San Francisco to Marro Bay

Old Sep 8th, 2004, 09:43 PM
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San Francisco to Marro Bay

We are planning trip to San Francisco/Morro Bay in late Sept early Oct. We are traveling with another couple (early 40's. We have booked 3 nights at the Marriot on the Wharf then have a free night and two nights at the Inn at Morro Bay and then our last night back in SF near the airport. We will have a car. None of us have been to the area so what are the must see or do things. Any suggestions for a place to stay on our free night? Some activiteis that have been suggested are Alcatraz tour, China town, Golden Gate Park, Hearst Castle, the Wharf. What is on the way to Morro Bay? Any winery suggestions? How about hot air ballooning? Just looking for suggestions. What about the weather? We are from MT so we aren't afraid of the cold but what can we expect? Is there a particular seafood in season that time of year that we should be aware of?
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 04:20 AM
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I have to ask...why Morro Bay? Have you been any place else in the area?
What about Santa Cruz/Capitola? It would be a shorter drive for you. There is a great B&B in Capitola called Inn at Depot Hill. It is a fun/funky beach town. Then you could come back through the mountains and stop at some very cute towns. I can't right now remember the highway # (3/5/8?). Or, drive up to Napa/Sonoma it you are looking for wineries. I guess it just depends on what you want to do and how far you want to drive.
As for the weather, Sept/Oct we have our "Indian Summer" It is probably the nicest time to visit SF. We just had 6 straight days of 85* heat. When the fog comes in it usually comes in fast, so bring a jacket for night time. But do throw in a pair of shorts or two for nice days.
MaryG1 is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2004, 06:09 AM
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I'm not sure how we ended up in Morro Bay. The 4 of us got together with a bottle of wine, an internet connection and that is where we ended up. We started out in Savannah/Charleston. I guess we will save that trip for next year.
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 08:13 AM
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Sometimes the best trips result from initial plans made over a bottle of wine

One of the terrific things about Morro Bay is that between it and SF is some of the most spectacular coastline anywhere. Big Sur is incredible. Morro Bay itself is a nice place too. It's a small town right on the coast and has a nice harbor and a big rock. Cambria is close by, which is another little town, more artsy and quaint whereas Morro Bay is more focused on the ocean and fishing. Both bring in their fair share of tourists, but being after Labor Day, you shouldn't encounter any crowds really.

You said you have an extra night between SD and Morro Bay, right?

After leaving SF, I would head down to Monterey and spend the night there. Monterey, Carmel, or Pacific Grove - they are all close together and have plenty of lodging options from budget motels to B&Bs to luxury hotels. SF to Monterey is only a 2 to 3 hour drive, so you would have some time to explore the Monterey area.

The next day I would head down to Morro Bay on Hwy 1 through Big Sur. It's only about 90 or so miles, but the road is narrow and the scenery is incredible, so plan on taking most of the day for this drive. There are several state parks along the way where you can have some short walks, see some redwoods, and so on.

If you are early risers and can get on the road early, then I would get reservations for an afternoon tour of Hearst Castle the same day you drive through Big Sur. If not, then I would recommend reservations for Hearst Castle the morning after you arrive in Morro Bay. You don't want to rush down hwy 1 to make your tour.

During your time in Morro Bay, there is Hearst Castle and Cambria, at Morro Bay there is a small area along the waterfront with some tourist shops, restaurants, and then a nice walking path along the water. You can charter boats, rent kayaks and that kind of thing right at the waterfront there. Morro rock is located on a small peninsula that juts out into the water.

The next day, I would head back up to SF via Hwy 101. It's a freeway, so it goes a lot faster, probably 4 hours to get to SF. You can go south to San Luis Obispo and catch 101 there or you can cut over the mountain at Cambria.

Along hwy 101 there are some wineries and a couple missions. This time of year the hill sides are brown (they are emerald green in the winter and spring), so it's not incredibly scenic, but it's not bad. There are oak trees, orchards, vinyards and things to see. There are also some missions along the way. There is a nice one in San Luis Obispo and also Mission San Antonio is interesting. San Juan Bautista, which is just past Salinas is great - in addition to the mission, there are several restored or reconstructed historical buildings in the old town square.

