3 days in Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur

Old Sep 15th, 2002, 02:26 PM
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3 days in Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur

Arriving in SF airport on a Thur morning mid Oct and fly back out on Sat 11pm. Wanted to see Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur. Any suggestions for sites, accommodations, restaurants--etc. Should we take HW 1 from SF down the coast to Big Sur and then inland route back or???? Should we just focus on Monterey/Carmel and forget Santa Cruz etc. Also---what will the weather be like? As u can see--we are trying to make the most of 3 days and 2 nites. Any info is appreciated. Thanks
Old Sep 15th, 2002, 02:37 PM
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Judy, that's a toughie. I hate to suggest anything that has you forgoing a trip along the coast, but I'd suggest you sticking in the Monterey area.

There's so much to see and do in that Monterey/Carmel area that you can easily spend your three days.

The trip through Big Sur should be made all the way through, ideally to Santa Barbara. And that would take more time than you have to do it justice.

Save it for another time....
Old Sep 15th, 2002, 02:42 PM
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First off, Judy, can you fly in and out of San Jose? It would put you closer to all you want to see.

Second, the weather should be great. October is surprisingly one of the best months for the California coast. It will be chilly in the evenings and mornings, but should be clear and sunny during the day. Not hot, mind you, but not foggy. Definitely dress in layers.

You should drive to Carmel when you arrive on Thursday and spend the day and night there. On Friday, you can drive south through Big Sur, perhaps lunch at Ventana for the lovely view, and then head back to Carmel. On Saturday you will have time to take in the Monterey Aquarium, if interested, or 17 Mile Drive, or whatever other sights in the area you are interested in. You can drive north along the coast to Santa Cruz and then cut over inland on your way back to SFO. As long as you leave Monterey by 6pm you should arrive at SFO in plenty of time to check in. Enjoy!
Old Sep 15th, 2002, 02:52 PM
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Don't miss the Acquarium!

Agree with George there is plenty to do in Monterey itself. You really only have 2+ days because it will take you a few hours to get from the airport to Monterey. In any case, if you have a car and want to, you can be in Carmel or Santa Cruz in less than an hour.

Weather during the day could be gorgeous, sunny, 70F, or...NOT...if you get a storm. Bring raingear (jacket with hood is better than umbrella for ongoing outdoor activities) and be glad if you don't need to use it.

It will definitely be cool in the evening so bring a sweater or jacket. The most important fashion word here in northern California is "layering".
Old Sep 15th, 2002, 04:07 PM
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I agree with George about focusing on Monterey and Camel. In addition to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, check out 17 Mile Drive, and Fisherman's Wharf. Carmel is a quaint town which is gret for strolling and taking in the atmosphere of small cafes, shops, etc. I second Susan's advice abou flying into and out of San Jose if possible. Fares to San Jose are often cheaper than SFO, and it will save you about an hour of driving in each direction with no threat of airport delays due to fog.
Old Sep 15th, 2002, 07:23 PM
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Don't miss Big Sur!! From Carmel it's only about 45 minutes to Nepenthe's for lunch and you will get a feel for the unique coastline with the mountains going into the sea. A really special place and I think worth the time to see.
Absolutely spectacular views!
Old Sep 15th, 2002, 07:58 PM
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I also think you could make the drive down to BIg Sur, perhaps as far as Julia Pheiffer (sp) Park perhaps on Friday. You would enjoy some of Big Sur and a nice hike, easily done that day. Parts of Thursday and Saturday could be spent exploring Monterey, PG and Carmel. Just prioritize those sights you most want to see to make the be of the time you do have. The Central Coast is best savored rather than rushed but it is possible on your schedule. Have fun whatever you decide.
Old Sep 15th, 2002, 09:17 PM
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I've been in cold rain during October while driving from San Francisco to Santa Cruz. It was a miserable drive.
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 02:44 AM
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No one has alluded to the fact that the drive to Big Sur can be intimidating.

Going south, the ocean is down the cliff on your right. It's a 25-35MPH drive, and you're sharing the road with motor homes and the like.

If you're comfortable with that kind of driving, fine. It's the most intimidating piece of 2-lane highway I ever drove, and I was going north (the easier route.)
Old Sep 16th, 2002, 08:14 AM
J Correa
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Yes, Hwy 1 south of Carmel can be intimidating to drivers who are not used to 2-lane highways, and is definitely something to consider. Personally, I love that road, but I would not take it if there is a storm.
Old Sep 17th, 2002, 07:46 AM
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If you had to pick one place to eat lunch in Big Sur, which would you pick: Rocky Point, Ventana, or Nepenthe's?
Old Sep 17th, 2002, 06:42 PM
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Thanks for all the suggestions! I am also interested in the best place to eat at Big Sur if we go down there. Also,ideas for nice accommodations in Carmel/Monteray for 2 nites?
Old Sep 17th, 2002, 07:03 PM
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I'm not a huge fan of Nepenthe. Views are nice but it gets very crowded (even in Oct.) and the food frankly is so so. Rocky Point is one of my favorite places to have a glass of wine and a snack sitting outside on a nice day. For really good food try the Rio Grill in the center at the Carmel Valley, Hwy One intersection. (near Safeway/Baker's Square). Another favorite is a drink by an outside firepit at the Inn at Spanish Bay. At sunset the bagpiper comes across the 18th green. Very cool.

For the best views anywhere go to Point Lobos State Reserve, just south of Carmel. Park on the road and walk the 6 mile perimeter hike. It's been called the most beautiful meeting of land and sea.
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