California coast 1st week in July

May 19th, 2006, 10:24 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 9
California coast 1st week in July

I am looking for a California vacation for my wife and I the first week a July. I am having trouble choosing between SF-LA, SD-LA or just one of the cities. There are some terrific posts on this site, but with so many options my head is spinning. I am hoping I can get some itinerary,lodging and even restaurant suggestions tailored to our specific situation. We would fly in either Friday night June 30 or Saturday morning July 1. We would look to fly home Thursday morning.

To give you and idea about us, we generally dislike crowds, like baseball(looks like the Dodgers are the most practical choice), if given a choice between a good sports bar and a 5 star restaurant, we'd choose the sports bar. Like seafood, but again would prefer a "shack" to a fine dining experience. We generally like chillin' drinks on the coast are our speed. Not much into museums or amusement parks. Like beach and nature in general, but want to hit some tourist traps. We generally stay in moderate full service properties, usually Hilton/Embassy. Specifically some things that have caught my eye are GG bridge, SD zoo, whale watching, Hollywood Park, baseball venues, Walk of Fame, Universal Studios, Alcatraz. Also wouldn't mind seeing a good fireworks display on the fourth.

As you can tell I am confused. Any help is much appreciated.

ABC123 is offline  
May 19th, 2006, 02:35 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,653
You're hitting 4th of July so you'd need to book NOW for anything on the coast on Fri Sat Sun and probably Mon. L.A./Hollywood should be no problem. Not sure about SF that wkd.

If there is good service to Burbank from your city, I would fly into San Francisco or Oakland, spend Sat and sun there, try to find something down in Santa Barbara for Monday, head to Hollywood (Hollywood Renaissance Hotel) on Tuesday (Dodger games Tues/Wed that week). Fly home from Burbank.
joesorce is offline  
May 19th, 2006, 03:04 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 36
If I had a short time here I would not try to do both S. and N. California. It will take you a full day to get from one "end" to the other.(once in S. Cal. there will be traffic) Also, there is a very different "feel" between the two ends.
You could land in Oakland or S.F. IF you want to do San Francisco.(make reservations NOW) If you are not interested in a cool, foggy place don't go to S.F. in July. You can travel up the coast for a more affordable and less busy experience. Mendocino on the ocean, Fort Bragg-less expensive. Then inland to the MAGNIFICENT redwood forests and a night in Eureka. You could do this nicely in 4-5 days and feel relaxed at the end.
S. California is exciting. It is busy and crowded and more what the movies portray.
artjoanne is offline  
May 19th, 2006, 07:59 PM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 117
I highly recommend Monterey/Carmel area. It is about 2 hours drive down from SF. It probably has the most beautiful coast in CA. I'd recommend staying at Mission Ranch in Carmel, which is owned by Clint Eastwood. Nothing fancy, just natural beauty at a very reasonable price. There are many wineries in the area. Most of them have lovely settings. Some wine tasting/education + free BBQ is worth a tour.

I wouldn't go to southern CA for such a short period. Save it for another trip. Redwood/SF/Carmel would be plenty.

If you fly to LA instead of SF, do make a stop in south Orange County. Spend a night or two in Laguna Beach. Visit Crystal Cove, hike in the wilderness parks, go to a show (OC Performing Arts Center, or Pageant of the Masters) like a local, skip Disneyland.

Have fun!
2fly is offline  
May 19th, 2006, 08:52 PM
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You could check out flying into SJC (San Jose). Easy to get to the Monterey Bay from there: 30 - 40 minutes to Santa Cruz, a little over an hour to Monterey. And you could spend 2 or 3 nights in San Francisco, which is only an hour from SJC. Too cool in the city? It will be warmer in Palo Alto or Los Gatos. Both great spots.
May 20th, 2006, 09:46 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 9
Thank you for your replies, it is a big help. Any input on where we want to be on the fourth for a top notch fireworks display?
ABC123 is offline  
May 21st, 2006, 10:18 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 117
Now you are talking about Disneyland. They have fabulous firework every night in summer. I have not seen it. But everyone says it is the best. I would assume that it is even better on July 4th. Here is another thing I heard. You even don't have to pay the hefty admission to see it. Just park on top of their parking structure...

The most interesting firework watching experience I've had is watcing it from the above. I was flying into LA on the evening of 7/4, got to see all the firework in the county.

If you do SD-LA, I'd recommend flying into Santa Ana/Orange County. Use Orange County as your base. You won't have too long drive either way north or south. Nothing is worse than coming from SD and trying to catch a flight in LAX, in the 15mph traffic - talking about life in SoCal.
2fly is offline  
May 21st, 2006, 10:40 AM
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This is in case you're going to be in North CA. There are good fireworks displays on the San Francisco Bay, although sometimes they are "fogged out". If that's the case, there are two in the San Jose area (no fog): downtown San Jose and at Paramount's Great America in Santa Clara. Also I think Shoreline in Mountain View has a concert (classical music maybe), then fireworks set to the music. I think the Santa Cruz area has one or two fireworks displays.
May 22nd, 2006, 10:23 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 4,108
Well, I'd start off in San Diego, stay in Pacific Beach area, eat at Joe's Crab Shack, visit the zoo, and taking in a Padre's game, if they are in town. Then move up the coast and take the Catalina Express to Avalon and hang out there the rest of the time, snorkeling, kayaking, eating fresh fish on the pier, kicking back some buffalo milk (an alcoholic delight)and enjoying the fireworks. Avalon has five bars (one sports, on karaoke), all within walking distance from one another.
Surfergirl is offline  
May 23rd, 2006, 04:06 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 20,764
Somehow I don't think there's baseball in the Carmel area; other than that, it's lovely. However, there are the crowds... But you'll find them also in any of the cities you mention.

How about San Diego, staying on Coronado Island? That would get you a very nice beach and baseball, plus plenty of laid-back restaurants and sports bars.

Just one question: if you dislike crowds, how do you manage ballgames?
Underhill is offline  
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