California - from San F to San Diego

Feb 29th, 2012, 03:38 AM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 11,375
BTW - check under California in here - and there were a number of discussions on where to stay in SD, etc - and here is a list of some of the hotels in La Jolla. If you need more advice - please do not hesitate to email me: [email protected]

And below this is a list of some wineries in the St. Rita Hills and around Solvang/Santa Barbara. Again, try to watch the funny movie Sideways for some "local knowledge".
Tomsd is offline  
Feb 29th, 2012, 03:41 AM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 11,375
And here is some info on the funny Sideways movie. It has good acting and features a couple of the local wineries/tasting rooms/restaurants, etc.
Tomsd is offline  
Feb 29th, 2012, 06:36 AM
Join Date: May 2008
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The Ahwahnee (sp?) Lodge in Yosemite is a very special place, if you can afford it. I'd recommend it for a splurge stay, especially since you are from England, and probably not familiar with classic log lodges. It really is special, and historic.

Enterprise is my favorite car rental company, for their awesome customer service. I don't know about drop fees.

With such a large circle drive, I am going against the grain to recommend you stay in Los Angeles, not San Diego. There is so much to see and do in L.A., that you don't need to venture further to San Diego/La Jolla, in my opinion.

We stay in the Santa Monica or Marina del Rey area, becaue we want to stay closer to the ocean, when in L.A. I can recommend hotels, restaurants, and things to do in L.A., if you decide to spend time there.
PeaceOut is offline  
Feb 29th, 2012, 07:09 AM
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The Ahwahnee IS really special, but I think you can get an idea of how special by visiting the public areas - no need to stay there
sf7307 is online now  
Feb 29th, 2012, 09:16 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 49,521
Hi Charlotte,
San Diego is a fun place to visit - especially if you like the beach. It's the furthest south in California but the water in August will most likely be in the mid 60 degree temperatures, but the air temp in August should be very warm. I live in La Jolla and go to the beach fairly often in August when family visit us. It is cold, but people do swim in the water and most surfers who are in for any length of time use wet suits.

I would recommend the La Jolla Cove (the sand is clean and it is a protected wildlife perserve so you can snorkle). Coronado beach has consistently been on the top beaches in the world list and is beautiful and very clean.

San Diego has the SD Zoo which is fun and in Balboa Park which also has nice museums.
nanabee is offline  
Feb 29th, 2012, 03:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 1
When you go to San Francisco I would be sure to take the Hyde-Powell cable car line. It stops at the top of Lombard street and gives you an incredible view of both the most crooked street in the world and the Pacific Ocean.
getable is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2012, 03:55 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 11
Brilliant thanks easytravller for dive info I will certainly check that out point lobos photos look nice.
Tom can you rent boats on your own if you are padi qualified etc?
Yes it is so good of you all to give the free advice it's always good to get opinions and I love sharing travle advice with people and would do it as a job if that was a realistic avenue. Glad you like Denmark it is fun but the Copenhagen bear did bankrupt me on my last visit ha..
Hmm Maybe i will look in to helicopter ride although my boyfriend has told me he will def not get in one (hes terrified of flying has to take calming pills ha) Maybe ill slip one in his drink,...

Peace out .. well im finding it difficult to even book curry village as everything is booked up in yosemite and i am still confirming my trip so will take what I can get. And I have stayed in a 'lodge' we do have them in the uk and I stay in one in the alps every year skiing so not too bothered about missing out on that but can always sneak in for a nose!!
Thanks for offer of help with LA , for some reason I have it in my head to get away from there asap but i think that is because i am thinking of actual LA and hollywood, what areas are nice then around there?
Lombard street ha it's so funny looking at the maps and seeing all the streets of the same name we have here.. thanks i will check that out..

Now I am trying to decide the first leg basically when we arrive to NY from uk we can either jump on a plane straight to LV and spend time there then at end of trip come back (over night so saving time with time diff) to new york then home after
OR Stay in NY first then fly straight from SD, LV or like at the end of trip to NY then home but it means we would waste a day as flight is from NY 19.30 to uk and so couldn't save the time over night in air ..

How long do you think we will need in yosemite for a walk etc??

Thanks guys.. happy to help with any europe/asia plans!!
Charlottef is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2012, 08:45 AM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 10,556
We stayed at the Tenaya Lodge once, which is just outside Yosemite. It is very nice.

RE: LA, we have spent lots of time there over the years. We lived in Big Bear Lake many years ago, and our DS now lives near Culver City. LA is a unique place, as it is so spread out and you really need to know where you are going. And you need to time your drives, to avoid "rush hour" (which is nearly 24/7 in LA!)

There are pockets of charming little 'townships' within its sprawl. For instance, Culver City has a cute downtown area with lots of fabulous ethnic restaurants nearby.

