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Wedding in Carmel early April, Flying into San Fran

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Sep 28th, 2012, 07:24 PM
  #1
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Wedding in Carmel early April, Flying into San Fran

Hi everyone.

I will be attending a family member's wedding early April. My boyfriend and I will be flying in on Thursday to San Fran and driving up to Monterrey to our hotel. We will be there through Sunday. We will likely have one or two free days without family obligations to explore the area.

Any suggestions for Carmel, Monterrey (and vicinity) for any free time?

After the wedding we plan on spending another 5-7 days in California before flying home.
I would like to at least spend a few days in San Francisco exploring, and also spend a day in nature. We are young couple and would like to also get some tips on nightlife.

I don't know anything about San Francisco and which neighborhoods I should look for a hotel in, or what activities we should consider. We would like to keep it under $200 a night for the hotel, if possible.

If we wanted to go to Yosemite for a day how long in reality would be the drive from San Fran?

Any advice is really appreciated because we don't really know what to start with the research!
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Sep 28th, 2012, 07:33 PM
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You can do no better than the Carmel area for exploring! Can you rent a car? If so, I'd highly recommend driving down the coast and back (as a day trip or not) - go to Point Lobos, Pfeffer Beach, Big Sur, stop at Nepenthe for lunch or a snack and to enjoy the incredible views. Admire the astonishing coastline on your drive.

Yosemite is tough as a day trip because it's a 4-hour drive each way. If you could stay over one night, then it's definitely doable.
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Sep 28th, 2012, 07:40 PM
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You'll get a lot of ideas if you read the thread "Carmel Monterey Itinerary - Please Critique"..

And read this for "things to do in San Francisco":

http://www.fodors.com/community/unit...mendations.cfm
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Sep 28th, 2012, 07:55 PM
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It doesn't get any better than Yosemite, in my book. That said, you are right on a great section of the coast and if Yosemite is a 10 then the coast is a 9. Yosemite has the big trees and the fantastic waterfalls(which would be going pretty good in April, I would think). Really 2 nights would be great at Yosemite, if you could. Gettng a Tent Cabin there might be fun and would save you some money. This is like luxury camping. Wawonna Hotel sometimes there has bargain rooms.

What do you want to do in nature? You could go kayaking in Elkhorn Slough and would likely see a lot of sealife. Monterey Bay Aquarium is the best there is. Point Lobos has great hikes.

Everyone is big on Nepenthe, it was just ok for us. I can't argue about the views, but the food just didn't grab me and the portions were small. I think sf7 suggestion on a snack might be best.

San Francisco. Stu Dudley typically doesn't mention the touristy things to do. I like to do the touristy things, especially on a 1st or 2nd visit. So, Fisherman's Wharf-maybe go on a Segway Tour there, Chinatown-have Dim Sum-see Kite Shop-Fortune Cookies being made, Cable Car, Golden Gate Bridge, North Beach-Italian food here, see Crooked Street, Alcatraz boat tour, Golden Gate Park.

If you don't go to Yosemite then perhaps consider Muir Woods or Big Basin.

Driving further south from Big Sur to McWay Falls and Hearst Castle is another option.
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Sep 28th, 2012, 07:59 PM
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You'd need at least 1night in Yosemite (IN Yosemite Valley) and 2 would be much better.

So your time in Carmel (and LOTS of nature in Big Sur/Point Lobos), 2 nights in Yosemite, and 3-ish days in San Francisco -a wonderful trip.
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Sep 28th, 2012, 08:02 PM
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IMO one doesn't go to Nepenthe for portion size just like one doesn't go to Yosemite for updated accommodations. More a function of location, location, location (and VIEWS!!!)
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Sep 29th, 2012, 05:45 AM
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We like views! Ill def look into stay at Yosemite for at least a night.

We will be renting a car.

As for being in nature, anything for a view (well almost anything!)

Also, few touristy things are necessary.
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Sep 29th, 2012, 07:42 AM
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For beautiful nature, I vote for hiking in Point Lobos State Reserve and doing the scenic coastline drive from Carmel to Big Sur. And of course Yosemite. It's one of the top most beautiful places on Earth.
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Sep 29th, 2012, 08:12 AM
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"For beautiful nature, I vote for hiking in Point Lobos State Reserve and doing the scenic coastline drive from Carmel to Big Sur. And of course Yosemite. It's one of the top most beautiful places on Earth."

And April is a wonderful time in both areas - ESPECIALLY in Yosemite. Before the summer crowds and the waterfalls will be massive. There is likely to still be patches of snow on the ground but pretty unlikely to have snow on any roads (though a late spring snowfall isn't unheard of).

You won't be able to drive into the high country since that road won't open until usually mid May or later.

Two nights in Yosemite would be MUCH better. It is a fairly long drive over from the coast so one night won't equal a full day in the park. W/ 2 nights you'd net about 1.5 days which is about bare minimum for Yosemite Valley and that doesn't include Mariposa Grove/the redwoods.
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Sep 29th, 2012, 10:21 AM
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If you can fly into San Jose, your drive to Monterey will be shorter. Could complicate the rental car, though, if you plan on leaving from SFO. Check prices to Oakland airport, too.
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Sep 30th, 2012, 02:57 PM
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You don't need a car in San Francisco, so plan your stay by driving to Monterey (one "r" for the one in California, two "r"s for the one in Mexico) and Yosemite, return car, then do San Francisco without the car.

San Francisco airport is easily reached from SF by BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit).
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Sep 30th, 2012, 03:09 PM
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Someone claims you can do Yosemite in one day and hit the highlights. Since you don't have a ton of time, it might be worth doing a day fly-by and getting the flavor of the place.

http://siliconvalleymamas.com/2012/0...-its-possible/
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Sep 30th, 2012, 05:56 PM
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Sorry, but I disagree, If you can't give somewhere the time it deserves do it at a later date. The exception might be that if you for sure know you will be back. But I have learned that I like to give a place as much time as I can. I like to experience it, not check it off a list or get a taste of it.
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Sep 30th, 2012, 06:15 PM
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lolfn: Sorry but that is silly. Plus the family you linked started out from Sonora which is only 70 miles from the Valley so the whole plan is skewed. They were 140 miles closer to the sites than the OP who would be starting from Carmel/Monterey.
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Sep 30th, 2012, 06:25 PM
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You can't drive from Monterey/Carmel to Yosemite, dash about to see the major sights, and then return to the Bay Area - all in one day. That's...uh, crazy.

It'll take at least four hours to get there and four hours to get back - that's eight hours of driving, not to mention being stuck in traffic.
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 07:12 PM
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As I said above, I'll definitely be looking into staying near/in the valley for a night or two.

Also, I am quite sure that San Fran is much cheaper to fly into than San Jose from my area.
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 07:18 PM
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San Jose is a "big city" international airport - do check the prices, because they are often LESS expensive than flying into SFO (we just flew to Hawaii last week from San Jose - SFO Is closer to home but the price difference was substantial).
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Oct 2nd, 2012, 07:23 PM
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" I am quite sure that San Fran is much cheaper to fly into than San Jose from my area."

Not necessarily. San Jose has some really good fares -- depending on your departure city.

"I'll definitely be looking into staying near/in the valley"

You really want to stay IN Yosemite Valley - most likely at Yosemite Lodge. And you'll want to book as soon as your dates are firm.

If you are unsuccessful finding a room IN the Valley, the only two areas that are w/i a reasonable drive are El Portal (two motels there) and Yosemite West (Condos and cabins)

Anyplace else will involve drives of 1 to 1.5 hours each way.
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