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CA itinerary

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Nov 15th, 2013, 09:51 AM
  #1
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CA itinerary

Hi!
I am planning a trip to California with my 18 year old son. Here is the plan so far:
Day 1 - fly into San Francisco; see The Book of Mormon
Day 2 - Muir Woods/Sausalito
Day 3- Napa
Day 4 - rental car; drive from SF with stops along the way to San Simeon
Day 5-tour Hearst Castle; drive from San Simeon to Santa Monica
Day 6-LA in one day tour from Santa Monica; return from tour @5pm and drive to Anaheim
Day 7-Disneyland
Day 8-Disneyland
Day 9-Disneyland
Day 10-home
The part that is producing anxiety is the driving. Is the drive from Santa Monica to Anaheim on a Sunday night doable? The idea of LA traffic is very stressful. Any suggestions or tips?
Thanks!
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Nov 15th, 2013, 11:24 AM
  #2
 
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I think this is a decent itinerary, but I would make some changes.

You haven't really allowed any time in SF itself - if you've been there before, then great, but if you haven't then you should really spend at least a full day in the city.

I am not sure that Napa would be particularly interesting to an 18 year old - can't drink the wine, probably not interested in bucolic scenery, etc. - so if you skip Napa, you could spend that day in SF.

SF to San Simeon, if you go through Big Sur will be a long day - plan on 5 hours of driving. It would be better if you could spend a night in the Monterey area, but this drive can be done in one day. There are a ton of stops you can make, so I would get out as early as possible. Plan to stop in the Monterey area for breakfast and a little wandering, then head south through Big Sur.
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Nov 15th, 2013, 11:31 AM
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Try to fit in Beach Blanket Babylon... a SF legendary show that you will always remember...

I also think 3 days in Disney is too much... 2 is enough...
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Nov 15th, 2013, 12:33 PM
  #4
 
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Are you planning on a drop off fee on the rental car or can you drive back north on I-5 and turn it in where you rented it?
At the end of the first day at Disneyland you might decide to go the Knotts Berry Farm or elsewhere the next day.
I agree: Skip Napa. Can you fly into Oakland or San Jose or even Sacramento to start your trip?
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Nov 15th, 2013, 12:47 PM
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If you buy a 3 day and up Parkhopper ticket for Disneyland o online, you get one free Magic Morning where you can enter the park an hour early to get a head start on the rides. This is only if you purchase online, if you buy at the Disney ticket booths there is no Magic Morning.
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Nov 15th, 2013, 02:02 PM
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I'd personally skip Napa. As it is you are spending HOURS two straight days in the car w/ very little time to stop along the way/see anything much. Use that day to add time on the coast.

SF to say Cambria is 5+ hours plus stops.

And from there to Santa Monica is 4+ hours w/o any stops. And probably longer since if you get away from San Simeon by 1:30 or 2 PM you will ht greater LA in the teeth of the afternoon commute.
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Nov 15th, 2013, 02:34 PM
  #7
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Good idea on skipping Napa! Instead, spend that day in SF? The driving part is unclear to me.....if I leave SF Friday morning, can I make it to San Simeon with a few stops along the way? and make it the next day after touring the castle to Santa Monica? I would be headed from Santa Monica to Anaheim on a Sunday evening around 6pm - is that horrible? Can I make better driving time by using 101 and only go on the PCH around Big Sur?
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Nov 15th, 2013, 02:41 PM
  #8
 
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I also would recommend dropping Napa unless you really want to go there. And I'd also suggest dropping Muir Woods/Sausalito. One of those days could be added to your time in San Francisco and the other to your drive south - during which you could see redwoods at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park (http://www.savetheredwoods.org/invol...tail.php?id=31) It would barely be out of your way when going to San Simeon.
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Nov 15th, 2013, 03:27 PM
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Driving from Santa Monica to Anaheim on a Sunday isn't an issue. It is all the REST of your coastal drive that is a big issue.

You need to plan on a minimum of two hours at San Simeon - and depending on the tour and time of day it could be 3+ hours. Then you have a 4+ hour drive from there to Santa Monica. That is 'car time' w/o any stops -- so in real life that is an all day trek.

