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California Costal drive itinerary - how does it sound?

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California Costal drive itinerary - how does it sound?

Old Jan 21st, 2010, 08:26 AM
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Agree it's very scenic, but for FWIW, if you don't want to spend the night in Santa Cruz, you can easily make your way to San Francisco in under two hours going the non-scenic freeway route (17 to 85 to 101).
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Old Jan 21st, 2010, 10:02 AM
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i agree with sf7307 - I don't think a night in Santa Cruz is necesary - if you have time, then sure since there is plenty to see there other than the Boardwalk. But if time is tight and you don't want to spare the overnight, SC is fine as a stop over. It is only 45 min to an hour from Monterey and a couple hours to SF if you take the fast route - Hwy 1/17/85/280. You can spend most of the day in SC and then head up to SF in time for dinner or even after dinner if you want. sf7307 recommended almost the same route between SC and SF, but going Hwy 101 instead of 280. Both will get you to SF, but I personally like 280 better - for scenery and road quality. That section of 101 goes through some real industrial areas and has a lot of half-finished road work.

I love the Hwy 9/Hwy 35 drive between SC and SF - great scenery, neat parks, and some good wineries. However on a trip with teenagers, I would choose more time in Santa Cruz over the additional scenic drive.
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Old Jan 21st, 2010, 10:11 AM
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I absolutely agree with this. Highway 280 once won the designation of "world's most beautiful freeway" or something like that, and it is an apt description, at least once you get north of the 85 juncture.
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Old Jan 23rd, 2010, 07:15 AM
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THANK you so much for all your suggestions. I have printed them out to take with us
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Old Jan 25th, 2010, 02:51 PM
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Agree on taking 280, as 101 tends to have more traffic flare ups.
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Old Feb 20th, 2010, 02:04 PM
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These are wonderful suggestions - we'll be doing Big Sur/Carmel/Monterrey at the end of March (I hope that is a good time to go!) and want to thank everyone for your thoughtful posts. Does anyone have a favorite place to stay in Carmel for under $130/night?
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Old Feb 21st, 2010, 10:29 AM
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March can be great weather or it can be chilly and rainy. We need the water, so we are all hoping for a rainy March But you never know. Our standard storm systems include a few days of intermitent rain followed by a few days of dry weather, so even if it is stormy while you are here, the weather should be good for part of the time.
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