Coast highway Cambria to Santa Cruz

Old Apr 8th, 2007, 08:45 AM
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Coast highway Cambria to Santa Cruz

Hello Fodorites!
We are thinking of driving up the coast starting in Cambria.
Itinerary:
Start in Cambria around noon thursday.
Drive up along coast thursday
Staying in Carmel thursday night
Enjoying Carmel/Monteray/PG on Friday
Staying Friday night in Santa Cruz
Driving to the Oakland airport from SC for late morning flight on Sat.(will we hit a lot of trafic?)

Does this plan sound ok? will we run into traffic heading north? Is there more to see in the Carmel and Santa Cruz area than in cambria (we are not totally interested in seeing the castle) but are looking forward to seeing the sealions and elephant seals, the views, some nice seafood, and taking the short hike to see the falls in big sur.
Is this itinerary doable in two days? or too ambitious? we enjoy driving and beautiful scenery and are not big hikers... any thoughts? comments? thx!!!
scagly is offline  
Old Apr 8th, 2007, 09:43 AM
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I don't think it is too ambitious at all. Imo - the Monterey Peninsula has more of interest than Cambria - but that may be subjective. You may not have time to hike, but at least try to drive through Point Lobos and get out of the care for a few minutes along the way. It won't take much time and you will get an idea of what a wonderful Nature Preserve it is, right on the ocean. A real treasure.

The drive to Oakland on Saturday morning should be a piece of cake.
Probably about an hour a half.

Have a great time!
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Old Apr 8th, 2007, 09:48 AM
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Is it too ambitious? The drive from CAmbria to Carmel is, in my opinion, one of the most spectacular things I have experienced. so I like to savor it--particularly the area from a bit south of Big sur to Carmel.

But it shoud be a good introduction to the area if you have never been there.
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Old Apr 8th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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thanks for your thoughs! i appreciate them! We would like to spend more time in this area, and hopefully will return at another date for a more 'indepth' experience! Glad the drive from santa cruz to oakland isn't too long!

If we are interested in driving the 17-mile/pebble beach drive is this best done early friday morning between leaving the santa cruz/half moon area and before our Oakland flight? or is it better to do it the day we are touring around Carmel? I've been looking at a map but having a hard time understanding where the 17 mile drive is and how much time it will take...

Also, how far up the coast should we go for the scenic views before cutting over to oakland?

Do you think it's worth going as far as half moon bay near San carlos? OR

Do you think we should head inland directly from santa cruz, up Rte 17 to get to Oakland? Is it worth driving through Big Basin Redwood state park on the way to the aiport early a.m.?

It's hard to judge the distances in that area and how long the coastal drives take!
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Old Apr 8th, 2007, 11:11 AM
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Don't drive thru Big Basin and think you'll make your plane! The road is very windy and slow going and you won't have any time to see anything. So either take Hwy 17/880 directly to Oakland OR Hwy 1 up as far as Half Moon Bay and then cut over. That's a very scenic drive. But it will be more of what you have already seen in Monterey, Santa Cruz, etc. I guess it depends on what time your flt leaves from OAK.
Do the 17 mile drive on the day you are in the Carmel/Monterey area. It's right there. Have fun!
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Old Apr 8th, 2007, 01:01 PM
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As said above, I would cut over Hwy 17/880 to the airport. Leave early in case of traffic. If you try to drive up the coast further you may not make a late morning flight, especially if a two-hour check-in window is required.
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Old Apr 8th, 2007, 01:20 PM
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JTRandolph is so right - follow his directions to the airport and skip Half Moon Bay.
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