Old Dec 25th, 2001, 08:55 PM
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I'm planning a trip down the coast in May but am not sure how long to spend in each destination. My idea so far is arrive in SF & stay for 4 nights then 2 nights in Yosemite, on to Monterey/Carmel for 1 night, Solvang for 1 night, Catalina Island 1 night, LA 3 nights and SD for 3 nights. Any better suggestions? thanks
Old Dec 29th, 2001, 08:45 AM
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It looks good except the part where you're getting from Solvang to Catalina Island to spend one night. I believe you can get to Catalina Island from either San Pedro or Long Beach in the Los Angeles area. To drive from Solvang to San Pedro will take you close to four hours. The boat trip is relatively quick but I'm not certain the boats run frequently -- you should check the schedule and not count on catching the last boat since traffic in Los Angeles is unpredictable. I'd suggest you put Catalina Island in between your nights in Los Angeles and your nights in San Diego.

I'm wondering why you are staying in Solvang. Are you interested in seeing Hearst Castle? If that is the case, you can stay in Cambria on the coast, which is lovely, or you could continue to drive a little further and stay in Santa Barbara for one night which would have more to offer than Solvang.

Otherwise, I think this itinerary is very doable. It's a lot of driving but if you haven't been to California before these are good places to hit.

Get your hotel reservations in Yosemite pronto.
Old Jan 30th, 2002, 09:18 AM
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California is a big state. Covering the coast from San Francisco down to San Diego is quite a long trip (SF-San Diego 650 miles each way, not including the trip to Yosemite. In order to make the best use of your time seeing the coast, I would start in the Monterey Bay Area (Central Coast)which no doubt has the best scenery. Anything north of Monterey Bay pales in comparison.

The closest airport to both Monterey and Yosemite would be San Jose International. SJ is about 30 miles Northeast of Santa Cruz which is on the Northern part of the Monterey Bay and 175 miles Northwest of Yosemite. Since SJ is the biggest city in Northern California,driving during commute hours is not recommended. In the city you could check out various museums (The Tech Museum is worthwhile to visit), restaurants, performing arts(Opera, Ballet, Theater, etc.) You can get more information at

Yosemite should be the first place on your list to visit( return back to SJ and down the coast. Be sure to get your hotel reservations in Yosemite ASAP.
You can get to Monterey from SJ via Highway 17 and then to Highway 1 south toward Monterey and Carmel. Once on the Central Coast I would recommend 17 Mile Drive, Carmel, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, and Fisherman's Wharf. South of Monterey is Hearst Castle in San Simeon which is also a great place to check out. I agree with Susan about staying in Cambria. Solvang is nice to see once, but it somewhat touristy. I also would recommend Santa Barbara. In LA don't miss the Getty Museum. In San Diego I would suggest the Gaslamp District and Balboa Park. There is also a trolley from San Diego to Tijuana. It lets you off right at the border.

Have a great trip
Old Jan 30th, 2002, 09:47 AM
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Janis: I think you are biting off an awful lot. With all the "I"'s and no "We"'s I assume you are traveling solo. The trip from Yosemite to Carmel will take several hours and will give you little time in Carmel/Monterey since you are leaving the next day. I agree there is no need to stay in Solvang unless you have some sort of sentimental reasons to do so.

I don't think you can get from Solvang to Catalina (via either Long Beach or San Pedro) and back to LA in 24 hours. All in all your trip will involve between 5 and 9 hours drive/sail time each travel day. That is an awful lot to do by yourself with no one to share the driving.

If it were me (a native Californian who travels solo often) I would cut SF to 2 or 3 nights - depending on if you are going up to Marin county or not. Leave SF EARLY in the morning and get to Yosemite (yes - get your reservations ASAP) before lunch. Spend that day and the next in Yosemite. Leave for Monterey early in the AM. Spend 2 nights and then drive all the way to LA. Spend 2 or 3 nights in LA and then sail over to Catalina for the day (you don't need to stay over night but is lovely). Return to the mainland and head south to San Diego.
Old Jan 30th, 2002, 01:21 PM
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does sound like more moving around then i'd enjoy. not sure what your plans are in l.a. but i'd only stay there 2 and add on another night in san diego at the end. sounds like you may need the rest by then and it's a great city.

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