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-   -   California Coast Road trip (https://www.fodors.com/community/road-trips/california-coast-road-trip-163284/)

kim Feb 20th, 2002 07:22 PM

California Coast Road trip
 
We are plannng a family road trip in August for about 10 days-I need your help!! This is what I am thinking: 2 days in Yosemite, 2 days at Spanish Inn @ Pebble Beach, Santa Barbara Four Seasons , San Diego-Cornado Island Marriott--I am open to any suggestio--the kids are 15 & 10 ( I m open to any hotel ideas also) thanks

BillJ Feb 20th, 2002 07:47 PM

Kim, your coastal itinery (how to you spell that word?) is great, especially if Pebble Beach to SB is via scenic and cliff hugging Hiway 1. Your kids should love it. But I'm afraid your timetable will be thrown off if you take in Yosemite. From Monterey to Yosemite is about a 5 hour trip through Los Banos and Merced, then Hiway 140 to Yosemite. If you leave Yosemite via the South entrance, Hiway 41 all the way through Fresno across the great San Jaoquin Valley (in August, be ready for temps near or over 100) to Hiway 101, then south to SB, maybe 6 - 8 hours. Lots of driving in each of two days in order to take in the Park. You might think about deleting Yosemite and adding days to SB or San Diego, both great beach areas. Possible much more enjoyable to your kids.<BR>Where are you coming from? If you start in Yosemite, then 5 hours to Pebble Beach via Hiway 140 to Merced, etc., well, that might make a difference.

kim Feb 21st, 2002 05:26 AM

thanks bill --we are thinking of flying into San Francisco then driving down the coast on hi-way 1 the more scenic way--I picked the stops because I thought they would be good places to stop and see the surrounding areas--My ? to you are there better places to stop and stay at for my family?? Do we pass on Santa Barbara and go right into LA??? thanks so much!!!

George Feb 21st, 2002 05:47 AM

Kim: My wife and I did the trip last Sept., but going the other way--LAX to SF.<BR><BR>We'd planned, and spent, the first night in Santa Barbara. A delightful surprise--be sure you stop there. Second night was Morro Bay (not SB, but still enjoyable,) 3rd was Big Sur (would skip that,) and the 4th and 5th was in the Monterey Bay area. <BR><BR>The only concern I see (from the portion of your route I mention) is that you're only devoting one travel day to get from Monterey to Santa Barbara. It's a spectacular piece of California coast. And in addition, it cannot be driven quickly.<BR><BR>Were I you, I'd look for something in the Morro Bay/San Luis Obispo area. I believe you'll be glad you did.<BR><BR>

GP Feb 21st, 2002 07:54 AM

Kim<BR>I agree with George. If you drive Hwy 1 getting from Mon. to S.B. in one day would leave little time to see the sights. If you drove Hwy 101 it is no problem but not as pretty. The area just south of Big Sir to around Pismo Beach is underrated and well worth a day or two.

kim Feb 21st, 2002 09:40 AM

Thanks--this is now what I am thinking-- 2 nites nites at [email protected] Alwahnee Hotel, 2 nites at Spanish Bay, 1 nite ?? I need help here because would like to do Hearst Castle, then to Santa Barbara and then to San Diego---thanks again --everyone is so great!!! Another ? would it be better to fly into San Jose rather than San Francisco?? thanks again kim

Native Feb 21st, 2002 10:29 AM

Flying into San Jose would put you about one hour closer to Yosemite. However, it is still a pretty good drive to Yosemite from San Jose......I would think a good 4 hours.<BR><BR>As strange as it may sound, you might consider flying into Fresno. That is your closest airport to Yosemite, probably 2 hours or so.<BR><BR>Native

BobbiOh Feb 21st, 2002 11:13 AM

Also consider a stop in Solvang, near Santa Barbara. It's a very cute little town. In San Diego, I would go with the Hotel del Coronado over the Marriott. <BR>If you do stay in LA, try Santa Monica....the Georgian or Loews' Windows on the Beach.<BR><BR>Good Luck,<BR><BR>Bobbi