From SF to Cambria or San Simeon is a 5 hour drive (and could be longer since you'd be leaving in the AM during the very heavy morning commute). There are MANY places to stop enroute but you won't have time for many of them. The Monterey Aquarium - a 2-hour stop. Pt Lobos - at least an hour. Several photos stops in Big Sur - 1 to 2 hours total. Plus a meal of some sort. Again a VERY long day if you stop even just a few places.

>>Can I make better driving time by using 101 and only go on the PCH around Big Sur?<<

You need a map - Big Sur/San Simeon is along hwy 1 (we don't generally call it PCH in northern CA -- that is really a SoCal thing). The rest of the journey will mostly be ON 101 anyway. Using 101 it still takes a long time.
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Nov 15th, 2013, 07:57 PM
  #10
 
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The 5 hour estimate for SF to San Simeon already assumes driving Hwy 101/156 or 280/85/101/156 down to Monterey and then Hwy 1 though Big Sur. To see Big Sur, you have to get on Hwy 1 in the Monterey area and then you are on it through San Simeon - there isn't really any other way around it.
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Nov 16th, 2013, 06:06 AM
  #11
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Okay! Readjusting itinerary...skipping Napa and Muir Woods...using Day 2 to see SF (it's New Year's Day-hope enough is open). Getting on the road mid-morning (behind the traffic?) on Day 3 - plan to arrive Santa Monica end of Day 5. Question: can drop the car off when we reach Santa Monica - our Day 6 tour is on a bus - then, how to get from Santa Monica to Anaheim? Is it better to keep the car and drive from SM to Anaheim at end of Day 6?
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Nov 16th, 2013, 07:00 AM
  #12
 
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There are a couple of places to see large Coast Redwoods south of San Francisco since you decided to skip Muir Woods.
You can drop the car at the Burbank airport (BUR) and then ride one of 5 Pacific Surfliner trains to Anaheim (ANA.
The trains take about 1.5 hours from BUR to ANA and are $20pp to $30 in business class.
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Nov 16th, 2013, 07:45 AM
  #13
 
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>>You can drop the car at the Burbank airport (BUR) and then ride one of 5 Pacific Surfliner trains to Anaheim (ANA.<<

And then how would they get to Santa Monica??

Donna_Kanaly: You really should keep the car. You may want to go somewhere that evening and driving is the least complicated way to get to Anaheim.
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Nov 16th, 2013, 08:08 AM
  #14
 
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I would keep the car for the Disneyland portion. You might get "finished" with Disneyland after 2 days, and if you don't have a car - you'll be stuck.

Actually, I would consider breaking up the Disneyland portion and go to Laguna Beach/Newport Beach on day 8. Determine how you "feel" after your first full day at Disneyland, and decide then. I haven't been to Disneyland in over 45 years - when I was close to your son's age. I was raised in LA county and went to DL often in my youth - but I never spent more than a day there. Three days would be way too much for me. And after I was finished with DL, I could go back to my house. You would have to go back to a hotel and "hang out" in winter - perhaps without a car.

I have a definite bias for San Francisco over LA. You don't need or want a car in SF. And, IMO, you can visit more sites in SF in a day than you can visit in LA in a day. You can walk to most places in SF or take a cable car or bus. When my college (Purdue) went to the Rose Bowl in '67 and we had a houseful of mid-westeners staying with us - I gave them the "LA tour". We spent most of the time in the car driving on the non-scenic freeways going to Disneyland, beach, Hollywood, Whiskey a Go Go, LA, etc. It was not very efficient, and it took several days - and was quite tiring with that much driving.

Stu Dudley

Stu Dudley
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Nov 16th, 2013, 08:09 AM
  #15
 
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After Santa Monica drive 14 miles to the Burbank airport to turn the car in.
If you need the car after Disney - keep it and hope you don't hit a big traffic jam in LA.
The train will be a little more comfortable than the bus you are going to ride.
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Nov 16th, 2013, 08:31 AM
  #16
 
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Almost forgot. Here is something I posted several years ago about things to do in the San Francisco area.

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...mendations.cfm

Stu Dudley
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Nov 16th, 2013, 09:50 AM
  #17
 
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>>After Santa Monica drive 14 miles to the Burbank airport to turn the car in.<<

So you are advising them to drive 14 miles north to turn in a car so they can schlepp to the train and head back south? Just trying to keep things clear . . . (By the time they got to Burbank they could be 3/4 of the way to Anaheim)
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