California trip advice - highway one or napa?

Aug 24th, 2010, 08:46 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2009
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California trip advice - highway one or napa?


I am trying to plan my first anniversary trip. We have 6 nights and five days in mid September We can either fly return to SFO or into LAX and out of SFO.

I was wondering what trip you might recommend for this time frame either SFO and napa valley or to do the trip from LA to SFO.?

We really want to relax on this trip and ideally soak up some sunshne. We have a budget of $150 a night and are looking for some really cute boutqieuy eco type places to stay

Thank you for any help you can offer
ginger6104 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 08:55 AM
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I would fly into LA and drive to San Francisco, taking Highway 101 to Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo.

In San Luis Obispo, I would pick up Highway 1 to at least as far as Carmel.

My favorite places to stay on this drive are Moro Bay (for the ocean views) and Cambria (convenient for visiting the "Hearst Castle"). Carmel is a favorite of many travelers, but not me, and Monterey is a hectic place.

I would visit Napa and Sonoma Valleys (and Muir Woods) as a day trip from San Francisco.


happytrailstoyou is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 08:56 AM
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Have you found any places withing your price range in the Napa Valley????

I would choose to fly into SFO, then immediatly head down to the Carmel area & stay there for a few nights. Pacific Grove might have some accommodations within your price range. You could make a few day-trips down to Big Sur & even father down the coast on Hwy 1 (Hearst Castle is perhaps too far south). Then up to The City.

Unless you are REALLY into wine, the Napa Valley might bore you a bit & the most "relaxing" hotels are quite expensive.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 09:12 AM
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We really want to relax on this trip and ideally soak up some sunshne.
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Driving from LA up the coast to San Francisco, isn't my idea of relaxing. And No.Cal coast isn't a place I would seek sunshine, even though that is the best time of the year.
On the other hand, it's prime season in Napa/ Sonoma in September and it will be tough finding a place with your budget. I'd start looking into that right now. But you'll definitely find sunshine and relaxation there.
Maybe do a couple of nights in Napa/Sonoma for the relaxing part and then follow Stu's advice for a happy medium.
SOCALOC is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 10:05 AM
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I agree the driving isn't the most relaxing but the drive through Big Sur on Highway 1 is considered one of the most scenic drives around and not to be missed if you don't visit California often. I agree with Stu Dudley. Depending on what time you arrive, drive straight to Monterey/Pacific Grove. Stay 2 nights. Then I would do the drive through Big Sur and stay in Cambria for 2 nights. You could see Hearst Castle and just relax. This still gives you 2 more nights to either add to one of the other locations or to stay in SF. I like driving Big Sur north to south as you are on the ocean side of the drive. There is no need to go all the way to LAX. That adds on quite a bit of driving and dealing with LA traffic.

If you want to do wine tasting there are wineries in the Monterey area and east of Cambria in Paso Robles there is a big wine region. In September you should get sunshine but you never know on the central coast. It will definitely be warm in Paso Robles. From Paso head back north on 101 to San Francisco. All of this is very doable for your timeframe.
paula1470 is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 10:47 AM
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You might look into some of the boutiquey places around the Santa Ynez/Santa Barbara wine region. If you go mid week rather than weekends you will have a better chance of finding your price range.

Pacific Grove is a good option. Check out Asilomar and some of the little B&Bs near by, not expensive.
mlgb is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 11:01 AM
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The OP asked about Highway 1 between LA and SF and the Napa Valley.

If Ginger wants to sit in the sun she would be better off heading south to San Diego or to Palm Springs or Miami, if San Diego isn't hot enough for her in September.

PS I find the drive on Highway 1 very relaxing for the spirit--but that's just me.

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 11:10 AM
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Well, here I am on Aug.24, 2010 in Sonoma COunty, CA
and where I live it ill be 99 today.
More than hot enough for me, LOL!

Ginger-do know that Septmeber and October are
typically the warmest months of the year for
us in Sonoma and over in Napa COunty
as well.

I like driving up or down Hwy 1, too, HTTY !

razzledazzle is offline  
Aug 24th, 2010, 06:10 PM
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Yep, September is a great month to visit the Napa Valley. Beautiful, warm weather, and lots of outdoor dining. It's heavenly.

On the other hand, a drive down to Monterey/Carmel/ Big Sur is wonderful, too, so it just depends whether the coast or the vineyards appeal to you most.

Napa Valley inns are generally pricey, and Sept. is the highest of tourist visitor months. There are ways to make it work, but you'd have to act fast to get accommodations. We can help you find 'em if you decide you want to head this direction. Otherwise, stay in San Francisco (which will have its warmest weather in Sept) and just do a day trip to Napa (1 hour drive).
elnap29 is offline  
Aug 25th, 2010, 06:24 AM
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I've spent many Sept days in the Wine Country when it has been "too" hot for my comfort level.

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
Aug 25th, 2010, 10:48 AM
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I also think driving down Hwy 1 is relaxing but I love to drive. htty-The OP said they could fly out of LA if need be-especially if they were doing the coast drive or could just fly in and out of SF. What I was suggesting is that given their timeframe, they don't need to go all the way to LA. Just go as far as Paso Robles or SLO and then head back to SF. That way they don't have to deal with LA traffic.
paula1470 is offline  

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