Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > United States
Reload this Page > 7 full days in California. Not including arrival and departure day.

7 full days in California. Not including arrival and departure day.

Reply

May 14th, 2010, 11:15 AM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 228
7 full days in California. Not including arrival and departure day.

I wanted to know how many days should I spend on these places I plan to visit in California.

I plan to arrive in San Francisco on a Saturday and depart on a Sunday in August (not sure which week yet). But not sure if Los Angeles is a better place to start my trip.

Places I want to visit:

1. Land in San Francisco
2. Point Reyes National Seashore ( 1 day, want to do a hike) Unless there is a better suggestion to where to hike along my route.
3. Do the 17mile drive. Do I need to stop a night at Carmel or Monterey?
4. Should I go to Santa Barbara?
5. Getty Center / Getty Villa. (1 day) Is one whole day enough?
6. Universal Studio? (1 day)
7. Browse around LA for a day? Any suggestions on what to see there?
8. Drive back to San Franciso and spend 2 nights there. I plan to drive back to San Francisco because I heard that the car rentals there is no free drop off like Florida. Is that true?

I think that is enough or too much.

And any hotels suggests would be great! Maximum budget $200.

Thanx.

Chocaholic
chocaholic is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 14th, 2010, 11:17 AM
  #2
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 228
Ooops I forgot something already.
..
3
4.5. wanted to go to the Hearst Castle too at San Simeon.
5.
chocaholic is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 14th, 2010, 12:34 PM
  #3
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,592
For only 7 days, I would just do Pt Reyes, San Francisco, Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur coast, San Simeon, then back up to Half Moon Bay (near SFO) for the night before departure from SFO.

LA, and LA back up to SF will add a lot of useless transit time.

I would spend 4 nights in San Francisco, and do a day trip to Pt Reyes on the least foggiest day. Then down to Carmel/Monterey for 2 nights. Head south along Hwy 1, stopping at Pt Lobos for a couple of hours and then on to Big Sur & stay there 1 night & explore the area. Last day, leave Big Sur just before noon (or after lunch at Nepenthe) & head to San Simeon for a visit. Then up 101 to 92 west to Half Moon Bay for your last night. SFO airport is 30-45 mins from Half Moon Bay.

I don't see how you could possible fit LA into this...

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 14th, 2010, 12:45 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 68,545
The best way to fit LA into this is to fly into SF and then out of LA. I did that a couple of years ago and it was a great trip.
starrs is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 14th, 2010, 12:46 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 958
I would strongly recommend flying into one airport and out of another -- and pay for the car drop off. You have too much driving already. You'd have to subtract the cost of gas from any drop off fee anyway.

Stay for a night in the Monterey Bay area. The next day you can tackle Big Sur (you'll want to make a stop here, maybe hike), and get to San Simeon (you should get reservations for Hearst Castle).

You could hike Pt. Lobos in Monterey instead of Point Reyes. I love Point Reyes, but even though it's close to SF, it's a lot of driving around. It's not a place to speed through.

I lose my expertise after San Simeon. Someone else will have to help you with Los Angeles. Although it would be good to know what you like to do. Go to the beach, visit wineries, eat at 50's diners, visit surfing museums, whatever!

I don't think it matters whether you start or end in SF/LAX. Perhaps let air flight schedules/prices and rental car agency drop off fees decide that for you.
christycruz is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 14th, 2010, 12:50 PM
  #6
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,830
Stu has good advice. Your plan is possible, but all you'll do is drive point-to-point-to-point.
Day 1 arrive SFO spend the night
Day 2 drive to Point Reyes, do your hike then drive to Half Moon Bay for a really pleasant stay
Day 3 Drive to Monterey and the 17 mile drive, stay in Big Sur area.
Day 4 Drive to San Simeon, tour, the on to Santa Monica,spend the night
Day 5 Drive to Univeral Studios, tour,back to Santa Monica for the night
Day 6 Getty Center then leave town and spend the night in Santa Barbara
Day 7 back to San Francisco area
Day 8 Gone
That's not a schedule I'd recommend, but it can be done.
boom_boom is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 14th, 2010, 02:07 PM
  #7
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 228
I just checked, the rental will cost $800 for drop off charges from Budget.

