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Rachel Jan 6th, 2003 04:48 PM

Is this possible for March 03? Scuba diving (sea otters) and possibly a wine tasting near Cambria at a luxury hotel with 4 teens?
Got to plan a March vacation and first I thought, since all 4 kids are certified divers, we'll plan a scuba diving trip. I got out my Dive magazine, and saw that Central California as well as the Channel Islands in Southern CA have a lot of sea otters (which you don't really even have to scuba dive to see, right)? Then, I read on this site that there are really great wine excursions, too, but I am not sure if it's in the same area as the above...and what's the weather like in early March? Too cold to scuba dive? My husband doesn't dive, so he'd need diversion if we are diving. He loves the wine stuff... I love touring around, driving to whatever is gorgeous scenery, love photography big it seems CA would be a good destination. Luxury hotels are fine...any suggestions? I know it's getting late, but I'm hoping I can plan something really nice. Is Half Moon Bay near Cambria? Stinson Beach? I hear Point Reyes Nat'l Seashore is beautfil and Mendocino but I don't know CA well at all! Help! Thanks! Rachel

Tom Jan 6th, 2003 06:43 PM

Brrr! I think central and northern CA are too cold to dive any time of year, much less March. I know some people do it, but you are likely to have a combination of cold water, iffy weather (especially for diving), and poor visibility. In summer at Catalina/Channel Islands maybe, but I would stick to land and boat sightseeing in March. <BR><BR>There are top-notch luxury hotels in Carmel and Monterey to the north, and Santa Barbara to the south, as well as a range of nice places in between. There are interesting wine tour potentials at several areas along the coast. You might be well served to go to a bookstore and pick up a travel guide on CA Central Coast, or to a library and look up back issues of Sunset magazine.

Rachel Jan 6th, 2003 06:46 PM

Tom, I think I'll take your advice and head to the bookstore. I'm also learning that scuba is most likely out for March in California! If anyone has names of places in the meantime, though, it'd be great-don't know how soon I can get to Barnes &amp; Noble! Thanks a lot, Tom!

Tom Jan 7th, 2003 12:14 AM

It depends on your priorities. Do you want to pick one place for a base, or perhaps stay in several places along the way? Is staying directly on the coast a top priority? Here's a few rather varied places:<BR><BR>Alisal Ranch - very nice guest ranch in Santa Inez valley (winery area about 45 minutes from Santa Barbara and beaches). Biltmore Hotel in Santa Barbara - grand hotel at the beach. Moving more up into central CA, there are several nice hotels along the bluff in Pismo Beach (names escape me now). There is the San Luis Bay Inn at Avila Beach, as well as two places (one grungy, one nice) around nearby hot springs. The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo is somewhat unique (makes me think of what mad king Ludwig of Bavaria might have built); the Apple Farm hotel is also well regarded, and there is an Embassy Suites; this area is 5 miles or so from the coast and there are a number of wineries in the nearby Edna valley and Paso Robles areas. Morro Bay, Cayucos, Cambria, and San Simeon are along the coast north of here; you might search this site for Hearst Castle references to pick out hotel references. Beyond San Simeon is a beautiful drive through Big Sur up to Carmel and Monterey, though if the weather is bad, the road can be closed by mudslides; the alternate US101 is less scenic, but quicker. A search on Carmel would bring up hotel references.<BR><BR>Half Moon Bay, Stinson Beach, Point Reyes, and Mendocino are all much closer to San Francisco.

x Jan 7th, 2003 09:33 AM

My husband dove off the coast of San Diego a couple of years ago in late March/early April. He is a Dive Master and his best friend he dove with is a rescue diver. They had to dive in a dry suites the water was so cold, got caught in a kelp forest in the red tide, dressed like a sea lions. The icing on the cake was the visibility was so low, they bumped into a great white (startling both divers and the shark) and said never ever again.

J Correa Jan 7th, 2003 09:40 AM

And you don't need to dive to see some sea otters.

Rachel Jan 7th, 2003 02:05 PM

Thanks everyone! Love the dive story! Right now I am concentrating on finding a luxury-yet-kid-friendly hotel in San Francisco because a friend of mine lives close by, and we plan to get together during our stay (she lives 15 min from Stinson Beach one way, and 15 minutes from Pt Reyes the other way). I am going to forget the scuba diving for sure this trip, too cold! Can anyone suggest hotels in this area? It's either this or Cozumel-Presidente hotel I hear is good! I have to decide between the two!...Thanks, Rachel

lindy Jan 8th, 2003 04:39 AM

Check out whale watching! Sorry you decided against Cambria -- that part of the Coast is spectacular. And San Simeon is well worth the trip. If you're heading towards upper Marin, go a bit farther into Sonoma,fabulous coastal views and inland wineries.

x Jan 8th, 2003 08:04 AM

Racheal, are you now considering Cozumel? If so go. The weather will be nicer and there is world class diving in Cozumel.

Rachel Jan 8th, 2003 01:58 PM

I will go to Cozumel in June, I think. And, yes, I really wanted to see Cambria! I will have to go there another time too. So many places to see in this world!

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