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San Fran to Napa and back to Carmel, Big Sur, Cambria, Santa Monica

San Fran to Napa and back to Carmel, Big Sur, Cambria, Santa Monica

May 6th, 2016, 01:34 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 30
San Fran to Napa and back to Carmel, Big Sur, Cambria, Santa Monica

Hi everyone,
We are planning a trip in August to go from San Fran up to Napa.
1. If we just chose one or two wineries which ones should they be?
From there we are going back to Carmel - By - The - Sea for a night.
2. Do you know if you can swim in the sea there?
We are going to continue down to Big Sur and want to do a 4 or 5 hour hike somewhere on route.
3. Is there any recommendations for this length of hike?
We will stay the night in Cambria which will make it a big day but we will leave good and early - we are just hoping we will be in Cambria in time for dinner.
4. Does this sound doable?
From Cambria we want to go to the Ronald Reagan Library and then to a beach for a night or two before we fly out of LA.
5. Where would you recommend a good beach stay?
Thanks for your help in advance
kiwianna is offline  
May 6th, 2016, 07:10 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 66,048
I'm dashing out but just one quick comment right now: Instead of traveling north and then turning around and heading south on a fairly rushed drive south . . . There are many other wine regions in California including along the Central coast right on your route.
janisj is online now  
May 6th, 2016, 08:14 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,322
Here is the best guide I've seen on the different wine regions of California. http://www.winecountrygetaways.com/wine-regions/
Most people who try to swim in the Pacific Ocean are shocked at how cold the water is.
tomfuller is offline  
May 6th, 2016, 08:42 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I agree with Janis. Since you are so rushed, skip going to Napa/Sonoma to wine taste. There a wineries and vineyards all along your route south. In Morgan Hill is the Guglielmo Winery. They have been a family winery since 1925. Handy to Hwy 101.
http://www.guglielmowinery.com

Monterey County, Carmel Valley, Paso Robles, SanLuis Obispo/Edna Valley. There are plenty of places to stop.

Cambria is nice for being close to the beach. Pismo and Avila are also nice for a beach stay.
MichelleY is offline  
May 6th, 2016, 08:44 AM
  #5  
 
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I do not know about Big Sur hiking, but near Morro Bay is Montaña de Oro, Very popular for hiking.
MichelleY is offline  
May 6th, 2016, 10:34 AM
  #6  
 
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Vincente Trail across from Kirk Creek Campground is a good hike. It's a 10-mile round trip but you don't have to go all the way. Best views are the first two miles.

http://www.hikinginbigsur.com/hikes_vicente.html

Keep in mind that Carmel to Cambria is really an all-day trip if you take in the sights. You really shouldn't miss Point Lobos, Pfeiffer Beach, McWay Falls, Nepenthe, and all the numerous scenic turnouts along the way. Just south of Nepenthe is an exhibit about the endangered California Condors with a life-size mosaic of just how huge these birds are. At the next turnout just south of there we actually saw Condors and they were spectacular. Bring binoculars and you can see where they have been tagged prior to being released. Also, before you get to Cambria don't miss Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery. In Cambria we really enjoyed dinner at Moonstone Beach Bar & Grill.

And I agree with the others that there is no need to go to Napa.

Don't plan on any ocean swimming until you get to Southern California. Even there it's too cold for me, but it might be fine for you depending on where you are coming from.
AustinTraveler is offline  
May 6th, 2016, 01:23 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
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Try Manhattan Beach for a Southern California beach town. There is also Santa Monica but the hotels are more pricey there.
jamie99 is offline  
May 6th, 2016, 11:09 PM
  #8  
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Join Date: May 2016
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HI Everyone,

Thanks for all your replies, very helpful indeed.

We are wanting to go to Napa more to look at the countryside not so much the winery's. We just wanted to perhaps take in 1 or 2 wineries more the scenic ones so I should have been more clear about that.

I know our trip is so rushed - but at least we get to do it.

I love swimming and can handle fairly cold water - having swam in the South Island of New Zealand you tend to get pretty hardy - after about 15 minutes your body is numb from the cold but I just adore the waves so endure it - anyway I will look into staying nearer the beaches Jamie mentioned.

Really appreciate all your help - I just found out about this website it is just awesome Thanks so much.
kiwianna is offline  
May 7th, 2016, 05:00 AM
  #9  
 
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If you are used to cold water, then you will be ok with the temp. I grew up swimming in the waters along the coast, from San Francisco to north of Seattle, in the Puget Sound. But do be very aware of big waves and currents, which can be tricky in spots. Heed the signage.
sludick is offline  
May 7th, 2016, 05:50 AM
  #10  
 
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>>We are wanting to go to Napa more to look at the countryside not so much the winery's. We just wanted to perhaps take in 1 or 2 wineries more the scenic ones so I should have been more clear about that.<<

The scenery is nice but not really knock your socks off or anything.

>>after about 15 minutes your body is numb from the cold but I just adore the waves so endure it<<

If you can stand numb . . . then the water will be fine
janisj is online now  
May 7th, 2016, 07:44 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
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>>The scenery is nice but not really knock your socks off or anything. <<

I agree. Why would you spend an entire day driving up to the Napa Valley, struggling through heavy traffic on un-familiar city streets in San Francisco, perhaps heavy traffic in San Rafael, driving 0 to 10 MPH on hwy 29 to get to & through St Helena - just so you can see some "B" scenery? You could instead skip Napa, gain a day, travel at a more leisurely pace and explore more "gems" on foot like Pt Lobos & Pfeiffer Beach - and see better and more "A" scenery (IMO) in the Carmel area, Big Sur coast, & Paso Robles area.

Spend less time in the car driving through ugly commerce - get out and explore scenic spots on foot!!!

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...mendations.cfm

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is offline  
May 7th, 2016, 12:43 PM
  #12  
 
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Agree. Napa has been so romanticized thanks to PR campaigns and movies, but it has lost what charm it once had. Now it's endless traffic, hot and dusty, and really not what I think you may be imagining.
sludick is offline  
May 7th, 2016, 01:02 PM
  #13  
 
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I didn't find Napa all that pretty, Sonoma has some pretty areas and the Russian River area is really lovely also.
The Santa Ynez Valley north of Santa Barbara has very pretty countryside with lots of wineres, rolling hills and live oak trees but if driving from Cambria to LA with no intermediate stops, not sure if you have time to fit in a visit.
jamie99 is offline  
May 7th, 2016, 01:18 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
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>> but if driving from Cambria to LA with no intermediate stops, not sure if you have time to fit in a visit.<<

Ah -- but if the skip the detour up to Napa they'd have plenty of time to fit in another day/night on the coast
janisj is online now  
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