Quick relaxing trip on Pacific Coast Highway?

Old Feb 4th, 2002, 07:40 PM
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Quick relaxing trip on Pacific Coast Highway?

I am a 3rd year veterinary student, only 4 days from finishing classes and starting clinical rotations. This is a monumental time, and the end of a very draining 5 semesters. I just bought last minute plane tickets to fly to San Francisco this coming Saturday night (2/9/02). I have 2 days; my plane leaves the San Francisco airport at 11:00 on Tuesday morning, and I want to see some beautiful stuff and both relax & invigorate myself.

I'm kind of just thinking of renting a car on Sunday morning and driving down Hwy 1, stopping when I feel like it or when something strikes my fancy. But I am too compulsive to not do ANY more planning! So I'm wondering a couple things.

1. Would it be possible to stay somewhere other than San Francisco, like Monterey, on Monday night, and still reliably get back to the SF airport by 9:30ish on Tuesday morning? I'd be willing to get up at 5:30 or so, but not earlier than that

2. Am I completely fooling myself and will I end up sleeping in my car every night, thinking I can just "stop wherever I end up" and find a reasonable room?

3. How much ground could I reasonably hope to travel on Hwy 1 in this time frame? I don't *have* to see every sight, I just want to make the most of my time. For me, that would mean finding a few really amazing, memorable things to do/places to hike, etc., vs. seeing as many things as I possibly could.

4. Any suggestions on "can't miss" things? I'm most excited about the scenery, the animals, etc, (more so than history, antiques, art...)

I would really appreciate any input!

Old Feb 4th, 2002, 08:10 PM
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If you have never been to San Francisco then stay there! There are so many things to do and see. You will have a great time. You can wander by bus or cable car! Congratulations!
Old Feb 4th, 2002, 08:29 PM
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SFO is madness - you should plan on being there 2.5 to 3 hours prior to your flight out. That means you would be getting to SFO right in the middle of some of the worst commuter traffic in California. So it would be hard to make a morning flight from anywhere outside the immediate SF/penninsula area.

What I would do is stick to the San Mateo County Coast - it is gorgeous - not Big Sur but still lovely. Or you could go to northern Monterey Bay (Aptos/Capitola/Santa Cruz on Sunday and back up to San Mateo on Monday so you wouldn't have too far to drive to make your plane. Half Moon Bay is a good place to look.
Old Feb 5th, 2002, 04:28 AM
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I would suggest hanging around SF, but not necessarily the city ... Muir Woods and Point Reyes National Seashore are wonderful! Probably what you are lookig for ... If you haven't been, I strongly suggest it! Might want to check out "wildernet.com" - a great site that may help you out ...
Old Feb 5th, 2002, 06:47 AM
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Is there any way to change your ticket? If so, flying into San Jose International Airport would be closer to Monterey than San Francisco Airport. If not, leaving Montery on Monday morning to get to SF airport would be madness. Even getting to SJ airport would be cutting it close. To get to SF airport you need to drive through San Jose first. Being that San Jose is the biggest city in Northern California, and a major business center due to its being the center of Silicon Valley, it could easily take 2 1/2 hours just to get to San Jose and 1-1 1/2 hours to get to the SF airport, as long as traffic is not too bad, and that's a BIG IF. I would suggest spending time in Monterey and Carmel on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday (www.monterey.com) and spending the night in or near San Jose on Monday night. There are many things to see and do in San Jose/Silicon Valley (www.sanjose.org) There are great restaurants, museums, theater, opera, ballet, parks etc. One of the most highly recommended museums in the city is the Tech Museum of innovation. The Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum is also worth checing out. I would have to say that from my experience, San Francisco is overrated. The other thing to think about is that if you do decide to stay in SF on Monday night, you will be travelling in the commute direction on the 101 freeway with people on there way to work in San Jose. Going to the SF airport from San Jose would be significantly easier during the morning commute.
Old Feb 5th, 2002, 07:03 AM
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i would dissent from everyone's advice. If you are getting in late on sat. begin going south toward monterey and stop at a motel when you are tired. then spend sunday, sunday night and monday in the big sur, carmel, monterey areas. then drive back and stay around the airport monday night. the drive to monterey from sfo takes about 2 hours without bad traffic. (i think sunday morning and monday night, after rush hour, woud be ok.) the vistas in big sur and carmel are truly one of the world's great blessings.. However, you do say you want to relax. I would find this trip very relaxing and enjoyable-but i don't know how you feel about running around a lot for a few days. i don't know what kind of budget you have. some nice hotels in monterey offer weekend rates that aren't bad in the off-season, adn i think this still effectively is the off-season.

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