Week on California Coast

Jan 3rd, 2009, 06:06 PM
  #1  
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Week on California Coast

We will be traveling from Los Angeles to San Francisco by car and plan to take four days seeing the sights. We are in our 50's and would greatly apppreciate suggestions and recommendations on what to do, where to stay and excellent restaurants. When we reach San Francisco, we plan to stay another five days. Thanks for all your help.
anpm is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2009, 06:12 PM
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I'd definately spend a night in Santa Barbara. Then head up the coast to Monterey. I love the Calif missions, and Santa Barbara's is beautiful.
nanabee is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2009, 06:30 PM
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I would spend a night in Carmel.
El_Swainer is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2009, 06:31 PM
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Solvang would be a nice stop. It's a Danish themed town with shops and restaurants. Certain times during the year they have an outdoor theater show.

http://www.solvangusa.com

I recommend going to the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It's next to Cannery Row, also with shops and restaurants.

http://www.mbayaq.org
MangaTravel is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2009, 06:33 PM
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An excellent restaurant in Big Sur is Sierra Mar at Post Ranch Inn. It is cantelevered out on a cliff about 500 above the crashing surf below. It would be a nice place to stop for lunch on your way north. Better yet, you might want to spend the night there. $$$$, but worth every cent.

iamq is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2009, 07:10 PM
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What other place, beside Santa Barbara would be a good place to stop for two nights when driving from LA to SF?
ga9497 is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2009, 07:21 PM
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Carmel, Pebble Beach, Pacific Grove or Monterey. Carmel would be the quaintest and have the most atmosphere. Pebble Beach would swankier. Pacific Grove is dense in B & Bs. Monterey has several nice lodgings. All these locations have scenery, history and great restaurants.
iamq is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2009, 07:23 PM
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All of these recommendations are great, but what time of year is your trip?
Jean is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2009, 07:46 PM
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I would take Highway One from Morro Bay through Cambria up to Big Sur then on to Carmel ending up in San Francisco. You can choose which places to spend the night on One. It is a beautiful majestic drive.
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Jan 3rd, 2009, 08:42 PM
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I recently made the same trip. I happened across a great rate at The Clement Intercontinental Hotel on Cannery Row in Monterey. The room was wonderful and the location superb. The hotel is literally on the water, next door to Monterey Bay Acquarium.
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Jan 3rd, 2009, 08:47 PM
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We loved Cambria. We stayed at the White Water Inn, right across from the beach. Breakfast was brought to us in our room. The housekeeping people would clean our windshields in the morning. There was a restaurant called Moonstone Beach and Grill a block or two from our hotel, and it was delightful dining outdoors with a view of the beach.
orangetravelcat is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2009, 10:05 PM
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Santa Barbara is lovely and certainly worth a night.

I agree that Cambria is a nice spot to stop, shop and stay across from the beach. (There is a small road that seperates but you can still hear the surf.) We really loved staying at Moonstone Landing. We stayed in room 203 on the second floor with a deck and a great view of the sunset. There are several nice hotels along Moonstone Beach Drive.

Hearst Castle is close and certainly worth a visit if you haven't been there before. I'd also suggest a quick stop nearby to see the elephant seals. We find them fascinating.

When we travel through Big Sur we like to stop at Nepenthe for lunch because of the spectacular view. It is a very popular place. Then up to Carmel. If you have the budget for it I'd recommend staying at the Tickle Pink. Great views, great place.

My husband always likes to stop at Pebble Beach. He golfed there once but now we just have their wonderful brunch while he relives the memories. The golf is too expensive.

When you are in San Francisco I'd recommend eating at the Slanted Door in the Ferry Building.


mdwest is offline  
Jan 3rd, 2009, 10:09 PM
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I would go Santa Barbara; Solvang or Cambria (Solvang a bit inland; Cambria on the coast); Carmel/Monterey, San Francisco. I'd stay 1 night each in the first two and then two in Carmel/Monterey, ending up in San Francisco.

We like the Carriage House Inn in Carmel (in town) but there are some good hotels on Monterey Bay near the aquarium.

annw is offline  
Jan 4th, 2009, 07:37 AM
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I guess I'm not as much of a fan of Cambria as others - especially for someone who is also staying in the Carmel area.

I would stay in Santa Barbara for a full day/night. Then up along the coast on Hwy 1 & stay in San Simeon & visit Hearst castle. Then continue a slow drive along the coast, stopping frequently & admiring the view, and stay in Big Sur, perhaps at Big Sur lodge for 1 night. Dine at Nepenthe, and visit Julie Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Pfeiffer Beach, and perhaps Pfeiffer State Park/campgound (lots of Pfeiffers around Big Sur). Then slowly continue the drive up north and spend at least 4 hrs at Pt Lobos State Park, just south of Carmel. Stay in Carmel at least 2 nights. I'm also not a fan of Monterey's Cannery Row. Last time we were there, it was approaching San Francisco's Fishermans Wharf in tackiness (T-Shirt shops, souvenir shops, outlet shopping shops, too much new construction, etc). We much prefer to spend our time in Carmel, Pacific Grove, & Spanish Bay.

After Carmel, if you're traveling on a work day, I would continue driving up the coast, stopping at Main St in Half Moon Bay. If you're travelling on a non-work day, get on 101 & take the fast route to San Francisco (which is not fast on work days because of commute traffic).

Stu Dudley
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Jan 4th, 2009, 07:44 AM
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Thank you all for such wonderful suggestions. We will be traveling the first of March but after reading all your great suggestions, wish we were leaving tomorrow. We will have four nights before we need to pick up our friends at the SFO airport. Then we will stay in the San Francisco area for a week. Again, thanks for all the wonderful suggestions.
anpm is offline  
Jan 4th, 2009, 08:35 AM
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All the suggestions you've gotten are great, although I would agree with Stu that you shouldn't plan much time on the wharf in Monterey (just a bunch of souvenir shops) except for the aquarium, which is outstanding.

Just posting to let you know that the four towns iamq wrote about are within a few miles of each other, so you can stay in one of those places -- Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach (well, not sure there's anyplace to stay in Pebble Beach)-- and see all of them.

If you do stay in the Monterey/Carmel area for 2 nights, I would add the 17-mile drive to your itinerary, for some gorgeous coastal views (not to mention golf courses and mansions). Of course, you will have driven up the spectacular California coast, so it may not be "necessary".

I would also add that although Solvang is cute, to me it's worth at most a few hours of poking around. I wouldn't skip Hearst Castle, though. Also, if you happen to pass by, I would take a few hours to poke around San Luis Obispo, it's a really lovely little college town.

Have fun planning (and doing).
sf7307 is online now  
Jan 4th, 2009, 08:50 AM
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>> wish we were leaving tomorrow. <<

We're having beautiful but cold weather here in the SF Bay Area today. Frost on the pumpkins.

Stu Dudley
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Jan 4th, 2009, 08:52 AM
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We're having beautiful but cold weather here in the SF Bay Area today.

Yes, it was 29 degrees when I first ventured out this morning.
sf7307 is online now  
Jan 4th, 2009, 09:29 AM
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sf7307, The Lodge at Pebble Beach, Casa Palmero and The Inn at Spanish Bay are located in Pebble Beach.

Sunny and 37 in Palo Alto.

iamq is offline  
Jan 4th, 2009, 10:44 AM
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Oh, it's sunny and 44 NOW (in Burlingame), it was 29 at 8:15 a.m.
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