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Where to Stay/Get Info On Scenic Coastal Drive (Hwy 1)

Where to Stay/Get Info On Scenic Coastal Drive (Hwy 1)

Old Dec 29th, 2006, 03:07 AM
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Where to Stay/Get Info On Scenic Coastal Drive (Hwy 1)

Hi! I hope this is the right name for the scenic coastal hwy I am thinking of. My questions are as follows:

1. Can we enjoy this area in 4 days? We are flying in from Canada.

2. Should we stay 2 days at one end and 2 at the other?

3. What should we see/skip?

4. What are some awesome, picturesque unique inns/B&Bs/hotels with ocean views for around $300-400 per night max?

5. Anything else you can add - we have done the Amalfi coast drive in Italy and hear it is almost as beautiful.

Thanks!
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Old Dec 29th, 2006, 03:09 AM
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One last thing. We are looking for relaxation and nature with no desire to spend time in cities. Thanks again.
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Old Dec 29th, 2006, 03:18 AM
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from where to where?
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Old Dec 29th, 2006, 06:23 AM
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Hwy 1 basically runs the entire length of the State. Where exactly are you asking about? LA to Santa Barbara? SF to the northern redwoods? LA to SF? SF to Carmel Monterey? Or??

If you mean LA to SF - no, you definitely cannot stay 2 nights at either end and see anything in the middle . . . . .

so at least tell us where you are starting from and we can help.
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Old Dec 29th, 2006, 07:44 AM
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If you stay two days in San Francisco and two days in Los Angeles, you won't have any time to see what is between these two cities.

How about this: After two nights in SF, drive to Cambria via Half Moon Bay. Spend the night in Cambria (checking out the Hearst Castle). Then, return for a late flight homve from the San Francisco airport spending a night in Carmel.
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Old Dec 29th, 2006, 03:18 PM
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Hi again.

I guess I need to learn the basics before I post!! I will research more so I can write more intelligently about it. In the meantime, my husband and I are looking at the most scenic parts of the drive - to somehow compare it to the Amalfi Coast drive we took in Italy. We were recommended to do this. For some reason, I had thought that the whole drive was about 2 hours. Definately not correct! I am not so much interested in seeing the cities and the like during the trip as the views and the natural wonders. We are not especially active - don't want to hike alot. Just relax. I will definately look into some of the above suggestions and continue posting questions. I guess the question would have been where is the best place (for views, etc) to fly in and begin? Then what? Thanks for your patience!
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Old Dec 29th, 2006, 03:35 PM
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Look at a map of california - that squiggly line that hugs just about the entire coast is hwy 1.
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Old Dec 29th, 2006, 04:12 PM
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Here is a link to photos of the entire California coastline. This should help you decide which part(s) you want to make time for:

http://tinyurl.com/ygk7ae
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Old Dec 29th, 2006, 04:24 PM
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My husband and I have driven the entire Coast Highway, but not all at one time!! It is our favorite drive in the entire world, and we've traveled on four continents. Each section of the highway is different. The southern portion is very "beachy" and offers what many people think is California (Beach Boys, Malibu, surfing).

The central coast presents more rugged terrain and is especially appealing to those who are outdoorsy and enjoy hiking (not to mention stunning scenery). My husband and I enjoy the central coast very much and (in my opinion) it offers the most spectacular drive. We love Cambria, and go there several times a year. It is a perfect place to relax.

The north coast is my favorite, although there is, perhaps, less to do than you'll find along the central coast. As you proceed north from Stinson Beach to Bodega Bay, through Gualala and toward Mendocino the terrain ranges from rolling hills to cliffs, and is always beautiful. Some days are clear and bright. Others are foggy and mystic. We go to Mendocino a couple of times a year. It once was kind of a "hippy" type town, but has become very trendy, but is still relaxing and you can find great food in the area.

I know several wonderful accommodations along the way (as do many Fodorites!). When you know what portion of the Highway you are interested in driving, you'll be able to get lots of help on accommodations.

I think that flying into San Francisco, or some other northern California airport would probably offer you the most flexibility.
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Old Dec 29th, 2006, 04:32 PM
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Hi Angelface,
One of our favorite vacations is to fly into San Francisco and drive south along the coast. Our first stay is in Carmel at a place called the Tickle Pink Inn http://www.ticklepinkinn.com/. The views are wonderful and it is a very nice place. From there we drive south through an area called Big Sur. The scenery is spectacular. There are many observation points to stop and enjoy viewing the whales, sea lions, seals, and wonderful birds. We stop for a meal at a place called Nepenthe. It is a restaurant and it also has an outdoor cafe. It is tucked into the trees high on a hillside overlooking the Pacific.

