California Dreaming

Old Jun 14th, 2002, 02:39 AM
  #1  
Dan Long
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California Dreaming

Im planning a two week trip to California in September and have been studying the various postings on this site, I have never been to the States before and am travelling from Ireland, My main aim is to see Universal Studios in LA and then spend some time on the Californian Coast withouth having to do too much driving , the thought of driving on the freeways seems a bit daunting at the moment Can they be avoided ? Based on whats been recommended to other users ,Im thinking of spending the first few days in Santa Monica and then going on to Lake Laguna to stay near the beach . My questions really are do I have to stay in LA to get to Universal Studios, and is it realistic to try and see more of the coast on this first trip as I will be missing out on Carmel and Monterey previous users have said that this is a very nice part of the coast. Finally any hotel recommendations for about 150 dollars a night.There are just two of us travelling together.
Thanks in Advance Dan,
 
Old Jun 14th, 2002, 06:18 AM
  #2  
David
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Dan,

If you can, by all means put Monterey and Carmel on your itinerary(www.monterey.com) The drive up Highway 1 along the coast is breathtaking. On the way up to the Monterey Bay Area, you should stop for a tour of Hearst Castle(www.hearst-castle.org) in San Simeon. I would suggest making reservations for the tour(s). You can spend the night in nearby Cambria before continuing through scenic Big Sur and into the Monterey Bay Area. In Monterey the don't miss sites are the Monterey Bay Aquarium and 17 Mile Drive. Carmel By the Sea(www.carmelbythesea.com) is also very quaint. Have a great trip.
 
Old Jun 14th, 2002, 08:09 AM
  #3  
x
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the really bad freeways are in l.a. get a hotel close to universal studios and then after you've seen it, get out of town.
lake laguna...it'slaguna beach. lovely little town...quite pricey. 2-3 nights would be enough. then you could keep going south and spend time in san diego. world famous zoo, sea world, nice beaches...great city.
or, after laguna, head north again and do the hwy 1 to monterry. stick to #1 and it's just a two lane hwy - no freeway. it is a gorgious drive and monterry/carmel/big sur are wonderful places to stay...again, pricey.
 
Old Jun 14th, 2002, 08:56 AM
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John
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If I had to choose I would skip Laguna and drive north toward Monterey, it's really spectacular coastline, especially in the Big Sur area which is south of Carmel. You can find affordable lodging in your price range along the way, although it may be more motel-like than luxurious.
 
Old Jun 14th, 2002, 11:22 AM
  #5  
PAM
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I would skip Hearst Castle, it is a big dreary place from the 1930's era and you have your own castles that are really old. The drive on Highway One north is nice and scenic after Morro Bay. The road to the south of Laguna is not so scenic but there are nice places to meet the people. Stay near universal studios in one of the hotels there. What are you really interested in seeing after Universal Studios in LA?
 
Old Jun 14th, 2002, 07:49 PM
  #6  
xxx
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Hearst Castle is one of our national treasures. It's far more ornate than any of the castles that I've seen in Ireland. Well worth a visit in my opinion.

Are you traveling solo? What is your age range? And special interests other than seeing Universal Studios?
 
Old Jun 14th, 2002, 08:02 PM
  #7  
joesorce
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Dan have you already purchased your airfare? Because you could fly INTO Southern California and OUT OF Northern California. This usually qualifies as the same fare as just flying in and out of Los Angeles.

Universal Studios is quite easy to find. Are you prefering NOT to rent a car in LA, or will you have a car but just won't want to do much driving?
 
Old Jun 14th, 2002, 09:39 PM
  #8  
Shannon
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Where are you coming from? No, you don't have to stay in "LA", if you're thinking the City of LA, but yes, if you're thinking the County of LA. Santa Monica is in the County, and you don't need to get on the Freeway (although it's easier) from S.M. to Universal. Take Olympic Blvd. east (obviously) to Highland, turn left (north). Continue on Highland past the Hollywood Bowl and you can either hope on the freeway for 2 stops to Universal, or continue down the street (which turns into Barham, I believe), follow the signs and you're there.
 
Old Jun 14th, 2002, 09:41 PM
  #9  
Shannon
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Oops, had one glass too many. Suddenly realize you said you were coming from Ireland.
 
Old Jun 15th, 2002, 10:11 AM
  #10  
kam
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There's a funny little retro hotel in Studio City called Sportman's Lodge that is an easy drive over surface streets to Universal. You will find driving in California different, but not more difficult that we find Ireland. Just give up the fast lane, get a good map and USE YOUR TURN SIGNALS
 
Old Jun 16th, 2002, 03:46 PM
  #11  
Kevin
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Dan,
Don't miss Santa Barbara! It is such a beautiful city and fun to walk up and down State Street and out on the pier. I hope you have a wonderful trip as we have in previous years.
 
Old Jun 17th, 2002, 01:43 AM
  #12  
dan long
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Thanks to all of your help so far,and for some of the practicial advice,some of you had one or two questions, so if it helps ,Im travelling with my partner and we are both in our forties, our intrest really are just sightseeing , shopping , browsing antique shops and nice restaurants and hotels, neither of us are very sporty, If possible I think it would be easier if we didnt have to drive in LA, so will probaly stay near Universal Studios .Flying into one airport and out of another also seems like a good idea, I may now skip Laguna Beach and head for Monterey and Carmel if I did this which Airport would I fly back from ?
 
Old Jun 17th, 2002, 06:30 AM
  #13  
x
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fly back from san fransisco or oakland.
 
Old Jun 17th, 2002, 06:39 AM
  #14  
David
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Dan,

If you plan to fly out of Northern California, Monterey does have an airport, but it is small and would require a connection to a larger international airport. Also, the fares out of Monterey will tend to be expensive. The closest major airport to Monterey would be San Jose International Airport. There are shuttles available to get to San Jose from Monterey.

Monterey/Salinas Airbus (831) 883-2871
$30 each way per person

Early Bird Airport Shuttle 831-462-3933

If you plan to drive to San Jose Airport, allow 1.5-2 hrs. If you have a morning flight on a weekday, it would be suggestible to stay the night in San Jose(www.sanjose.org) because commuter traffic heading into the city on a weekday morning can be a nightmare both on 101 annd 17.
 
Old Jun 17th, 2002, 07:46 AM
  #15  
x
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Don't know if San Jose is the best choice for a flight back to Ireland. You should probably check into San Francisco for your return fight.
 
Old Jun 17th, 2002, 08:22 AM
  #16  
David
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Dan,

It turns out that there are no direct flights from San Francisco airport to Ireland. Therefore, driving the extra distance to San Francisco airport would not be recommended since SFO is notoriuos for delays which may cuase you to miss your connecting flight.
 
Old Jun 18th, 2002, 12:50 AM
  #17  
Dan Long
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I think I will now fly into La and out of San Francisco, (I will now travel from London ) 2 more final Questions ,will it be cheaper to get car hire through the Airline before I leave here or will it be cheaper there if and could I pick the car up from my hotel in LA,and any hotel suggestions ,on that route LA Santa Monica,Santa Babara,Monterey ,Caramel and Finally San Francisco I would like to spend no more than $200 a night.
Thanks Again Dan
 
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