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jhesser1 Jan 12th, 2012 06:43 AM

California Road Trip - San Fran, Drive Highway 1, LA
My husband and I are planning a week long trip to California in July. His friend is getting married in LA so we plan on flying out the weekend before and taking a week off to travel. Our thought at this point is to fly to San Fran and fly home from LA. We would spend 3 nights in San Fran, rent a car and drive Highway 1 before ending in LA for the wedding. We like a mix of sightseeing and relaxation and it will actually be our 1 year anniversary. I have made a tentative itinerary, but I am worried that we are trying to see too much. Any advice?

Friday, 7/13 - Arrive San Francisco

Saturday, 7/14 and Sunday, 7/15 - sightsee in the city, catch a Giants game

Monday, 7/16 - Rent a car and drive to Sonoma (here is where I know we should probably cut out Sonoma since its north of SF, but I am a wine lover and have always wanted to go to wine country). Do wine tours all day and stay the night at the Lodge at Sonoma (have hotel points so also another plus)

Tuesday, 7/17 - Drive from Sonoma back down to hit Highway 1. Spend the day driving down the scenic coast, plan time for stops in Carmel and Big Sur. I just don't know if 1 day is enough to experience this drive. End the day in Santa Barbara and stay the night there.

Wednesday, 7/18 - spend the day exploring Santa Barbara and then drive down to stay in LA that night

Thursday, 7/19 - Sunday, 7/22 - explore LA area and wedding activities.

My concern is that we won't have enough time to see things in LA and we are doing the drive too quickly. Any help is appreciated!

janisj Jan 12th, 2012 07:20 AM

Just time for one very quick comment right now . . . Sonoma to Santa Barbara via Hwy 1/Carmel/Big Sur is more than a day's drive. That would take 9+ hours w/o <i>any</i> stops.

Michael Jan 12th, 2012 08:42 AM

There is wine country south of San Francisco, either in the Carmel/Salinas area or in Santa Barbara county (did you see <u>Sideways</u>?), both of which would be on the way to LA.

montereybob Jan 12th, 2012 11:18 AM

You will need two days to get from Sonoma to Santa barbara and see all the sights. Even with two days it is rushing it. Can you possibly cut out Sonoma and visit wineries along the coastal drive? Sonoma IMO is not worth missing out more time along the gorgeous coast.

Tomsd Jan 12th, 2012 11:39 AM

Fooey - lost my dang post trying to get the 2nd website- that being Solvant - where you might stop on your way into Santa Barbara - for some Danish Pastry or visit one of their great wine shops.

And while I am one who can keep the petal to the metal - suggest you consider stopping part way from Sonoma to SB - and maybe at cute little Cambria - just below San Simeon/Hearst Castel - which I would also recommend touring.

Inland from there on hiway 46 - about 45 minutes or so - is the very good wine country of Paso Robles and they have a number of cute Chateaux/B&B's - and my nephew really liked staying at Justin Winery.

Tomsd Jan 12th, 2012 11:40 AM

For Justin Vinyards/B & B - see:

jamie99 Jan 12th, 2012 11:54 AM

Agree with the others, you really need two nights along Hwy 1 to do it justice. Stay one night in Carmel or Monterey and the next night in Cambria. You have plenty of good wineries inland from Cambria (and also near San Luis Obispo) as well as inland from Santa Barbara.

SAB Jan 12th, 2012 12:07 PM

California wine country doesn't just mean Napa and Sonoma anymore (if it ever did)--there are thousands of wineries along the central coast producing award winning wines. So I join in the suggestion to skip Sonoma in order not to rush down Highway 1.

Tomsd Jan 12th, 2012 01:38 PM

I think you should drive up to Sonoma, which is a very pretty little town (the town square has Victorian type architecture) and it's not that far and it's also a pretty drive - over the Golden Gate and through Marin County. Near Sonoma - you have several good wineries - including Gundlach Bundschu -
and others in the Carneros area - such as Chalone, etc. See:

Tomsd Jan 12th, 2012 01:41 PM

And one last thing. I would rather spend time in SF, Sonoma, and driving down the Coast for a couple of days - touring wineries, etc - than in congested LA. If you do have time in LA however, we love the Getty Museum - just off the 405 and Mulholland. It's free but you might need parking reservtions, have to pay for parking?


maitaitom Jan 12th, 2012 02:28 PM

If interested, here's some more info on both Getty Museums in the L.A. area from a couple of my trip reports with photos of both places.


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