warm weather continues) or a stop in Sausalito for some coffee or a meal by the waterfront.

    Hwy 101 / 1 will take you across the Golden Gate bridge. Look for the turnout point and you can walk across the bridge and back.

    Hwy 1 (the coastal highway isn't called PCH in NorCal) is closed at Devil's Slide (south of Pacifica) until at least early August. To avoid Devil's Slide, stay on 101 after you cross the Golden Gate bridge. 101 is a typical California freeway.

    You can cut over to Hwy 1 if you like at Hwy 92 in San Mateo. Once on Highway 1, you can stop at Ano Nuevo state park, Santa Cruz (boardwalk) and Monterey (aquarium, 17-mile drive, etc.). You can stay on Hwy 1 all the way to LA, or if you get tired of following Winnebagos, you can head inland to I-5 at Hwy 152.

    If you stay on Hwy 1, you can stop at Hearst Castle at San Simeon, San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Solvang (slight detour to get there), and then Santa Barbara, Ventura and finally, LA.

    Hope you have a great trip.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Traffic won't be that heavy late morning/early afternoon on a weekday. The weekend is a different story.

    It'd be a nice view going over the bridge. And since you're talking about taking PCH, time shouldn't be a factor (it'll take a long time anyway).

    Also, be aware that Devils Slide is closed.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    You better leave real 3:30. very nice area.

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