Disneyland, Yosemite and San Fransisco

Old Aug 26th, 2017, 05:48 PM
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Yes, it will be pretty busy in the area but the events go through Sunday afternoon with many people staying through Sunday night so you'll still run into some car week traffic even if you go to SF first. The good thing is you have accommodations which is the biggest challenge.

The major congestion will be around the event sites. If you click on "car week travel alerts" in janisj's first link, there's a map that shows all of the locations with dates and times. There's also a PDF that lists road closures. Everything will pretty much happen on the same days of the week next year with the possibility of one or two new events added. On Friday you'll want to avoid Hwy 68 between Hwy 1 and Salinas as well as Carmel Valley Rd but you probably wouldn't be going those directions anyway. The Pacific Grove Rally is also on Friday but not until later in the afternoon and there's an event on Cannery Row that afternoon/evening. The best way to avoid traffic is to get an early start to your day. We usually attend one or two events each day and can pretty much avoid the worst of it by leaving early and knowing where the bottlenecks are. The places that visitors normally go like the aquarium or Point Lobos aren't any busier that week because most people aren't doing the usual tourist things. After Yosemite, you might not even think it's that bad

The area around Asilomar is normally very quiet but you might get some road noise that week from cars driving around and it's also near the Pacific Grove gate to Pebble Beach. Many of the events are free and can be a lot of fun if you have any interest in cars.
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Old Aug 27th, 2017, 11:13 AM
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Thank you so much everybody for all your help and ideas. There is also availability in El Castell hotel/motel in Carmel. It has slightly better reviews. Would staying in Carmel be better? Worse? Would we find a parking space in Monterey?
It's going to be a holiday of early starts but I'm sure it will be worth it. Maybe we can be a bit more chilled in San Fran.
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Old Aug 27th, 2017, 11:27 AM
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Apologies, el castell is in Monterey and much more expensive so we don't be doing that.
Can I ask why Asilomar conference grounds was recommended. Was it about their prices not bring increased pr is its location better for us during cars week? should I keep looking for other hotel/ motels or is that the best for us during cars week.
Thanks for much for all help, think we're nearly there!
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Old Aug 27th, 2017, 12:01 PM
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>>Can I ask why Asilomar conference grounds was recommended.
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Old Aug 27th, 2017, 12:24 PM
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Sorry for another post. Another member of the trip isn't too keen on sharing Monterey with a car event. So looking into possible alternatives
. Elkhorn slough would be a good place to see otters sea lions? Would we miss all the beautiful coastline? Is there a beach near by?

Is there anywhere else along coast around San Fran that we could do as just a day trip?

Hoping to convince people that Monterey will be worth it


Also there is availability at hojo in Marina would that be better than staying in Monterey? We could drive down to Monterey for day and return to marina for food and sleep?

Thank you so much again for all your help
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Old Aug 27th, 2017, 01:04 PM
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>>Also there is availability at hojo in Marina would that be better
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Old Aug 27th, 2017, 01:24 PM
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Ok other members of the party less thrilled about sharing Monterey with a large car event. Is there another part of coast that is beautiful has sea lions otters etc beach, hike. What is the coast like north of San Fran?

Apparently Elkhorn Slough has marine life especially if we do a boat trip and visit the state beach.
So I think our new plan is to drive from Yosemite to Moss Landing and have a couple of days in Elkhorn slough area and the head to San Fran.
Have found reduced accommodation in Marina with good reviews which would be a bit of driving to moss landing but against the traffic heading to Monterey for car show.
How does this sound?
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Old Aug 27th, 2017, 02:47 PM
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I recommended Asilomar primarily because it's the only place on the Monterey Peninsula that I know of where you can still book a room in the $200ish range for those dates. It also happens to have a very nice setting across from a beautiful beach and section of coastline. Some people don't like the rusticity of the place as it's comparable to other park accommodations. Normally the least expensive accommodations on the peninsula are the motels in Monterey along Munras/Abrego/Fremont streets but as you found with El Castell those properties can charge several hundred dollars more for Car Week and it's not an atmospheric area, more of a row of motels. Marina is also not atmospheric. It's a bedroom community for the peninsula and normally a 20 minute drive to Monterey but Hwy 1 can be congested that week.

There's a beach right at Moss Landing. It's more of a windswept, surfing beach and not a swimming beach but the water is cold here anyway and it can be cool and foggy in August so you probably won't want to swim. And in any case, there aren't many safe swimming beaches here. I posted about wildlife viewing in this thread http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...ss-landing.cfm

The prettiest stretch of Hwy 1 is south of Carmel. Hwy 1 between San Francisco and Santa Cruz is also pretty but not nearly as dramatic. Hwy 1 between Santa Cruz and Monterey isn't particularly scenic (it's not all along the coast and there's farm land and strip malls).

