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San Francisco - Santa Barbara Hints and tips please

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Jun 21st, 2012, 03:46 PM
  #1
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San Francisco - Santa Barbara Hints and tips please

This is a spin off from an over long thread I posted last week.
I (age 60) am travelling with my son (age 39) from SF along the PCH to SB. I am staying in SF for 4 nights without a car, then picking up the car at SFO (car hired from Mon 30 July - Fri 3rd Aug), dropping it off at SB airport.

Originally I was anxious about the drive being a first time driver in the US, but have got over that a bit now. I need hints and tips about where to stay and for how long during the 5 days I have the car.
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Jun 21st, 2012, 04:03 PM
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If you pick up the car in SF proper, you will save a bunch of fees and airport taxes.

I generally use Hertz. There are 13 places to rent in SF and about 5-6 places to dropoff in SB.

I'll start with that point.
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Jun 21st, 2012, 04:07 PM
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A couple of questions to get started- Can your son drive the car? Are you paying a drop off fee to leave the car at Santa Barbara? Where are you flying to from Santa Barbara?
On our recent trip to Santa Barbara my DW and I spent a night at the Pigeon Point Hostel about 50 miles south of SF a bit south of Pescadero. They do have male and female dorms with a kitchen if you wanted to cook. There is also a HI Hostel in Monterey that we stayed at several years ago.
We drove from Pigeon Point to Pismo Beach for a leisurely lunch and then 2.5 hours to the student housing at UCSB which is just west of the airport in Isla Vista/Goleta. Are you staying overnight in the Santa Barbara area before turning in the rental car?
Plenty of great coastal scenery with a few area of barren desert along this route. See the aquarium in Monterey if you have the time.
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Jun 21st, 2012, 06:09 PM
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"A couple of questions to get started- Can your son drive the car? Are you paying a drop off fee to leave the car at Santa Barbara? Where are you flying to from Santa Barbara? "

tom - we've been over all that (and you have posted on her other threads). The OP is the only driver and is taking the train from SB to LA (Big BIG mistake IMO)
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Jun 21st, 2012, 06:26 PM
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Sorry with multiple threads I got confused. For once I totally agree with janisj.
Do not try to take the train from Goleta to LAX if you do insist on dropping there. the sbairbus seems to be much more reasonable http://www.sbairbus.com/ if you did not want to drive into LAX. Fly from LAX or Long Beach to go to Las Vegas.
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Jun 21st, 2012, 08:00 PM
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Especially since there is no train from Goleta to LAX airport.

I agree, rent in downtown San Francisco and return in downtown Santa Barbara. Hertz has good rates for UK citizens. Try code 62455 for a discount with Hertz.

It is not difficult to drive out of San Fran, heading south, as 101 goes right through the city.

If you're taking the Bart train from SFO into the city, you'll want a hotel near a Bart station. SF Residents can help with that.
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Jun 21st, 2012, 08:26 PM
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That's a busy weekend for San Francisco and hotels will fill up soon due to the Marathon. I'd book something asap, maybe something with a good cancellation policy so that you can change your mind should you find something better.

This is a nice B&B that is just a few blocks walk from the Civic Center Bart stop. www.hayesvalleyinn.com

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserR...alifornia.html
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Jun 21st, 2012, 09:00 PM
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She's not going to LAX, if you read the other threads.

Maybe it wasn't a good idea to start a new one!

Places to stay.

In the Monterey Bay area I prefer Pacific Grove, then Carmel, than the city of Monterey. Avoid the cheap hotels on Munras, though.

Sometimes you can get rooms at Asilomar, a historic conference center. Discounts for nonrefundable advance purchase and historic rooms (which I like).

http://www.visitasilomar.com/accommodations.aspx

I have never spent the night along the Big Sur coast. It doesn't really take that long to reach Cambria,Cayucos or Morro Bay. Most of the time we stay at the Moonstone properties Cambria Pines Lodge in one of the fireplace rooms with two queen beds (because these are upper floor rooms, they are less noisy). But do read the Tripadvisor reviews here, it isn't perfect by any means. There are also some lodgings in the Moonstone Beach area of Cambria.

http://www.moonstonehotels.com/cambria_pines_lodge.htm

You can also stay in the Pismo Beach area, lots of hotels of all price ranges. It can be foggy in this area in the summertime. But a nice beach for walking and jogging and some sand dunes.

