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LA, San Diego and San Francisco in 8 days -- can/should we try?

LA, San Diego and San Francisco in 8 days -- can/should we try?

Jul 22nd, 2014, 07:09 PM
  #1  
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LA, San Diego and San Francisco in 8 days -- can/should we try?

Due to DH's job, we can only travel December 26 -January 3. DH has never been to California. We would fly from Atlanta. Originally, I had thought we would only go for four days and only visit one part of the state - either So Cal OR the SF area. However, now I am thinking that we may want to go for 7 or 8 days and try to visit both areas. Are we crazy? Would we be too exhausted?

About us - we are in our mid 50's. We are not foodies nor interested in shopping or trendy restaurants.

If we did attempt to go to both So Cal and SF, should we fly between the cities, take a train, or rent a car?

All suggestions appreciated.
gracie is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2014, 07:33 PM
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I would choose San Francisco and one of the other cities.
Definitely not three in 8 days.
Fly to SFO, stay 3 or 4 nights, fly to LAX or SAN, stay 3 or 4 nights, fly home from there.

Maybe check air fare and see if it matters much in price, which city you fly into and out of.

Rent cars as needed. If you want to stay in San Francisco, you might not want a car. In LA, definitely need one. Probably in San Doego, too.

You could drive from SAN Francisco to soCal, if you want to take the scenic route and maybe stay one night at Pismo Beach or nearby.

Alternate plan: fly to LAX, spend 3 or 4 nights, drive to San Diego or take the Surfliner train, stay in San Diego 3 or 4 nights, fly home from there.
Tabernash2 is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2014, 07:45 PM
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>>However, now I am thinking that we may want to go for 7 or 8 days and try to visit both areas. <<

Nope -- W. just a week what you want to do is EITHER San Diego/LA . . . OR . . . SF and maybe Monterey/Carmel
janisj is offline  
Jul 22nd, 2014, 07:56 PM
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For only 7 or 8 days I would only do 2 cities. I would fly either to SF or SD and fly home from the other. So if you fy to SF spend 3 or 4 days there and then Fly to San Diego. There's a lot to do here. New Year's Eve is fairly low key here. The big hotels have parties that you pay $$ for but I've never been to one. All the boats will still be decorated in the Harbor & Marina.

The Hotel del Coronado will have a ice skating rink on the beach. There's another one downtown outside. I don't ice skate but it's fun to watch and it's a festive atmosphere.

The weather is usally nice here year round so you can usually spend a lot of time outside walking or hiking, renting bikes or do a segway tour. Take a harbor cruise or brunch cruise. It's also whale watching season.
elizzie4000 is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 06:24 AM
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You can drive between LA and San Diego in a few hours so I don't see the big deal in doing all three. It really depends on what you want to see.
mlgb is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 08:25 AM
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"We are not foodies nor interested in shopping or trendy restaurants."

Then, what are you interested in seeing/doing in these three destinations? Rose Parade? Museums? SD Zoo? Historical sights? Architecture? Concerts/plays? Beach/ocean activities? Does weather/rain matter?

Depending on your answers, you should check what things will be open/closed around New Year's Eve/Day.
Jean is online now  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 08:33 AM
  #7  
 
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RE the question re train, car, or fly between cities. I would have a car, actually for the whole time. You could do San Francisco without a car, at least for a few days, depending on what you want to see there. Often there is a discount for a week's rental vs 6 days.

Flying during around the holidays can be stressful if there is bad weather flights are often delayed and cancelled. By the time you add in delays and time needed to get to an airport, you could be there already.

Also if you drive, you could stop in Monterey for a night, then take the 101 Freeway which is fairly scenic, about 5 hours drive to LA.
mlgb is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 09:58 AM
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Just check the one-way fee for the rental car. It can be murder to your budget.
Tabernash2 is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 10:08 AM
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I personally would NOT plan on driving 3/4 the length of the state at that time of year. Sure -- you might luck out and get "Rose Parade" Weather

But it also could be stormy - and in SF -- very foggy. I'd stick to the south or up north and not try to squeeze in all three in such a short time.
janisj is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 10:47 AM
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Check the one way fee for all combinations of in and out.

Flying in to LAX and leaving from San Francisco you might be pleasantly surprised.

Kayak works for cars also.

Of course, weather cannot be predicted. Maybe it will be like last year, when it didn't rain at all between Dec 8 & Jan 8!

If it does rain, the car also gives you flexibility to modify your itinerary, as long as you find a clear day to drive to SFO.
mlgb is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 11:35 AM
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Nope, stick to either SF and the Bay area, or SoCal (LA and San Diego), you do not have enough time to do justice to all those locations.
jamie99 is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 11:42 AM
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Parts of Highway 1 can be closed at that time of the year due to mud slides.
taos23 is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 12:49 PM
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And if Hwy 1 is closed, they can take 101 or 5. Very often we have excellent weather in December, no fog and if so it can be a great time to do the coast.

Whether you have time "to do justice" depends on what you want to see and do, and whether you think you will be able to return.
mlgb is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 02:20 PM
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Agree with janisj and jamie~if you try to do all of that in 7-8 days, you'll spend a lot of time just getting from destination to destination and less time enjoying them. My personal choice would be for SoCal for the mild weather.......but I live in an area where December is COLD!!
tenthumbs is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 02:27 PM
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I don't see anything wrong with all three. It just depends on what you want to do. You could easily spend 8 days in any one of the places. I would drive.
bigtyke is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 02:36 PM
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"You'll spend a lot of time getting from destination to destination"...

2-3 hours between LA and San Diego
7 hours (allowing for traffic) from LA to SFO, give or take, via an inland routing. If they go down the coast, and spend one night in Monterey (about 3 hours), it's 5 hours from Monterey to LA via 101. If the weather is good, it's worth taking Hwy 1 and taking the whole day, with stops along the way. I think all can agree that is 'sightseeing' time.

I don't think that is an unreasonable amount of travel time, at all.
mlgb is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 02:48 PM
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RE Jean: "Then, what are you interested in seeing/doing in these three destinations? Rose Parade? Museums? SD Zoo? Historical sights? Architecture? Concerts/plays? Beach/ocean activities? Does weather/rain matter?"

DH has never been to California. He has only seen the Pacific Ocean from a cruise to Alaska. His first choice is the San Francisco area. He would like to see, in no particular order, the Pacific Ocean, San Francisco Bay, Alcatraz, the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman's Wharf, Telegraph Hill, ride a cable car, Napa Valley, Muir Woods, Carmel.

If we go to LA, he would like to see the usual tourist sites, such as the Rose Bowl, but he nor I want to be there any time near the parade. He would like to see one of the beaches near LA, visit a studio, see Hollywood Walk of Fame, Beverly Hills.

If we go to San Diego, he would like to go to Coronado Island, La Jolla, Sea World and the Zoo.
gracie is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 02:54 PM
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Spend the whole time in Bay Area, add on a trip to Napa.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 02:55 PM
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Since you have such an interest in SF, and a good list of things to do, I change my suggestion.

Stay in NoCal the entire time. SF for your first 4 or 5 nights, then get a car and go for a night or two to Napa, Carmel, Point Reyes, Sausalito, etc.
Tabernash2 is offline  
Jul 23rd, 2014, 02:56 PM
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If it rains, even a little, expect driving times in SoCal to increase dramatically. We don't like getting wet here.
Jean is online now  

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