When we visit, we prefer to stay near the water, like at Marina del Rey or Santa Monica. Our upcoming trip we are staying at the newly-renovated Inn at Venice Beach, which is a quirky little hotel right near the Venice beach pier so we can walk from the hotel and not need our car.

Main Street in Santa Monica is a cute area. And Abbot-Kinney Blvd has nice little boutique cafes and shops.

Malibu is fun, of course. And it's pretty and less crowded north of there.

If you go, be sure to visit the Getty Villa or the Getty Center. Amazing properties with gorgeous views.
PeaceOut is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2012, 12:58 PM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 11,375
I think you can rent boats/kayaks whether you have a Padi cert or not. You can also go off the beach at the Cove in La Jolla - where a lot of people dive. Just a bit further out - the kelp beds have some good diving - and people do tie up to the kelp - but you might want to go with someone first before you did that on your own.

There is also a sunken Canadian destroyer (it was fun to go on it at the dock - before they sank it) - but I would definitely go with a dive master as it's a bit deep - and some people have gotten in trouble there by not properly respecting it. see

As for staying in/around Yo - every morning - they have a wait list for the cabins in Curry Village - and if you get there early enough - you can many times get one - and if not - you can just head outside the park (an hour or so) to a number of alternatives.

And as for hiking in Yo - sooooooo many alternatives. If you are in good shape - you can hike to the top of half dome in a day - as my brother in law and I did - but just as you get to the top - there is a great sign: Warning - Lightning strikes Half Dome every month of the year!~ So be sure - there isn't a storm moving in.

And there are many other hikes - up to Nevada Falls, or just walking along the Valley floor to Yo Falls, and further along to El Cap and lie in the meadow and look up to see the cliff climbers is cool - or going up to Glacier Point and hiking down to the Valley Floor. Suggest you bring a small pair of binos to better appreciate the great views.

And I would second Peaceout about visiting the Getty Museums in LA. Just the building and grounds are fantastic at the main museum (off the 405 and about Mullholand/Getty Drive - and if you have time, the original - now called the Getty Villa - out by the beach - is also worthwhile. But I still favor spending more time in SD.
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2012, 01:02 PM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 11,375
BTW - there are plenty of dive shops in Monterrey (right along Cannery Row is one as I remember) and San Diego, etc - to rent equipment. Here in SD - I like this shop - and there are other good ones.

However - I haven't been diving too much here lately (more into fishing right now) One get's spoiled with the great vis in Hawaii - and I don't have to wear a wetsuit in Paradise.
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2012, 01:08 PM
Join Date: Nov 2011
Posts: 11,375
BTW - I would head straight to Vegas from NYCas fast as I could (even though I love the Big Apple) - and then break up your trip home by taking the day/night? in NY. Plus - NY is much closer to you - so you can always do that more easily if you decide you want to see more there at another time.
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2012, 05:31 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 2,627

If you decide to head straight to Las Vegas I'd look into a direct flight. Begin with and then book directly with the airline.

Try - I have used this broker many times when coming home to the UK.

You have received some wonderful help however once your trip is set and you have specific questions on a hotel or city I'd start a new thread for more replies.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday and do post a trip report.

SandyBrit is offline  
Mar 3rd, 2012, 11:10 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 147
As a san franciso bay area gal, my favorite swimming beach in california is La Jolla... So go for it. Pismo is great, too. Imagine getting out of the water not because you are too cold but because you are too tired!
If you find yourself any where near san luis obispo on a thursday night, go to the farmers market for dinner. The barbecue is wonderful.
to get a feel for california history you may want to pop into one of the rural missions. La Purisima near Lompoc gives you a great feel for the Mission Era.
In yosemite, we stay in the tent cabins at camp curry and have a fancy sunday brunch at the awahnee. The Hogwarts dining hall reminds me of the Awahnee. We have also stayed in the southern portion of the park outside the valley at wawona. Rustic and fine. Near to the big sequoia grove for an early morning hike befor the crowds arrive.
Reading over the others comments, i see that you are getting very sound advice.
suz24 is offline  
Mar 5th, 2012, 01:57 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 11
just booked Curry village ...
Charlottef is offline  
Mar 11th, 2012, 08:39 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 55
I'd check out Jet Blue airlines and Southwest for flights within the U.S. They are usually the cheapest and you can book flights directly from their websites. Southwest also has package deals that include car rentals and hotels.

Jet Blue:


Yosemite really is the most beautiful place. It is a good 3-4 hours southeast of San Francisco. Best hiking in California and breathtaking views.

Along the central coast stop at Oceano Dunes south of San Luis Obispo. You can rent ATVs and ride the huge sand dunes driving yourself or book a ride on a hummer and let a driver take you on a tour. Fun!

I love San Diego. It's known for having the best weather and so many fun things to do. It's a great place to have a beach bonfire, relax on a beach (they have over 70 miles of shoreline), learn to hang glide, explore the history of Californa, rent a jet ski, or learn to surf. Learn more about San Diego at
howefortunate is offline  
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