BillJ Feb 21st, 2002 04:16 PM

You will be about 1 hour closer to Yosemite if you fly into San Jose. But SFO is a better connection point to Fresno if you fly that leg as suggested above. Driving from SJ to Yosemite, about 4.5 to 5 hours. Take 101 South from SJ to Gilroy. 152 East over Pacheco Pass, through Los Banos to Route 89 to Merced. Connect in Merced with Route 140 to Yosemite. <BR>It is about a 1.2 hour flight SFO to Fresno (United Express or Amer Eagle). You'd have to factor in your connection time. From Fresno to Yosemite Valley is about 2-3 hours on Hiway 41.<BR>Going back, from Yosemite to Monterey is about 4.5 to 5 hours, using 140 back to Merced, retracing your steps to 101, then south to Monterey. Get a good map, its not as complicated as it sounds.<BR>Definately stay in the Valley, IMO the by far best way to see Yosemite. Ahwanhee is tops, 2nd choice is Yosemite Lodge. But you should be making your reservations now for summer. Check out www.yosemitepark.com for rates and phone #. <BR>After leaving Monterey, I would plan a night in Cambria, very near Hearst Castle. Many neat places there, especially Moonstone Beach area (have I got the beach name right right?). Next stop could be SB.<BR>Seems like you'd almost have to do 2 nights Pebble Beach. After 5 hour drive to get there, and a long drive to Cambria the next day(?). Then 2 nights in SB, a long drive (maybe break it up in the Dana Point/San Clemente area - great beaches) to SD for the last 2 or 3 nights. Wow! Covers a lot of ground, and you drive right by DisneyLand and Universal Studios.<BR>Hope the driving times help your planning. You're on the right track, but that's a lot of ground to cover.<BR>Welcome to California! By the way, you've picked some of the best hotels.<BR>

kim Feb 21st, 2002 05:36 PM

Thanks everyone--I had great luck booking my hotels today-here's the scoop-- Yosemite Ahwahnee hotel 2 nites, Pebble Beach - Inn at Spanish Bay 2 nites, San Luis Obispo -Apple Farm Inn 1 nite,( is this a ok place to stay and do I need 1 more nite here because I do want to do the Hearst Castle) Now debating our next stop before we arrive at our final desination we are thinking of ending the trip with 3 nites at the Four Seasons in Carlbad

BobbiOh Feb 22nd, 2002 08:03 AM

Unless you're a golfer, you'll be bored for 4 days at the FS Aviara. <BR><BR>It is not a beach resort and you're about 30 minutes north of San Diego...and that's if the traffic is good. The town of Carlsbad is cute, but not 4 days worth. The nearest attraction is Lego Land.<BR><BR>I would recommend staying in San Diego. You're closer to the action and a larger selection of hotels to choose from.<BR><BR>Good Luck,<BR><BR>Bobbi<BR>a Carlsbad resident

tj Feb 22nd, 2002 10:15 AM

Fly to Fresno - enjoy the drive to the park; avoid a longer one. Its a nice good size airport with connections in Major West coast cities.

kam Feb 22nd, 2002 10:37 AM

I think it's pretty crazy to fly to SFO in order to fly to Fresno. What about your return flight? San Jose is easy to fly into or possibly Sacramento depending on where in the country you originate. Apple Tree Inn in SLO is a cutesy place--not a bad choice, but a little too precious country for me. More interesting is Madonna Inn outside the town. Try to be in SLO on a Thursday night for the Farmer's Market---good Mexican food and music. Otherwise, Cambria is a better stop to see Hearst Castle and there are lots of good choices on Moonstone Beach--just across from a nice walking path along the beach.BW Fireside Inn is a good choice as is Moonstone Inn,Mariners Inn etc. If you stay in Cambria, have a meal at the Sow's Ear. You could also stay at Ragged Point Inn right on Hwy 1 just a little south of Big Sur. Gorgeous views and a nice restaurant. They have a website. Yes, you definitely need 2 days between Monterey and Santa Barbara. First night could be Pacific Grove and second could be Cambria. Solvang is rather touristy IMHO. Maybe a better choice if you don't want to stay in Santa Barbara would be Ballard or Los Olivos. Take kids to Mattei's Tavern, an old stagecoach stop. If they are boys, take them to Jocko's in Nipomo---let them eat steaks! You are so fortunate to get reservations at the Ahwanhee--make reservations for dinner as well. Fun hike for kids would be downhill from the top of Glacier Point. Oh--we live close to San Jose. From us to Yosemite is 4 1/2 hours anyway we cut it. Have a wonderful trip.

