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SF and surrounding area 8 day itinerary. Whaddya think?

SF and surrounding area 8 day itinerary. Whaddya think?

Aug 15th, 2001, 09:57 PM
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SF and surrounding area 8 day itinerary. Whaddya think?

Got my priceline tickets for me and my 19 year old daughter (165 r/t from nyc, not bad). I've been to SF in April '95 for 5 days with side trips to yosemite and the carmel coast for a day each. I've also been through yosemite, napa/sonoma/calistoga and point reyes and muir woods and sausalito briefly on another trip in September of '97. Was kind of disappointed with yosemite in September as the falls were dry. It was amazing in April.

Anyway now I'm taking my daughter for her first time to California this September 14 and I want to show her a good sampling. Heres my tentative plan:

Arrive Fri night 9:30 , get to SF (suggestions how?). Sleep SF .
Saturday in SF. Sleep SF. Sunday in SF , pick up car. Sunday night drive to Monterey (drive time?) Sleep Monterey. Monday see point lobos, big sur coast, pfeiffer beach, Carmel for sunset. Sleep Monterey. Tuesday morning see Monterey aquarium. Leave for Yosemite see Yosemite , sleep Yosemite (hope I can get something in the park). Wednesday see Yosemite all day. Sleep Yosemite. Thursday morning drive to Tahoe (drive time?) see TAhoe.Sleep Tahoe. Friday see Tahoe. Friday afternoon drive to Wine country. See wine country.Sleep wine country. Saturday see more wine country. Sat eve drive back to Sf spend evening there. I may not even take a hotel for that night as my flight is 6AM Sunday morning(thanks priceline) and I'll have the car to rest in. Need to leave for airport at 3:30 am anyway. Any opinions on itinerary , any suggestions for change or routing or good inexpensive accomodations , restaurants, things to see enroute? Thanks

Aug 16th, 2001, 06:28 AM
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lets try this again,
any comments?
Aug 16th, 2001, 07:23 AM
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My thought is slow down. Sounds like you are trying to cram a lot of experiences into your time there. I say pick three places you want to see. My wife and I visited the area for 2 days about 4 years ago. 2 days in Carmel, 3 days in SF, and 2 days in Napa. Still not enough time in any one of those places. My rule of thumb is to stay in one place at least 36 hours and never drive more than 3 hours.

For drive to Carmel, I suggest taking PCH 1 from SF to Carmel. Although a longer drive (about 3.5 hours), it is beautiful with many places to stop and have a picnic.

You also ought to ask your daughter where whe wants to visit. If she is a camper, she probably is more interested in the parks than the wine country. If she is more urban, camping would not be much fun. Then I'd suggest sticking to SF.

Good luck. Sounds like a great trip.
Aug 16th, 2001, 08:44 AM
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I'd skip Tahoe. It's a beautiful place, but it's a long drive from Yosemite, and you will want more time in SF and in Yosemite, probably. You don't say when you're going, but you should be aware that in-park accommodations are reserved very far in advance, and it's unlikely you'll find any except for cancelations. Try for those cancelations, though, as they do happen. Idf you're going before October, you ought to reserve your lodging ASAP, as it's a busy time in these areas. SF-Monterey is 2-2.5 hours, depending on the route and traffic. In Big Sur, you should drive as far south as Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and walk the short waterfall overlook trail to McWay Cove and Falls--one of the most spectacular vistas. Allow plenty of time on your drive to stop and enjoy the scenery. For detailed info, search here for "Big Sur trip report" to read my report from June. There are many options for getting from SFO to downtown: cheapest is the express bus to Colma BART station and then BART downtown, about an hour total; there is the Supershuttle for about $12 each, which will make multiple stops and so can take a while. Door-to-door van or cab will run $40-50 for you both, depending on traffic, etc. I see a possible glitch in your rental-car plan in that you'll be picking up downtown and dropping off at the airport--make sure this is okay with the co. and won't cost a lot extra. If you use this plan, just go to the airport after you have dinner or do whatever else in the city, turn in the car, and get your rest in an airport lounge.
Aug 16th, 2001, 09:03 AM
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As the previous poster said - slow down - you will be spending way too many hours on winding roads for a quick looksee at a lot of places.

