One wk CA PCH Highway 1 itinerary ?

Old Apr 19th, 2012, 01:04 PM
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One wk CA PCH Highway 1 itinerary ?

In August, one wk Sat to Sun, arrive LAX and depart SFO. We have to be in Half Moon Bay at end of trip Fri and Sat nights. Mainly see this trip as a PCH trip (south to north) and not venturing inland. I have Fodor's new Calif 2012 guidebook.

Would appreciate suggestions on intinerary and lodging. We prefer outdoor and scenic more than museums, more casual and fun than fancy dining, and B&Bs or quaint motels are okay (e.g., will NOT be staying at Ritz Carlton in HMB). With exception of HMB at end, we are flexible. Given limited time, we're not set on San Francisco and easily could eliminate it if folks recommend adding more stops/days into the PCH journey up to HMB. Wondering also if any of the places would be good two-night stays, particularly if we eliminate SF.

We're not interested in Hearst Castle so I'm not including that. Mostly we'd enjoy scenic driving and stopping, beach and state park scenic walks and small town exploring.

Rough itinerary, with overnight locations shown and distance traveled that day:
Sat - LAX to Santa Barbara (110 mi)
Sun - San Simeon (150) - should we add a day in here, maybe overnight in SLObispo?
Mon - Carmel (90) - should we add a day in here?
Tue - 17 Mile Drive?; Santa Cruz (50)
Wed & Thu - San Fran (80) - (maybe eliminate SF?)
Fri & Sat - Half Moon Bay
Sun - depart SFO

Thanks in advance.
NearPhila is offline  
Old Apr 19th, 2012, 01:28 PM
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Your Monday could be spent driving up the coast doing coastal things -- Big Sur, Nepenthe, Point Lobos, Pfeiffer Beach. Stay in Carmel area.

Then Tuesday could be spent in the Carmel area, enjoying Carmel, Pacific Grove, the beaches, 17-mile drive. Stay in Carmel again.
sf7307 is offline  
Old Apr 19th, 2012, 01:33 PM
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You may find it difficult-to-impossible to find a hotel in Santa Barbara that will take a reservation for Saturday-only in August. In high-season summer, most hotels all along the coast have a 2-night minimum stay between Friday (sometimes Thursday) and Sunday.

FYI, depending on the time you land at LAX, the drive to SB could take 2.5-3 hours.

If you plan to visit Hearst Castle, you should investigate the tour options, make your choice/s and book 7-8 weeks in advance. Depending on what you decide to see at the Castle (and the timing required), you may choose to spend a second night in San Simeon.

I would add an extra day (or two) to the Carmel area. Are you interested in seeing the Monterey Aquarium?

I'd leave SF for another trip when you have more time.
Jean is offline  
Old Apr 19th, 2012, 03:18 PM
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Lots of places would be good 2-night stays - esspecially Santa Barbara and Monterey/Carmel. And Jean makes a good point about the 2 night minimums over weekends. Because of that, Santa Barbara should definitely be a 2-night stay. Monterey could easily be a 3 night stay if you can fit it in - there is plenty to do in that area to fill 2 days.

I also agree about leaving SF for another trip - to fit it in here, you will have to rush the visit and then shortchange the coast.

Santa Cruz is close enough to Monterey that you could see it as a day trip from Monterey (rather than spending the night) or depending on what time you have to be in HMB, you could stop enroute from Monterey to HMB - if you wanted to have fewer hotel changes.

So maybe something like this:

Sat: LAX to Santa Barbara
Sun: Santa Barbara
Mon: Drive to Cambria (rather than San Simeon), stoping along the way.
Tue: Drive through Big Sur (all day for drive), stay in Monterey area
Wed: Monterey area
Thu: another night in Monterey area or one in Santa Cruz
Fri: HMB
Sat: HMB
november_moon is offline  
Old Apr 19th, 2012, 03:35 PM
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I did the section between San Simeon and SF in March and did a trip report you might be interested in. -

There is also a link to my photos.

The highlights for me were: McWay Falls at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Pfeiffer Beach, and Point Lobos. I also liked Hearst Castle - you say you aren't interested though. Why not? I thought Monterey and Carmel were overrated compared to the rest of the coast. Although Carmel Mission was great.
isabel is offline  
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