Travelling with Teens to California

Jun 9th, 2005, 05:46 AM
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Travelling with Teens to California

We are planning a trip to California in July, flying from NJ to San Francisco. My daughters are 18 and 15. Here's the general itinerary. Any feedback would be appreciated.

In SF, we're booked for 3 nights in a suite at the Monticello Inn. We plan to see the sights: Muir Woods, Sausalito, Alcatraz, Fisherman's Wharf, etc., maybe a Giants game.

We're driving down (all or part) the Pacific Coast Highway, planning to stay 3 nights along the way. This could be all 3 in the Monterey-Carmel-Big Sur area, or maybe one in Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo. No reservations yet. We prefer 2 rooms or a suite.

Midway down (Big Sur area?), I'd like to find a trail for hiking (easy to moderately challenging).

Question: What's the law in Cal re: wineries? Can 18 & 15 attend a tour if we can find one?

Probably San Simeon & Hearst. I know the kids would like to try surfing when we get to the beach.

Finally, we'll drive to and stay in LA area. I'm looking for a place near or in Santa Monica area or around Huntington Beach.

Then home from LAX.

We're pretty active but we also want to have some time to just relax.

Thoughts on activities, lodging, food, etc?

mykidsdad is offline  
Jun 9th, 2005, 06:06 AM
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Don't forget the dramamine. We did that same trip last year and my husband was carsick the whole time. We spent a night at the Inn at Morrow Bay. The rooms were small but very nice with hot tubs on each deck. They have a great restaraunt too.
mcfarms is offline  
Jun 9th, 2005, 06:24 AM
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Sounds like a fun trip.

In San Francisco, you might want to walk or bike across the Golden Gate bridge - spectacular. Angel Island is also a good place to visit - I would choose that over Sausalito, but then a lot of people really like Sausalito.

For your trip down the coast, I'd probably break the trip up into a couple nights in Monterey area and then one night near San Luis Obispo (between Cambria and Pismo Beach)

Wherever you decide to stay, I would make sure to stop in Santa Cruz and Pismo Beach along the way - both are great beach towns and would be good places to try surfing. Just go into any surf shop and ask about rentals and lessons. Santa Cruz also has the Boardwalk, downtown, Capitola Village, and the university.

J_Correa is offline  
Jun 9th, 2005, 06:43 AM
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Funny. We were thinking about the bike trip across the bridge, lunch, etc., then a ferry back! Is there one that we could take to Alcatraz?

I had heard also about Santa Cruz for surfing.

My only reluctance in breaking it up is I don't want to be feeling like we're constantly moving in and out of hotels. But then, I'm already planning a minimum of what the heck!

Haha re: the dramamine. My older daughter is notorious for being carsick, especially when she was younger. I'll check out Morrow Bay.
mykidsdad is offline  
Jun 9th, 2005, 07:29 AM
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That is a hard trip to do in three days, but worth trying. There is just so much to do. You could spend three days at any one spot.

Santa Cruz has a fun boardwalk that your teenagers would enjoy. Point Lobos State Reserve near Big Sur has been referred to as the "crown jewel" of California's state park system. You should definitely plan to hike some trails there for a couple of hours enroute to your next destination, but there's not a lot else to do in the immediate area. I would recommend Pismo Beach over Morro Bay with your daughters. Morro Bay is nice, but has a more "adult" atmosphere, lots of upscale shops, b&bs, and it is a bay. Depending on the time of day, you could stop there for a nice meal. It is about 30 minutes north of Pismo Beach. If you are in Pismo on a Thursday night, head to San Luis Obispo ( a 10 minutes drive) for their farmer's market/street fair. It is a lot of fun. If you decide to stay in San Luis Obispo County, I have done a lot of research on hotels and can give you some leads. I actually spent a day scouting for a place to accomodate my whole family for my parent's fiftieth wedding anniversary and traveled from Cambria to Pismo. If you give me an idea what type of place you're looking for, I may be able to make a suggestion. I have also done the wine thing extensively on the central coast. Most of the wineries are not along route 1, but off 101. You can head over to the Paso Robles wine region on 46 south of Cambria. It would only be about a half hour out of your way, but you'd miss Morro Bay. I know a few wineries that do tours including one that has a cave tour. Your daughters would be accepted at any tour; they just can't drink the wine. There are also a number of wineries east of Pismo, but they don't offer regular tours that I've found. Santa Barbara is also nice. We took an inexpensive trolley type tour there once and rented one of those big bikes to ride along the waterfront. Are you flying out of LA? Huntington Beach is quite a bit south, about an hour's drive normally, and then there's the whole traffic thing which can be crazy all times of day in LA. If you stay at one of the Orange County beaches (I prefer Newport to Huntington), you should try to fly out of the OC airport. It is very close to the beaches. Let me know if I can offer you an specific details on the places I've mentioned. Feel free to send me an e-mail.
valleykat is offline  
Jun 9th, 2005, 07:34 AM
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This does sound like a fun trip. I'm partial to Huntington Beach, but I think for you, a better bet might be somewhere around Santa Monica. HB would be better if you were leaving out of John Wayne Airport, but not such a hot idea if you are leaving out of LAX with all that tripping!

If you do decide on Santa Monica, you will not be all that far from Venice Beach (which is entertaining enough!) and is a great place to rent bikes or skates.

Sorry, I'm not as well-versed in LA beaches as I am in Orange County beaches, but just thought I would add that I think the LA beaches would fit more nicely into your plans.

Have a great time! (I live here and wish I was going!)
Chele60 is offline  
Jun 9th, 2005, 07:52 AM
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Regarding Alcatraz - there is a seperate ferry that goes out to the island. Basically you buy tickets for a particular ferry going out there, wander around as long as you want, and then come back to SF on the next ferry.

The ferries that go to Sausalito, Angel Island, Vallejo, etc don't stop at Alcatraz.

Riding across the bridge and taking a ferry back from Sausalito is a popular thing to do.

There is also a bay cruise that makes a loop, going under the GG bridge, around Alcatraz, etc, but doesn't stop anywhere.

And don't forget to ride a cablecar while you are in SF.
J_Correa is offline  
Jun 9th, 2005, 08:50 AM
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Santa Cruz sounds like a must.

We will be interested in the shops though...we own a craft and gift gallery in NJ, so I was thinking Carmel would be at least part of a day.

We have flights booked already, and will be leaving out of LAX. So, maybe we'll stay further north but venture south for a beachday. You know, the whole OC thing.
mykidsdad is offline  
Jun 9th, 2005, 09:38 AM
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I have to agree with mcfarms; definitely take Dramamine! We drove from San Francisco to Napa Valley via the PCH. While the drive was absolutely beautiful, the twisting and turning was just too much for me, and we had to pull over countless times by the time we got to Napa. Luckily the feeling eventually passed and I was able to check out some wineries, but I learned my lesson for next time!

Otherwise your trip sounds lovely, and I'm sure you will have a great time.

tcreath is offline  
Jun 9th, 2005, 11:05 AM
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Per your question on wineries: most will allow teens on tours but not in the tasting rooms.
KathrynT is offline  
Jun 9th, 2005, 11:51 AM
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Teens are allowed in the tasting rooms, they just can't drink. So there's the question of how fun would it be for them, but if you only do a couple of wineries it should be fine.
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