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kona514 Jul 9th, 2008 08:24 AM

Flying Into San Jose... Need help with mom and daughter vacation

Last night I booked an incredible rate of just over $200.00 for round trip air from PHL to San Jose. So it seems my mother (54) and I (33) will be taking a vacation in the last week of September. I have rented a car, and now I am looking to some help:
1. Where to stay- San Fransisco? Carmel? Santa Cruz?
2. What are some must see's? ( We have been to San Fran before and have seen all of the touristy stuff)
Any advise is appreciated.
We are there for 7 days and i would like to keep hotel costs to under $325.00 a night.
ps- I don't mind driving

MorganRey Jul 9th, 2008 08:38 AM

We did the same trip last summer.

We picked up a rental car at San Jose airport and did the hour and a half drive to Carmel-By-The-Sea.

We stayed at a very nice Clarion hotel....

We used Carmel as a base to visit the places you mention.

The Clarion hotel is centrally located in Carmel within walking distance to many great restaurants and attractions. Have fun.

dmlove Jul 9th, 2008 08:44 AM

With 7 days, you have so many choices. You can go south to Carmel-Monterey. You can continue south (depending on the wildfires) to Big Sur, Cambria, Hearst Castle, San Luis Obispo, etc. Or you can do Carmel-Monterey and then come north to San Francisco, or to Napa/Sonoma. What are you interested in seeing/doing? San Jose airport is only 50 miles from San Francisco - a straight shot up 101, so no big deal (except at rush hours).

sunbum1944 Jul 9th, 2008 08:46 AM

My favorite beach town in that area is Capitola - very close to Santa Cruz- so check it out - lots of cute shops, waterfront restaurants -

Also close by San Jose is Los Gatos
- very nice town and downtown shopping area .

dfr4848 Jul 9th, 2008 10:36 AM

$200 from PHL to San Jose? Is this on an airplane? With engines? And seats?

november_moon Jul 9th, 2008 12:06 PM

September is usually very nice along the coast, so it is a good time to visit.

As others have said, you've got lots of choices. It really depends on what your interests are, how active you want to be, and whether you want to spend the whole time in one place or split the trip up.

kleroux Jul 9th, 2008 12:54 PM

I certainly would see as many of the Calif. missions as you can, San Juan Batista on the way to Carmel, Carmel mission, San Luis Obispo if you go south. They are all different and an interesting slice of early California History. In Salinas, do visit the John Steinbeck museum. Its small but very well done and interesting.

traveldawg Jul 9th, 2008 02:58 PM

We live in the area. The weather is some of the best of the year in September/October.

I would drive south to the Monterey Peninsula and make that your base. Many people know Carmel and Monterey, but still check out the town of Pacific Grove for places to stay. Web site is Great town and has the most coastline of any town on the peninsula. Some very good B&Bs and outstanding restaurants.

A few Things to see and do:

MONTEREY AQUARIUM is a must. World class.

Drive Big Sur south. We have the fires now but they will be out by September....I hope. Stop at Rocky Point Restaurant about 12 miles south of Carmel for a beer. Fantastic views from the outdoor patio.

One neat trip for wildlife is a cruise on the Elkhorn Slough to see the sea otters up close. This leaves out of Moss Landing and takes about 2 hours. If you like nature, this is a must. The restaurant at Moss Landing, PHIL'S, has been around forever and it popular with the locals.

Beware: The San Jose airport is a mess right now. It changes daily as they are completely re-doing and adding on. Prepare for minor delays. The construction will be on for another 3 years.

Shopping: Downtown Carmel is great but the locals shop at the Barnyard Shopping Center on Hwy 1. Beautiful facility and fun to walk around. Good restaurants there also.

mlgb Jul 9th, 2008 03:05 PM

I compiled this list of things to do between Monterey-Santa Cruz and San Francisco airport (but San Jose isn't much more than an hour south of SFO).;tid=35130385

If you like gardens I'd add Filoli.

September is a great time to visit California.

kona514 Jul 9th, 2008 03:31 PM

Thanks for all of the ideas so far. I'm looking at a VRBO in Sausalito. It looks good and at $1600.00 for the week, and easy access to San Fran, I think I might be on to something. Any thoughts?

sunbum1944 Jul 9th, 2008 03:53 PM

I would rather be on the Monteray Bay side than Sausilito - but then, thats just my opinion

iamq Jul 9th, 2008 03:53 PM

Using Sausalito as a base would not be ideal if you wanted to see Carmel, Santa Cruz and points south as they are anywhere from a two to three hour drive south. A long day trip to Monterey and Carmel wouldn't be that bad though considering you have a whole week. Sausalito would be a better base for seeing things north of the city like the wine producing areas in Sonoma, Alexander and Napa Valleys, Point Reyes area, Stinson Beach, Muir Woods, the Sonoma County coast, etc, etc...

ChristieP Jul 9th, 2008 04:21 PM

I spent a few nights at the Toll House Hotel in downtown Los Gatos last year and LOVED it. It is a really cute smallish hotel and the rooms were wonderful. It was about an hour into SF and 30 minutes to Sant aCruz. it was 15 minutes away from San Jose. Downtown Santa Cruz is CUTE and very walkable with lots of restaurants and shopping.

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