San Simeon, Monterey & Santa Cruz

Old Jan 29th, 2012, 11:52 PM
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San Simeon, Monterey & Santa Cruz

Hi I am doing the LA to San Francisco via Vegas early April. I am staying LA 3 nights, Vegas 3 nights, 1 night stop in Bakersfield then onto San Simeon to for 2 nights and a Hearst Castle eve visit hopefully so that leaves me 3 nights in between our last 2 nights in San Francisco.
I am travelling with my husband and 14 year old son. I was thinking Monterey for 2 nights and Santa Cruz for 1 and wondered what all you lovely people on the Fodor's forum may thank and if you can help out with any suggestions.
Thanks in advance.
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Old Jan 29th, 2012, 11:56 PM
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Also was wondering if you would recommend 3 nights in san francisco instead of 2, or is that just too much?
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 03:12 AM
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What would be too much depends so much on what you like to do. Most folks would say that you could find plenty to do in SF for 3 days. I would much rather spend the time on the coast, visiting the beautiful state parks.

Do check road conditions in any case, I'd guess hwy 1 will be fine when you go but it is closed right now due to a landslide.
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 03:37 AM
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Bakersfield is a DUMP go from Vegas through death valley to up to or Wawona)
on thenthrough Stienbeck country on to the coast from there. treebonesresort.ccom all fun for me in that area. Happy Travels!
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 07:26 AM
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I agree that Bakersfield isn't someplace you want to stay on vacation but you probably can't do what qwo suggests since the road will most likely be closed.

In April, your plan is difficult. I'd completely rearrange your itinerary. Do Las Vegas first, then LA, then up the coast. If you are landing at LAX, you can fly directly on to LV, pick up a rental car as you leave the city, drive to LA, then up the coast. Not only is this easier, it nets you an extra day, w/ the HUGE plus of not having to stay in B'field.
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 07:42 AM
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But unfortunatley I booked flights a while ago on cost. We have 11 hour flight into LA and collect hire car there, this is why I wanted to stay in LA for 3 nights first then onto Las Vegas. I was hoping to do Yosemite and Mammoth but due to weather that isnt possible and so am trying to sort best route back out to coast in this order. So guess Bakersfield is just a sleepover, or is there anywhere else quaint along that same highway you might recommend just to get us to San Simeon without having to drive all day. I am struggling more with knowing where to stay costal with my Son and husband that is interesting after LA and Vegas, myself and my son love nature and hubby is an old car and 60's enthusiast.
And yes on hind sight I should have booked to fly into Vegas first off, but never mind, I'm sure we will enjoy
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 08:01 AM
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Janis was suggesting that you FLY from LAX to LAS rather than wasting a day driving between the two. Then get a rental car in Las Vegas arrive BACK to LA. IT's a good idea.
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 08:52 AM
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ok thanks
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 08:58 AM
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I would not bother staying in Santa Cruz if you are staying on the Monterey peninsula. From Monterey it's an easy drive to SF with a few hours in Santa Cruz if so desired.

From LA up the coast:

I think that with your original plan you can do Las Vegas to the coast in one, albeit long, day unless your are planning to detour through Death Valley.
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 09:44 AM
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I would suggest looking in to the drop off fees for a rental car, the difference between picking up a car in Las Vegas and dropping off in San Francisco versus pickup in LA and dropoff in SF.

You don't have to stop off in Bakersfield. If you get an early start, you could be in San Simeon before nightfall.
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 09:49 AM
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Thanks Michael, that has answered my Santa Cruz question.

And thanks all, it has made me look again. Good to know I can get to the coast in one day even if it is a long drive.

You have all given me things to think about.

I have looked into doing the long way through Death Valley, onto Lone Pine, then Lake Isabella, Seque National Park onto San Simeon but what about the roads, as janisj mentioned them closed that time upto yosemite, would that be the same with my route.

