San Francisco...Yosemite...then what?

Jan 16th, 2011, 10:34 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
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Make your rervation for a night in both places and then cancel about a week or so ahead of time(read the cancellation policies carefully)based on what the road conditions are and what is open in Yosemite. It is possible that a lot will be closed, but it is also possible that pretty much everything will be open. My gut feeling is to leave it at the 3 nights.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 11:51 AM
  #22  
 
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Thanks for posting. We plan a similar trip in the summer to do Monterey, YNP and San Francisco.

DH and I have been to Monterey before (it will be first time for DS)and we enjoyed the aquarium then. Not sure how much it has changed since the 1980's. We didn't know about Point Lobos before but I heard on these boards that it is something not to miss if you are in the Monterey area.
europeannovice is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 03:26 PM
  #23  
 
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Another vote for Monterrey/Pacific Grove/Carmel...it's a beautiful area. I stayed in Carmel and loved it, but it is a small, artsy town. I think polson's suggestion of doing it as a day trip makes sense due to the ages of DDs.

Definitely do the 17 mile drive, and if DH is a golf fan you can pop in and take a look at Pebble Beach since you will pass it on the drive. We really enjoyed stopping at Seal Rock, but we were extremely lucky and happened to pass it during clear weather. If you want to go to the pier in Monterrey to feed the sea lions, go early because so many people feed them that later in the day they are totally not interested. The sea otters there are fun to watch too!
Deb15July is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 04:01 PM
  #24  
 
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Yosemite will be beautiful It's a year-round destination in Yosemite Valley; you can hike, possibly ride bikes, walk some easy trails to spectacular waterfalls. Just keep your kids out of the river, because water currents will be very strong and dangerous that time of year. Yosemite Valley is at a much lower elevation than the rest of the park. It is a long drive from San Francisco (about 4 - 5 hours) so you might consider keeping the idea of 3 nights there.

Monterey/Carmel would be wonderful for your children, too. I'd pick that over Point Reyes for this trip, and 2 nights will work nicely since you can spend your last day there before driving to the airport hotel near SFO late in the evening.
elnap29 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 05:16 PM
  #25  
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I love these forums.

So my rough 10-day itinerary is looking like this...

Day 1 arrive SFO, BART to Union Square, check into Handlery Hotel

Day 2 SF

Day 3 SF

Day 4 pick up rental car from (somewhere?) and drive to El Portal, check into Yosemite View Lodge

Day 5 Yosemite

Day 6 Yosemite

Day 7 drive to Monterey, check into Intercontinental Clement

Day 8 Monterey/Pacific Grove

Day 9 Carmel/Big Sur

Day 10 drive to SFO for mid-afternoon flight

This feels comfortable to me...no rushing around, enough time to relax and absorb...will now work on flight/hotel reservations, then fine tune the itinerary. A BIG THANKS TO ALL FOR THE INVALUABLE ADVICE! I'm certain I'll be posting again at some point for Fodorite itinerary critiquing
1travelbug is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 05:33 PM
  #26  
 
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That sounds fantastic. You will have no problem finding a car rental near your Union Square hotel. All the major rental agencies have Union Square offices. People on this form have report success with Dollar (O'Farrell Street). Do be sure to inquire whether there is a dropoff charge for picking the car up at Union Square and returning it at the airport.
sf7307 is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 05:41 PM
  #27  
 
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If "in park" lodging is available and within budget, I would stay there.
spirobulldog is offline  
Jan 16th, 2011, 07:35 PM
  #28  
 
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You will love LOVE the Clement - next door to the aquarium and great water views. About YNP lodging, I'd book the place at El Portal and make note of the cancellation policy. Then keep trying for a place at Yosemite Lodge. It gets booked up year round but there are frequent cancellations because folks have to book so far ahead. That way, if something opens up in the Valley, great. If not, you'll still have a decent place to stay.
janisj is offline  
Jan 17th, 2011, 03:29 AM
  #29  
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sf7307...that's good to hear. I was too tired last night to figure out the car rental thing and was hoping there'd be ample choices in the Union Square area.

spiro/janisj...I tried for Yosemite Lodge at the Falls but it's booked up - for now - so I will definitely go ahead with my El Portal reservation but call Yosemite Lodge regularly to check for cancellations (the other in-park lodging options were either too pricey or farther from the valley than our El Portal hotel). I'm definitely more inclined to stay right in the park if possible! And jsnisj, I was borderline about the Clement as there were several choices between Pacific Grove and Monterey, but the location is so perfect and the price is right - $171/nite plus parking for what looks like a much more expensive hotel. Putting my trust in TripAdvisor on this one
1travelbug is offline  
Jan 17th, 2011, 10:19 AM
  #30  
 
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I agree that the Clement is a great choice. It is a very comfortable hotel, and even if you don't have a "view" room, the views are pleasant anyway. Also the views from the restaurant are lovely. We had breakfast there every morning and loved watching the sea otters playing in the surf. (At first glance, the breakfasts seemed pricey, but they really are not. Fabulous breakfasts!!) You will be able to walk around Cannery Row, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is practically next door, and you can walk (or rent bikes) along the path that goes along the water from Cannery Row to Lovers Point and beyond.

