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San Francisco to Monterey: 5 Great Stops to Make on Your Road Trip

26 May 2023
San Francisco to Monterey: 5 Great Stops to Make on Your Road Trip

We're hitting the highway and taking a road trip along the beautiful California coastline! From breathtaking ocean views to fun attractions, we're taking you on a road trip from San Francisco to Monterey for an unforgettable adventure. Even though San Francisco is only about 2 hours from Monterey, you can take the long way and turn the journey into part of your vacation. Read along to uncover some fun stops and must-see attractions on this California coast road trip!


Pillar Point Harbor

As you make your way out of the city, take time to slow down and enjoy the cute coastal town of Half Moon Bay. Meander over to Pillar Point Harbor and enjoy the sea breeze on the pier. There you can enjoy one of many seafood restaurants, fishing, kayaking, or whale watching. It's a great first stop for your coastal road trip. 


Pigeon Point Lighthouse

Make a stop to see Pigeon Point Lighthouse , a 115-foot structure –the tallest operating lighthouse on the West Coast! Explore the lighthouse grounds, learn about its fascinating history, and marvel at the breathtaking views. This stop is a photographer's dream, offering incredible photo opportunities at every turn so don't forget to bring your camera!

 © California State Parks, all rights reserved.
© California State Parks, all rights reserved.


Swanton Berry Farm

Making your way down the coast, you'll find quaint rural areas ahead. One thing you won't want to pass is a farm, and Swanton Berry Farm in Davenport is the perfect stop. This organic farm invites you to stroll through their fields and pick your own strawberries, olallieberries, and kiwi. Don't forget to visit their farmstand and get one of their baked goods or famous jams before you head back on the road.


Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

No central coast road trip is complete without making a stop at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk. We admit, this destination will require more of your time, but this nostalgic amusement park is worth the stop. Situated right on the beach, Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk offers many fun rides and attractions, restaurants, gift shops, games, arcades, and mini golf. Visit their website for tickets and more information. 

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk View
Photo Courtesy of Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

Monterey Bay Hydrobikes

Our final stop, before arriving at our destination, is in Moss Landing. One unique and fun way to experience this coastal town is by getting on the water with Monterey Bay Hydrobikes. Glide across the calm waters of Elkhorn Slough on a pedal-powered craft as you take in views of marine life and the coast. Witness sea otters, jellyfish, sea lions, seabirds, shorebirds and more! Book your tour through Monterey Bay Hydrobike's website.

Monterey Bay Hydrobikes
Photo Courtesy of Monterey Bay Hydrobikes

Last Stop: Monterey

From Pillar Point Harbor to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and the beauty of the Monterey Bay, this road trip from San Francisco to Monterey with be one you'll never forget. When you finally arrive in beautiful Monterey, there will be so much to do and see. When you stay at the centrally located Portola Hotel & Spa, you'll be walking distance from Monterey's most popular attractions. Rest up in our coastal-inspired guest rooms, then head out for another day of fun. To book your stay, visit our website or call us at (888)-222-5851.


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