kim Feb 22nd, 2002 11:07 AM

Thanks so much for all the info.--we live in Minnesota and Northwest goes non-stop to San Jose and then we will fly home out of San Diego. Please give me suggestions for hotels in San Diego. This is so much fun--looking forward to this trip!!! thanks

BobbiOh Feb 22nd, 2002 01:38 PM

Beach-y hotels...Hotel Del...from Some like it Hot..great place. Bahia Mar, Hyatt Islandia or Hilton Mission bay.<BR>In the Gaslamp quarter, Hilton Convention Center or the Hortan Grand.<BR><BR>Good Luck,<BR><BR>Bobbi

Mina Feb 23rd, 2002 12:12 AM

I'm with Kam on the apple farm...it gets good exposure out there in SLO, but I found it a bit too forced countryish as well. However, it's closer to town than the Madonna Inn (as Kam mentioned). With all due respect to Kam, the Madonna Inn is a bit scary to me! Some over those rooms are over the top tacky! But if you like some good ol' campy fun, it can be interesting to stay in.<BR><BR>An inn that I always used to stay up in the SLO area was the Kontiki Inn...actually, it's in Pismo Beach. It's a bit of a motel, really, and the rooms are pretty much threadmare motel stuff. But oh the view! Every room overlooks the ocean (the inn is on a cliff) and the price used to be very, very inexpensive. But the last time I stayed there was 6 years ago, so who knows now?? I just passed by it a few weeks ago..it's still there.<BR><BR>Skip solvang...too touristy, with not a lot to offer except touristy "stuff". Good pancake house there though.<BR><BR>Santa Barbara is great, because there's lots of good places to eat!<BR><BR>The Hotel del Coronado was recommended highly by my friends that have been there, although I know nothing of it.

kim Feb 23rd, 2002 05:37 AM

Thanks everyone--found a place in Cambria --Fog Catcher Inn--looks nice and makes sense to be closer to the castle--now am thinking after seeing the castle driving to LA area--how far and how long?? My husband has to stop and do busines in the Anaheim area for 1 thanks again!!!

xxx Feb 23rd, 2002 08:45 AM

Cambria is a good place to spend the night. <BR><BR>Skip Solvang this trip. It's become overrun with outlet stores and has lost it's charm.

XXX Feb 23rd, 2002 09:26 AM

You must be coming from Minneapolis. You can fly to Fresno from Minneapolis on several airlines with only one stop. American flies to Dallas then to Fresno and Northwest flies to LA and then Fresno.<BR><BR>I am not pushing Fresno, but it puts you so much closer to Yosemite that it doesn't make sense to fly into SFO or San Jose. You would just be wasting a day.<BR><BR>You will be flying "open jaw" in any event, so check it out at Orbitz or one of the othere travel sites.<BR><BR>XXX

kim Mar 2nd, 2002 05:38 AM

What do you think?? Thanks for your help!! <BR>Day 1 -leave Mpls fly to Fresno, drive to Yosemite check-in at Ahwahnee<BR>Day 2 Ahwahnee-Yosemite Park<BR>Day 3 check-out of Ahwahnee leave park about 1 p.m.--drive to Pebble Beach<BR>Arrive at Inn at Spanish Bay<BR>Day 4&5 Inn at Spanish Bay--site see around Carmel and Monterey<BR>Day 6--check-out of Pebble Beach take Hiway #1 and enjoy the coast<BR>Arrive in Cambria at Fog Cathchers Inn <BR>for one nite stay<BR>Day 7 Check-out and head to Hearst Castle for tour # 1<BR>After tour take expressway to Anaheim area--Where do we stay--for one nite husband has business to do next a.m.??<BR>Day 8 Anaheim a.m. leave in the afternoon and head for last desination!!<BR>Days 8,9,10--Leaning towards the Four Seasons Aviara--really want to see wild animal park and will be looking for some neat beachy shops for teenage girl!! Please let me know what you think!! Thanks Again!!


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