As for weather, it will likely be sunny and warm with some cooler temperatures in the evennings and mornings. Fog is unlikely, but there could be some. Fortunately coastal fog is not like valley fog - it's higher and not nearly as dense - so even if there is fog, it's not a big deal. It wont be cold. As with any trip to the CA coast, layers are the recommended wardrobe. You wont need anything heavier than a light jacket over a sweater though. Bring shorts and long pants. Good walking shoes are a must.
J_Correa is offline  
Old Sep 9th, 2004, 08:14 AM
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If you take the Santa Cruz suggestion, a funky winery with some very good wines in the Santa Cruz mountains to visit is Bonny Doon. Look at their website fordirectios.
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 08:45 AM
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I concur with J Correa's suggestions and can add a few more.
In SF your ideas are good-make your Alcatraz reservations in advance because sometimes the tours sell out.
The Inn at Morro Bay is very nice and located in a state park. Nearby is a good, little hole in the wall place to eat called Bayside Cafe. They serve lunch everyday and dinner Thurs-Sun. On the Embarcadero in MB is Windows On the Water which is an upscale place in a lovely setting. On the north side of MB is another hole in the wall with excellent food: Taco Temple.
You should book your Hearst Castle tour in advance ( I would suggest a morning tour and then have lunch in Cambria at either Robins, Bistro Sole or Moonstone Bar and Grill. After lunch you can take Hwy 46 toward Paso Robles-it's a beautiful drive and there are some good wineries when you get in the Paso area. To return to Morro Bay, take 101 to 41 for another scenic drive.
Try the website for lots of information about the area.
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 08:46 AM
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The Inn at Morro Bay is very nice. I hope you get an oceavview/jacuzzi room. Soft-tub spas out on your balcony. The rooms are very small, tho but very comfy beds and soft, soft robes! The restaurant there is also pretty good with beautiful views of the ocean.

I hope you get to spend some time in Cambria. It's a very quaint, charming place. Have fun! ***kim***
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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 11:53 AM
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As my cousin says, who lives in Cambria, and I who spent 15 summers at my folks camp in Cambria say, the only problem with Cambria is that it is in California.

Having spent all those summers in Cambria, and having been back once or twice, I wouldn't go there again on a bet.

If you are going to Hearst Castle, that's the place to stay. Other than that........tourist trap.

Had never heard of Moonstone Beach until checking Fodors. We used to have watermelon feeds there. I guess everything needs buzz words to kick it off.

Used to swim at San Simeon when Hearst still owned everything but the general store (Pete Sebastians). The new pier is nowhere near where the original pier was. Used to see them bring in tuna. \

Oh well, times change. It's hard to see a little town transform itself into a tourist area. Much like Yosemite. If you can stand it, go for it.

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Old Sep 9th, 2004, 12:57 PM
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Why is it a problem that Cambria is in California?
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 10:27 AM
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Is the aquariam at Monterey worth stopping at? Or will can we get enough marine life if we stop along the way from SF to Morro Bay? Where is the best place to see tidepools etc. on the way? Also what type of seafood is in season the first part of October? Anything particular that time of year?
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 10:54 AM
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If you haven't been to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, you are in for a real treat. Take your time and enjoy, yes go!

I like the Monterey Bay sand dabs, they are delicious. I just had a nice plate of them a few weeks ago at the wharf in Santa Cruz. The rest of the meal was horrible, but the sand dabs were wondeful! ***kim***
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 11:03 AM
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The problem with Cambria being in California is that California is so overrun with people. It's hard to "get away", if you know what I mean: not impossible, just hard.

Cambria used to be a nice quiet little town. Now it's just another destination for people going to Hearst's Castle.

To each their own. My wife and I are both Native Californians. We (she) was transferred 8 years ago to North Carolina. We thought we had died and gone to heaven. We don't have to go camping at 7,000' in the Sierra's to get away from people and see something "green", not "brown".

If you want a real shocker, fly into any of the Southern California or Northern California airports. Then fly into Raleigh-Durham. Enough said.

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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 12:41 PM
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What are sand dabs?
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Old Sep 10th, 2004, 01:11 PM
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A bottom-fish, kind of like sole but better. Google up sand dabs and you will find a lot of info and recipes for them.

I enjoy having them in the Monterey/Carmel area the most but I have heard that the Tadich Grill in SF has the best ones! ***kim***
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