California Trip Report

Old Aug 7th, 2005, 07:46 AM
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California Trip Report

Thanks to all for helping make this trip great. I'm a single mom traveling with my 19 & 16 yo sons. If I had girls, we may have stayed at different places and done different things. We were gone for 8 nights.
We rented a Mustang convertible from Hertz in San Diego(no drop off fee, $410 for 8 days). Definitely worth it! We flew into San Diego and out of San Fran. on American (great price of $230 RT)

We stayed at Ocean Park Inn($250/nt) which is on the beach. We found the location convenient and the beach was awesome. The rooms are fairly standard with a nice parital view of the ocean. We could watch the sunset from our balcony. We did not think the homeless were a problem. Actually, there were very few of them. We ate at Old Town Mexican Cafe and Caffe Bella Italia. Both were very good.We also tried Rubios-thanks to those who rec. it, it was delicious!

In LA, we stayed at Hollywood Hills Hotel but moved to the Magic Castle Hotel($230/nt) after one night. We didn't like the "hill" which in the midwest would be a mountain. Also MC was more traditional, with great anmenties.The HHH was a mix of hotel rooms and apartements. Our rooms were very spacious. Our only problem was that the hot water was VERY hot, scalding in fact. Management was very attentive to this matter. In LA we did the Warner Bros tour(great) and ate in the WB cafe which was very good with chef prepared entrees to order. Our second day in the LA area was cruising the beach cities in the OC. We had the very good fortune of pulling over in the late afternoon in Sunset and stopped at the Harbor House Cafe. WOW, what a find. It's a roadside dinner with large fresh entrees. I wanted one of everything. My boys had huge milkshakes which are served in the mixing tin. We ate so much that we skipped dinner that night.

Leaving LA to drive to Cambria, we thought it would be fun to go thru Malibu. MISTAKE. It took us over an hour to go about 5 miles. We were suppose to be at the Hearst castle by 4pm. We left LA at 11am and didn't arrive til 530pm (without stopping)I really underestimated the travel time and route. We didn't even get to stop in Santa Barbara. Anyway, we stayed at Moonstone Landings($165) in Cambria. It was very nice with a fireplace and a wonderful fresh continetal breakfast. They even have cookies, cheese and wine from 4-6pm. The ocean view rooms have balconies which is very nice! Not to many places on Moonstone Beach had balconies. I highly reccomend this place. We ate at Robin's which was very good. Most shops were closed that evening since we arrived so late. We were up early for the Hearst Castle Tour 2. We were lucky enough to be the only ones on the 9:10am so we had a private tour, which was wonderful. I wish we had more time to take other tours but with boys I was lucky to get one in. I would definitely go back and try to do more. It was awesome.

Unfortunately, my much anticipated drive up the coast was in complete fog. I was very disappointed. It had been 20 years since I took that route and I really wanted my boys to see how beautiful the coast was. We drove in the clouds all the way to Monterey. We did stop at Nepenthe with the hope it would clear, but it did not. Still, worth the stop. We split burger, fries and dessert so it wasn't too expensive. We had a lovely view of a blue bird. Anyway, the gift shop was very cool.

In Monterey, we stayed at the Best Western Beach Resort($185), which was on the beach. That was nice. The rooms were standard hotel rooms. I thought Monterey would be better for the boys however, if I had to do it over, we would have stayed in Carmel. It was so much nicer. We loved all the dogs and the shopping was unique instead of the candy/tshirt shops in Monterey. Our meals were delicious. We ate at Cafe Fina in Mont., had breakfast at the Cottage in Carmel and dinner at Forge in the Forest.

Our final stop was one day/night in San Fran. We stayed at Nob Hill Motor Inn. I highly rec. this place. The owners are very nice and helpful and for about $145 with free parking it was a bargain. It was clean and centrally located. We ate at the Bell tower (walking distance) which was very good. I couldn't talk my boys into Street Restaurant on Polk but I would highly rec. I was drooling over the menu. We did take the StuDudley tour (refer to 24 hours in San Franc.) It was fantastic. Thank you Stu!! I would however suggest that you take a good street map and plot it out because some of the street names were alittle different (i.e. left off 25th is El Camino Del Mar which turns into Lincoln) also there were some detours due to road work so having a map really helped. We loved San Fran. We wish we had more time. It is such a beautiful and clean city.

Once again, thank you to all Fodorites. Hope this report will help someone in the future as so many reports have helped me.

Til we travel again,

playmak is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2005, 09:03 AM
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Thanks for the report, Angie. Glad you enjoyed California. Sorry about the fog, we'll try to do better next time!
Barbara is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2005, 11:13 AM
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Thanks for the report. We are going to Ca. in October and I love to hear about everyones vacations. It helps me plan ours. Glad you had a good time.
ladynole35 is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2005, 03:51 PM
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Great report! I love Moonstone Beach. Sorry 'bout the fog!
vivi is offline  
Old Aug 7th, 2005, 04:12 PM
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I agree about Monterey/Carmel. I liked Carmel MUCH better than Monterey.
Austin is offline  
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