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help with prelim family agenda for Northern CA

help with prelim family agenda for Northern CA

Nov 2nd, 2008, 11:40 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 171
help with prelim family agenda for Northern CA

We'll get 10 days for our trip and kids (all boys) will be 10, 12, and 14. Thinking:

Fly into SFO
2 nights (Wed/Thurs)in Fisherman's wharf area
see wharf, alcatraz, GG bridge, Lombard(?) street, Ghiradelli
no shopping, except souvenir t-shirts most likely
where to eat with preteens/teen boys?

Friday night - Monterey area
Sat/Sun night - Merced with family
Monday - King's canyon/Sequoia
Tues/Wed - Yosemite, stay outside but near park
where? want pool, Tenaya rooms with 2 double beds would be unpleasant for the 5 of us. place with queen beds would be great! don't mind sharing a room with the kids if we have the right beds to share!

Thurs/Fri - Sacramento area
Sutter's fort, old town, jelly belly, Lego store

Sat - fly out of SMF

We're trying to hit Yosemite midweek instead of weekend. Would use Fresno for departure airport, but much more $$.

Things to see on route? places to stay? eat? We loved Yellowstone a couple years ago, esp. being able to stay in the park lodges - it was a great experience. rental car company suggestion (minivan level) for SFO to SMF.

pocohontas3 is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 11:58 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 4,365
When are you doing this trip?
tchoiniere is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 12:41 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
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Hello pocohontas, regarding the JellyBelly, were you interested in the Factory Tour? If so the factory is not in Sacramento but rather in Fairfield, just a bit off of I-80. If you are going to be in Sacramento you will have over an hours drive to the factory. I would strongly suggest if you would be planning on returning to Sacramento after the tour that you do not do this on Friday as I-80 going back to Sacramento gets horribly crowded.
Here is their website:

http://www.jellybelly.com/visit_jell...ory_tours.aspx
LoveItaly is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 12:54 PM
  #4  
mjs
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,313
I think you need more time in Monterey, San Francisco and Yosemite. Would skip Sequoia and cut one night from Sacramento to gain that time. You will need 2 hotel rooms if you have a party of five.
mjs is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 01:59 PM
  #5  
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tchoiniere: probably June 2009

What if we came up to Jelly Belly from Yosemite and then onto the Sacramento hotel - would that save time/travel/hassle?
pocohontas3 is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 02:01 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
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Skip Sacramento.
Monterey has got the great aquarium, which takes a whole day to experience (your hotel might sell you a 2-day ticket for a 1-day price). There is a flat, long bike trail that I highly recommend for families. Go to the Ghiradelli's in Monterey in Cannery Row and have ice cream on the deck overlooking the bay. By the way, the food at the aquarium is not too bad.
I do not think you can do two National Parks--the roads into and through the parks can be one lane, windy roads. It's a really, really long drive to the heart of King's Canyon--I would concentrate on Yosemite (which is magnificent) or Sequoia (very nice) You could spend a whole week in Yosemite --if in summer, you could stay in the tent accommodations at Curry Village or, at any time, at a condo outside the park.
San Francisco is great with kids--we just did ShanghaiSanFrancisco with two boys--they had a great time (and so did we). Fisherman's Wharf has all kinds of family-friendly places to eat. In Chinatown, we enjoyed eating at HOng KOng Clay Pot. You can walk or rent a bike to ride across the GG Bridge
Polas is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 03:24 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
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for discount tix to various types of events, check out Goldstar.com
Polas is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 07:15 PM
  #8  
 
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Dear poco:

You need another day in the Monterey area. Lots to do & see, plus many places require 2 night minimum on weekends.

Merced is about an hour or so to Yosemite. I would also skip Kings/Sequoia and add to Monterey or an extra day in SF.

As far as the Jelly Belly factory, I think your boys are a little too old for it and would find it boring.

Perhaps skip Sacto and go from Yosemite to Lake Tahoe. Then you can check flying out of Reno?? Just an idea. Are you only doing Sacto for the cheaper flight? Sacto would be only good for 1 day.

