California need itinerary

Old Dec 1st, 2009, 04:35 PM
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California need itinerary

Here goes. My wife and I are going to a conference in Huntington Beach. The conference begins January 14th Thursday evening and ends Saturday January 16 around noon. We will have a car. We are arriving noonish on the 13th and want to spend the day in San Diego and then on the 14th around Huntington Beach. After the conference we want to make are way up to San Francisco. Then on the following Wednesday afternoon we will be flying to Portland to see family.

Would like suggestions on what to do, where to eat and where to stay. While we do not want to spend a fortune we are not adverse to luxury places with a value to stay. I know we want to do Hearst Castle and spend at least one day in San Francisco. Are we being too ambitious and not do San Francisco?

Recap: San Diego one day.
Huntington Beach one day,
Huntington Beach to San Francisco 4 and 1/2 days.

Thanks for all the responses.

Don
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Old Dec 1st, 2009, 05:31 PM
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In four days there is a great deal you can do in the 400-500 mile drive between Huntington Beach and San Francisco.

Possible places for overnight include Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Moro Bay, Pismo Beach, Cambria, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and Monterey.

Much of the drive on Highway 1 between Malibu and Monterey is along the Pacific Ocean and highly recommended.
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Old Dec 1st, 2009, 06:44 PM
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Would we be better off flying from LA to SF and spending 3-4 days in SF and be based out of there?
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Old Dec 1st, 2009, 06:55 PM
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Do you like cities or long car trips? It would be difficult to do both well. Would recommend San Francisco. The city is beautiful and there is so much to see and do.
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Old Dec 1st, 2009, 06:59 PM
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Well it depends what you want to see. San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Pismo Beach and Cambria are around the half way point between Orange County and San Francisco. If you want to do Hearst Castle there is no point flying to SF and then driving half way back to LA. You could do Monterey as day trip from SF.

If it was me, I'd drive to Cambria the first night. Maybe stop for lunch in Santa Barbara. Then get up and take the first tour of Hearst Castle and drive through Big Sur getting into Carmel or Monterey by dark. Stay in Monterey that night then head up to San Francisco for the rest of your trip. So that would be one night in Cambria, one night in Monterey and 2 nights in SF.

The only thing you have to keep on eye on is the weather. If we get a heavy rain which can happen in Jan, Highway 1 through Big Sur could be closed. So you could still do Hearst Castle, then cut back to highway 101 and continue on up to Monterey.

Hope this helps.
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Old Dec 1st, 2009, 07:01 PM
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If you want to see Hearst Castle (and it's a wonderful place to visit), you need to drive. It is a beautiful but long coast though, so be prepared. Los Angeles to Hearst Castle is probably 3-4 hours. Maybe spent a night in Los Olivos or Cambria, which is lovely. The Monterey Peninsula (particularly the 17 mile drive through Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach and the Monterey Bay Aquarium) is also definitely worth a visit (I'd stay in Carmel).
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 07:24 AM
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The problem that I see with driving from LA to SF one way is the drop off fee for your rental car.

Could you fly into SF on the 13th? You could get your car from SF, drive straight down to San Diego on Interstate-5 and spend the night in SD, explore SD that night and next day. Then drive to your conference to Huntington Beach on the 14th. Since you're going to be in Huntington Beach for the conference it doesn't seem necessary to block off another whole day just to explore that town.

After your conference you could spend some time in LA (movie studio or Getty Center), then drive up to Santa Barbara for the night.

For the rest, I like Paula1470's suggested trip.

The other option is to do what you have planned and fly into LA, but find a car rental company that will allow you to drop off your car in San Francisco with no/small drop-off fee.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 07:32 AM
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et-I didn't even comment on the car rental drop-off fee since I figured the poster had already planned on that when making their travel arrangements. Unless the fee is huge, I sure would hate to waste one day driving from SF to San Diego. It's a long drive and you have to get through LA traffic which is never pleasant.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 08:05 AM
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paula: my post was because I wasn't clear on a couple of items:

1. Did the OP know there is a drop off fee? If so, were they willing to pay that fee?

2. What was the reason for blocking off a whole day for Huntington Beach? HB does not merit a whole day, unless OP has family there or meant all of LA instead of just HB.

If the drop off fee is $300, then it might be worthwhile for the OP to drive from SF to SD, using the day blocked off for HB...or find a rental company where the drop off fee is a lot less.

Just my inability to understand the OP's post and trying to get some clarification.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2009, 10:11 AM
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et-I agree if the poster doesn't know about the drop-off fee. As far as a whole day in Huntington, the OP said in the original post that they have a conference there.

