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San Francisco to Carmel in May, best routes, hotels en route

San Francisco to Carmel in May, best routes, hotels en route

Old Mar 5th, 2009, 08:01 PM
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San Francisco to Carmel in May, best routes, hotels en route

A girlfriend an I are planning a trip to San Fran and drive down to Carmel. we are thinking stay in SF Fri thru Mon, then drive down to Carmel. We want the most scnic drive and some suggestions for hotels in Carmel. Should we stop along the way, anything interesting on the coast? I have an ancient print of the lone cypress. Is that north or south of SF. I am really Northern Cal ignorant. Would a train be more scenic or just more expensive?
Really I have no preconceived ideas other than to be at the Ferry bldg on Saturday and in Carmel a few days later.
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Old Mar 5th, 2009, 08:59 PM
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It's about 2 hours from San Francisco to Carmel by car. There is really no need to stop enroute unless you really want to.

"most scenic" is relative.

You can go by the inland route, I-280, which is quite scenic.

Or you could go right along the coast on Highway 1, which would also be scenic.

The "Lone Cypress" can be seen when driving along the Seventeen Mile Drive (a private drive, so there's an entrance fee). It is just to the north of the town of Carmel. The Seventeen Mile Drive is very scenic.

You cannot see the Long Cypress except by car, there are no trains running through that area. So, I believe a car would work best for your touring purposes.

Do you have any idea where you will be staying in San Francisco?

Maybe if we knew a bit more about your interests - food, wine, museums, hiking, etc. we could offer better suggestions as to the best use of your time in Northern California.
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 10:59 AM
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We really have no itinerary..her husband never takes her anywhere so we decided to go somewhere without them. SHe's never been on the west coast I have only a few times. We have heard about being at the Farmers market on Saturdays and we are just interested in exploring and seeing the most in the week we have. We also heard that Carmel was one of the most beautiful places on earth.We both love photography and will be taking lots of photos. We both enjoy walking and not too strenuous hikes. I believe eveyone enjoys good food, but we are not looking for gourmet, just moderate priced eateries with character and moderate priced hotels/b&bs.
I've been thinking of staying near the Wharf for the weekend and then traveling down to CArmel and hanging out here if there's enough to see and do. while in SF, I'm also thinking of going to Muir(sp) Woods. She's never seen the large redwoods and I hear that's pretty
we are newbies with no idea what we're doing, other than going somewhere she's never been.
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 11:12 AM
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Here is something I posted about things to do & see in the area.

http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...1&tid=35129049

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 12:40 PM
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What time of the year will you be here?

You don't really need a car for San Francisco itself, but you may be able to get a good rate for a one week rental (usually that's the same rate as for a five day rental).

You could spend one day driving NORTH of San Francisco to Muir Woods, maybe do a couple of wineries in the Napa-Sonoma area, go through Sausalito, and then return to San Francisco - or you could plan on spending one night North of San Francisco and just explore the area at a more leisurely pace.

Then, you could also drive SOUTH of San Francisco to Carmel. Be sure to visit Point Lobos State Reserve if you want to do photography. Spend one night in Carmel.

This leaves you about 3 or 4 days for San Francisco itself.

You'll also probably want to keep the car for at least one day to drive around San Francisco, like to the Presidio. So, therefore, it'll probably work best to take a one week rental and have the car whenever you will need it.

The best hotel rates can be gotten on Priceline. Have you ever done Priceline before?
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Old Mar 6th, 2009, 06:31 PM
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Go with Stu's suggestions. It's a very lengthy post but he's the expert for the Bay area.
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Old Mar 7th, 2009, 09:50 AM
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"I am really Northern Cal ignorant. Would a train be more scenic or just more expensive?"

There is no train option now. There was around 1900 but not now. Talk about progress.

If you are going to take a day and explore the North Bay (coast and wine country) then by all means visit Muir Woods. However, I would not rent a car for the day just to see the redwoods since you can see them on your way to Carmel. There are a number of redwood parks near Santa Cruz. Or, if you go down to Big Sur when visiting Carmel you can also see redwoods.

I don't know about Carmel itself being one of the most beautiful places on earth but it does have some of the most beautiful golf courses.
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Old Mar 7th, 2009, 10:00 AM
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>>I don't know about Carmel itself being one of the most beautiful places on earth
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Old Mar 7th, 2009, 03:27 PM
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I agree about Point Lobos. Carmel itself doesn't do much for me, but Point Lobos is absolutely one of the more beautiful places on earth - and one of the great things about it is that the beauty is so accessible.
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Old Mar 7th, 2009, 03:29 PM
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Hey thanks for the great ideas, our trip is planned for May 1-8. I have heard conflicting responses on visiting Alcatraz. When I was there last August for a conference, it was sold out two-weeks in advance. some say very interesting and worthwhile, others, not so much.
As for using priceline, before I haven't. Our air fare is already provided for as I had a buy-one-get-one. I haven't mapped out the trip yet, so I'm not sure where I'll be when other than the first weekend.
ANyone have any info on the Hogs Breath Inn in Carmel? I hear it's Clint Eastwoods and has decent food. Does it also have rooms?
Thanks
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Old Mar 7th, 2009, 05:58 PM
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You can read reviews of the Hog's Breath Inn at Tripadvisor.com. Clint also owns the Mission Ranch which has 31 rooms. http://www.missionranchcarmel.com/index.htm

I've never stayed there. I have always stayed with friends when visiting Carmel and if I'm down on business, I like to stay at the Monterey Plaza.

As for Carmel, it is a nice town. It's always been called "quaint" and I hate that word. But, I do feel it's a little full of itself. However, it does have a great beach and there are some marvelous homes to look at.

And the drive south of there is one of the best in the world. As is the view from the 16th hole at Cypress Point. There are some similar views from 17 mile drive which is well worth the reasonable toll and is a must see in my opinion.
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 07:38 AM
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Off the top of my head, I can't think of a smallish/cute tourist-friendly town in Calif that could entertain me more for several days than Carmel can. Laguna Beach, perhaps (we lived there for 4 years), but we still perfer Carmel. After decades of visiting Carmel (since about '70), we still enjoy it. We spend less time downtown among the shops, and more time walking along the sidewalk fronting the beach and also walking in the residental area west of town & seeing all the Hansel & Gretel houses and other interesting homes. Add to that Pacific Grove, Monterey, Spanish Bay, Pt Lobos, and the Big Sur Coast, and this reagion can't be beat, IMO.

Stu Dudley
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 10:42 AM
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Clint Eastwood used to have an interest in the Hog's Breath, but I believe he sold it several years ago.

It's an attempt to be like an English pub and the fun is to get a seat near one of the outdoor fireplaces and just drink and while away your time, dreaming you're living during Dickens' time.

I took some English friends of mine there once and they loved it. The food is so-so, not really great but not bad either.

They used to have a Happy Hour, but I haven't been back for a couple of years now, so don't know if they have kept up that custom.

No rooms, just a pub.
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Old Mar 8th, 2009, 10:45 AM
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PS: forgot to add -

You can get some great hotel rates on Priceline.

If you're really interested, I'd suggest starting another thread saying something like "How to use Priceline?"

Don't bid until you've gotten some excellent pointers from Fodorites!
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