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sally32 Jun 23rd, 2010 04:03 AM

Ideas for san fran to la drive
Hi everyone,

This is such a great site really happy i have found it.
I am planing a trip in september for 2 weeks, we are planning to fly into san fran and stay for 4 night and then drive to la.
We plan to stop off for say 3 or 4 nights on the way to la so was wondering what are the must see things.
We both like beaches and seeing the sites, also we do not have a big budget say about 80 to 100 dollars a night for both of us.
So we dont expect much but as long as it clean and free or cheap parking.
Also in san fran can anyone also suggest a place to stay there on the same budget also with free or cheap parking.
I have never been to the states before so i am getting really excited and just want to get it booked.
Thanks sally

tovarich Jun 23rd, 2010 04:09 AM

Follow the coastal road,visit Carmel and St Barbara.We have stayed both in Monterrey and ST Barbara in the motel 6 and it's OK.The one in ST Barbara is close to the beach.Paul

sally32 Jun 23rd, 2010 04:18 AM

Thanks paul will check that out.
Also i would consider not having a car in san fran till we want to leave.
As long as we stayed some were we could get about easily.

montereybob Jun 23rd, 2010 07:51 AM

Good idea about no car in SF. Driving in that city is very tricky and parking is very expensive. You can see most sights by taking BART (the subway system), walking and taxi's if you stay centrally downtown. You can search for hotels in your price range on but you may need to pay a little more in SF.

IMO must sees along your way to LA are:

Carmel, Point Lobos State Reserve, Pacific Grove, Big Sur, Santa Barbara. For hotels in your price range near the first three areas you'll want to search in the nearby cities of Monterey and Seaside.

Have fun.

sf7307 Jun 23rd, 2010 11:51 AM

You can see most sights by taking BART (the subway system), walking and taxi's if you stay centrally downtown

and even if you don't stay downtown, buses and trolleys are good, too.

Have you ever used priceline? I hear San Francisco is a very good place for it. Bid for a 4* hotel in the Embarcadero or Union Square East area and you might be surprised. Check and to narrow down the hotels you might get.

SAB Jun 23rd, 2010 12:05 PM

Actually BART is not good for seeing sights in SF--it is good for getting to and from the airport (and to and from the suburbs for non-SF residents). MUNI is the system that gets you around SF via buses, trolleys, streetcars, and even cable cars--if you plan on not having a car in SF you might want to get a MUNI visitors passport (for 1, 3, or 7 days). Good for unlimited rides on any MUNI transportation, including cable cars.

ElendilPickle Jun 23rd, 2010 03:23 PM

What are your interests, aside from seeing the sites?

You could stop at some of California's old missions along your route. The one in Carmel is lovely, for example.

Set aside some money for the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We really enjoyed it, and ended up spending most of the day there.

For lodging in San Francisco, check the Columbus Motor Inn - - which should have rooms in your price range. They have sister properties which also might work for you. We stayed at the Marina Motel on Lombard, which was also inexpensive -

In Monterey, we stayed at the El Castell Motel Nothing fancy, but it worked fine for our family.

Here's a link to our trip report from 2006:

Lee Ann

montereybob Jun 23rd, 2010 07:53 PM

I would also highly recommend the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

susan300 Jun 23rd, 2010 08:14 PM

a must see is Hearst castle in San Simeon. You need reservations but you can do it online. It's fabulous and fun to see.

Surfergirl Jun 24th, 2010 07:54 PM

I second Columbus Motor Inn, since it's part of the Cow Hollow, Coventry Inn, etc. chain. It's also near/in North Beach and China Town, both great places to visit and eat relatively cheaply. Go to Calzones for the best mojitos in town (their food is pretty tasty as well). That's also on Columbus St. just at Stockton. You could take the number 30 there. Heading further down, across the street, is a little bar where they have hippie music some nights -- long haired baby boomers rocking out to Grateful Dead music.

Take no. 30 in the other direction to Fisherman's Wharf, and further on to Chestnut Street. Get off around Steiner and just enjoy walking up and down that street. It's become the 20 and 30ish set weekend partying place. Up Steiner away from the marina to Union Street -- another fabulous street with nice boutiques and restaurants.

From SF, take the 101 down towards the Monterey cut-off. Stop at the beach just south of Monterey and Cannery Row area in Pacific Grove. Magnificent beaches there.

I personally would stop in San Luis Obispo, visit the mission, enjoy the ambience, stay the night. Then on to Santa Barbara area; maybe staying up near UCSB in Isla Vista or Goleta. The beaches and the lagoon there is nice. Otherwise, the heart of Santa Barbara, some cheap place near the pier (if you get lucky). It's a lovely area. Good biking. You can rent bikes. Maybe visit a winery near by if you like to drink wine.

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