I just hate that drive from SF to San Diego but I know you don't mind it since you've done it so many times. But hey to save $300, even I would make that drive!! lol
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Old Dec 4th, 2009, 03:53 PM
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I was unable to comment on any of your suggestions as we had death in the family. I have been rethinking things. We really do not know what to do. The givens are we are committed for Thurs eve the 14 of Jan until the afternoon of the 16th. Thereafter, we are committed to be in Portland the afternoon of the 19th. We are rethinking to stay around LA or area and do 1-3 hour day trips and then fly out of Santa Anna, LA or any other suggested airport to Portland. What does everyone think.

Don
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Old Dec 4th, 2009, 04:21 PM
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I think flying JetBlue from Long Beach to Portland is a very good idea. There's an 11 am flight on the 19th that gets you there at about 1:30 pm. $89 per person.
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Old Dec 4th, 2009, 04:37 PM
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>>stay around LA or area and do 1-3 hour day trips
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Old Dec 4th, 2009, 06:18 PM
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While the weather may be bad in the Bay Area, chances are it will be quite nice in LA, San Diego and Palm Springs, as well as Orange County. A lot of the winter storms never get south of Santa Barbara.

From Orange County it's about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, to any of those places.

Laguna Beach is another scenic close-in stop.
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Old Dec 4th, 2009, 06:19 PM
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Forgot to add, moving from the Bay Area to Southern California was the best thing I ever did.
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Old Dec 5th, 2009, 06:36 AM
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>>From Orange County it's about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, to any of those place
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Old Dec 5th, 2009, 07:09 AM
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Fly into San Diego and spend the first night there. The next day, the 14th, drive midday (avoiding rush hour traffic) to Huntington Beach for your conference. At noon on the 16th head up to Cambria and spend the night. The next morning as Paula suggested go to Hearst Castle (you will love it) then head up the coast to Monterey or Carmel for the night. Monday, drive to SF, return the car and spend two nights in SF before flying on to Portland.

I am not sure where you are coming from but California weather is mild in comparison to most other US locations in January. However, check with the California hwy Patrol for weather conditions on Hwy 1 before heading out just as a precaution as you do not want to take it if it is foggy or if it has been raining for days. Don't let that scare you off though as it is one of the worlds prettiest drives and in my opinion a California "must see".

With your limited days in California please do not consider flying into SF and spending your entire first day driving to SD. A day of vacation is not worth a couple hundred dollar drop off fee, especailly once you subtract the cost of gas. It is a LONG boring drive on 5.

Have fun!
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Old Dec 5th, 2009, 07:41 AM
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Just thought I'd chime in (why not?). I also live in the Bay Area and hate LA freeway traffic, but I actually like Southern California. Still, my vote would go with Barbara - drive up the coast to SF, weather permitting, stay in San Francisco a couple of days without a car, fly to Portland. That's not to say staying in the LA area would be bad, just that sightseeing in that area is more time consuming because of the driving.

Most of all, I wanted to agree with Barbara that there is no way I would fly to San Francisco first and then drive to San Diego. I don't know where you're from, but figure it out for yourself. To put it in perspective, let's say you have to go to Buffalo. Would you fly to Newark and drive? Or if you wanted to go to Portland, ME, would you fly to Washington, DC and drive? If so, then it might not be a bad choice for you; me, no way.
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Old Dec 7th, 2009, 06:31 AM
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Hi, rosedr: So sorry for your family loss.


As for your trip:

You actually don't have that much time between LA and Portland.

Depending on when "afternoon" on the 16th is, you may have 1/2 day on the 16th or not. Also depending on when "afternoon" is for the 19th, you have to factor in traveling to Portland, so you may have, at worse, only two days - the 17th and the 18th.

Why not have two plans, a Plan A and a plan B? All depends on the weather.

If the weather is good and you don't have to pay an arm and a leg for a drop off fee, then you could drive up the coast, starting the "afternoon" of the 16th.

If the weather along the coast is bad, then you could either stay in LA (Plan B1) - and I'd suggest including San Diego. Or you could fly up to San Francisco (Plan B2) and enjoy San Francisco for a few days. You really don't want to be along the coast in bad weather.

On Plan B, I have no preference as to San Francisco or Los Angeles (plus SD) for a visitor. There's plenty to do in both locations, depending on your interests.
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Old Dec 7th, 2009, 08:11 AM
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Hi Stu, did it rain Sunday in San Francisco or snow? We didn't get any rain at all yesterday, but it's drizzling now. Stay warm tonight, you're due for low's in the 30's.
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