Yeah, definitely don't do Highway 1 if it's an overlarge car. The route from San Francisco down the coast is narrow and has some parts that are a bit hard to navigate, especially in rainy or foggy weather (which it kinda looks like we might have up here in the bay).
In SF, probably the best advice is to stay in the city and check Airbnb - it's pretty easy to get around using the BART and MUNI public transport or Uber. In terms of "have to" eats: even though it's SUPER touristy, I recommend House of Prime Rib; it's a delicious meal, very generous, and fun. The Castro is a fun place to bar hop, especially at the beginning of happy hours because you can just bounce from bar to bar (all within two or three blocks) and get proper buzzed. Also, there's usually dancing.
Are you camping at Death Valley? If so, you may want to drive through Yosemite, then down to Death Valley rather than take the coastal road.