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-   -   How many days in Monterey & San Fran? (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/how-many-days-in-monterey-and-san-fran-227922/)

LGR Jun 4th, 2002 08:51 AM

How many days in Monterey & San Fran?
 
We will have 5 days in CA. after leaving Lake Tahoe (Tues-Sun morning). We are planning to do to San Fran first and then Monterey (our flight is out of San Jose). Do you think we should do 3 days in San Fran and 2 in Monterey or spend less time in San Fran and more in Monterey/Carmel? Thanks for the help!!

Clara Jun 4th, 2002 09:03 AM

I'd spend more time in San Fran. We did a simliar trip in February- we spent a few days in SF and then drove down to Carmel. Carmel and Big Sur was beautiful and relaxing, so it was well worth the time we spent there, but I do wish we had spent a little more time in SF!

David Jun 4th, 2002 09:05 AM

LGR,<BR><BR>2 days in San Francisco should be okay. I think that at least 2 and maybe 3 days would be best to set aside for Monterey and Carmel. There is so much to see along the Central Coast (ie: Monterey Bay Aquarium, 17 Mile Drive, Fisherman's Whaf, and Carmel By The Sea. You should also consider going further south on highway 1 to Big Sur(breathtaking scenery) and to San Simeon for a visit to Hearst Castle(www.hearstcastle.org) Make reservations for Hearst Castle. I would suggest that you stay in San Jose(www.sanjose.org) the night before your flight, as traffic heading to the city from either the Monterey Bay Area or the San Francisco area can be a pain. If you do decide on this option, staying in owntown San Jose would be your best bet as you will be walking distance to museums,performing arts, restaurants, and the South First Area(SoFA)which also has restaurants as well as nighclubs(if that is of interest to you).

David Jun 4th, 2002 09:06 AM

LGR,<BR><BR>Sorry about the typo, that's "Downtown", not owntown.

x Jun 4th, 2002 09:12 AM

Getting to San Jose on a Sunday morning should be no problem so you shouldn't have to spend any of your valuable vacation time there unnecessarily. <BR><BR>I think your split is about right. Three in San Fran and two in Monterey. Sounds like a very nice holiday since you went to Tahoe first!!

x Jun 4th, 2002 12:56 PM

i'd stay longer in monterey but it depends what you want. relaxation, coastal walks, maybe some light hiking, driving along the coast,...more peaceful...or, plenty of sights to see, lots of action in the evening, alcatraz, etc.

Bob Jun 4th, 2002 03:46 PM

Depends on your style: Big City versus Scenery. I would do more of Monterey area.<BR><BR>Ditto on not staying in San Jose the night before. Sunday morning departure should be no problem. Just realize that there is a normal slowdown at Cochrane Road Exit going into San Jose north on HWY 101 that happens every day because of the lanes going from 3 to 2. It usually takes about 15 minutes to get through the "squeeze". They are correcting this now and have construction going on, but I think you will be okay on Sunday morning. Just don't panic when all stops, if they do.

kam Jun 4th, 2002 04:01 PM

Just to make this really difficult for you, I think you could do it either way. If you like cities, do the extra day in SF (since you will have had time to relax in Tahoe) If you really want to browse the shops of Carmel, visit the Monterey aquarium, do some wine tasting (Chateau Julian highly recommended in Carmel Valley) and drive through Big Sur then take the extra day in Monterey. But, as I'm reading this you are returning to SJC on a Thursday? If that is correct, allow yourself plenty of time to get to the airport. It takes us 1 hour 20 minutes to get to Palo Alto from Carmel leaving at 6 am. Maybe that helps.

helpful Henry Jun 4th, 2002 05:49 PM

2 and 6

David Jun 5th, 2002 05:02 AM

LGR,<BR><BR>I have taken 101 into San Jose on a weekend morning from Monterey, and from my experience I would not risk it. Obviously if you are leaving San Jose on a weekday then definitely stay the night in SJ before your flight. There are plenty of things to see and do in San Jose/Silicon Valley to keep you occupied.

LGR Jun 10th, 2002 07:58 AM

Thanks for all the responses - it's about 50/50 so I'm still torn on what to do. Just to clarify, we arrive in San Francisco on Tuesday and depart Monterey (San Jose airport) on Sunday morning. We are booked now for 3 nights S.F. and 2 nights Monterey. We want to see the "sights" in S.F but really don't like to do tours or go to Museums on Vacation. We are fom big cities originally and currently live in South Florida so we are used to that aspect but on Vacation we like to be able to walk and find things easily. (we are staying on Nob Hill at the Mark in S.F.) I am thinking we might find more to do that we enjoy in Monterey/Carmel like walking to wineries, pubs, unique shopping, beach horseback riding, etc. so that is why I am considering changing our reservation to have less time in S.F. and more time in the Peninsula. Any more thought/Suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks for all the help!

David Jun 10th, 2002 08:02 AM

LGR,<BR><BR>I think that it sounds like a great idea to spend an extra night in Monterey. You will not regret it.

LGR Jun 27th, 2002 11:10 AM

Thanks for the input - any other suggestions on things to see and do in S.F. or Monterey area? Also, has anyone done the horseback ride on Pebble Beach?

tj Jun 27th, 2002 11:21 AM

<BR>1)Rent bikes in Monterey to rid along the path that parelells the beach. You can get single or tandem bikes.<BR><BR>2)Stop at the trail side cafe overlooking the water, have a hot vanilla and enjoy the scenery<BR><BR>3)Be sure to see the Ocean Wall at the Aquarium -- a big window with a view underwater --- we missed it!<BR><BR>4)Whale Watching cruise.<BR><BR>5)When you go out to eat don't order Lobster.

kam Jun 27th, 2002 05:24 PM

I really doubt that there will be many cars going from Monterey to SJC on a Sunday morning. The traffic picks up in the afternoon as folks head home from a weekend. Our lobsters are different----Pacific things with no claws or old guys imported from the East Coast. Dungeness crab and calamari are good out here. Don't expect to see whales at this time of year. If you drive all of Big Sur, and the bottom there will be a sign that says "wildlife viewing area". Pull over and see the elephant seals up close---coming close to whale size! Don't miss a couple hours at Pt. Lobos.

Elaina Jun 27th, 2002 05:25 PM

We stayed in Monterey a few years ago and loved it! Like you, we also spent time in SF. We rode horses on Pebble Beach! Absolutely spectacular! I can't remember the name of the stable, but it well worth it. Seems like it was not far off from Pebble Beach Lodge.


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