Northern California itinerary help please

Old Mar 14th, 2010, 04:23 PM
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Northern California itinerary help please

My boyfriend and I are arriving in San Francisco 12 June 2010 and flying back out 26 June. We have managed to narrow a very long wish list down to the following draft itinerary:
12 June - Arrive early evening, overnight in SF
13 - Pick up rental car and drive to Monterey Peninsula, overnight Monterey/Carmel/Pacific Grove
14 - Drive along coast to Big Sur, overnight Monterey/Carmel/Pacific Grove
15 - Drive to Yosemite
16-17 Yosemite
18 - Drive to Sonoma
19 - Drive to Humboldt Redwoods State Park, Avenue of Giants
20 - Humboldt Redwoods State Park
21 - Mendocino
22 - drive back to SF along the coast
22-26 San Francisco

Is this feasible? Does it give us a chance to get a feel for anywhere? We like to absorb the atmosphere of places we visit rather than simply working our way around the tourist sights and prefer laid back quirky places to hip and cool. We would also like to spend some time hiking and cycling. We're not really interested in visiting wineries - I have included Sonoma as it looks on the map like a good place to break up the journey from Yosemite to Humboldt but am open to other suggestions.

It looks like we won't be able to stay in Yosemite as all the accommodations seem to be full. Where would be the best place to stay outside the park to fit in best with our itinerary?

Where would be a good place to base ourselves while visiting the Humboldt redwoods?

All comments and suggestions are welcome. Thanks for your help.
Josephine
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Old Mar 14th, 2010, 06:51 PM
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You're doing a lot of driving with some the potential for quality time in the Redwoods, Yosemite and San Francisco.
Sonoma would seem to fit your requirements as one stop, but starting the day that far south will limit your time in the Redwoods. You could make the day from Yosemite an hour longer and press on to Headlsburg.
El Portal, Fish Camp would be the closest to Yosemite and over some good options. A little further away, Groveland and the historic Groveland Hotel.
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Old Mar 14th, 2010, 08:03 PM
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It's a long, hot drive from Yosemite to the Avenue of the Giants. I'd would skip it this trip and wait until you have time to take in Redwood National Park and the Humboldt Bay Area.

There are plenty of opportunities to see Redwoods in the SF Bay Area. There are also outstanding redwood groves in Big Sur and near Mendocino. Although, I would also suggest cutting out Mendocino for this trip. It could be deja vu after the Big Sur Coast and it also might be quite foggy in June.

Instead, I'd spend more time in Yosemite. Consider four days there at the minimum in order to see Glacier Point and the High Country in addition to the Valley. There are also three sequoia groves in Yosemite that you could explore. Make sure you take the time to visit the Mariposa Grove. It's a must see in summer. Also, the red fir forests on the way up to Lake Tenaya are spectacular and often overlooked by visitors. For lodging in the Valley, if you keep checking often for cancellations, you might get lucky. Many fodorites seem to have good luck doing that.

You could also take a scenic drive over Tioga Pass and into the Eastern Sierra spending a couple of days seeing Mono Lake, Bodie, Bridgeport, and Lake Tahoe. In late June the weather is glorious in the Sierra but it can be iffy on the coast.
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Old Mar 16th, 2010, 01:47 PM
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Thanks for your ideas. We'll have a look into your suggestions and tweak or maybe change our plans.
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Old Mar 24th, 2010, 08:57 PM
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I agree with supercilious on Bodie... it is an amazing ghost town!! If you wanted to stay a night out that way there is the Virginia Creek Settlement outside of Bridgeport with a few hotel rooms and a good restaurant.
Somewhere very worthwhile around Carmel would be Point Lobos. It is a state park that has good hiking and wonderful scenics and wildlife! When in Monterey, go to the aquarium... its one of the best.
Some pictures for reference can be found here http://picasaweb.google.com/sdreitle...JHq4rGDxqGzAQ#
Of course, you wont see Yosemite in the snow, but its just as spectacular without it.
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Old Mar 25th, 2010, 02:02 PM
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Driving from Carmel to Big Sur doesn't really give you a feel for the coast. You'd have to drive all the way south to San Luis Obispo. Its worth it, and takes a day. But that means you would have to give up something else. I'd say save Napa/Sonoma/Mendocino for another trip.
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Old Mar 25th, 2010, 02:22 PM
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Hello Josephine, speaking of Bodie here is an article from today's SF Chronicle regarding Bodie along with some pictures.
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Old Mar 25th, 2010, 02:23 PM
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The coast south of Big Sur might be even more spectacular, but the coast from Carmel to Big Sur is pretty great itself.
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Old Mar 25th, 2010, 02:38 PM
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How old are you? when I was in my 20's I moved a lot on trips and still do but in a different way. Sleep in the city drive highway 1 down to Carmel area stay in Carmel, happy hour cocktails at Roy's sunset w/ bagpipes sometimes foggy in Monterey (even though next to each other). Great hiking and bike trails in this area. Point Lobos is one of many great places to spend time. Yose is fantastic,
Sonoma biking, hiking,The Art Di Rosa
Preserve is a must if you like art. For the things you like I would say less time in the City of S.F.Have fun.
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Old Mar 25th, 2010, 03:02 PM
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I'm not disagreeing with anyone else here, but I do think you will love spending time in the redwoods in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. Are you camping? If not, there are some great little cabins at Miranda Gardens Resort in Miranda along the Avenue of the Giants and also a B&B in Myers Flat. You could also stay in Garberville which is further south but still ok for day exploring in the redwoods. Love, love, love hiking in the redwoods! We've stayed in these places I mentioned; can't remember the name of the B&B (maybe Myers Flat B&B?) but the other is www.mirandagardensresort.com

My Aussie cousins liked staying at Evergreen Lodge, just outside Yosemite. They have cabins and restaurant/bar there and it is near Hetch Hetchy which is a great hiking area with fewer tourists.

If you stay in Sonoma on your route from Yosemite to Avenue of the Giants, you will be half way. However, if you go to Santa Rosa, you will find much cheaper lodging. From Santa Rosa the drive to Avenue of the Giants will be closer to 4 hrs. Healdsburg will get you a little closer. Geyserville a little closer yet. I think you will like hiking and cycling in the Avenue of the Giants, so it should be worth the effort to get there.
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Old Mar 31st, 2010, 01:51 PM
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Thank you all for your input. I am finding it very difficult to leave anything out. I like the idea of visiting Bodie, Mono Lake etc as it seems this will add something different to our trip and save us from spending too much time looking at fog on the coast. I think we would love spending time at Humboldt but have more or less decided to follow Supercilious' suggestions and save the north for another trip (hopefully we will make it over from the UK again one day).

So, how does this revised itinerary look?

12 June - Arrive early evening, overnight in SF
13 - Pick up rental car and drive to Monterey Peninsula, overnight Monterey/Carmel/Pacific Grove
14 - Drive along coast to Big Sur, overnight Monterey/Carmel/Pacific Grove
15 - Drive to Yosemite
16-18 Yosemite
19 - Bodie, Mono Lake, Bridgeport
20-21 - Lake Tahoe (West? - not interested in gambling)
22 - drive back to SF
22-26 San Francisco

Thanks again for all your help. And sdreitlein those photos are beautiful, thank you.
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