Just something/where else for me to think about as I can still rearrange my plans

thanks again for so far, much appreciated
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 09:56 AM
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Here's a place in San Simeon I can recommend:

From my trip report:
"I just wanted to recommend this place, where I stayed just one night, before visiting Hearst Castle (about 10 minute drive from this hotel).

Best Western PLUS Cavalier Oceanfront Resort
9415 Hearst Dr

I did not pay extra for an oceanview room, but the hotel is located right next to the water. I could easily see the surf from my room's front door, which door opened to an outside landing. The property has two or three bonfires set on the beach, with chairs, and it is extremely pleasant at night.

I paid about $138 for my room, without breakfast, but with free parking. Best part was the little fireplace in my room. It was ready to light and was much appreciated on the foggy night. Great little Keurig coffeemaker with selection of coffees and teas in the room's granite countertopped bathroom outer area.

Nice little restaurant on site, too."

We drove there from LA in October, then on up to SF. Hwy 1 was open then, slow going with construction at spots, though.

I would skip Bakersfield, and add nights to San Francisco. Two nights in San Simeon might be too long, and I agree that you don't need the night in Santa Cruz. In general, I am not a big fan of one night stop-overs, though.
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 10:03 AM
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The drive from Lone Pine to Sequoia National Park will be a long one (285 mi., 5.5 hours according to Google map) because there is no eastern entrance to the park. It looks as though you are not considering the actual distances and driving time. It's time to use Google map to get some sense of driving time.

Currently (as of Jan. 30, 2012), Highway 1 is closed south of Lucia because of an earth slide.
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 10:27 AM
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But if hwy 1 is still closed, one can get around on 101 and still see a lot of the coast.

Bramspan: I would never (ever)get in to a rental car straight away after an 11 hour flight (are you flying in from the UK?)

Just book a flight from LAX to Las Vegas about 4 hours after you land - Southwest might have the best fares. That should give you time to clear immigration and change terminals w/o rushing.

Southwest is very forgiving - if you should be unlucky and your incoming flight is very late, they will allow you to re-book and get full credit for the missed one. The walk up fare will probably be higher but at least you wouldn't lose the $$ for the original tickets. Plus they don't charge for checked bags. They don't interline though so you'd have to collect your luggage and re-check it at Southwest
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 10:36 AM
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Thank you janisj
I will look into flights. I may even be able to change my flight from UK to Las Vegas, as my husband isnt too keen on getting onto another flight. It does make sense, thank you
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 01:56 PM
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I always leave bright and early - and you could have a breakfast snack at say Baker - about 90 miles outside/west of Vegas. And when you get to Paso Robles - the last 45 minutes or so over to the Coast - is scenic - and you will be driving by wineries with interesting Chateaux/B & B's.

Myself - I would much rather stay in the cute little town of Cambria than in the motel stop - otherwise known as San Simeon.
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 05:53 PM
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I agree with tomsd about staying in Camria rather than San Simion. The former has some nice motels on the coastal cliffs with ocean views. It can get very cold and foggy at times on the coast any time of year so bring warm layers. I also agree the distance from Monterey to Santa Cruz is too short to spend the night in each.
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 08:10 PM
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Oh -yes--it would simplify/improve everything if you can change your flights in to Las Vegas and home from SFO.

You wouldn't need a car at the beginning - especially if you are staying on the Strip. you can get over the jetlag in the 24 hour neon in vegas. It won't matter if your body clock is screwed up.

Then collect your hire car and head west to LA. Then up the coast.
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Old Jan 30th, 2012, 09:05 PM
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You could also drive from Las Vegas to San Luis Obispo, which is a little closer than San Simeon or Cambria, and is a nice college town with lots to do. Your 14 YO will enjoy it. Then the next day you would have a leisurely drive up the coast to San Simeon, with possible stops at Morro Bay, Cambria or at the beach. Do be sure to check out the elephant seals on your way out of San Simeon up to Monterey.
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