San Fran to Long Beach

Mar 8th, 2005, 03:54 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 4
San Fran to Long Beach

Glad I found this thread! Flying from E.Coast to SF 4 days ahead of a cruise out of L.Beach. Renting car at SFO,staying at the Marriott/at Wharf for convience. Now see I should make reserv. for Alcatraz for next morning. Plan to take cable car during our arrival day and do walking tours.Have dinner at Ruth Chris Steak House. Anybody been at that one? Next day to do the Alcatraz tour, then drive down to Monterey, have reservations at a Beach Resort (Best Western, hope its ok, wanted to stay by the beach) Next morning driving thru Big Sur until we reach Santa Barbara., Staying at West Beach Inn, W Cabrillo Blvd, on Beach. ( hope it is ok) Plan to go to all the wharfs in both areas and any other attractions in the area. Would like to fit in the Hearst Castle, don't know if we have the time. After leaving Santa Barbara very early next morning, have to reach the car rental and then staying overnight on the Queen Mary. Have dinner reservations there. Anybody been there for dinner? Next morning. leaving for the cruise which I understand the Carnival pier is right there./ How long does it take to ride thru the Big Sur? Are there gas stations in the area for that drive? Thanks for any info. Have made reservations quite a while ago since we are traveling Easter week, which is very busy.
Cruiser144 is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 06:13 PM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45,322
Hi Cruiser, my head is spinning with your itinerary.

But maybe someone else here on Fodors can give you better advice then I can.

Guess I am feeling tired tonight (a busy day) but honestly I cringe reading your plans.

To make it short and sweet. If I was taking a cruise out of LongBeach I would not fly to SF and consider the plans that you have.

What would I consider? Well maybe San Diego before the cruise. Or Santa Barbara? Something like that.

Hopefully someone else here will give you better advice then I am feeling capable of. But I sure wish you a beautiful visit to California and a wonderful cruise.
LoveItaly is offline  
Mar 8th, 2005, 07:26 PM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 3,293
I won't reply to all your thoughts. But, the ride through Big Sur on Route 1 is very slow. Don't expect to jam Hearst Castle into your trip, unless you do everything in a whirlwind. I suppose you can do it, if you wake up early and are used to pushing yourself. I find a lot of the Fodorites really like to see a lot of things on their vacation. I suppose I'm too lazy, or too old, to do that much at one time. We recently drove the Pacific Hwy from Brisbane to Sydney in 6 days, a distance of 750 miles staying overnight for one or two days along the route. It was a mistake for us on the one nighters. We just did not see anything except the road and missed out on some of the pretty towns we stayed in, but never really saw and too much time was spent in the car. Although this distance is shorter, there's more traffic to contend with (if you are unlucky) and you will only be able to say you were there! Spend some time in SF and then if you want to stop on the road, pick Santa Barbara or Cambria or some place that appeals to you for 2 days and then continue onto Long beach. (By the way, it has been years, and perhaps the dining room on the QM has improved, but I was unimpressed, but the Art Deco dining room is worth it anyway for the ambience. My humble opinion for what it is worth.
annetti is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 07:10 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,108
Your trip will be busy, but you are taking a cruise right after, so you can just hang out and relax then.

The BW in Monterey - is that the resort in Marina, just north of Monterey? If it is, then that is a good place. Some friends of ours recently had their wedding reception there. It isn't fancy, but it is nice and the location is right on the water.

The drive through Big Sur will take awhile, I would plan on 6 hours from Monterey to Santa Barbara since you will want to stop several times to see the views. Also, gas up in Monterey because there aren't many gas stations once you get south of Carmel until you reach Cambria.

An alternative to staying in Santa Barbara would be to stay in Cambria. If you spent 2 nights in Cambria instead of Santa Barbara, then you would definitely have time to see Hearst Castle and then on your drive down to Long Beach, you could stop in Santa Barbara for lunch.
J_Correa is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 07:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,379
I'll add to the pile-on-- it's a very, very jam-packed trip, so plan to relax a lot on the cruise.

annetti: Sir Winston's on the Queen Mary is currently a quite highly-regarded eatery with high Zagat scores. Note that it's a formal room, so jackets are required for men. Chelsea's, also on the QM, is less formal and a bit less highly-regarded.
rjw_lgb_ca is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 09:03 AM
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 4,640
Yes, the BW Beach Resort is nice, I hope you were able to book an oceanview room. The rooms are small but comfortable and nicely decorated.

The property has a very nice stretch of a public beach there. It has a swimming pool, jacuzzi and and decent restaurant. We have stayed at this property with our family about twice a year over the past twenty years.

Sounds like a nice trip, have a great time! ***kim***
kimamom is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 09:32 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 287
You have long drives each day and I can't really see how you could change anything very much. You might get to Monterey alittle sooner if you skip dinner at Ruth Chris and do the evening tour of Alcatraz. Just a thought. From Monterey it is a long drive to Santa Barbara (I haven't done the whole route, but the part I've driven was slow going). Hearst Castle will take you approx 2 hours. Last tours start around 2-3 in the afternoon. You should be able to get there, I think, but not sure. Fog could slow you down in the am. Afterward, Cambria wouldn't be a bad idea, or you could even go as far as Morro or Pismo Beach. Then it would be a long haul (time-wise) to Long Beach. Anyway you do it, you will not have much time in Santa Barbara. But J_Correa's suggestion of stopping for lunch would at least get you off 101 and over to the pier for a little while.
babs001 is offline  
Mar 9th, 2005, 01:40 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 18,224
It's about 5 to 7 hours, between Monterey and Santa Barbara, depending on day of the week, time of day and the weather conditions. Santa Barbara to Long Beach should be about 3 hours unless there is some traffic problem. Don't try to take Pacific Coast Hwy thru Malibu unless you are sure that all lanes are open. It's not a bad idea to stay in Cambria instead of Santa Barbara. If you leave early enough you should be able to catch an afternoon tour at Hearst Castle. The Castle has a website and you should reserve ahead since you are traveling during a busy period. It is about 5 hours, more or less, from Cambria to Long Beach. You will have time to stop in Santa Barbara, and honestly, although it's pretty, there really isn't that much to see there.
mlgb is offline  
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