Driving California's Coast

May 9th, 2004, 09:02 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2004
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Driving California's Coast

My husband and I are planning a 10-14 day trip along the Pacific Coast Hwy (Hwy 1) (from San Diego to Mendocino) in late August. We'd appreciate any suggestions on not-to-miss sites, places to stay (B&B/Inns), and/or great restaruants.We have a guidebook, so we're looking for some "hidden gems." We'd also appreciate any advice on how long we should stay in each destination. Many thanks!!
potato8 is offline  
May 9th, 2004, 09:53 AM
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Don't take this negatively, but this post comes up daily on Fodors. If you would do a search on California with the same header, you would get more information than you would know what to do with. There is really no reason to keep rehashing the same stops and attractions.

Curious is offline  
May 9th, 2004, 09:56 AM
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We did this trip one year, from San Diego to Seattle. What a great trip. There was a place in Bodega Bay(just outside of San Francisco) that was lovely. I think it was called the Bodega Bay Inn. We stayed there after we left SF...maybe a few hours away? Not sure. You aren't going to Oregon, but we also stayed in a place called THE Viking Inn right on the ocean. I would have to look up the city. Great ocean town. (it was before Astoria) You should get lots of info on this trip.
Carol47 is offline  
May 9th, 2004, 11:29 AM
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The Elk Cove Inn just above Gualala in the little town of Elk is lovely. This little town is wonderful and has spectacular ocean views. Website: www.elkcoveinn.com
tcapp is offline  
May 9th, 2004, 02:47 PM
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Curious has a point. Check out Frommer's destinations and then click his favorites.
jimshep is offline  
May 12th, 2004, 08:23 AM
Join Date: May 2003
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To potato8!
We, my friend and I (from Finland), did this trip last spring.
Pacific Coast Hwy will stay in our memories forever!!
We stayed at a motel, called Sea Side Motel, in a small and cosy town called Cayucos. Don't miss that! Their patio is fabulos.
I hope you and your husband have a great trip. I wish I could be there too!
Monilonilei is offline  
May 12th, 2004, 08:34 AM
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We recently stayed at the whale Watch Inn in Achor Bay, just outside of Gualala and really enjoyed it - terrific views of the bay from the room.
GloriaE is offline  
May 12th, 2004, 11:38 AM
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We stayed at The Crystal Pier Inn in San Diego.They are small cottages built right on the pier.You literally have the waves lapping at your bedrm windows. A wonderful,different kind of place to stay, but not cheap. I would suggest cooking dinner at your fully kitchen equipped cottage to save on the extra expense of your lodging instead of going out to dinner.I THINK its on Mission Beach right on the boardwalk.You can watch the surfers from your patio not to mention an awesome sunset.
jreed is offline  
May 12th, 2004, 05:59 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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The Crystal Pier is at Pacific Beach, rather than Mission Beach, and I enjoyed it greatly too. The sunsets were indeed fantastic, and sitting on the cottage's deck literally above the surf was great. I especially remember all the people doing Tai Chi on the beach at dawn. The place has been there for many, many years, and the cottages might be too old and funky for some, but I found it delightfully different.

You must not miss Big Sur, one of the most beautiful places on earth, on this trip. Plan on nursing drinks at the terrace at Nepenthe restaurant there for a fantastic view which you shouldn't pass by, but I wouldn't eat there. For lunch, go just north a very little way and drive up the hill to the Ventana Inn and eat outside at the deck of their restaurant Cielo for a higher elevation, quite different but no less stunning view than Nepenthe's, with much better food and service.

If you are open to older, funkier places which are unique to the area and offer a distinctive experience, like the Crystal Pier, try Deetjen's Big Sur Inn. Type its name in the search box for much more past discussion of it here (some of it by me,) check out their beautiful web site at www.deetjens.com, and the reviews at tripadvisor.com if you might be interested. Unlike the Crystal Pier, Deetjen's has an outstanding restaurant enjoyed even by many which many who might find the inn's enormously atmospheric accomodations a little too ancient and picturesque (personally, I love them.) Dinner is candlelit in old wooden rooms, very romantic.

Among other places recopmmended above, I have stayed at the Whale Watch at Gualala on the Mendocino coast, and have heard good things about the Elk Cove Inn at Elk. Whale Watch is quite luxurious, and the views down the coast are terrific, as I understand they are at the Elk Cove Inn. Elk is a wonderful little town at a particularly spectacular spot on the coast. The Agate Cove Inn in Mendocino, where I've also stayed, was delightful. It is on the ocean, but also within walking distance of the center of the very picturesque town of Mendocino, which has some excellent restaurants. We sighted many whales just while eating in the Agate Cove's breakfast room.

But if you are willing to pay for them and can grab them, for my money the most dramatically situated (right over whitewater surf, opposite sea stacks) and romantic accommodations I've seen on the Pacific Coast are the Sea Castle and Cliffside units at the Greenwood Pier Inn in Elk. www.greenwoodpierinn.com. (The rest of the units at this inn are recommendable, but not as extraordinary.) While pricey, they are not nearly as much so as the only rooms (I haven't seen them myself) which might be better, the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, which was voted one of the two best hotels in the world by the readers of Conde Nast Traveler magazine. If you can afford it....www.postranchinn.com.
johncharles is offline  
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