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San Francisco,Monterey, Yosemite etc.!

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May 22nd, 2013, 03:07 PM
  #1
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San Francisco,Monterey, Yosemite etc.!

We're going to San Francisco and surrounding areas in mid-July. We'd like to visit Yosemite, wine country, Muir woods and Sausalito as well as Monterey, Carmel,Pacific Grove and San Simeon. We have 8 days? How should I plan our itinerary? We will be flying into and out of SF. I think we will take a bus tour to Yosemite, but drive to all other locations? It's me and hubby and our 15 yr. old. Going to try to use some Marriott points if we can. I don't know where to start first, little confusing. .
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May 22nd, 2013, 03:45 PM
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3 days in San Francisco, 3 days in Monterey/Carmel/Pacific Grove/coast, 2 days Yosemite. That all assumes your 8 days is "on the ground", if it includes travel days, you don't have enough time for all of that. If you must go to Muir Woods, go early on one of the San Francisco days (but you'll see plenty of redwoods on the coast, so it's really not something I'd spend my time doing). You don't have time for wine country (and not sure what your 15-year old would do there anyway, there's only so much lovely landscape you can look at).
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May 22nd, 2013, 04:10 PM
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I like sf's suggested itinerary. The main issue with the plan will be getting lodging in Yosemite. You mentioned a tour - like a day tour from SF? That is doable - long day without much time in Yosemite, but doable. If you can though, at least try for an overnight trip.

I agree with taking San Simeon and wine country off the list for the sake of time (and the 15 year old). San Simeon is just too far south to make it practical to visit.

Regarding wine country - there are wine growing areas near Monterey, in the Santa Cruz mountains, and in the Sierra foothills, as well as in the central valley, so you don't have to go to "wine country" to visit wineries. So you can do some good tasting without devoting a lot of time to wine country.

Enroute to Monterey, you might stop in Santa Cruz, which is a nice beach town with a strong surf culture and a fun beachside amusementpark - your 15 year old would probably enjoy it a lot.

For redwoods - Henry Cowell state park is just outside of Santa Cruz and is a great place to visit the redwoods.
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May 22nd, 2013, 04:55 PM
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You should reserve accommodations ASAP.

I doubt if you'll find anything in Yosemite for mid July. You might find something outside the park, but getting to/from the Valley will consume a lot of time. I would do a bus tour - although I hate structured tours.

I would start the trip by landing at SFO and immediately renting a car & driving to Monterey/Carmel/PG & stay there 3 nights. You could spend only 2 nights in Carmel and the last in San Simeon if you don't mind the boring drive up 101 to get back to SFO. Return the car at SFO and take a taxi into SF.

Stay in SF for 5 nights and do a day trip to Yosemite. To visit Sausalito, I would rent bikes from Blazing Saddles, and ride along Crissy Field to Ft Point (our kid will love Ft Point - do this on a Fri, Sat, or Sun when Ft Point is open). Then ride over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, and then take the ferry back to San Francisco (the bike rental place will have details about this).

Here are some of my other ideas
http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...mendations.cfm

Stu Dudley
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May 23rd, 2013, 05:30 AM
  #5
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Thank you for all of your speedy replies,it was very helpful. I realize I could eliminate the Muir Woods and wine country excursions, and still enjoy the same experiences enroute. I forgot to ask where Big Sur would fit into our itinerary. I'm really holding on to visiting the Hearst castle at San Simeon- don't want to give that up, really. Is this possible without giving up sleep?
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May 23rd, 2013, 07:00 AM
  #6
 
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>> I forgot to ask where Big Sur would fit into our itinerary.<<

On the way from Carmel to San Simeon.

Visit Pt Lobos just outside of Carmel, then down to Big Sur, Have lunch at Nepenthe. Lots of redwood trees. Then go to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park about 5-10 miles south of Big Sur, then continue on Hwy 1 - stopping along the way to admire the views. Arrive in San Simeon later in the day & take a tour if you have time. Next morning, take another tour of Hearst Castle. Then continue south on Hwy 1 to Cambria, then east on #46 to Paso Robles (wineries???), and then north on 101/280 back to SFO.

Stu Dudley
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May 23rd, 2013, 08:29 AM
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Agree with Stu. You can fit this in-- it will be a squeeze, but it's doable. Maybe stay 2 days in San Francisco, 2 days in Monterey area, coast per Stu'd itinerary (2 days), Yosemite (2 days). You can change days/nights depending on whether you prefer to drive at the end of the day or in the morning.

