California coast

Jan 25th, 2009, 07:00 AM
Original Poster
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California coast

My wife and I are planning a road trip on Oct 28th for 10 days. We are planning to start up around San Francisco, head up north to Napa/Sonoma and then head south down the coast. We'd like to see Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur and continue down to LA and finally end in San Deigo. I'm looking for any adive on where to stop along the way, places to eat and must sees.
joedina is offline  
Jan 25th, 2009, 07:16 AM
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Two of the posts in this group will give you some ideas.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Jan 25th, 2009, 08:46 AM
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In Big Sur, check out Sierra Mar @ the Post Ranch Inn, for a casual meal with gorgeous views, Nepenthe is very nice. We had lunch at Nepenthe last month and desserts at Sierra Mar. ***kim***
kimamom is offline  
Jan 25th, 2009, 09:00 AM
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If you like to be active, I highly recommend Monterey Bay Kayaks down in Monterey. I was out there this past October and had beautiful weather and was SO glad I rented the kayak. It is $30 for the full day rental and they give you all the equipment you need, including the wet suit. Of course, you do not need to spend a full day. I was out for about 3-4 hours and it was plenty of time for me. You are almost certain to see the sea lions and otter up close in their natural habitat and you get a nice view of the coast as you paddle along. The water was pretty calm and not too challenging at all for this novice. Keep in mind that, by law, you need to keep a certain distance from the otters, sea lions, birds, and so forth because it is a protected sanctuary. I believe this distance was 100 or 150 feet but I may be wrong. Of course, they will often be curious and swim right up to you, beyond your control. As long as you are careful and do your best not to get too close to them you should be fine, though... and it is a great experience.
Shandy1977 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2009, 11:59 AM
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If you are interested in California history, visit some of the historic missions along the way. Places such as Santa Barbara, Monterey, Ventura, etc.
Also if you are going into Napa/Sonoma for wine, be sure to check out some of the other wine regions along your drive...Monterey, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Santa Maria and Santa Barbara.
Several parks in Big Sur area where you can do day hikes.
Eating, Villa Creek or Artisan in Paso Robles; Sow's Ear oe Brambles in Cambria, Enterprize Fish House, Palace Grill, Bay Cafe in Santa Barbara.
boom_boom is offline  
Jan 25th, 2009, 02:22 PM
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I have to second the suggustion of visiting the California Missions. You can get a list and check out the ones that are also located in the towns you will be visiting. San Barabara is a beautiful mission.
nanabee is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 09:00 AM
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The Carmel Mission is very pretty. We kayaked this past May and rented from Adventures by the Sea, it was lots of fun. We rented two doubles and a single and spent the entire afternoon out on the water. ***kim***
kimamom is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 01:01 PM
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Halfway between LA and SD, plan a half day including lunch or sunset cocktails in Laguna Beach at Las Brisas-- definitely the quintessential though upscale beach town, and Las Brisas and the oceanside park adjoining it northerly is the best.

aliced is offline  
Jan 26th, 2009, 09:56 PM
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if you want a truly beautiful beach when you get down south look up either crescent bay or 1000 steps(aka 12th street) in laguna. keep in mind if if you choose 1000 steps there is a reason it is called that, pack lightly.
itrichs is offline  
Jan 27th, 2009, 04:53 AM
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All great ideas, but the driving is MUCH easier if you travel south to north.

Many of the most scenic parts of the Coast Highway are along cliffs, and the driver will enjoy them a lot more if s/he doesn't have to worry about driving over the side. The northbound lanes are pretty much invariably on the "inside" where you can let your eyes if not your attention wander to the scenery.
Ackislander is offline  
Jan 28th, 2009, 05:37 PM
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"but the driving is MUCH easier if you travel south to north."

It might be easier but not nearly as dramatic. Unless you're a total wimp, don't let this bother you.

It's also a lot easier to pull out into the viewpoints if you are driving north to south.
Supercilious is offline  
Jan 29th, 2009, 07:12 AM
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Actually, heading north on Hwy 1 from Big Sur all the way up to SF is more scenic traveling north. There are some scenes around the Bixby Bridge, and some neat cliffs on the San Mateo Co coast that are not visable if you are heading south.

ALSO - if you head south, the sun will be in your face in late October - that makes a BIG difference. We live in San Mateo & drive up & down the coast from Half Moon Bay to about Davenport several times a year as a short day trip. The north route is much more scenic because of the sun thing.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 29th, 2009, 09:07 AM
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In Half Moon Bay, lunch at the Flying Fish (on 92 close to the hwy 1 intersection).

I'm partial to La Purissima Mission.

For a different museum, the Museum of Jurassic Technology in LA, which has nothing to do with dinosaurs.

I find Sonoma more interesting than Napa. The town itself has a nice square, and the Jack London State Park is worth a visit.
Michael is online now  
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