San Francisco Trip

Old Jul 10th, 2022, 11:21 AM
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San Francisco Trip

Hi All,
Between 7/19 - 7/27, I will be in San Francisco with my 3 teenagers. We definitely want to visit Muir Woods and the coastal towns along the PCH, but my kids really want to see LA. With 6 days of travel, what do you recommend as must sees? We are visiting from Florida, so it will be a very long time before we can make it back, if at all.

Thanks for your suggestions!
Jen
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Old Jul 10th, 2022, 11:24 AM
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Six days is not long enough to visit San Francisco, Muir Woods, and towns along the coast AND include LA. Distances in California are huge.
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Old Jul 10th, 2022, 11:54 AM
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That's what I suspected - so knock out LA.
What do you suggest we do/see throughout this area?
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Old Jul 10th, 2022, 12:08 PM
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To avoid a big rental car one way drop fee, either fly to Los Angeles or maybe Burbank from the San Francisco area (Oakland?) OR take the Amtrak motor coach at 7AM from SFC to Emeryville to get on the Amtrak Coast Starlight. Take it to Santa Barbara arriving shortly after 6PM. The train drops you off in the middle of downtown Santa Barbara which is one of the nicest coastal cities IMO.
To get to Los Angeles from Santa Barbara you can take one of several Pacific Surfliner trains per day. This avoids driving a long drive through some not so interesting parts of central California.
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Old Jul 10th, 2022, 12:26 PM
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Forget LA this trip, you don't have time unless you spend 3 days in San Francisco, then fly to LA and spend 2 days there.
Stick to SF and maybe add Monterey (Aquarium, whale watching, kayaking) or Big Sur or Santa Cruz (Boardwalk, surfing - but with a wetsuit).
Give your kids a homework assignment and pick out one thing apiece they really want to see (that is a reasonable driving distance).
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Old Jul 10th, 2022, 01:19 PM
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Thanks for your replies.
How far north and how far south should we go? What points of interest are suggested?
Aside San Fransisco, we want to see Muir Woods and Napa.
I've googled quaint seaside towns in this area, and the selection is overwhelming.
Is it possible to keep San Fransisco as my home base, or should I book more than one hotel?
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Old Jul 10th, 2022, 02:09 PM
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With three teenagers, Napa should not be on your list at all! Stay in SF a three nights, see Muir Woods and other sights, and then drive to Santa Cruz. You can then stay in Santa Cruz or stay in nearby Monterey. The kids will enjoy this much more than Napa, for sure.
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Old Jul 10th, 2022, 03:24 PM
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Since I am flying in/out of San Francisco, I am thinking of starting our sight seeing in San Francisco for three days, then driving as far south as big sur and exploring along the way. Then return to SanFran to fly home.
Am guessing Monterey is a good place to find a hotel for the second leg of the trip.

Would love suggestions of side trips and must-sees along the way.
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Old Jul 10th, 2022, 06:24 PM
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Forget about Muir Woods. Spend 2 or 3 days in SF and then drive south to Monterey Bay. On the way visit Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Bigger, better, and far less crowded tham Muir Woods plus one does not need reservations to visit.

Then hit Santa Cruz and the Boardwalk, before heading down to the Monterey/Carmel area for the rest of your days (bearing in mind at this late date finding accommodations may be difficult). From central Monterey it is about a 2-2.5 hour drive back up to SFO
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Old Jul 11th, 2022, 08:05 AM
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Yep - SF, Santa Cruz (short visit), Monterey/Carmel.

Here is something I posted a decade ago.

San Francisco - Stu Dudley's Recommendations

It's so old that several responses are missing due to format changes by Fodors.

Stu Dudley

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Old Jul 11th, 2022, 10:12 AM
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Be aware that hotels in the city tend to be more expensive on weekdays and hotels in Monterey tend to be more expensive on weekends and may require 2 nights stay.
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Old Jul 22nd, 2022, 09:39 AM
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Jennifer2022,
Looks like you are already in Cali on your trip, but one suggestion if you did go down to Monterey/Santa Cruz area and if you want/need to spend a last night closer to SFO before you fly home. We live in a cute town called Burlingame that is about 15 min south of SFO. You could stay the last night at one of the airport hotels and then come over to Burlingame Avenue for dinner. Burlingame Avenue has restaurants and shops. I have a 15- and an 18-year old and they like to walk around the Avenue and get dinner and dessert with friends. There are a number of good dessert and ice-cream shops, and some restaurants are below. Make reservations.
Hope you're having fun!
BMarie

Restaurants:
Alana's for Breakfast -- does not take reservations, open 9am to 2pm Welcome to the Alana's Cafe Family of Restaurants
Cafe Central https://www.caffecentral.com/burlingame-menu
Trapeze https://trapezerestaurant.com/
Farm and Vine https://farmandvinebistro.com/
Mediterranean Kitchen: https://www.mkburlingame.com/

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Old Jul 22nd, 2022, 10:22 AM
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We can walk to Burlingame Ave in 10 mins. Like BmarieL stated - lots of restaurants, cafes, noodle eateries, Pizza places (we like Blue LIne), ice cream shops, etc. But "Alana's Cafe Family" is now a family of 1. Our favorite is Mingalaba (Burmese) - we do "carry out" about twice a month. Also Rasoi Indian.

Stu Dudley

Last edited by StuDudley; Jul 22nd, 2022 at 10:44 AM.
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