If you want another scenic area, look at Santa Cruz. It's far enough to not be affected and there are some nice state parks and beaches nearby. There's also the Santa Cruz Boardwalk which is an old fashioned theme park right by the ocean that your kids might enjoy. You can still drive down to Moss Landing for kayaking, whale watching or the Elkhorn Slough Safari pontoon boat.
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Old Aug 27th, 2017, 04:40 PM
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Listen to Patty -- Moss Beach is not a place to stay. Not at all scenic really. Main claims to fame are the powerplant towers and Phil's fish Market/restaurant. Elkhorn Slough is a wonderful area to kayak and see wildlife etc. . . . for a few hours - not to stay.

You would be jumping from glorious to meh.

If you don't want cars -- then head north - Santa Cruz, Capitola. etc. Beaches, Boardwalk, Redwoods,
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Old Aug 28th, 2017, 11:31 AM
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You are all so helpful thank you so much.
Ok have looked at photos of Asilomar conf grounds beach and completely get what you mean, and we could drive south towards big sur on the second day. Which was what I really wanted.

Now I would really like to take the boat trip from Elkhorn slough and that would mean driving through (or around?) the busy Monterey. My husband is still not massively sold on this idea.

I get that Marina is nothing compared to Asilomar. You guys are so lucky, even your not so great areas look
pretty amazing to me! (Shame though I'd got 56% off room, but am going to cancel this)

Thank you for suggestion of Santa Cruz. I think this might be the compromise we've been looking for. Really like the look further up the coast with redwoods and coastal scenery. we could walk a bit of coastline, kids could mess about on a beach for a bit, we could do one of the many hikes. Am I right in thinking these areas might be slightly less busy than other areas we've been thinking about? A bit of restive piece and quiet without the crowds would probably be very welcome. We could still drive down the Elkhorn for boat trip.
It would also involve a bit less driving (I presume?) instead of Monterey and big sur to which I might welcome as the sole driver during the trip.

I know we're doing Disneyland but this isn't really very us, we're not really theme park lovers, we wouldn't choose the boardwalk beach area of Santa Cruz.
Any recommendations for accommodation or areas of Santa Cruz to stay in very welcome.

Again thank you so much for all your help.
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Old Aug 28th, 2017, 12:19 PM
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>> Am I right in thinking these areas might be slightly less busy than other areas we've been thinking about. A bit of restive piece and quiet without the crowds would probably be very welcome. >We could still drive down the Elkhorn for boat trip.
It would also involve a bit less driving (I presume?)
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Old Aug 28th, 2017, 12:47 PM
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The coast is busy all summer, it's just relative degrees of busy. People flock here to escape the inland heat and on weekends it's extremely popular with Bay Area residents being so close.

You could stop at Elkhorn Slough on your way from Pacific Grove to San Francisco so that you don't have to drive back again.

I'm not familiar with accommodations in Santa Cruz so don't have specific recommendations. Capitola is a cute town if you don't want to be right in Santa Cruz.
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Old Aug 28th, 2017, 01:10 PM
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And if you decide to drive into Big Sur, you can just go as far south as you want and turn around. It's a stretch of coast line with viewpoints, beaches and state parks and not one specific destination.
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Old Aug 28th, 2017, 11:23 PM
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Ok having looked for accommodation in Santa Cruz its almost as booked up as Monterey and perhaps not what we are looking for.

Sorry to keep on changing our minds about things, but.....

we now really want to do a whale watching boat trip. I'd initally thought you could only see whales during the winter months but it would seem we have a high chance of seeing them from a boat trip even in August so this is now on our list of want to do's.

This would make staying in Asilomar Grounds a good choice I'm guessing as its pretty close to where the boats go from (Fishermans wharf). Is that right?
They do a 9am boat so i'm guessing if we did that one we'd be ok finding a parking space? We could do the 4 hour boat trip and then explore asilomar beach in the afternoon or drive down to point lobos or a bit of the highway towards big sur area.

THink we'd still also like to do Elkhorn slough for a differnt type of boat ride or maybe canoe. I'm guessing we'd be ok getting there if we get up early enough to beat Monterey traffic. Don't want to be worrying about missing our boat time due to traffic.

Alternatively a whale watching boat goes from Marina so although not scenic marina would be convenient for whale trip and Elkhorn slough and kids would prob like the sand dunes- but we wouldnt get down south of monterey.

Think i need to persuade other half that Asilomar grounds is the best place. As well as the cars/extra busy ness there are some photos and reviews of Asilomar bathrooms that are a little off putting. Marina may be the opposite of pretty outside but might be cleaner/less shabby inside. (I can already hear you all screaming that the location is worth it and dont even consider marina )

Husabnd also not keen on checking in and out daily - but i suppose we could perhaps have 2 nights in asilomar and then 1 night in marina so could get earlier start for boat trip in Elkhorn.

