San Francisco suggestion for day tour

Old May 31st, 2017, 02:45 PM
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San Francisco suggestion for day tour

Hello, I would love any advice on a short trip to San Francisco we're taking to meet up with kids and grandkids. We arrive on a Tuesday and they arrive Thursday. This gives us Wednesday on our own. We're staying on Lombard St. My husband thinks we should see sights in the city that day. I'm not opposed to that but feel if this is possibly our only trip to that area of CA, we should take a tour to Monterey/Carmel for the day. We'll have 3 days with our kids who know San Francisco well and will be excellent tour guides. I'm not opposed to staying in the city Wednesday and normally do not love the idea of bus travel but do love the idea of seeing Monterey. Please help us make this decision!
Thank you!
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Old May 31st, 2017, 02:51 PM
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Will you have a car or do you mean something like a bus tour? Is there something in particular in Monterey that attracts you? It's doable but I think it's far for just a day with, presumably, no overnight there. You might consider driving there immediately on arrival Tuesday and staying a night.
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Old May 31st, 2017, 03:03 PM
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>>we should take a tour to Monterey/Carmel for the day. Carmel > Monterey > SF would be about 5 hours straight bus time (maybe longer since you'd obviously have to start out during the morning commute) plus all the stops.

One option: If you are in one of the motels along Lombard you likely have free parking. Consider renting a car for the day and head to Muir Woods and some of the Marin coast (Stinson Beach, Tomales Bay, Bodega Bay etc)

Or -- check w/ the kids and see where they plan on taking you. If it doesn't include Angel Island/Sausalito/Tiburon, you could take the ferry to either town and then over to Angel Island. Great history plus some of the best views of SF from anywhere.

OR - Maybe the best option: consider canceling the first 2 nights in SF. Get a car at SFO and drive down to Carmel and spend Tues/Wed nights there. That would give you Tues evening and all day Wed there. Then drive up to SF to meet the family on Thurs morning.
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Old May 31st, 2017, 03:14 PM
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Yes, 2 nights even better.
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Old May 31st, 2017, 04:00 PM
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>>renting a car for the day and head to Muir Woods
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Old May 31st, 2017, 04:10 PM
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If you decide to take it easy and prefer public transport, you might take the ferry to Sausalito for the day:
http://goldengateferry.org/schedules/Sausalito.php
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Old May 31st, 2017, 04:39 PM
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>>We departed SF around 12:30 last Thursday, heading for Napa Valley to visit friends. As we passed through Sausalito, there was a sign saying that the parking lot at Muir Woods was "full".
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Old Jun 1st, 2017, 05:50 AM
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Great advice - thank you! I had no idea Monterey was that far and after spending 6 straight hours flying Tuesday, I would not want to be in a bus that long.

We're not renting a car until our last day when caravanning to Bend OR with our kids to their home. Our daughter-in-law absolutely agreed with Muir Woods and suggested looking into a bus/shuttle. One that stood out to me is a tour to Muir Woods (1.5 hrs), Sausalito (1 hr) and a cruise back to the ferry building (25 mins) through San Francisco Comprehensive Tours that use 14 passenger vans. What advice would you have about that as opposed to others?

Also, in our group for Thursday - Saturday will be 6 adults and 4 granddaughters, ages 3 to 8 (the girls have not been there.) Any kid-friendly suggestions would be much appreciated, including restaurants. They like all kinds of foods.

As a side note, we're going to the Redwoods on the way to Oregon. I have questions about that I'd love to ask but would like to decide on the Muir Woods tour first.

Thanks again folks!
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Old Jun 1st, 2017, 06:32 AM
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If you'll see redwoods later in your trip I'd skip the crowds at Muir Woods. The "cruise" to the Ferry Building is likely on the ferry I mentioned above and an hour in Sausalito would, for me, be far from enough time. So why not just go down to the Ferry Building and take the ferry on your own?
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Old Jun 1st, 2017, 07:15 AM
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If you're driving to Bend on 101 - you will actually drive through the largest coastal redwoods (Avenue of the Giants). It is a 3-5 min detour off 101 to visit the park.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jun 1st, 2017, 07:50 AM
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Good ideas. Maybe where we have only 3 full days in San Francisco, we should concentrate on sights there (after checking with the kids to see what they've already done and would be fine with us doing on Wednesday.) I actually think they've done all the must see sights and will be fine with us doing whatever suits our fancy. The only thing I need to think about physically is an arthritic knee which doesn't prevent me from walking but I understand there are hills galore! Knowing that, what do you suggest for us (both 69 and other than the knee in good shape.)

