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Old 01-29-2015, 09:07 PM   #1
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Best towing route from Monterey, CA to Marin, CA

We are planning our Springtime trip along the coast of California. What are route suggestions for towing our AS from Monterey, CA to Marin, CA? We will be camping in Marin while seeing sights in San Francisco. Thanks!
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Old 01-29-2015, 10:19 PM   #2
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Ok you got me. Where in Marin did you find an RV park ?

My suggestion is stay in South San Francisco at Treasure Island RV Park, South San Francisco RV Park 94080
Why ? Because you will be just south of San Francisco on the same peninsula about 10 miles. The best thing is you won't need you vehicle to go to and from SF as the Bus stops in front of the RV Park.

SF is no place for cars, Parking is at a premium and costs $$, Public Transportation is great and you can go anywhere in the city on bus , trolly, cable car, B.A.R.T. subway under the bay to Oakland and points east, Or B.A.R.T. south along the Peninsula. Or you can take the MetroLink train south to San Jose or from Oakland northeast to Sacramento.

Do some research on line for all the Public Transportion available in the Bay area.

If you find a place in Marin you will be across the Golden Gate Bridge and in the morning you will be going with the rush hour traffic and the return will require paying the TOLL and with rush hour traffic again.

That said, stay tuned for suggestions on different routes .
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:01 PM   #3
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Ok now for some ideas,

Monterey to Treasure Island RV Park in So. SF :

Direct, Leave Monterey on Hwy 68 to Salinas then north on Hwy 101 to San Jose take I-280 north to Hickey Blvd exit , go east on Hickey Blvd to Treasure Island RV park.

Scenic, Leave Monterey on Hwy 1 to Santa Cruz. At this point you have two choices .

A. Take Hwy 17 north to Hwy 88 north to I-280 north to Hickey Bl. etc.

B. Continue on Hwy 1 to Half Moon Bay and take Hwy 92 to I-280 to Hickey Bl etc. This route can have fog in the summer along the coast so check the weather that day.

To get to Marin from Monterey Take any of the above but stay on I-280 to Hwy 1 north and on to the Golden Gate Bridge to Marin.

Pick up a Benchmark Map of California from Amazon or Benchmark Maps & Atlases and some maps of the bay area.
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Old 01-29-2015, 11:36 PM   #4
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There's a faster, flatter route than either A. or B. above. Even though those seem direct and are arguably more scenic, take a look at this route:

Hwy 1 north, Hwy 156 east (by far the flattest way to get across the coastal hills), Hwy 101 north, Hwy 880 north, Hwy 580 and the Richmond Bridge over to San Rafael.

This route misses Hwy 17, which is a winding, treacherous, curvy, hilly rite of passage for all local drivers. We all remember the first time we drove it, and that's without a trailer in tow.

This route also misses Hwy 1 up to Hwy 92, which is very scenic. It has the ocean on one side and rolling pastures on the other. It's a two lane road and slow with very few turnouts. But it is pretty if the weather is clear.

Getting through San Francisco can be done two different ways, both on surface streets. No freeway runs through the city.

Hwy 280 has wider lanes, no billboards and takes a route through the hills. It's pretty and less crowded, except at rush hour (7-9:30 am, 3:30-7:30 pm) but it does go up and down. Highway 280 puts you through the city on 19th Avenue which goes past a lot of houses on a straight road with stop lights every block. It cuts across Golden Gate park, but you don't see much.

Hwy 101 is all flat and the SF Bay is visible from some stretches. It is never free of traffic and gets very congested at rush hour. It goes to the Golden Gate Bridge through the heart of SF, past City Hall and the opera house and up Van Ness Avenue which is a busy boulevard. I'd save the city sightseeing for when you're not pulling a trailer.

280 and 101 connect just south of SF via Hwy 380, so you can choose parts of each route. 380 is short, but a definite uphill pull.

