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

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May 15th, 2010, 08:25 AM
  #21
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Oh I didn't see your response Stu Dudley.
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May 15th, 2010, 09:38 AM
  #22
 
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Take Stu's advice. Just because you are in California, doesn't mean you have time to see everything. L.A. and S.F. are miles apart, literally and figuratively. Just follow Stu's itinerary and you will be set.
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May 15th, 2010, 10:11 AM
  #23
 
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Aug 15 - Sun - Land at SFO & check into hotel. Dinner at an outside Italian place in North Beach. Take your pick.

Aug 16 Mon - Take Gold Coast walking trail (look for gold medallions on sidewalk). Explore Union Sq, North Beach, Chinatown. There is a City Guides free walking tour of Chinatown at 10PM. Take a "Stairway Walk" (see my long thread). Chinatown or Tadich for early dinner. Beach Blanket Babylon for evening's entertainment. Busy day !!!

Aug 17 Tues. Farmer's Market at Ferry Bldg first thing in am. SF City Guides (www.SFCityGuides.org) 10am tour of Palace Hotel. De Young museum & Golden Gate park in the afternoon. Explore Haight/Ashbury in the late afternoon. Have dinner at Slanted Door at the Ferry Bldg.

Aug 18 Wed. Pick up Cable Car at Powell & Market & take the Hyde St line (not Taylor/Mason line) to Fisherman's Wharf. Sit on the east side of the car for best views). Immediatly rent a bike at Fisherman's Wharf & bike through Crissy Field, visit Ft Point (interior closed on Wed), bike across Golden Gate Bridge, visit Sausalito, and take ferry back to SF. Alcatraz tour in the afternoon or at night. Dinner at Slanted Door at Ferry bldg. Another busy day.

Aug 19 Thurs. Stroll Union St, Fillmore st, Chestnut st. (see my long thread). Walk the georgeous Coastal Train along Lands End - from Sea Cliff to the Cliff House - fabulous views. Reserve for dinner at Firefly on 24th St in the Noe Valley (take J-Church from downtown & sit on the left side of the car for best views). Get there about 5PM & walk around 24th St before dinner.

Aug 20. Friday. Rent car, leave around 9:30-10:00 (to avoid commute traffic) & head south for Carmel. 2 1/2 hrs to get there. Stay in Carmel. Explore Carmel, Carmel Beach, 17 mile Drive. Monterey Aquarium.

Aug 21 Sat. Take walk along Carmel Beach footpath in AM. Continue to explore Carmel. Visit Pacific Grove - shops & coast. Spanish Bay. Carmel Mission, (I'm not a fan of Cannery Row).

Aug 22 Sun. 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).

Aug 23 Monday. Explore Julia Pfeiffer Burns State park in am. Take hikes there to see the waterfall. Head down to San Simeon and take tour. Drive back up north (leave later than 5:30 PM to avoid commute traffic) & 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

Aug 24 Tues. - leave for home

Stu Dudley
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May 15th, 2010, 10:19 AM
  #24
 
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I had you dining at Slanted Door twice.

Eat at R & G Lounge in Chinatown on Monday & then walk to BBB.

Dine at Sam's or Tadich on Wed - both "old time" traditional seafood places. I like Tadich for lunch & Sam's for dinner.

Stu Dudley
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May 15th, 2010, 10:34 AM
  #25
 
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Do what you want to do. Figure out the number of days you have and make it work.

IMO you will be disappointed if you don't.
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May 15th, 2010, 11:58 AM
  #26
 
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>>Do what you want to do. Figure out the number of days you have and make it work.<<

So - would you endorse:

day 0 land & stay in SF.

day 1 Pt Reyes

day 2 San Francisco

day 3 San Francisco

day 4 Carmel & 17 mile drive. (0nly 3/4 of a day here, with 3 hrs travel)

day 5 Coast & Hearst Castle (no time for Pt Lobos), and get into Santa Barbara late.

day 6 Santa Barbara and drive to LA. Late afternoon in LA

day 7 (last day) Getty, drive around LA.

day 8 fly home

Starrs - I think you spent much more time in San Francisco and along the coast....

