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-   -   California coastal drive (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/california-coastal-drive-1062856/)

patcwill Jul 14th, 2015 04:48 PM

California coastal drive
 
Family of 6, 4 teenagers, driving along the coast from San Francisco to LA. Looking for recommendations for things to do and stay. We are adventurous and easy going.

janisj Jul 14th, 2015 04:59 PM

Per your other thread http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...california.cfm

You will be staying in Gualala, SF and LA . . . so how many days do you have left for the drive south?

What is your budget?

Patty Jul 14th, 2015 05:24 PM

How many nights do you have for the central coast between SF and LA and will it be weekend or weekday? Weekdays will be easier to find late availability and many properties require a 2 night minimum on weekends. If you plan to spend time in Carmel, Hofsas House has a two bedroom/two bath family suite that will accommodate 6. They're one of the few properties in downtown Carmel that has this type of room setup but are also often booked as a result.

Michael Jul 15th, 2015 08:01 AM

Monterey Aquarium and Hearst Castle are two obvious sites to visit.

MarcJ55 Jul 15th, 2015 08:51 AM

The 27 Mile Drive in the Monterey - Carmel area is very nice. I also recommend having lunch or breakfast in Monterey at one of the beachside restaurants.

NewbE Jul 15th, 2015 09:50 AM

That would be the 17 Mile Drive. And it is nice, but if you're already driving along the coast, there's no need to do it, IMO, unless you really want to see Pebble Beach golf course.

Patty Jul 15th, 2015 03:18 PM

17 Mile Drive is in Pebble Beach and I agree there are plenty of other places to see the similar or better coastal scenery.

There aren't many beachside restaurants in this area. Much of the coastline is rocky and commercial development on beaches is limited. There are plenty of waterfront or water view restaurants, just not ones sitting on a beach.

november_moon Jul 15th, 2015 04:14 PM

Given that you have 4 teenagers, I'd definitely stop in Santa Cruz for some beach time and the Boardwalk, maybe watch some surfers, check out the eclectic downtown.

I'd probably give 17 Mile Drive a miss in favor of other parts of the coastline - Point Lobos is great for stunning views and easy trails, its just south of Carmel.

In Monterey, a fun thing to do is to rent surrey bikes and ride along the coastal recreation trail. You can also go whale watching, kayaking in the bay or the slough. Lots of choices.

Then there is the whole of Big Sur, and the cool towns south of there. On and on - how much time do you have again?

Any of your teenagers at the age where they are considering colleges? There are some good universities on your route - and they are in great places to come visit a kid away at school ;)

MmePerdu Jul 15th, 2015 04:34 PM

Near Santa Barbara, Lotusland, a remarkable otherworldly garden that I think teens would enjoy too, unlike any they've seen, I have no doubt, reservations required:

http://www.lotusland.org

alovesa Jul 15th, 2015 07:47 PM

I agree that Monterey is a good stopping point: bikes to rent on the coast, tidepools, kayaking, the aquarium, and more lodging choices (so better prices).

Santa Cruz is a fun stop for the beach and boardwalk (but you might be going out of your way to get there).

Santa Barbara has a cute downtown and nice beach.

We were in Big Sur recently and drove up to Pebble Beach to go kayaking and it was awesome.
http://www.hitherandthither.net/48-hours-big-sur.html
Kayaking would be a nice counterpoint to time in the car. The smell of the sea...

NewbE Jul 15th, 2015 07:59 PM

Patty, there are quite a few oceanfront restaurants in Monterey, which I think are what MarcJ55 was referring to. And there's Nepenthe in Big Sur, of course.

Patty Jul 16th, 2015 06:59 AM

I figured that's what MarcJ55 meant but was trying to clarify so that the OP doesn't think there are restaurants on sand beaches.

patcwill Jul 18th, 2015 07:49 PM

We are spending 3 nights, 4 days driving the coast. All suggestions have been very helpful and appreciated. So much to do, so little time. We have small waves and wide flat beaches on the east coast of Florida, look forward to cooler weather, water and cliffs. Best place to see surfers and big waves?


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