I wanted to point out I wanted to visit San Fran too. I was gonna stay 2 nights either in the beginning or the end of the trip.

Is Point Reyes worth while?

Is there a hiking place from San Fran to LA stop?

I gather I can add 1 or 2 more days to my trip. I am flexible. I just don't want to use up all my vacation days!!!
chocaholic is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 14th, 2010, 02:39 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,592
>>Is Point Reyes worth while?<<

two considerations:

1. Pt Reyes can get some pretty damp & foggy weather in August. That's why I suggested doing it as a day trip from San Francisco. If you get nasty weather every day (this could happen), then skip Pt Reyes & spend that time in San Francisco. Se my other post for things to do & see in San Francisco
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=35129049


2. Pt Lobos & the Big Sur coast are spectacular. Perhaps if you are pressed for time and don't get great weather for Pt Reyes - do your hiking in the Big Sur area. There are lots of hiking trails available. Often the Big Sur coast can get foggy - but just inland in the actual village of Big Sur, the weather can be great - and perfect for a hike in the redwoods. There are numerious hikes from Hwy 1 to hidden coves on the coast, which would be your first choice if the weather is good.
We stay at the Big Sur Lodge in Big Sur.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 14th, 2010, 02:51 PM
  #9
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 651
Try pricing your trip from LAX to SFO. I just did both ways on Expedia for the secod week in August, and it was $300 dollars less going south to north. This makes since because most people go north to south, but for the difference it is a good reason to reverse it in your case. I also think you could get the price down by returning it in SF (you don't want it in the city due to high parking rates). Also explore the option of picking it up not at LAX but the closest site to it. The cab fare may just off set the airport fees. Try at all costs to avoid returning to the same location as the return drive is a full, long day. Have fun!
Barblab is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 14th, 2010, 03:22 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 584
5. Getty Center / Getty Villa. (1 day) Is one whole day enough?
---------------------------------------------------------------
You'll be pushing it but it's doable. Start early. I believe the Getty is open late on Thursdays. Check and maybe work around the day it's open late. You do know the Villa is in Malibu, whereas the Getty is in LA right?
SOCALOC is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 14th, 2010, 03:30 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 3,051
If you want to spend most of a day hiking, do the perimeter trail at Point Lobos. It is truly spectacular. Park outside the park, on the highway (you'll see other cars), walk in, when you get to the entrance station turn to the right and follow the external rim of the park. You can buy a map at the entrance station for I believe 50 cents.
Grassshopper is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 14th, 2010, 03:34 PM
  #12
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 584
4. Should I go to Santa Barbara?
--------------------------------------------------------------
Yes. I recommend it because you'll get an entirely different experience from the other places you are going. Lots of activity in Santa Barbara on State Street, young & old active everywhere along the promenade, well kept old Spanish architecture, nice weather & beaches, manicured landscapes, quaint but bustling etc.
SOCALOC is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 14th, 2010, 05:13 PM
  #13
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 228
OK, trying the expedia suggestion of flight and car and going from LA to San Fran. Thx Barblab. Just having technical difficulty with multi city trip. I'm sure I will figure it out.
chocaholic is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 14th, 2010, 06:29 PM
  #14
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,592
Choc - unless you just want to just "sniff" the air in California, you don't have near enough time to visit Pt Reyes, San Francisco, Carmel/17 mi drive, Hwy 1, San Simeon, Santa Barbara, LA drive-arounds, Getty, lots of hikes, etc in 7 days.

Just do San Francisco to Hearst Castle OR LA to Hearst Castle - unless you enjoy spending your vacation in a car.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 14th, 2010, 06:34 PM
  #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,088
After you make your car reservation, keep checking the prices. If you find a lower rate take it and cancel the prior reservation. My first quote through AARP/Expedia was $408.00 at SFO for a compact for eleven days. My fourth and final find was a full size for $218.00.

If you are going to Point Reyes you might consider stopping at Muir Woods to see the redwoods. It took us two hours to stroll the easier trails to bridge #4 and back.