Our southern point is usually Cambria. There we stay at a place called Moonstone Landing http://www.moonstonelanding.com/index.htm . I recommend that you stay on the second floor facing the ocean. We enjoy the sunsets from our deck and love listening to the sound of the waves crashing. Nearby is a place called Hearst Castle that is an interesting place to visit. It is the US version of a castle. It is perched high on a hill with distant views of the Pacific.

Hope this is helpful. Enjoy your trip.
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Old Dec 30th, 2006, 06:26 AM
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Highway 1 and the Amalfi coast are both beautiful drives with expansive water views; however, Highway 1 is more rugged and uninhabited--it has no enchanting old towns cascading down to the shore.

The stretch I outlined above (from San Francisco to Cambria via Half Moon Bay) is very scenic.

"Most scenic" is very subjective. Much of the drive from Cambria to Malibu is very scenic as is the part of Highway 1 going north from San Francisco to Mendocino and beyond.
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Old Dec 30th, 2006, 11:38 AM
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I believe that it is the Big Sur area that people most often compare to the Amalfi Coast. While it is only about 50-60 miles in length, because of all the twists and turns it takes about two hours to drive it even if you do not stop to enjoy it. So I'd strongly guess this is the stretch you heard about if two hours were mentioned.

Try exploring these websites:

http://www.jrabold.net/bigsur/road.htm

http://www.pelicannetwork.net/

In addition to the information given, look at the many pictures to be found as you click on the various subheadings of these sites, and see if this is what you're looking for.

The Tickle Pink Inn mentioned above and the next door Park Hyatt Highlands Inn meet your criteria of having an awesome ocean view. You may be able to get them at the prices you mentioned. They are just at the north end of the Big Sur drive and are a reasonable base for it.

Best of all for your purposes would be the Post Ranch Inn in the heart of Big Sur, one of the best reviewed oceanside lodges in the world, but I think you will find it above the price range you mentioned. If you can afford to go as high as you said, though, Post Ranch Inn might be about the best excuse you could find to stretch it for a splurge.

You might also consider the more moderately priced Treebones at the southern end of Big Sur for what I have heard is are beautiful and nature oriented oceanside accommodations. Again, like Tickle Pink and the Hyatt Highlands, not in the midst of Big Sur, but within two hours of all of it and an hour of mutch of it.

I would not use Cambria, which is further south yet, as a multi-night base for exploring central Big Sur to the north--too far away to go back and forth. It may not look like it on the map, but you must consider how very slow Highway One is through this stretch.

Also, if your priority is relaxation and nature I would pass on through the whole Cambria/Hearst Castle area. I find Cambria to be a traffic-clogged confection which has grown up to get tourist dollars, largely from people coming to the Castle, and would not be there otherwise.

Even the Moonstone area described above is just a string of motels one next to the other along the beach.

Certainly there are pleasant places to eat and sleep if you are passing through Cambria/Moonstone at a convenient time for those things, but I don't think you will find it in itself what you are seeking in a destination.

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Old Dec 30th, 2006, 01:22 PM
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You might also find this web site helpful.

http://www.bigsurcalifornia.org/map.html

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Old Dec 30th, 2006, 02:03 PM
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sure one can drive Big Sur in 2 hours - however it is "in the middle" of hwy 1 and they need to get there from somewhere else. It is a long way from either SF or LA (or possibly SJ) - the OPs possible starting points. Basically a whole day's drive (or more) before they even start their "2 hour drive"

So they still need to look at a map and figure out where they want to go. Time for a geography lesson I'd say.
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Old Dec 30th, 2006, 03:39 PM
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Agreed, Janis, and assuming AngelFace wants to make Big Sur the focal point of her visit, she needs to understand the differences between what she will see coming from the north or the south.

If she wants rugged mountains dropping through frequent fog directly into the sea, and minimum town development, she should fly into SF and cut straight over to Highway 1 and follow it south to Big Sur.

But AngelFace is coming from Canada and has that type of coastal scenery at home. She may want to see some sun and and those California sandy beaches she has heard about, and experience the warmer Mediterranean climate she may associate with the Amalfi Coast.

If so, then she probably wants to fly to LA and cut over to Malibu and experience Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Pismo Beach and Morro Bay on her way north, even though she will go through more urban development that way.

AngelFace, what type of coastline and climate do you want to experience, and how much do you want to avoid driving thru cities and towns? The coast changes greatly in California going from north to south.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2007, 06:01 PM
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Hey Bayougal, great link!

I was thinking of recommending the Ritz-Carlton at Half-Moon Bay, a country manor--like hotel right on the cliffs. It's gorgeous, luxurious, away from it all, and you know the service is first-rate. This is one place San Franciscans like to getaway at the weekend.

And when I went to Bayougal's site, I found pictures of the hotel itself. There are a bunch, so you can see for yourself whether it's for you. Go to www.californiacoastline.org, then search for 200600083.

I'm pretty sure you could get something for your rate.

Good luck!
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