For one I'd skip Yosemite - Now everyone don't flame me until you read why. You already said your earlier Sept. trip to Yosemite was disappointing. I LOVE Yosemite in the Fall - but this year is if anything, drier than 1997 so the falls will be even less. So if '97 disappointed you it will be worse this year. Also - the drive from Tahoe to the Wine countery is Long.

Again - I LOVE Tahoe and spend a lot of time there - but for only 8 days I would concentrate on SF, Monterey and Napa/Sonoma. Or even just SF and Monterey/Carmel.

You know your daughter best - But I'd guess she'd enjoy SF and Monterrey the most because thare is so much to see and do. And if she has never been to SF you could easily spen half the time ther and stiil want to see more.
Aug 16th, 2001, 09:10 AM
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Just a few suggestions. A Super Shuttle to the city from SFO will run about $12 per person, a taxi will be about $35 depending on what hotel. You choose. You'll get there faster most likely in a taxi. SF to Monterey is about 2 hours on a Sunday night--I wouldn't drive down Hwy 1 if you're going at night--won't see much and slower route. Take 280 to 85 to 101 to 156 west and the into Monterey. The plan for Monterey sounds good. Pt. Lobos is great. Start immediately for Yosemite reservations. Doubt you'll find some in the park but look at Lee Vining, Fish Camp, Mariposa, El Portal etc. all just outside the valley. Make whatever you can get and then keep trying for cancellations--they accept them up to 3 days prior. Why are you taking your 19 year old to the wine country? Technically she's too young to taste although many places probably wouldn't notice, but I wonder what other attraction there would be for her. Could you rather consider substituting the Sonoma Coast near Pt. Reyes Seashore and Bodega Bay with interesting nature and hiking? Another choice might be Santa Cruz, the "Surf City, USA" She could even take a surfing lesson. I also would skip Tahoe--it's beautiful but pretty far away with your limited time. If you want to see sequoias, go to Calaveras Big Tree St. Park as you exit Yosemite just off Rt. 49 in the Gold Country. Alternative would be Muir Woods in Marin. Sounds like a busy trip but 19 year olds have lots of energy. Oh--a great sunset is at Ray's at Spanish Bay where the piper plays as the sun sets. You can just go to have a drink.
Aug 16th, 2001, 12:40 PM
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Just a little note. My 19 yr old daughter just got back from SF was there 4 days and didn't get to see all that she wanted to see. But it is one of her favorite cities.
Aug 20th, 2001, 10:28 AM
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Hi Vic,

Those are all good places to visit, but maybe a little too much to tackle for the time you have. Drive time from San Francisco to Monterey will take about 2.5 hours with no traffic. If you drive scenic Hwy 1, make that more like 3.5 hours. I recommend taking 280S to 85 to 101S to 156 in Prunedale to 1S.

I think you might have trouble with both Point Lobos and Big Sur/Pfeiffer in one day, especially since traffic to Big Sur can really be terrible.

I grew up in the Monterey Bay Area, and went to Tahoe a lot, but I'm not sure how interesting it would be in the context of your trip. I might skip it and spend more time in Yosemite, or skip both and spend more time in SF and Carmel area (and possibly add the Redwoods). It's true that Yosemite will be very dry in Spetember, so if you were disappointed before, you might stil be.

Have you already been to the wine country? I think it might be kind of dull for a 19 year-old, since it is really geared toward drinking and appreciating wine. Others will disagree, but there is not a lot else to see/do. I would really recommend seeing the redwoods, though, and they are only a little further past wine country and much more economical as far as accomodations go. You could drive one way past the wineries, and one way on the coast.

My suggestion: Arrive in SF, spend a day or two there, then drive up to the Redwoods for a day or two. Stay around Garberville on the Eel River. Drive back down 101, hook up with 280 nr. SF, and continue down to Carmel for a couple days. From there explore Big Sur or Point Lobos. Spend your remaining time in SF.

Driving to Yosemite/Tahoe even in September can be very slow, and (based on experience) pretty crowded once you're there.

I think you'll have a great trip, though, wherever you choose to go. Have fun!
Aug 20th, 2001, 12:47 PM
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Jill: Vic started another thread after getting all these suggestions. His new thread starts all over again w/ a modified itinerary if you are interested. (We are all still on him about cramming in too much and wanting to sleep in the car the last night.)

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