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California Central coast: where to stay on roadtrip from LA to SF?

California Central coast: where to stay on roadtrip from LA to SF?

Old Aug 16th, 2009, 01:21 PM
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California Central coast: where to stay on roadtrip from LA to SF?

Hello,

My partner and I are planning to drive up the coast from LA to San Francisco in early September. We plan on checking out Santa Barbara, the Hearst estate, and the Big Sur coast on the way up. We are on a budget, so we'd like to stay at B&B's or nicer motels. We were going to check out Santa Barbara during the day after leaving LA, and then staying overnight somewhere on the way up to San Simeon. We're considering San Luis Obispo on our first night, so please let me know if you have any recommendations on accomodations there or someplace nearby. The following night, after driving up the Big Sur coast, we were going to stay in Pacific Grove or Monterey. We're "foodies," so we'd prefer staying in a town with nice (but modestly priced) restaurants and some decent shopping. Please let me know if you have any advice.

Thanks!
ACC
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Old Aug 16th, 2009, 02:40 PM
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I am interested in replies to ACC, too, as we are planning a trip to the area in Sept. We have been in that part of CA before, however, and we really enjoyed the Solvang-Los Olivos area.

What is the best way to check on the status of forest fires in CA along coastal CA?

kcoop
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Old Aug 16th, 2009, 04:59 PM
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B&Bs are going to be your more expensive accomodations, I think you will find. Lots of cute motels, though, that should work for you. When we went to SLO just as a stop I think we were in a Best Western sort of in the outskirts of town, not cute but it was cheap (and the kids liked the pool). Easy enough to drive into town.
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Old Aug 16th, 2009, 05:01 PM
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Oh, and in Monterey I've always liked Casa Munras, you can easily do the "walking tour" there (I really recommend this, you get a map from the tourist office and just walk around) and get to the restaurants. For good restaurants, Pacific Grove is your best bet in that area. Check Yelp.com for reviews.
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Old Aug 16th, 2009, 06:41 PM
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I was impressed by the value of the Best Western Cavalier Oceanfront Resort which is just three miles South of San Simeon in the town of Cambria, and so may be a bit too far North for your itenerary. Relatively reasonable for an oceanfront property in CA. I don't recall many dining options in Cambria, but then we weren't really looking.
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Old Aug 16th, 2009, 07:28 PM
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It's not the cheapest in SLO, but the Madonna Inn http://www.madonnainn.com/ is the most unique. Another place I like is the Apple Farm http://www.applefarm.com/ . The Apple Farm Restaurant is also a nice place to have a good meal.
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Old Aug 16th, 2009, 08:35 PM
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For an overnight stay, how do Pismo Beach and Morro Bay compare to SLO? We'd like to avoid overly crowded, overpriced, touristy places but want to be somewhere with a cute downtown shopping/dining scene. We'd be spending the day in Santa Barbara, then heading north in the late afternoon, so we don't want to be more than a 2 hours drive away from Santa Barbara. Cambria sounds nice but may be too far.
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Old Aug 16th, 2009, 09:34 PM
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I highly recommend The Colton Inn in Monterrey. http://coltoninn.com/ Have sent a few people there & everyone has had great experiences. It's not fancy & very clean & affordable (at least it was 3 years ago).

You can find out why I recommend it at this link:
http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...alifornia.html

If you're not familiar with it, TripAdvisor is a GREAT planning resource.

For a really unique & interesting side trip, you might want to consider visiting the Winchester Mystery House in San Jose. It's on your way & it's pretty convenient to the highway. Here's another link: http://www.winchestermysteryhouse.com

We also stayed at the Best Western Lighthouse in Pacifica, CA. We wanted an oceanfront room and this was one of the few affordable places that had them. The hotel is OK, not fabulous, but the location was great. Right on the beach (a very unusual beach with tiny black pebbles instead of sand) and about 15 minutes from the heart of San Francisco. You can find reviews of it on TripAdvisor, too.

Good luck & have a safe & memorable trip. California is BEAUTIFUL!
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Old Aug 17th, 2009, 07:46 AM
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Apple Farm Inn in SLO is a good recommendation. For the special rate below, go to travelzoo.com, and under hotel specials, click on California and scroll down.

This Week's Top Pick from Apple Farm Inn $109 -- Coastal California Inn with Wine Tastings, $120 OFF Coastal San Luis Obispo 3.5-star with "outstanding service"
Travel midweek through October 1; Book by Aug. 21

SLO has a great farmer's market downtown on Thursday nights. You can browse and pick up dinner there.

