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Good overnight stopping point between LA and Sonoma

Good overnight stopping point between LA and Sonoma

Old Aug 29th, 2002, 07:30 AM
  #1  
karen
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Good overnight stopping point between LA and Sonoma

We will be in LA next summer, and would like to drive up to Sonoma and stay for 3 nights.

I'd prefer not to drive the whole way in 1 day. Does anyone have any recommendations on a nice drive, with a good town to stay in on the way? The town doesn't have to be anything special, we'd rather save our $$ for Sonoma.

We'd like to do no more than 5 hours driving max the first day, and 3 hours driving the 2nd day. A scenic drive the first day would be nice, by the 2nd day, we're just going to want to get to Healdsburg as quickly as possible.

Thanks to everyone for advice here, as well as the other great suggestions we've gotten in the last year!
 
Old Aug 29th, 2002, 08:32 AM
  #2  
Susan
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Karen, thinking of a spot that's three hours south of Sonoma and five hours north of LA puts you right at Monterey or Carmel. With five hours from LA to Carmel you won't have time to do the highway one drive through Big Sur, but the drive up highway 101 is very pleasant and will get you there in a timely fashion. I'd lean toward Carmel for a nice night's stop, a quaint and lovely town.
 
Old Aug 29th, 2002, 08:37 AM
  #3  
Leslie
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If you want scenic, then the the 101 Fwy north will be your best bet.

The most scenic, but excruciatingly slow, would be highway 1 (connecting either in San Luis Obispo or connecting to highway 46 west from the Templeton/Paso Robles area and going north at least as far as Monterey before cutting back over to the 101.

BUT it doesn't sound like you have the time for this. (Note: fastest route north, of course, is highway 5, but this is downright ugly).

So, assuming you'll be taking the 101, about 4 1/2 hours north of LA is the town of Paso Robles. This is lovely wine country and would make for a nice stopping area. If you want to push farther north your first day, then I'd recommend Salinas. This is definitely farm country, but the John Steinbeck center in Salinas might be nice to see before moving on. Personally, I'd stop in San Francisco overnight, but it doesn't seem to meet your criteria.

Have a nice trip.
 
Old Aug 29th, 2002, 08:47 AM
  #4  
Leslie
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Karen - sorry, Susan and I must have been typing at the same moment as I didn't see her note. While I would agree that Carmel and Monterey are fantastic destinations, I'm afraid the drive from LA to Carmel/Monterey is much longer than 5 hours.

I just got back from there (and I live about 1 hour north of downtown LA) and it took us about 6 hours so I'd figure 7 hours from LA. This would afford you the beautiful view of coastline and you would go through Big Sur, but your itinerary doesn't sound like you'll have any real time to enjoy this area. (I'll take the Monterey Peninsula ANY DAY over Sonoma, so if you want to rethink you plans, I'd be happy to make recommendations of things to do, places to stay in the Big Sur/Carmel/Monterey area for a three day stay)...you could always get your dose of wine country in either Paso Robles and along highway 46 or in the Santa Ynez Valley near Solvang.
 
Old Aug 29th, 2002, 08:57 PM
  #5  
noptty
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I cn't recommend Salinas--It is 1/2 way but is just a flat farm town, may as well be Fresno. I agree with the Monterey recommendation, it is a little diversion from 101, but very nice Ocean city. If you want to stay on 101 you may as well go to Downtown San Jose at least they have some nice restaurants, some museums etc. Then you will be within 3 hours of Sonoma.
 
Old Aug 29th, 2002, 09:00 PM
  #6  
carman
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Leslie must drive pretty slowly. I can get to from San Francisco to LA on 101 in 6 1/2 hours.
 
Old Aug 30th, 2002, 07:40 AM
  #7  
Leslie
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I was not referring to the driving time LA to SF on the 101. I was discussing the drive time from LA to Carmel via highway 1. This is lovely, but if one's goal is primarily to get to Sonoma, it's not good advice to send someone up highway 1. This is a significant diversion if they haven't got the time to really enjoy a visit.

Yes, Salinas is nothing special. I think Paso Robles better meets Karen's stated criteria.
 
Old Aug 30th, 2002, 11:47 AM
  #8  
xxx
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Stay in Paso Robles (not as nice as Cambria along the coast), but you can still take in a winery or two before dinner on that first evening.
 
Old Aug 30th, 2002, 09:17 PM
  #9  
PasoRoblesChick
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I also recommend Paso or San Luis. The Paso Robles Inn is a nice place to say if you're looking for ambiance. Visit www.pasorobleshotsprings.com. Also, if you want a look at the town, visit www.pasorobleschamber.com. Driving 80-ish MPH, on the 101 Hwy, I can get to LA from Paso in about 3 hours. If you want to drive further on the 101 N, you can stay in Gilroy which is about 5.5 hours from LA [that is with good traffic].
 
Old Aug 30th, 2002, 09:26 PM
  #10  
x
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She's not going for another year, so I don't think it's necessary to pin down a hotel yet. Mellow out on the vacation plans. Karen sounds like a control freak if she needs to schedule in her driving time a year in advance.
 
Old Aug 31st, 2002, 06:48 AM
  #11  
J Correa
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I agree with the advice to drive to San Jose the 1st night. Most hotels in Monterey or Carmel will be fairly pricey and Karen said she wanted to keep the price down. Salinas and Gilroy don't have that much to offer and are fairly close to San Jose anyway. I don't think that San Luis Obispo or Paso Robles are really far enough north - that would leave Karen with a lot of driving the next day.
 
Old Sep 4th, 2002, 05:13 AM
  #12  
karen
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Thanks to everyone for your great suggestions. I'm coordinating a lot of people from all over, so I thought I'd get a jump on the planning. I'm sure
x([email protected])is a decent person normally. Perhaps nothing better to do on a Saturday night made x a little grumpy?
 
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