And yes, we'll be driving 101. We have rooms in Eureka Saturday night, going into the Redwoods Sunday and driving to Coos Bay OR for Sunday before heading over to Bend.
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Old Jun 1st, 2017, 08:09 AM
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Visit the Avenue of the Giants on the way to Eureka. It's almost 1 hr south of Eureka & directly on 101 - so you would "waste" 1 3/4 hrs backtracking to the redwoods from Eureka.


Visit Ferndale on the way to Eureka, or as a day trip from Eureka.
https://www.visitferndale.com/

Stu Dudley
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Old Jun 1st, 2017, 08:09 AM
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If you are hitting the Redwoods up north there is absolutely no reason to visit Muir Woods -- it is a relatively small park that gets seriously over crowded.

Assuming the rest of the family isn't planning on the ferry to Marin county -- I'd really consider that. Sausalito and definitely Angel Island -- no car needed.
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Old Jun 1st, 2017, 08:55 AM
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I would do as janisj suggested in her last post, although truth be told, I've also done many a day trip to the Carmel/Monterey area (spend the day wandering around Carmel, including the beach, or at the aquarium, cioppino at Phil's in Moss Landing on the way home, great day).
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Old Jun 1st, 2017, 09:08 AM
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I think both Sausalito and Angel Island would be a lot of walking for 1 day, considering the knee. Choose Sausalito for shops, restaurants, flat walking if you stick to the main drag along the bay. Or Angel Island for some interesting history and rural, but more hilly walking with unusual views around the bay.
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Old Jun 1st, 2017, 07:02 PM
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I think we'll do Sausalito and Angel Island. I realize it will be lots of walking so maybe spend more time in Sausalito. And Muir Woods is out of the plan. And maybe Monterey/Carmel on another trip.

My daughter-in-law said yes, we'll stop at Avenue of the Giants on the way to Eureka. And if we have time we'll stop in Ferndale.

My son and family have driven to and from San Francisco a couple of times but on Rt 5. My husband and I will be following and know nothing about Rt 101. Any enlightenment about that route would be welcomed!

Thank you all so much!
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Old Jun 1st, 2017, 08:25 PM
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We've lived in the SF Bay Area for 42 years. We've taken hundreds of trips up 101 as far as Healdsburg (most recent one, just last week). Maybe 5 as far as Benbow Inn in Garberville. 101 is extremely scenic once past Windsor - only surpassed by Hwy 1. We've driven perhaps 3-4 times to Ferndale/Eureka. Still, extremely scenic. Zero trips up Hwy 5.

We take Hwy 5 south when we need to get to LA in a hurry. Don't know what Hwy 5 is like north from Woodland to Oregon.

Stu Dudley
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Old Jun 2nd, 2017, 12:51 PM
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Thanks Stu, we're looking forward to our drive to Bend.

I have another question for you or anyone who has rented a car in San Francisco please. I need to reserve asap as rates are climbing and we have to pay a one way drop off fee. Seeing we'll be traveling north, I'm assuming we should we rent from one in the city (instead of the airport), correct? I see there are a lot of rental agencies and I could use help choosing. We're staying at Cow Hollow on Lombard St. if that helps at all. Thank you!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2017, 02:01 PM
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Definitely rent in the city - it's usually less expensive than the airport anyway (a lot of fees associated with renting a car at the airport). Sorry, I have no other advice as I live here and don't rent cars here!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2017, 03:58 PM
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I hope you plan to pick up your car the evening before you depart. Your hotel is less than 5 mins from the Golden Gate Bridge, so it makes no sense to me to struggle to get downtown on a Saturday morning (lots of one-way streets and perhaps some construction detours), wait for the car rental place to open?, load up the bags, and then drive right past your hotel to head to Eureka. That's gonna cost you easily 45 mins on Sat versus heading out as soon as you complete your morning "get ready" routine with the car waiting for you in the motel's parking lot. You have a long drive ahead of you. You don't want to start the day with the stress of driving in SF. Lombard is a big & wide street & the flow of traffic is over the GG Bridge. Just follow the cars in front of you.

Stu Dudley
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