Stu Dudley
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May 15th, 2010, 12:14 PM
  #27
 
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Hey Stu,
I've been many times. I've spent a week driving around LA for work. I've spent a week driving around Oakland for work. About every 2nd/3rd year we'd have a conference in SF and I'd add on some extra days. I've been working in LA and driven up to Lompoc and back, in the pouring rain and didn't see a thing. A big group of us left Monterrey in the morning for tours of the Hearst Castle and were back in Monterrey for dinner (late). I've driven through Carmel several times, and didn't stop long enough to fall in love until the last time. I changed all of my plans for the next few days so I could stay longer in Carmel. I detoured through Santa Barbara to see the Man with a Dog, Cat and a Rat http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D85yrIgA4Nk - and also stopped by to see the client of a friend. On the last coastal drive trip I did a 1/3 SF, 1/3 coast and 1/3 south of LA.

If he knows he's going back someday, then I agree to concentrate on Northern CA and turn around after the Hearst Castle. I "know" how bad LA traffic is, but still was shocked at how long it took me to drive from Malibu to Laguna. But, I've also driven crazy distances to get to see what I've wanted to see.

He's not going to have a leisurely trip if he tries to do it all, but it sounds like he's going to be disappointed if he doesn't get all the way to LA. He's just going to have to figure out what his priorities are.
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May 15th, 2010, 12:58 PM
  #28
 
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My "disappointment" would be hitting the LA freeway mess just after "too little" time on the fantastic Big Sur Coast.

If the Choc is going to try to get a "sniff" of Californisa in 7 days, I suggest that he start in LA and end in SF.

Stu Dudley
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May 15th, 2010, 01:05 PM
  #29
 
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"do what you want" is fine -- but not necessarily doable/practical. If you want time to do some hikes (and not just 10 minute 'look-see' walks from State park parking lots), you won't have time. If you want to go everywhere on your list -- you can do it -- but not w/ any/many hikes.

You pays yer money and takes yer chances. A long road trip w/lots of photo ops -- OR -- a slower trip w/ time for hiking. Your choice. Both are fine, but you have to decide which it will be.

Most of us who say the time is probably too limited for the hiking/exploring/do it all option live in the area.
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May 15th, 2010, 02:08 PM
  #30
 
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I agree with the LA start, Stu.

"Most of us who say the time is probably too limited for the hiking/exploring/do it all option live in the area."
As are the posters who don't live in the area.
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May 16th, 2010, 08:19 AM
  #31
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Hello All,

Thanks all for your advice.

So, if its ALL too much to do, I want to know if I shud do the following (are either of the below worthwhile?)

8. San Simeon visit Hearst Castle
9. Santa Barbara ***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.

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May 16th, 2010, 09:35 AM
  #32
 
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If you follow the 9 day itinerary that I outlined, I don't think you will have time for Santa Barbara. I would not want to subtract any days from San Francisco just so you could visit Santa Barbara. Same with subracting time from Carmel/Monterey. Santa Barbara is a nice city - but not as interesting or unique as San Francisco & the Carmel area, IMO. However, you could fly out of Santa Barbara after visiting Hearst Castle - or even skip Hearst Castle. You have never stated where you are flying from - and I bet flying from Santa Barbara makes things more complicated. I would not recommend departing from LAX - getting there on a Monday evening or Tuesday morning and competing with LA commute traffic would be something I would not welcome.

Stu Dudley
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May 16th, 2010, 12:00 PM
  #33
 
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In answer to your current question definately go to Hearst Castle. The spanish architecture, the setting on the hill overlooking the ocean, the outdoor tiled pool as well as the stories of guests and parties during Hollywood's golden years make for a very interesting stop. I would plan a quick stop in Santa Barbara for either lunch or dinner and a stroll on State St.