If you are into wine tasting the area around Los Olivos/Solvang/Buellton/Santa Ynez before you get to Santa Barbara is "Sideways Country". There are some great restaurants in this area ranging from the very old school Casmalia branch of the Hitching Post, to Los Olivos Cafe (in the movie) or Paula's Pancake House in Solvang.

As far as Santa Barbara hotels are pretty expensive. And I live too close to spend the night there, usually I will stay in Solvang, Buellton, or even Lompoc instead.
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Jun 21st, 2012, 09:25 PM
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In SF - consider staying at the Chelsea Motor Inn at Filmore and Lombard. Parking - plus it's \quiet and in a good neighborhood with plenty of restaurants and wine bars/pubs - plus easy bus service around SF from there. http://www.chelseamotorinn.com/
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Jun 21st, 2012, 11:00 PM
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Tomsd- not having a car to park in SF means she's not worried about parking, try to keep up.

Tomfuller why would she want to stay 50 miles south of San Francisco? She started this thread due to too much wackadaisical info on her previous thread, lets try to keep this thread on track.

Lyn I remember you want to visit Palo Alto, don't head there until after 10am, the traffic in the Silicon Valley is far from jolly-good.
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Jun 22nd, 2012, 03:50 PM
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Hotel Indigo Santa Barbara still shows availability that week. Close to train and Hertz. Don't wait too long to make your bookings along the coast, everything will fill-up very soon. Just book something changeable/cancellable in case your itinerary changes.
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Jun 22nd, 2012, 04:35 PM
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The reasons my wife and I stayed 50 miles south of SF. We liked the oceanfront lodging. We liked spending less than $50 for a nights lodging. It was an easy days drive from there to Santa Barbara. We did not want to pay big bucks to have a city view and have a hard time getting out of the city in the morning.
I could and did cook my own meal in the kitchen.
I will put in a plug for Joe's Cafe on State Street in Santa Barbara where we had a great breakfast on Sunday morning 6/10.
The city parking lot behind Joe's has free parking for up to 90 minutes which is plenty of time.
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Jun 22nd, 2012, 05:12 PM
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Don't know if I'm the source of some of that "wackadaisical info", so am staying out of this thread.

But, must agree with janisj - leaving the car in Santa Barbara is a BIG, BIG mistake. Los Angeles is car country, not public transportation country.
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Jun 22nd, 2012, 05:30 PM
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Actually Los Angeles just one ANOTHER award for having some of the best public transportation in the country. It moves millions of people every week, and some of you seem to hardly have noticed.
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Jun 22nd, 2012, 08:14 PM
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Clarkgriswold: Yes --LOTS of people do commute on public transport in LA. But they commute, they aren't trying to get to spread out tourist sites during a really short visit.
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Jun 22nd, 2012, 08:27 PM
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No wonder she started another thread. Maybe if you look on the other one you'll see that she is happy with the hop on hop off bus in LA. But that wasn't the question here.

Assuming you get no further pertinent input, I would search trip reports as well as ask over on Tripadvisor Forums. There are a few people there who know the Central Coast very well.
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Jun 22nd, 2012, 11:24 PM
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San Francisco....down to Santa Barbara.

Focus, people....focus!
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Jun 26th, 2012, 08:48 AM
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Update - I have now booked a hotel at Morro Bay and one in SB. I am now researching Monteray. Someone on here suggested I steer clear of Munras Ave hotels - why?

Also - if I were to use a hotel on Fremont and drive into Monteray where would I park for Cannery Row/Aquarium or do they have their own parking lots?
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Jun 26th, 2012, 09:04 AM
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There is a strip of motels along Munras Ave. It's perfectly safe, just not particularly scenic. From here you'll need to drive to Cannery Row/Aquarium where there's street parking and several lots. There may be transit options too but I've never looked into it http://www.mst.org/

My personal preference is to stay near downtown Carmel because I like being able to walk to dinner, the beach, etc. but I don't know what the hotel cost difference is. We always stay longer and rent houses.

Carmel/Pacific Grove/Monterey is a pretty compact area so nothing is all that far from anything else.
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Jun 26th, 2012, 09:14 AM
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Munras is a bit hooker's row ! I would try to get Pacific Grove if Carmel is too expensive.
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