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Help! San Francisco & surrounding area for 8 days.....suggestions welcomed

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Myself & my husband have managed to wrangle a week off work so doing a last minute trip to SF at the end of Oct........yes literally last minute but soooooooooooo looking forward to it...... We will be flying from the UK & looking to spend 7 nights in California, especially the SF area.

Have been reading some of the Forums on SF & doing trips to Carmel; Monterey, Santa Barbara etc on route to LA which sound great. The only downside is that we have never driven in the US & not sure if we want to undertake this on our first trip to SF.

Would it be possible to do this type of trip using public transport as opposed to hiring a car or is that just mission impossible ?? I'm not familar with how far away all these locations are or if it would be more realistic to stay in SF & do some short trips to the surrounding areas in lieu. We want to see a bit of the area but want to be able to chill out as well.......would really appreciate your guidance on what our best options are if not doing a driving holiday?

If we base ourselves in SF for the duration, using public transport to get around & see all sights where are we best positioned to be staying? Looking at budget type hotels.

What are the must see things to do & see when in SF & the little gems that you guys have picked up on your trips including places to eat etc ? Previous blogs mention booking tickets on line to see Alkatraz - is there a URL for this?

All help / suggestions much appreciated. As this is so last minute we unsure of what is the best use of our time etc..

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