I hope you figured out the multi destination option for pricing the flight. Basically input home to LAX, then SFO to home. You might want to try all airports for each location as sometimes you can get a better deal that way. Don't be afraid of LAX, just plan your flight around rush hour.

I still think you can do it all as long as you are ok with the express nature of the trip. One thing I have learned in years of domestic and international travel is no matter if you have 2 days or a week someone will always tell you you can't possible see it all in that amount of time. But then why do you have to "see it all" when maybe you are not interested in everything? I suspect you will fall in love with California and come back in years to come at which time you can focus your travel on a specific area.

I did not see that you ever said where you are from or your age. One thought I had is due to the limited vacation time you may be young which would explain your enthusism for a long rushed road trip. When I was in college in the 70's in San Diego every year 4 of my friends and I would pile into a VW bug for a long weekend road trip via Hwy 1 to see friends at Berkeley. We always had a blast, but today that trip seems like insanity.

Whatever you decide have a great trip!
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May 16th, 2010, 06:22 PM
  #34
 
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I still think you can do it all as long as you are ok with the express nature of the trip. One thing I have learned in years of domestic and international travel is no matter if you have 2 days or a week someone will always tell you you can't possible see it all in that amount of time. But then why do you have to "see it all" when maybe you are not interested in everything? I suspect you will fall in love with California and come back in years to come at which time you can focus your travel on a specific area.
----------------------------------------------------------
Well said. I'm a native and still haven't seen all of it. And there are places I return year after year. And some places I never go back. LOL
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May 17th, 2010, 08:49 AM
  #35
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I'm reading everything today and decide what places I really want to see.

I really want to see San Fran, the 17 mile coast. And see the Getty Museum and go on some rides at Universal.
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May 17th, 2010, 09:31 AM
  #36
 
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Then do it. It's very doable. I agree with flying in to LAX and out of SFO.

Fly in to LAX - and spend the night in the area

Full Day 1 - go to Universal - spend the night in the area
http://www.universalstudioshollywood.com/

Day 2 - go to the Getty Museum and start your drive up the coast. Stop at the pier in Santa Monica for a few minutes and then head north through Malibu

http://www.getty.edu/

http://www.santamonicapier.org/

Spend the night in Santa Monica and/or drive on up to Cambria

Day 3 - (if you spent the night in Cambra) get an early tour of the Hearst Castle - be sure to see the outdoor pool
http://www.hearstcastle.org/

Stop for lunch at Nepenthe -
http://www.nepenthebigsur.com/

Spend a night or two in Carmel or nearby and sightsee/hike nearby
One of my favorite travel memories ever was kayaking in Monterey Bay
http://www.montereybaykayaks.com/
That would be Days 4 and 5

Head into San Franciso for your final days (6-8)

Fly out of SFO

Total drive time = about 500 miles and 10 hours = very doable

Just plan your drive out of LA for non-rush hour times
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May 17th, 2010, 11:57 AM
  #37
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I am just reading Stu Dudley's suggestions to tour the Palace Hotel. What is so special about the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.
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May 17th, 2010, 12:07 PM
  #38
 
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http://www.sfpalace.com/History

Look at the pictures on that site too.
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May 17th, 2010, 12:09 PM
  #39
 
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Amongst other things, it has a Pied Piper Mural above the bar. I have never been there but would like to go. See:

http://www.sfpalace.com/
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May 17th, 2010, 12:15 PM
  #40
 
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It is a "Grand Old Hotel" with lots of history, a beautiful dining room underneath a huge stained glass dome, and other interesting rooms. I believe it is a 1 hr tour. However, I suggested that tour because on my itinerary, I had you in San Francisco on a day that the Palace tour was offered. There are around 60 other/different tours conducted by City Guides. See www.SFCityGuides.org & find one that interests you.

Stu Dudley
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