5 days and 4 nights outside of San Francisco

Jun 30th, 2014, 11:18 PM
  #1  
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5 days and 4 nights outside of San Francisco

I have a meeting in San Francisco in early September and plan to do a short driving holiday prior to that. I have been up and down the Coast to Carmel Monterey and as far south to see the Hearst Castle. I have also been to Napa previously on 2 occasions visiting Robert Mondavi's fantastic vineyards and winery. I am thinking more of a nature drive into the mountains. I would appreciate any suggestions. My last trip in Virginia was greatly enhanced by the little nuggets from friendly Fodorites!
silverlex is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 05:06 AM
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Have you been up the coast north of San Francisco? Visit Mt. Tam, Muir Woods, Point Reyes etc.
emalloy is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 07:55 AM
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And even further north to Mendocino? Beautiful!
musicfan is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 08:08 AM
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We were just in Boonville (and Ukiah and Hopland) and Mendocino, and the woods and coast up there are gorgeous! Lots of river hiking in and around Booneville, Hendy Woods State Park features towering redwoods and meadows, and the bluffs in Mendocino proper offer miles of easy hiking with views of blowholes and kelp forests.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 08:42 AM
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W/ 5 days I'd either go north up 101 to the Redwoods, then down to Mendocino and back along the coast to Marin/SF

OR

Lake Tahoe w/ side trips to Truckee and north on hwy 89 into Plumas County

September is the very best weather of the year on the coast so that would probably be my 1st choice.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 09:00 AM
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Head for Yosemite. The waterfalls will be down to a trickle but the scenery can't be beat IMO.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 09:08 AM
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Finding accommodations in Yosemite will be difficult - September is hot and dusty in - the grass will be brown and there will be no wildflowers - and most of the waterfalls will be bone dry.

Yosemite is lovely any time of year but Late summer is probably the worst time to visit the park.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 10:08 AM
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Adding to janisj's comment about the worst time to visit the park~this is a drought year in California, so things will really be dry and brown!!
tenthumbs is offline  
Jul 1st, 2014, 12:11 PM
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I vote for Tahoe and surround. about 4 hour drive from San Francisco if you don't go on a Friday! If you do, plan to leave before noon from the City or you will be stuck in terrible traffic....North up to Mendo is another nice woodsy area too. I would also skip Yosemite. Accommodations might be hard to get at such a late date and no water falls to speak of. The area is lovely, however....
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Jul 1st, 2014, 02:34 PM
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Oh -- yes -- Shar makes a VERY important point -- the drive to Tahoe is GAWD AWFUL on a Friday. Definitely need to be on the road by noon and even then it won't be pleasant. Not only thousands of vehicles from the Bay Area/Solano County and Sacramento - but construction through Sacramento and farther up on I-80 in the mountains.

Any other day of the week is fine.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 02:55 PM
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We haven't been to Tahoe but we really enjoyed the redwoods along the Avenue of the Giants Route 101. We then went north to Oregon but...someday...will follow janisj's suggestion to return to SF along the coast.
k_marie is online now  
Jul 1st, 2014, 07:35 PM
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Wow, thanks for the great replies. I will slowly piece them together to work out a route. I have been to Yosemite in the fall before and it was beautiful. I will explore the north shore but had a bad experience in 1998 when there was storm and roads on the coast were closed. Lots of back tracking to do. Did not have time to catch in all the sites.
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Jul 3rd, 2014, 09:07 AM
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>>>had a bad experience in 1998 when there was storm and roads on the coast were closed.<<

Was that in September???? We usually have our best weather in Sept & October.

Stu Dudley
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Jul 3rd, 2014, 10:23 AM
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My guess that storm was most likely in Jan or Feb - a whole different animal than September. A road closing storm in September would be just about impossible.
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Jul 3rd, 2014, 10:25 AM
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>>A road closing storm (or any sort of storm) in September would be just about impossible. <<
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Jul 8th, 2014, 07:13 PM
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I think it was more late October/November - our motel power was cut off at night and Highway 1 was closed for a few hours.

Nevertheless this time the weather promises to be good. We have decided to spend time in Mendocino County and make a trip up to the Avenue of the Giants - do some long walks, cycling and if warm enough some sedate kayaking. 3 nights in Mendocino and then the last night further south near Gilroy for the annual retail therapy.

Any good restaurants and places which we must stop at to see.
silverlex is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 09:55 PM
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>>3 nights in Mendocino and then the last night further south near Gilroy<<

That's a 4+ hr drive. When you get close to San Rafael, it is a boring, ugly, horrible 1 3/4 hr drive through the East Bay to Gilroy. If you do this on a work day, the trip could be more than 5 hours.

Stu Dudley
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Jul 8th, 2014, 10:35 PM
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>>then the last night further south near Gilroy for the annual retail therapy.<<

No need IMO to drive all the way to Gilroy. There is an outlet mall n Petaluma.
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Jul 9th, 2014, 08:49 AM
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I'll add to the chorus recommending that you don't go to Gilroy. Much too much driving even if traffic wasn't horrible.
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Jul 9th, 2014, 09:11 AM
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Add my voice.......in my experience, most outlet malls are the same. Visit the one in Petaluma for some retail therapy and save yourself the time.
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