Where to Add a Day on California Coast

Aug 29th, 2010, 12:52 PM
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Where to Add a Day on California Coast

Flying into SFO on 9/7 and have booked two nights in Montery. Flying out of LAX on 9/13 and have 9/11 and 9/12 booked in Malibu. Now I need two nights in the middle and am debating between two nights in the Cambria area or whether to just do one night there and add a a night in Montery or Malibu. Planning on going to Hearst while in Cambria. Can I leave Monterry, enjoy the coast and still have time to do Hearst the same day? Other than Hearst, what else in the area (other then wineries) is interesting?

Thank you
RagtopGirl is offline  
Aug 29th, 2010, 01:24 PM
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Add a nght in Malibu. There is a LOT to see between Cambria and Malibu. You'll have a full day driving down the central coast, detouring into the Santa Ynez Valley for lunch (Los Olivos, Solvang?) and then heading down into Santa Barbara for the late afternoon and for dinner on the wharf.

Leave Santa Barbara around (7:00 or so for a nice sunset drive down route 1 into Malibu. Don't leave earlier or you'll hit a lot of traffic coming into Ventura and Los Angeles. )

So, you're adding a night to Malibu but really it's just for a sleep. Then two real days/nights in the area.

Not sure why you chose Malibu over Santa Monica or Marina del Rey, but I guess it depends on what you plan to see and do on Saturday and Sunday.
divineMissM is offline  
Aug 29th, 2010, 01:55 PM
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We choose Malibu because I had a hard time finding reservations in Santa Barbara and was able to book the Malibu Beach Inn on the water for Saturday/Sunday night. We'll be arriving there on Saturday (or Friday if we come down a day earlier) and just have Sunday.
RagtopGirl is offline  
Aug 29th, 2010, 04:19 PM
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I'm a little concerned about two nights in Monterey. It's a hectic city that we try to avoid except for the aquarium.

Many travelers are devoted to Carmel, which I also loved a few decades ago. Today is is way too precious for me.

Cambria is a great headquarters for visiting the Hearst Castle, but you may find two nights there one too many.

We always enjoy a night in Moro Bay. It is a laid-back little town, and it has many places to stay with a great ocean views.

Ventura is also a fun place to spend a night. I think it's underrated. There is a nice wide path to walk along the ocean, many dining options, and it's not loaded with tourists.

happytrailstoyou is offline  
Aug 30th, 2010, 06:00 AM
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Enjoying the coastal scenery from Monterey to Hearst is a full day job, because you will want to stop at many spectacular places and explore. It would be best to do Hearst the next day as you will want to devote a half day there. So I would add a night somewhere near Hearst. San Simeon has motels.
montereybob is offline  
Aug 30th, 2010, 07:31 AM
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I think you are really short changing the Monterey/Carmel/Pacific Grove & Big Sur area. Many consider this region to be the prettiest coastline in the US. We've spent several years (total) vacationing in Europe - and I consider it to be the prettiest coastline in Europe or the US.

- Arrive on Sept 7, pick up a car, and head to the Carmel area, perhaps during rush hour. Probably won't get there till the afternoon - perhaps late afternoon. Half day in area - at best. Stay in Carmel (not Monterey - but perhaps PG) for 3 nights

- Sept 8th & 9th - Two full days in Carmel/Monterey/PG area - Aquarium, Spanish Bay, browse Carmel, browse Pacific Grove (I'm not a big fan of Monterey - like HTTY), walk along Carmel Beach on sidewalk next to houses in the early am & late afternoon also, 17 mile drive, explore the cute houses south of Ocean Ave between Carmel Beach & about Junipero St. Lots of stuff to do in this region. I don't like the Cannery area in Monterey. .

- Sept 10 - Get an early start & spend most of the morning at Pt Lobos - perhaps the most interesting spot on the coast. Drive down to Big Sur. Lunch at Nepenthe - don't miss. Stay in Big Sur 1 night & also visit Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park & the waterfall (lovely), Pfeiffer beach (beautiful), and just "hang out" in Big Sur and suck up the ambience. Perhaps have a cacktail IN the river at River Inn. Dinner at Nepenthe (if you didn't make it for lunch), or at Ventana Inn.

- Sept 11. Visit Julia Pfeiffer Burns park or Pfeiffer Beach if you missed it yesterday (your time in Big Sur is short). Then SLOWLY drive down the coast. Lots of photo ops. Arrive at Hearst Castle in the afternoon. Do a tour. Stay in San Simeon (view of ocean).

- Sept 11 & 12 - Take a second tour of Hearst Castle if the first tour interested you. IMO, I don't think Cambria is nearly as interesting as Carmel or Pacific Grove. You may be underwhelmed. Visit Morro Bay. Visit Santa Barbara - but it's strange that you want to visit Santa Barbara but skip San Francisco. Stay 2 nights in Malibu.

For what it's worth - I grew up in Southern California and lived in Laguna Beach when my wife & I were in our late 20s. We drove up to Big Sur & Carmel about 3-4 times each year - but only visited the Malibu area once during those 5 years. We live just south of San Francisco now (up here for last 35 years)

Stu Dudley
StuDudley is online now  
Aug 30th, 2010, 09:47 AM
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Stu is right on!
montereybob is offline  
Aug 30th, 2010, 10:05 AM
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Stu I have a friend who visits from the UK and every time she visits we go to Carmel and Big Sur. She often asks why Californians would ever leave the state to vacation elsewhere because it is so beautiful!!!
SAB is offline  
Aug 30th, 2010, 02:53 PM
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Thank you Stu - I appreciate the information. We aren't stopping in SanFran because we spent time there and went north our last trip out. We've never gone south and wanted to see that section of coast. We are really looking forward to it.
RagtopGirl is offline  
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