Good luck.

MY
MichelleY is offline  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 08:31 PM
  #9  
 
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Some random thoughts in no particular order:

Sacramento has lots to fill a couple of days. The Railroad museum alone is worth 2 or 3 hours. But I would not recommend your going to Sac at all if it means cutting the other places so short

I'd skip Fairfield and Jelly Belly as well. It is certainly a fun tour - but I agree that other than maybe the 10 yo your kids are bit old. Plus it would take basically 1/2 a day Sac > Fairfield > Sac. Not worth it at all IMO.

I'd try REALLY hard to get accommodations in Yosemite Valley rather than outside the park. The difference is huge - specially in summer when the traffic really backs up on the entrance roads.

Flying out of either SMF or RNO works - whichever gets you the best connections/fares. You can fly out of SMF even if you don't spend time in the city.

Instead of Sac/Sutter's Fort - stick closer to Yosemite and visit Columbia and other gold rush era villages.

one night in the Monterey area is pretty useless since you'd spend 2-3 hours driving there from SF and then leave the next day for Merced. The aquarium alone will take up most of your free time that day. Plus, most nice properties (and even lots of not-so-nice ones) require a 2-night stay on weekends.

I'd consider something like:
- Wed/Thurs/Fri nights SF
- Sat/Sun nights Monterey
- Mon/Tues nights Merced
- 1 night Sequoia (Optional)
- Wed/Thurs or Thurs/Fri Yosemite

- If you drop the Sequoia bit you can spend Fri night either along the hwy 49 foothils or near SMF (depending on your flight time) - OR - you can spend Fri night at Lake Tahoe and fly out of RNO.
janisj is online now  
Nov 2nd, 2008, 11:01 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 9,285
Tour the historic ships in Fisherman's wharf; especially the Balclutha. Ride a cable car. Have a hot fudge sundae at Ghirardellis. My eleven year old son is a foodie and loves the fog city diner. It is between the wharf and embarcadero. (but then, he has exotic taste; his favorite dish there is the red curry mussel stew).
ncounty is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 05:19 AM
  #11  
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Can I have more information about:
Instead of Sac/Sutter's Fort - stick closer to Yosemite and visit Columbia and other gold rush era villages.

Sacramento was/is another family visit stop.

But, given the advice here, we're thinking to fly OUT of SJC instead of Sacramento and make the family come see us in Merced (same side of the family anyway).

So, that leaves us with:
Fly into SFO
2 nights (Wed/Thurs)in Fisherman's wharf area
see wharf, alcatraz, GG bridge, Lombard(?) street, Ghiradelli
no shopping, except souvenir t-shirts most likely
where to eat with preteens/teen boys?

Friday/Sat night - Merced with family
Look at Jelly Belly again for ages and if they want to go, drive north out of San Francisco to go to Fairfield before heading south to Merced on Friday, after morning rush hour.

Sunday night - outside King's Canyon or Sequoia

Monday/Tuesday - Yosemite area; its a real bear to find a place inside the park for 5 people. With airline limits on luggage, we sure aren't bringing sleeping bags and pillows with us!

Wed/Thurs nights: Monterey area
maybe rates will be less on weeknights in this area? recommendation on place for family of 5, with pool for the kids and view for mom & dad? The kids like to stroll the beach, too. We already know the water will be COOOLD!

Sat AM - fly out of SJC
pocohontas3 is offline  
Nov 3rd, 2008, 11:55 AM
  #12  
mjs
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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What time are you flying into SFO? If your arrival time is in the afternoon you will have less than 2 full days to explore San francisco. If you are driving out of San Francisco on a friday I would leave before 3pm or after 730pm. Traffic is bad. What time does Jelly Belly close? I still would skip Sequoia as you have very little time just for Yosemite. The only place in the Monterey area that I have stayed at with a pool is the La Playa in Carmel. Weather in this area tends not to be great for outdoor swimming.
mjs is offline  

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