It will take a couple of hours under ideal conditions to get from Monterey to Marin. The best window is to get to 101 or 280 after 10 am and aim to be over your chosen bridge by 3 pm.

Happy travels. If you want a taste of the drive, use google maps and look at google street view. The google cars have been over all these roads and you can see them for yourself.
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Old 01-30-2015, 06:40 PM   #5
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Monterrey to Marin

I have never towed a trailer on any of the routes mentioned, but I did grow up in the SF Bay area and am familiar with the routes. I agree that Hwy 17 from Santa Cruz to San Jose is not for the faint of heart, even in a car. It is 2 lanes, but in places but very narrow. Even more so where there are K-Rail dividers. Make sure you step is pulled in.

Folks talked about fog, but having lived at the Nor Cal coast, that is generally more of a summer issue when it heats up inland and pulls in the fog thru the gate and the Hwy 17 pass. If you’re concerned about the fog check out the web cam ahead of time. This is one and I'msure there are others. I just Googled web cams Pacifica CA (http://www.miramarbeachrestaurant.com/live-web-cams )

Webspinner mentioned Hwy 1 N to Hwy 156 to Prunedale/101, then on up to San Rafael. I agree, the 101 route is a nice drive but once you’re on 880/580 thru Oakland, especially at the Bay Bridge interchange, then to the Richmond San Rafael Bridge, things can be downright ugly, regardless of the time of day.

My preference would be to follow Hwy 1 to, then thru Santa Cruz and up the coast so Daly City/S SF, then 280 S ¼ mi. to Treasure Island RV Park. The road up 1 is good, and there are places to pull over if needed as well as to eat/picnic in Half Moon Bay, Pillar Pt. and Pacifica. The views on the leisurely drive up are wonderful. The traffic usually moves along well. There is a good grade N of Pacifica up to Daly City, but then again, the world is not flat.

This route brings you to Treasure Island RV Park and easy access to either of the routes mentioned by webspinner through the city. He provided the good and bad of both and I’m sure speaks from experience. I prefer the 280 hwy1/19th Ave. thru the Presidio to the gate. Hwy-1 ~ 19th Ave. does have a lot of stop lights, but then again so does Van Ness....maybe more. However I admit that the 101 Route thru the city, when passing Crissy Field on the final approach to the bridge is simply awesome. Crissy Field is a great picnic spot and a good place to stretch your legs (and watch the America’s Cup if your timing is right).

I thought someone on the 101 to Southern California for the Rose Bowl mentioned an RV park in Marin? Who Knew? Marin RV Park, 2140 Redwood Hwy., Greenbrae...just before the off ramp the Dirty Harry took to the gravel pit. There is also another up the road in Novato (Novato RV Park 2140 Redwood Hwy., Greenbrae,). Both parks are right off Hwy 101.
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Old 01-30-2015, 09:22 PM   #6
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I would note that the I280 is called the "World's Most Beautiful Freeway" and for good reason. It starts just past San Jose, IIRC, and is just astoundingly lovely.

When I lived in that corner of the world for 6 months, I would take any excuse to go that way into SF.

Highway 101 is faster and flatter, but is also one of the most tense highways I have ever been on.
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Old 01-30-2015, 09:31 PM   #7
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Best towing route from Monterey, CA to Marin, CA

I'd head northwest, but that's just me...

Ok, I've got nothing, and I feel bad about even posting, but the thought of my Airstream in California was too much for me to pass up. I seriously have to get out that way one day! Enjoy your trip. Best to you!

-Red, California dreaming, on such a winters day...
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Old 01-30-2015, 11:25 PM   #8
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If you've got the time, going all the way up Highway 1 to Daly City is definitely the nicest route. And if there's a tinge of rush hour on the freeways around the bay, it won't take that much more time.

Also, it helps to be aware of local towing laws. California limits trailers to the right two lanes (the right lane for driving and the next one over for passing). They will ticket for being in the wrong lane.

California towing laws can be read here.
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