Be aware, though, that hotel parking is expensive (can't remember the cost). We used the valet parking because I had my 87-year-old mother with me and it was pouring rain, but you can self-park for less in the hotel lot. I'd explore other parking options, though. Cannery Row is not that big an area, so it seems like there should be some sort of non-hotel parking area within walking distance of the hotel.
elnap29 is offline  
Jan 17th, 2011, 05:20 PM
  #31  
 
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If you can manage to snag a room in the park at Yosemite, by all means do, but, if not, Yosemite View Lodge is a pretty good place to stay. I recommend spending the extra money for a riverside room, especially as in April the river should be very full and wild. We stayed there the first time we went to Yosemite, and enjoyed sitting out on our balcony in the early mornings drinking our coffee and watching and listening to the rushing water.

When you're in Monterrey, definitely go to Point Lobos, it's spectacular! If you have time to drive down to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, it's pretty neat to see the beautiful waterfall that drops right onto the beach. It's about an hour's drive south of Monterrey.
Sara is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 06:13 AM
  #32  
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Sara, thanks for posting. I have been calling YVLodge daily but nothing yet. I am absolutely planning to book a riverside room in El Portal!

Point Lobos and JPB State Park are both on my list...we'll have 2 full days to explore so we shouldn't have a problem fitting in a side trip to the south. Is it worth our time to visit Hearst Castle? I haven't looked into it yet but wasn't sure if it would appeal to my 8 and 10 yr old DDs...
1travelbug is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 07:07 AM
  #33  
 
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By all means see San Francisco, but you might get a better deal flying to Sacramento and renting your car there. It is an easier drive from Sacramento to Yosemite.
I've rented cars in both places and like the easy access without a shuttle bus to the rental cars in Sacramento.
Flying in to Sacramento gives you the option to see SF at the beginning or end of the trip depending on the weather.
The kids would probably like the Capitol buildings and grounds in Sacramento. For a one night lodging, I love the HI Hostel on the NW corner of 10th & H just north of City Hall.
It is the second oldest mansion in the city. Governor Brown's father was the last to live in the oldest one.
tomfuller is online now  
Jan 19th, 2011, 08:10 AM
  #34  
 
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travelbug, of course it depends on your particular DDs, but I went to Hearst Castle the first time when I was 12, and I was "suitably impressed".
sf7307 is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 08:31 AM
  #35  
 
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tomfuller: "I've rented cars in both places and like the easy access without a shuttle bus to the rental cars in Sacramento."

You can't get to the rental cars w/o riding a shuttle. It would be a VERY long walk.
janisj is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 10:18 AM
  #36  
 
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I usually ride the YOLO bus out from downtown ($1.50) they stop not too far past terminal 2 within sight of the rentals.
When I take the Coast Starlight from Oregon to Sacramento, this is the way I get to the airport and rental cars.
tomfuller is online now  
Jan 19th, 2011, 10:42 AM
  #37  
 
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If you're not tied into the Handlery Hotel, you could change hotels. For free parking in San Francisco as well as a colorful, inexpensive place to stay and good for those with children, there's the Hotel Del Sol:

http://www.sftravel.com/hotels/htlma...teldelsol.html


Unless the weather is in your favor, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is a bit far to drive for a two-day stay in the Greater Monterey area. Better to spend the time at Point Lobos and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. There's also the 17-Mile Drive which would provide just as much interest as the drive down to JPB park.

Have a safe journey and welcome to California!
easytraveler is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 01:39 PM
  #38  
 
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TomFuller: It must have been quite some time. The rentals are across a huge construction site and two major roads from T-2.
janisj is offline  
Jan 19th, 2011, 01:40 PM
  #39  
 
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Actually that should read Terminal B -- not T-2
janisj is offline  
Jan 20th, 2011, 05:55 PM
  #40  
 
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You REALLY should do the 17 mile drive. Hearst Castle is amazing and I would think your DDs would enjoy it.
Deb15July is offline  

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