There's just so much beauty and so many things on offer! Sorry for the constant changing of goal posts!
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Old Aug 29th, 2017, 08:30 AM
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>>This would make staying in Asilomar Grounds a good choice I'm guessing as its pretty close to where the boats go from (Fishermans wharf). Is that right? >THink we'd still also like to do Elkhorn slough for a differnt type of boat ride or maybe canoe. I'm guessing we'd be ok getting there if we get up early enough to beat Monterey traffic.>Marina so although not scenic marina would be convenient for whale trip>there are some photos and reviews of Asilomar bathrooms that are a little off putting.
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Old Aug 29th, 2017, 08:33 AM
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Meant to add >>Husabnd also not keen on checking in and out daily - but i suppose we could perhaps have 2 nights in asilomar and then 1 night in marina so could get earlier start for boat trip in Elkhorn.
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Old Aug 29th, 2017, 10:01 AM
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OK my 2 cents re Asilomar. Unless you stay at the much more expensive Inn at Spanish Bay (which is just down the coast from Asilomar) there is no other place in Monterey/Pacific Grove with direct access to the beach and ocean. Yes some of the rooms are funky and I would describe the best rooms as good motel. As janis has noted there are people who pick Asilomar over more expensive options; before we started renting a house in Carmel, we were some of those people. One morning walk on Asilomar Beach and along the boardwalk past the Inn at Spanish Bay makes you realize how much less you have paid to enjoy the same access.
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Old Aug 29th, 2017, 12:42 PM
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Whale watch boats depart out of Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey or Moss Landing Harbor, not Marina. We have different whale species year round and late August is an excellent time of year. I've been seeing humpbacks from shore in Carmel Bay for the past week. You'll get better views of them from a boat. The boats have also been seeing blue whales and orcas occasionally in addition to the humpbacks.

The Elkhorn Slough Safari or kayaking in the slough allows you to see otters, harbor seals and the birdlife in the slough so is quite a different experience though you'll probably see a few otters on the whale watch too.

I wouldn't pack up and move accommodations for such a short distance even during Car Week. The traffic early in the morning really isn't bad. The parking lots by Fisherman's Wharf are quite large so you shouldn't have trouble finding a spot.
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Old Aug 29th, 2017, 02:34 PM
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Ok decisions all made. (Actually NEARLY) all made!

Staying in the valley lodge in Yosemite
Staying in Asilomar conference grounds
And either Hojo Anaheim or Park Vue Inn Anaheim (they don't release their dates until 6 to 9 months before)

We will be doing whale watching from the fishermans wharf and then drive south, not exactly sure how far south we'll make it will just play it by ear and enjoy ourselves. Next morning if time explore Asilomar beach before heading to Elkhorn slough for boat trip (need to check boat times, apparently morning is better for boat trip but would like to see Asilomar beach seeing as we are staying there so hopefully they do a later boat trip.

If we did whale watching 9 till 1pm and found lunch of some sort in Monterey, and picnic stuff for later, then in afternoon explored Asilomar beach (for a few hours - is that enough time?) Then would it work to drive down coast a bit maybe to point lobos and exploits on foot for a big and possibly drive on a or tiny bit further to see some of the beautiful coastline? The kids would be starting to get hungry so I suppose we could take a picnic tea to enjoy at point lobos. Enjoy the sun set or it's beginnings before heading back for bed time?

Thanks for all your time, help and patience everyone. Really appreciated. Only 340 something days to go!!!! Thanks again.
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Old Aug 30th, 2017, 11:29 AM
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Point Lobos closes at 7pm during Daylight Savings Time so you won't be able to catch the sunset there but you could go for a couple of hours in the late afternoon and enjoy sunset somewhere else. There are 3 picnic areas at Point Lobos, Bird Island and Whalers Cove are by the water, and Piney Woods is in the forest http://www.pointlobos.org/planning-y...sit/trail-maps

There are also some nice short trails on the west side of Garrapata (no entry fee and parking is at turnouts along the highway). Garrapata Beach at the southern end of the park is also a nice beach to walk https://www.parks.ca.gov/pages/579/f...Web2012Rev.pdf

Just past Garrapata is Rocky Point Restaurant which has a great view. You can see Rocky Creek Bridge from here which is one bridge before the famous Bixby Bridge. Bixby Bridge is 13 miles south of Carmel and there's a turnout just north of the bridge where everyone likes to get photos. You'll probably be tired or have run of out daylight by this point.

Bring a lot of layers for the whale watch. It can be cold on a moving boat.
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