California coast trip questions

Mar 8th, 2012, 09:17 AM
  #1  
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California coast trip questions

My husband and I are traveling to California later this month, staying 6 nights. I would appreciate some input/suggestions about our itinerary.
We fly in and out of San Jose airport. I definitely want to spend time in Monterey & Carmel and want to see Hearst Castle. We also want to spend a little time in San Francisco
We are staying at a hotel near the airport the first night since we arrive in the evening. We are planning to spend our first day and night in San Francisco (where we are hoping to meet up with some friends from the area) and then head down to San Simeon the next day, spending the night there. (We planned to take 101 down to San Simeon and only take Route 1 back north.) The third day we plan to head up the coast and spend the next 2 days in Carmel & Monterey. We plan to spend our last night in San Jose in order to be close to the airport, although we don't leave until the afternoon.
1. Is this a realistic plan?
2. Any suggestions/ideas to improve our plan?
Thanks very much for any help you can give me.
Jill_OSullivan is offline  
Mar 8th, 2012, 09:33 AM
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A couple of things:

1. If you arrive early evening, I'd probably head up to San Francisco and stay overnight there the first night rather than staying in San Jose the first night. 2 nights and 1 full day in San Francisco.

2. On your way down to San Simeon, stop off in Paso Robles and Cambria --nice little towns, with a few sights to see, shopping, eating, wine tasting.

3. On your way up the coast from San Simeon to Monterey, stop in Big Sur, at Nepenthe, Point Lobos, Pfeiffer Beach.

4. On the way back, since your flight is in the afternoon, there's no reason to head back the night before. Stay in Carmel/Monterey, have a nice breakfast and a walk on the beach, then head for SJC.
sf7307 is online now  
Mar 8th, 2012, 09:36 AM
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Can you take public transportation into San Francisco and rent your car there to save about 30 hours of rental time that you might not need the car?
Do the research on BART.
tomfuller is online now  
Mar 8th, 2012, 09:39 AM
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Unfortunately, BART is not a good option from San Jose (you'd have to get to the closest BART station by bus -- I think that's probably Fremont), really, not a good choice. You CAN, however, take Cal-Train (still have to take a shuttle from the airport to the train station, but at least it's close ) if you don't want to rent a car in San Jose.
sf7307 is online now  
Mar 8th, 2012, 10:00 AM
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Take Cal-Train to Millbrae and transfer to BART to get to downtown SF.

http://www.bart.gov/stations/mlbr/index.aspx

Pick up your car as you leave SF. The only reason not to go this route is if the rental agency adds a stiff drop-off fee because you intend to leave the car in San Jose.
Michael is offline  
Mar 8th, 2012, 11:16 AM
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If you don't want to rent a car in SJ and have to pay rental and parking fees while you are in SF, an easier way to go is to just take a shared shuttle to SF - I usually take SuperShuttle. With tip, it should run you about $50 for the 2 of you - more expensive than public transportation, but definitely easier. Public transportation is do able, of course, it just requires a bit more doing.
november_moon is offline  
Mar 8th, 2012, 12:06 PM
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Michael, I'm just curious, why bother switching to BART if you're already on Cal-Train, which goes to downtown SF?

nm, I've never taken it, but your price for SS seemed low - on their website, it says a shared van ride from San Jose Airport to downtown San Francisco is $85, not including tip.
sf7307 is online now  
Mar 8th, 2012, 04:28 PM
  #8  
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Thanks very much for the suggestions.
Jill_OSullivan is offline  
Mar 8th, 2012, 04:47 PM
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If it was me - because you are already an hour south of SF at the San Jose airport - closer to Carmel/Monterrey/Big Sur, etc - I would coffee up - and drive the two and a half hours on the 101 to Paso Robles(fairly well marked - easy to drive) - and then head weat on 46 toward the Coast and stay at one of the wonderful wineries along that drive. The next morning - you could enjoy breakfast - and in an hour - be at Hearst Castle - getting ready for the two hour tour - and then drive up to Big Sur and on in to Carmel/Monterrey.

see: http://www.paso46westwineries.com/

Or if that seems too far - you might drive to Half Moon Bay and stay at the georgeous Ritz - and then enjoy the drive from there down to Carmel/Monterrey. And maybe the next day - from Carmel - it's not that far to Hearst Castle - plus it's a beautiful drive through Big Sur that you could enjoy twice.

see: http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Proper...r_banner_hafrz
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 8th, 2012, 04:51 PM
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And if you are interested - here is how to get to the Ritz at Half Moon Bay from San Jose Airport, which isn't much over 30 miles as I recall.