We love Splash's mussels. Yum.

Splash Cafe
www.splashbakery.com

1491 Monterey St
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401-2925
(805) 544-7567

I have no connection with the inn, the cafe, or with SLO.

BTW, many of us who live in the SFO Bay area would suggest that you skip the Winchester Mystery House.
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Old Aug 17th, 2009, 08:00 AM
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ACC:

Pacific Grove and Monterey are right next to each other, and they're both small towns, so either one gives you easy access to the other. (I live in Monterey, and I can drive to Pacific Grove in ten minutes.) They also give you easy access to Carmel-by-the-Sea, which is world-renowned for its shopping.

I work for the Convention and Visitors Bureau here, and a number of the hotels in Monterey and PG are currently offering some great deals on rooms: http://www.seemonterey.com/specials/

And as MonicaRichards noted, there's a great walking tour of all the historic sights in Monterey, which was the first capital of California. The self-guided tour is called the Path of History. There are tiles in the street to let you know you're on the right path.

If you like wine as well as food, this is a GREAT area for wine tasting! There's a public bus that runs from downtown Monterey to a number of the wineries called the "Grapevine Express." It's a great way to do the tastings without having to drive.
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Old Aug 17th, 2009, 08:21 AM
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To kcoop:

Here's a site that gives fire status in CA. Thanks for asking. I've bookmarked it because I may find it useful in the future. http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents
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Old Aug 17th, 2009, 08:54 AM
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San Luis Obispo and Cambria could both fit the bill. SLO is a college town (Cal Poly SLO is there) and has a very pretty tree-lined downtown area with lots of restaurant possibilities and some interesting shops. Cambria is only a little farther up the road. There's a little strip of motels across from the ocean; the main part of town is a little inland but you'll still feel closer to the water than in SLO. Many galleries and restaurants and some lodging in town as well. If you stay in SLO, I also like the Apple Farm for lodging and recommend exploring the many restaurant options for meals.
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 10:51 AM
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Consider Cambria - we are currently in a cute place on Moonstone Beach, but the downtown art/restaurant scene is great and teh hotels along the Main St are likely even cheaper. Cambria is a fave of our friends in San Jose who drive to LA frequently to visit their kids in LA and the food options and quality has so far been amazing!
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 02:05 PM
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I like Pacific Grove better, some restaurant choices are Toasties, Red House Cafe, and Passionfish.

Try visitasilomar.com for lodging.
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 02:33 PM
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As far as the Central Coast, be careful with your lodging and restaurant choices. EG I can't stand to even set foot in the Apple Farm (look at the photos on the website) and find Splash chowder totally overrated.

Although I don't normally recommend chowhound.com, there actually is someone on the California board that knows the SLO/Lompoc area quite well.

As far as restaurants in SLO I like Big Sky Cafe but I have California tastes. Novo gets good reviews.

In Lompoc I am a big fan of Sissy's Uptown Cafe and like it better than many of the more famous places in Los Olivos.

If you want an old-school red oak red meat meal, then you can't beat the Casmalia Hitching Post.

http://www.hitchingpost1.com/Menu.html

http://sissysuptowncafe.com/index.html
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 03:38 PM
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I did that drive last year and we really enjoyed this one for a moderate option in Cambria -
http://www.bestwesternfiresideinn.com/

and a stop in Carmel too. I actually stretched one night in Carmel into two. Doris Day's Cypress Inn for the first night and http://www.carmelbayviewinn.com/ for the second night.
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 04:33 PM
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Weekdays or weekends? And what's your budget? $100? $150?
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Old Aug 18th, 2009, 04:50 PM
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I think SLO is a good choice especially if you happen to be there on Thursday night for Farmers' Market. Any of the places on Monterey St. would be fairly near downtown plus there's a trolley that runs between the Monterey St lodgings and downtown. The Garden Street Inn is a pretty nice b and b right downtown and if you can get a good rate there, I'd suggest it. Also the Petit Soliel and San Luis Creek Lodge are both nice. But many of the other places along Monterey are fine such as La Cuesta Inn, the Holiday Inn Express and Quality Suites.
There's lots of food at the farmers' market if you want to go that route. Or I'd suggest Novo or Big Sky for a nice meal that won't break the bank.
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