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San Francisco to Anaheim Itinerary Review

Old Mar 6th, 2016, 10:05 AM
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San Francisco to Anaheim Itinerary Review

We are planning a trip to California this July. We are a family of 6; 2 adults 4 kids (ages 3-9). We plan to start in San Francisco and make our way to Disneyland with a stop in Monterey. We would like to see redwoods on our trip and we have been told the Big Basin Redwood State Reserve is a great stop on our route. We are looking for suggests on short hikes and places that we can drive to see (lookouts, waterfalls, etc). We don't want to do much hiking since we have little kids. We would prefer a small walk (1 mile or less). Also, I'm not sure on how much time we would need there and how long the drive is to Monterey. Map quest says 1.5 hours so we budgeted for 2. We are also wondering how long we can expect the drive from Monterey to Anaheim to be and when would be the best time of day to drive the scenic route with less traffic? Any suggests on the itinerary we have would be great. Thanks!

Day 1- San Fran
10:00-1:00 Exploratorium
3:15 Bay Cruise
Day 2- San Fran
9:30-12:00 California Academy of Science
3:50-6:40 Alcatraz
Day 3- Monterey
7:00-8:30- drive to Big Basin
8:30-11:30 Big Basin State Reserve
11:30-1:30 drive to monterey
1:30-6:00 Whale Watching
Day 4- Monterey
10:00-1:00 Monterey Bay Aquarium
1:30 Point Lobos
Day 5- Drive to Anaheim
Day 6- Disneyland
Day 7- Disneyland
Day 8- Disneyland
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Old Mar 6th, 2016, 10:29 AM
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Day 5 is insane ( sorry ) The fast/mostly ugly route (101 > I-5) will take 6 hours plus stops.

The scenic route down the coast will take about 8 hours.

>>We would like to see redwoods on our trip and we have been told the Big Basin Redwood State Reserve is a great stop on our route.
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Old Mar 6th, 2016, 10:51 AM
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>>The scenic route down the coast will take about 8 hours.more reasonable) drives.
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Old Mar 6th, 2016, 10:58 AM
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You need another overnight between Monterey and Anaheim, especially with small children. Look into staying in Pismo Beach or Morro Bay. Also that time of year is very busy so you want to prebook hotels or motels (you do not have to prepay).
Also being summer lots of other folks on the road, nothing worse than getting stuck behind some slow moving RV who refuses to pull over and let folks pass.
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Old Mar 6th, 2016, 11:05 AM
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Agree that day 5 is a killer, doable but really long especially once you hit LA traffic which could add an hour or two to the overall drive. Pismo Beach, Morro Bay or SLO are all good options for a stop and would allow you to see some of the coast.
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Old Mar 6th, 2016, 12:12 PM
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I would also consider skipping the Hwy 1 drive down thru Big Sur with kids that young. Time consuming and if anyone is prone to motion sickness, this would not be fun for them. Take US 101 south to save time.
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Old Mar 6th, 2016, 05:13 PM
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I agree that Henry Cowell is more on the way and you'll see large redwoods there.

In summer I would prebook your whale watch. I believe Monterey Bay Whale Watch will take kids that age.

You may want to switch the order of the aquarium and Point Lobos on Day 4 as getting to Point Lobos at 1:30pm in July generally means parking along the highway outside of the reserve which would be more than 1 mile by the time you walk in, walk around and walk out. Point Lobos opens at 8:00am.

The only waterfall I can think of that you can drive up (almost) to see is McWay Falls which is at least an hour drive south of Carmel on Hwy 1.
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Old Mar 7th, 2016, 05:46 AM
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What if we went to Muir Woods instead? We aren't worried about the drive to anaheim. We are actually driving to California from Nebraska.
Day 1- San Fran
9:30-12:00 California Academy of Science
Lunch
1:15 Bay Cruise
3:50-6:40 Alcatraz
Day 2- San Fran
10:00-1:00 Exploratorium
Lunch
Muir Woods
Day 3- Monterey
7:30-10:00- drive to Monterey
10:00-1:00 Monterey Bay Aquarium
1:30-6:00 Whale Watching
Day 4- Monterey
Point Lobos
Day 5- Drive to Anaheim
Day 6- Disneyland
Day 7- Disneyland
Day 8- Disneyland
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Old Mar 7th, 2016, 06:07 AM
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Is the whale watching from a boat that leaves at 1:30?
If you are watching from shore, you may not even see one spout.
On Day 4 leave Point Lobos and go at least as far as SLO or maybe Santa Barbara.
Do you want to visit Las Vegas, Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley or something else on the way back to NE?
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Old Mar 7th, 2016, 07:36 AM
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We are looking at using Monterey Bay Whale Watch. The boat leaves at 2:00, but you have to be there 30 minutes before. Maybe we will drive down and stay the night in Santa Barbara. Originally we had more planned to do on day 4. How long of a drive is it from Santa Barbara to Anaheim and when would be the best time to leave? It will be a Wednesday.
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Old Mar 7th, 2016, 08:30 AM
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>>Day 2- San Fran
10:00-1:00 Exploratorium
Lunch
Muir Woods>Maybe we will drive down and stay the night in Santa Barbara. Originally we had more planned to do on day 4. How long of a drive is it from Santa Barbara >How long of a drive is it from Santa Barbara to Anaheim and when would be the best time to leave? It will be a Wednesday.
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Old Mar 7th, 2016, 09:02 AM
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Driving time from Point Lobos to Santa Barbara is 4.5 hours (250 miles). US 101 is inland south of Point Lobos so there won't be ocean views to stop at. Pack a lunch in Monterey so that you won't have to make another stop after you leave Point Lobos.
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Old Mar 7th, 2016, 09:17 AM
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>>Driving time from Point Lobos to Santa Barbara is 4.5 hours (250 miles). US 101 is inland south of Point Lobos so there won't be ocean views to stop at.
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Old Mar 7th, 2016, 10:07 AM
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I realized that the exploratorium, bay cruise, and alcatraz are all in the same area. How about this for San Fran? Then we will be at Muir Woods when it opens. Is California Academy of Science ok to go to in the afternoon? How is traffic in San Francisco? I've been before and don't remember it being bad, but I used public transit to get around.

Day 1- San Fran
10:00-1:00 Exploratorium
Lunch
2:15 Bay Cruise
3:50-6:40 Alcatraz
Day 2- San Fran
8:00- Muir Woods
Lunch
2:00-5:00 California Academy of Science
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Old Mar 7th, 2016, 10:24 AM
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Here is a link that provides some valuable tips about visiting Muir Woods - the busy times/days, shuttle opportunities (to avoid parking nightmare), and other places besides Muir Woods you can visit to see the redwoods.

http://www.nps.gov/muwo/ranger-s-tips.htm

BTW - you may find that your schedule times get blown apart. You have scheduled very precisely, and delays in getting from one place to another can leave you with missed reservations or no time to actual spend at your selected site. Not saying it won't work, but I hope you don't let it spoil the vacation if things go a bit sideways.
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