Honeymoon in CA?

Old Apr 16th, 2006, 11:07 AM
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Honeymoon in CA?

Hi,

We're planning a honeymoon in CA for next summer. It's just the start of planning, so I'm quite vague, but we'd love any suggestions.

We'll have about 10 days. We'd like to rent a car, drive along the coast, and stay in 3-4 different places. We know we want to see Wine Country, San Francsico, and some places further south.

Any suggestions on good stopping points to break up the trip well would be appreciated. We'd also love suggestions on places to stay. We're looking for places that are somewhat special, as we don't get the chance to travel often, and we've saved a pretty good budget for this trip ($2000pp without air).

We don't want to overplan, but I know fh will want to golf on one day, and we'd love to ride horses on another. We both like tours and learning, but we want to strike a good balance between time to relax, explornig in the car, and organized touring.

Any suggestions welcome!

TIA,
Rae
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Old Apr 16th, 2006, 03:05 PM
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If you are going to be in California for a full ten days, I think you will be happier if you budget a bit more--say $2,500-$2,750.

You could do it for less if you get a fantastic deal on a car and gas is cheap, if you don't have a sit-down dinner every night, and if you are content to stay in the least expensive motels available.

Here is a possible itinerary: San Francisco visiting the Napa Valley as a day trip from San Francisco, Montery-Carmel, Big Sur-Cambria (for Hearst Castle at San Simeon), Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo, Malibu-Santa Monica.

Happy trails to you.
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Old Apr 16th, 2006, 03:29 PM
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I agree with Happy Trails. In the summer, especially on the two weekends I'm guessing you'll be here for, motels/inns/ hotels can be pricey especially on the coast.
I suggest you stay in San Francisco for 3-4 nights, and don't try to cram too much in. If you visit Wine Country or Monterey/ Carmel, try to do so not on weekends.
Although $2,000 pp (per person) without air, is a pretty good budget.
 
Old Apr 16th, 2006, 03:45 PM
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So that budget comes out to $400 a day for the two of you. I travel a lot in Europe and we do very nicely on less than that figure. But we also go to California a lot, and we can't seem to get our total daily budget much below $450 to $500 a day average (and that includes some freebie nights with relatives). I'm not saying it can't be done, but we're not talking any gourmet dining or really nice hotels here. When you say you're looking for places that are "special" I hope you're only talking about maybe a single step or possibly two above Hampton Inns or Holiday Inn Express. What most people call "special" honeymoon spots in California might top your daily budget just for the room alone.
 
Old Apr 16th, 2006, 04:25 PM
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Hi

Wow! I'm really suprised that our budget is so moderate. (And I'm not exactly from a small town) Glad I'm starting to plan early. Just to be clear, that's $2000 per person. Hopefully, the first reply didn't mean that for $400 per night we are looking at a cheap motel and take-out food! I'm sure over the next year (or perhaps shorten by a day or two), we can make it $500/night for the two of us. Given that, if anyone has any specific suggestions, I'd love to be looking at things online.

Just to be clear, we want to relax more than we want this to be a comprehensive CA experience. San Francisco is a must. Figuring out two other places to stay that would give us a nice contrast to the big city and a logical drivnig pattern along the coast would be great.

We're not gourmet eaters, but we are going to want to sit down and eat in something a little more romantic than an Olive Garden.

And yeah, Holiday Inn express was not what I had in mind. But we also don't need private villa by the sea.

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Old Apr 16th, 2006, 04:41 PM
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I think you can do it, but with golf and horseback riding you may need to be careful. And again, the California coast can be pricey in the summer especially on weekends. I am repeating myself LOL.
Is this June, July or August?
 
Old Apr 16th, 2006, 04:55 PM
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We haven't even set the date yet! It's a really small wedding, and most likely on a weekday, so the timing is going to be purely related to job considerations and pricing. If moving everything to May would really help with the prices, then that's what we'll do. But it really has to be between May and August.

