San Francisco/Carmel/Big Sur in December

Aug 11th, 2015, 08:50 AM
Original Poster
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San Francisco/Carmel/Big Sur in December

My husband and two teenage sons are planning a trip to San Francisco and Carmel/Big Sur the last week of December 2015. We are considering flying into San Jose since the flights are less expensive, and then renting a car and driving to either SF or Carmel to start our weeklong trip. We had heard great things about the Tickle Pink Inn, but they are requiring a 3 night minimum that week, and we don't think there will be enough for us to do to warrant staying 3 nights. We would like 3-4 nights in SF. Would love advice on flying into San Jose versus SF, if the weather that time of year is o.k. for general sightseeing and light hiking, and any other hotel recommendations for the Carmel area if we decide staying 3 nights at the Tickle Pink is too much. Also, we are curious about where to spend New Year's Eve, whether you all might recommend Carmel or SF. Thanks in advance for any help!
janie47 is offline  
Aug 11th, 2015, 09:32 AM
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>>we don't think there will be enough for us to do to warrant staying 3 nights. <<

3 nights is only 2.5 days . . . and there is way more than enough to fill the time. Unfortunately the weather could be anything -- beautiful, winter storms or anything in between.
janisj is online now  
Aug 11th, 2015, 02:00 PM
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with only a week, i might consider staying the 3 nights at tickle pink if that's a place you'd like to see. because, if you want 3-4 nights in san fran....that's your week. first day / night, fly into san jose, get your car and head to the hotel. a couple days you could explore that area. one day, you could drive down to morro bay or pismo beach and drive back on the 101. or do this on your last day and drive back right to san jose to return the car. figure out how to get to san fran and spend your remaining nights there.

or, i'd do 2 nights in monterey/carmel & 2 nights in santa barbara and then get an early start the next day to return your car and get to san fran.
ltt is offline  
Aug 11th, 2015, 02:27 PM
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I can't really picture going to Tickle Pink Inn with kids. I'm sure people do but it really is more of a honeymoon type of place. You are also about 15 minutes away from Carmel and about 20 from Monterey, if that matters to you. A plus is that you are close to Point Lobos. Just not sure that spending all that money on Tickle Pink is a good idea if you will be out and about most of the day sightseeing/hiking with the kids.
AustinTraveler is offline  
Aug 11th, 2015, 08:05 PM
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Why not look into a Vacation Rental by Owner? That way you have more of a house or apt. than a hotel. Also,consider Pacific Grove too as a place to stay. The boys will enjoy the Monterey Aquarium and the historic plaza. If we get our El Nino rains, I'm not sure how much hiking you'll be able to do. As for New Year's eve, your best bet would be San Francisco. But not sure its worth giving up a day in Carmel for a drink at midnight somewhere in SF.
kleroux is offline  
Aug 11th, 2015, 08:22 PM
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New Year's Eve in San Francisco is pretty much a non-event. There are fireworks, but otherwise, it's a night like any other (lots to do, but there's nothing like Times Square here).
sf7307 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2015, 09:02 AM
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Thanks so much for your replies and suggestions. Now rethinking staying at the Tickle Pink with sons, but would love other recommendations for 3-4 star hotels in the Carmel/Big Sur area. And if anyone has recommendations for hotels in San Fran, that would be appreciated as well!
janie47 is offline  
Aug 12th, 2015, 01:46 PM
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There's Hyatt Carmel Highlands next to Tickle Pink but you have to same issue of being farther away from everything. Last year traffic on Hwy 1 was bad over the holidays so the usual 15 minute drive from Highlands took longer.

Big Sur is fairly isolated. Are you looking to stay there or just day trip?

What's your budget? Carmel lodgings tend to cater more toward couples than families.
Patty is offline  
Aug 12th, 2015, 01:53 PM
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W/ a family you might consider staying in Monterey instead. Like at the Intercontinental on Cannery Row, or maybe at the Asilomar in Pacific Grove.
janisj is online now  
Aug 12th, 2015, 02:32 PM
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Throwing out a few ideas in Carmel - Individual cottages very close to the beach and also walkable to downtown About a mile south of downtown Carmel overlooking Carmel River beach and Point Lobos and near the Carmel Mission

Also look at La Playa, Cypress Inn and Coachman's Inn, all right in or close to downtown Carmel.

The Intercontinental and Asilomar are very good suggestions in those respective towns. They're very different from each other. The Intercontinental is a modern waterfront hotel and Asilomar is a state park lodge.
Patty is offline  
Aug 18th, 2015, 08:31 PM
Join Date: Aug 2015
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If you're flying to San Jose, you might as well get a rental car and drive to San Francisco and stay there for 2-3 days.

If you're heading to Southern California on your last day, I highly recommend visiting Carmel-By-The-Sea, Big Sur, and San Simeon on your way down the scenic CA-1. You can even stay at the Madonna Inn at night and visit Santa Barbara and Solvang the next morning.

Personally, I wouldn't stay in Carmel nor Big Sur as the hotels there are outrageously pricey and there's not a whole lot to do (for me anyway).
sgvdomer is offline  
Aug 18th, 2015, 08:59 PM
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The Intercontinental is a good suggestion. We also like the Monterey Plaza Hotel very much, great ocean views between Cannery Row and the wharf.
curiousgeo is offline  
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