We were in Point Reyes last week and took two easy trails from the visator center. First to Kule Loklo, a replica of the Miwok Indian village, and then the earthquake trail. The earthquake trail is a short paved loop that explores the San Andres Fault Zone.

We then drove to the lighthouse (50 minutes) but the wind was so strong it almost blew us over and we could not walk at all at that point.
ronkala is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 14th, 2010, 09:08 PM
  #16
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 26,390
Save LA for another trip. Northern California is gorgeous and there's a lot to do. Driving to LA for a day isn't worth it.

I like the Getty as much as anyone but the de Young museum in San Francisco will have a lot of paintings from the Musee d'Orsay this year. The Getty won't measure up to that.
LSky is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 15th, 2010, 06:36 AM
  #17
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 651
I think if you want to see it all go for it. Driving down as far as Hearst Castle and then driving back to SF is about the same number of miles as making it a one way trip and driving on to LA. Some people like to stroll, some people like to run.
Barblab is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 15th, 2010, 06:40 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 62,762
It sounds like your mind is set -- but you really should listen to those saying you don't have enough time for all that. Even if you pay the high cost of a one way rental. And you definitely don't have time if you need to drive back from LA to SFO.

From Pt Reyes in the north to San Simeon in the south is MORE than enough to fill 7 days. especially if you want to do any hiking/exploring parks.
janisj is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 15th, 2010, 08:02 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,592
>>>>2. Point Reyes National Seashore ( 1 day, want to do a hike)
Is there a hiking place from San Fran to LA stop?<<<<<

>>Some people like to stroll, some people like to run.<<

Choc says he likes to hike - which sounds like a stroll & not a run.

Choc - create a day-by-day plan of what you want to do & see. If this was my trip, and I wanted to hike - this is what my "plan" would look like.

day 1 - guessing Friday - Land at SFO & check into hotel. Dinner at an outside Italian place in North Beach

day 2 Sat - Farmer's Market at Ferry building in AM. Take Gold Coast walking trail. Explore Union Sq, North Beach, Chinatown. Take a "Stairway Walk" (see my long thread) Chinatown or Tadich for early dinner. Beach Blanket Babylon for evening's entertainment.

day 3 Sun Rent a bike at Fisherman's Wharf & bike through Crissy Field, visit Ft Point, bike across Golden Gate Bridge, visit Sausalito, and take ferry back to SF. Alcatraz tour in the afternoon. Dinner at Slanted Door at Ferry bldg.

day 4 Mon Take a SF City Guides tour (see my long thread) Take Cable Car ride. Stroll Union St, Fillmore st, Chestnut st. Take J-Church to 24th St & take my Noe Valley walk (see my long thread) or walk the georgeous Coastal Train along Lands end - from Sea Cliff to the Cliff hotel - fabulous views. Dinner at Betelnut on Union St.

day 5 Tues Rent car, & head south for Carmel. Stay in Carmel. Explore Carmel, Carmel Beach, 17 mile Drive. Monterey Aquarium.

day 6 Wed Take walk along Carmel Beach footpath in AM. Continue to explore Carmel. Visit Pacific Grove & Spanish Bay. Carmel Mission, (I'm not a fan of Cannery Row).

day 7 Thurs. Drive to Pt Lobos & spend the morning hiking around this fabulouse coastal region - maybe the best along the coast. Drive to Big Sur - stopping along the way to admire the views & take any paths to the coast that interest you. Explore Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur. Chill out in Big Sur. Dinner at Nepenthe (this is a "must do" IMO).

day 8 Fri Explore Julia Pfeiffer Burns State park in am. Take hikes there to see waterfall. Head down to San Simeon annd take tour. Drive back up north & stay near SFO - my choice would be a B&B in Half Moon Bay. Perhaps dine at Sam's Chowder House just north of Half Moon Bay - nice views of the Pacific

day 9 Sat - leave for home

This might be 1 more day than you have available, and it is still a "run"/hectic schedule.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 15th, 2010, 08:17 AM
  #20
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 228
What if I added 2 more full days to my trip? Would that help?

Get LA on a Sat then depart SFO on a following Tuesday from San Fran.

That is arrive on August 14th and depart on August 24th?
chocaholic is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:42 AM.