Are you from Roscoe, NY or are you Roscoe from NY? (Best seeded roll and butter EVER at the Roscoe Diner).
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May 23rd, 2013, 08:38 AM
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As much as I hate saying this - I'd skip Yosemite. It is very late to find accommodations anywhere w/I a reasonable drive, the park will be VERY crowded, and w/ this year's snow pack, the waterfalls won't be as full ad normal. Stick to the coast and SF . . . UNLESS you are very lucky and can get a room at Yosemite Lodge. If so, then yes go to Yosemite since you won't need to drive in/out of the Valley. But otherwise just stick to the coast.
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May 23rd, 2013, 09:05 AM
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I was thinking of recommending to skip Yosemite as well. With the time limitations and the strong desire to see Hearst Castle and Big Sur combined with the crazy busy-ness and difficulty in getting overnight reservations in Yosemite, it is a reasonable compromise.
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May 23rd, 2013, 11:15 PM
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Why is Sausalito highlighted in the OP's post? Is this another new way to advertise on Fodors?

Stu's suggestion is OK, except that 3 days is really rushing it.

Also I wouldn't stay 3 nights in Carmel.

If you start your trip from SFO and go south, then enjoy Santa Cruz as november_moon has suggested, then get down to Carmel, enjoy Carmel. You didn't mention what time you land in SF and what time you are leaving. It makes a lot of difference in how we can help schedule your trip.

If you don't have much time the first day, then I suppose you could stay in Carmel two nights. First night settle in, next day do Monterey Aquarium and otherwise spend time enjoying Monterey/PG/Carmel. Spend 2nd night in Carmel.

Next day start your drive down - stop in Point Lobos, etc. htting all the other points mentioned by Stu and just keep going until reach Cambria. Do evening tour of Hearst Castle. Stay the night in Cambria.

Next morning do day tour of Hearst Castle. Then in afternoon start back to SF. The area around Paso Robles is another one of California's wine regions and is worth a visit if you want to visit some wineries along the way back to SF. Your 15 year old should enjoy the drive through the countryside and doesn't have to do any actual winetasting.

You don't really need a car for SF, which is why Stu is recommending that you return the car at SFO. If you get there late, then just spend the night at an airport hotel.

Next morning take BART into SF and spend the rest of your trip in SF.

I'll not enter into the division of opinion on Yosemite. It's your choice.

Have a great trip and welcome to California!
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May 24th, 2013, 08:54 AM
  #11
 
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On Trip Advisor, the destination names are hyperlinks to other pages on TA that deal with that particular location. It doesn't work consistently, so some destinations will have hyperlinks and others won't. Maybe Fodors has adopted the same inconsistent algorithm...
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May 24th, 2013, 09:39 AM
  #12
 
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Thanks for the explanation, nm, I do go for a lot of hyperlinks and sometimes get lost reading the individual trees and forget where the start point was! It's just that this had never happened before on Fodors.

Wonder where "Sausalito" will lead?
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May 26th, 2013, 09:09 PM
  #13
 
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The hyperlink is to the Fodor's article on Sausalito:

http://www.fodors.com/world/north-am...rea/sausalito/

What does your 15-year-old like to do? Is he active? Would he want to kayak (or learn to)? Mountain bike? It could make a difference in your itinerary.
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May 28th, 2013, 06:45 AM
  #14
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Thank you for all of your generous input it is really helping me plan this trip to SF (and areas surrounding. sf7307 - I am not from Roscoe but spent my summers in a log cabin /lake cottage there (in the Catskills) growing up- amazing Shangri-La. It's no wonder that everybody knows Roscoe Diner!
Our 15yr. loves photography so this trip will be paradise for them.
We decided to add a few more days to our trip and I'm thinking maybe we could drive to Yosemite after leaving the coastal areas.Maybe after Big Sur or San Simeon? That would mean 4 nights in S.F. 3 nights in Monterey area,then the remaining 3 nights heading back to SF via Yosemite? I know not everyone thinks it's doable, but we added the extra days so maybe yes?
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May 28th, 2013, 08:13 AM
  #15
 
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Oh, the new plan is totally doable. The extra days make all the difference. However, you need to book a place to stay in Yosemite absolutely ASAP!! There is probably nothing available in the Valley. Try for Yosemite Lodge at the Falls. Failing tat there are two motels in El Portal. Yosemite View Lodge is the better one, but Cedar Lodge is OK. Try to get a room in one of those three places. Everything else is miles and an hour or more from the Valley. Oh - one other place to check is Yosemite West, whic are houses and condos and are also a short drive - but are also probably booked up.

First thing to do is get your Yosemite accommodation nailed down. Be flexible about the dates and then plan the rest of your itinerary around that. You may have to rearrange the order of things to fit around Yosemite.
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