San Jose International Airport (hide details)


1.Head southeast on Airport Blvd.
2.Take the ramp onto I-880 S toward Santa Cruz.
3.Take the exit onto I-280 N toward San Francisco.
4.Take the CA-92 exit to Half Moon Bay.
5.Turn left at Highway 1.
6.Turn right at Miramontes Point Rd.
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 8th, 2012, 04:52 PM
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Thanks Tomsd.
Jill_OSullivan is offline  
Mar 8th, 2012, 05:56 PM
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And if the Ritz is too "Ritzy" for your needs - here is a page on B & B's in the Half Moon Bay area - and also a few more ideas about what to see. Actually - if you are at the San Jose airport - Half Moon Bay is pretty close and the next day is a beautiful introduction to the Cal Coast driving south to Carmel/Monterry - but from SJ Airport - you could also drive to Carmel/Monterrey in about a hour and a half, and the road is fairly straight forward. see the Driving Map.

http://www.bedandbreakfast.com/repor..._00_story1.htm

Driving Map. http://www.distancebetweencities.net...terey_ca/route
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 8th, 2012, 07:12 PM
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I am so impressed by how helpful everyone is. I really appreciate it.
Jill_OSullivan is offline  
Mar 8th, 2012, 08:35 PM
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I just drove through paso robles yesterday. Not as green as some springtimes, but still very lovely. Those wineries on 46 sound like a great idea. Hearst castle is great. Make sure to make a reservation for the time and tour you would like. Mid morning after breakfast with a little time for a leisurley ride sounds great. All of the hotels down there will know how long it takes to drive to hearst castle.
If you want to stay near the beach, you could also look into one of the small motels along moonstone beach in cambria. . I have not stayed there but the bluff-top board walk is a great place to sit and soak in the california coast at sunset. The bluff is only 20 to 40 feet high there.

The drive up big sur is great but it can make for a long day, so don't dally too long when your tour is done at the castle. Do bring your binoculars for that leg of the trip. Keep a look out for california condors above and sea otters below, if you are the passenger ; )

Up at carmel and monterey it is nice to check the local tide tables and hit the tidepools at asilomar at low tide. Point lobos, as others have said, is lovely, too. Nice easy hiking trails with great views. The aquarium is wonderful. Go near opening time if possible.

If you drive by moss landing on hwy 1 on your way north, phil's is a great spot for luch or dinner
http://philsfishmarket.com/

Half moon bay is a great spot on the coast for the beginning or end of your trip. An afternoon flight at the end should allow for an easy mid day ride back to the airport without the rush hour.
suz24 is offline  
Mar 9th, 2012, 09:32 AM
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About the SS pricing - I take them from south SJ to SFO and back on a fairly regular basis and so I was estimating from the cost from that trip - figuring that the distance wasn't much farther for SJC to downtown SF. Maybe they charge some sort of premium for going into SF proper? Who knows.
november_moon is offline  
Mar 9th, 2012, 02:45 PM
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Here's a link to my report on a nice little hotel in San Simeon:
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...-simeon-ca.cfm
PeaceOut is offline  
Mar 9th, 2012, 07:29 PM
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We loved Seven Gables Inn in Pacific Grove and close to Monterey and Carmel!
Deb15July is offline  
Mar 11th, 2012, 03:27 PM
  #18  
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Thanks for the suggestions. They have all been really helpful.
Jill_OSullivan is offline  
Mar 11th, 2012, 06:58 PM
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There is another blog in here - under California - where we were just commenting on San Simeon/Cambria accommodations/things to do. Should provide some good info, hopefully.
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 11th, 2012, 06:58 PM
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Oops - missed Peace's note. Dat B Da 1.
Tomsd is offline  
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