I was just checking out the Kor Group hotel in San Francisco (that sort of thing would be our ideal...modern, great amenities, and kind of cool). Looks like we'd be spending at least $350 on the room. I guess we are looking at closer to 8 days and a bit more saving!
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Old Apr 16th, 2006, 04:58 PM
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RaeEllen, have you ever considered the shocking possibility of taking your honeymoon at a better/cheaper time of year? We travel to California in early April and November, save a ton and get great deals. The first and second week of November are stunning- all the colors, flowers still in bloom, low tourist time. We have gotten 4 star properties on luxurylink.com for as little as 125 a night for properties that start at 350. My husband and I postponed our honeymoon by a few weeks when we went to Tortola. By then,we were settled in, had all the wedding stuff done and got much better travel deals. Leaving right after the wedding adds more stress, IMO. I suggest a lovely room post-wedding and a smart well-planned honeymoon when you can make it most affordable and enjoyable.
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Old Apr 16th, 2006, 05:15 PM
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LindaC is right. It's amazing to see the price differences between other times of year as compared to summer.
 
Old Apr 16th, 2006, 05:34 PM
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Well, we have some flexibity on the wedding date, but nothing earlier than May...
This is going to be a very low stress wedding. The honeymoon is 50% of our budget! (And that other 50% has been thoroughly researched)For various reasons, I would like to do the Honeymoon straight away. Much of that is sentiment, granted, but I feel no pressure to make this the trip the 'best' of everything. I would just rather it not be generic.
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Old Apr 16th, 2006, 05:44 PM
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Regarding the Kor Group Hotel for $350 -- I'm assuming you haven't added the outlandish taxes yet, which would probably put you over the $400 a night mark right there. That's what I'm talking about with the budget. Add a dinner for two with wine even AT the Olive Garden and the day's car rental with a minimum amount of gas, and now you've surpassed $500 without any admissions, breakfast, lunch, or extras.
I don't mean to be the foreteller of doom here, just spelling it out like it is.
 
Old Apr 16th, 2006, 05:53 PM
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Just a few considerations - Summer along the coast - especially anywhere north of Santa Barbara is not the warmest or nicest time of year. In fact June/July are usually far colder and foggier than Sept or October.

by golf - do you mean at one of the famous Carmel area courses? if so that round will cost more than two nights in a nice hotel.

Priceline is a viable option in San Francisco. Some decent bargains to be had - but of course you can't pick the specific hotel. Check out biddingfortravel.com

Staying in the Napa/Sonoma Wine country during the summer - especially on weekends often requires a 2 night minimum. But there are other (and much cheaper/easier) vineyard districts all over California (Santa Cruz mtns/San Mateo County, Santa Barbara area, to name just two)

Not staying in the Napa/Sonoma area will save you several hundred dollars. Priceline in SF will save a lot more.

Not that this something you necessarily want to do - but you might want to consider getting married in the summer but delaying your honeymoon until late Sept/early Oct. Trust me - driving a convertible down the coast in June is not that much fun. But in Sept/Oct it is glorious.
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Old Apr 16th, 2006, 06:14 PM
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That's interesting information about the weather. I have to admit, the biggest draw for me of the entire trip is driving along the coast. The whole timing aspect of the trip is trying to balance what works up here (outdoors) in New England.

As far as the golf goes, it's just something my fh loves, but rarely has time to do. So including a day would be more about the fact that it's a treat and less about going to some particular course.

I mentioned horseback riding because I love that, and he's interested in learning. I know that around here, you can do some of the most spectacular private, guided riding in the White Mountains for around $80pp. So I didn't imagine this would break the bank as an activity.

We have no attachment to any particular wine area. We are not connoisseurs by any stretch. We just like to learn and if you go to CA, learning about wine seems like the thing to do. I was imaginging one day, at one vineyard, where we could take a tour and come away knowing some stuff we didn't before.

Perhaps it will be the Olive Garden If anything has to give, knowing us, it's going to be the food.
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 07:17 AM
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There are lots of golf courses up and down the coast. Consider the Presidio in San Francisco. It is a decent course in a lovely spot, and reasonable rates.
http://www.presidiogolf.com/
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Old Apr 17th, 2006, 07:56 AM
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"I have to admit, the biggest draw for me of the entire trip is driving along the coast"

Then summer probably isn't the best time for your trip. The coast - particularly from SF to Big Sur is often cold, foggy, drizzly at that time of year. Sometimes the fog clears by early afternoon - but sometimes not at all. And at the same time the Napa Valley can be VERY hot.

Not that you want a meteorology lesson - but basically the hotter it is inland the cooler/foggier it can get on the north/mid coast. So when it is 95 or 100F a few miles inland it will be 60-65 or even colder, and overcast/foggy in SF.

The best times for weather along the coast are usually April/May (though THIS April has been a stormy mess) and Sept/Oct. In September it is often 75 - 80 and clear on the coast. Now, THAT is road trip weather . . . . .
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