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Yosemite/Carmel/SF Trip

Old Jan 21st, 2012, 07:36 AM
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I wouldn't do the 17 mile drive myself. It is very pretty but there is better scenery elsewhere w/o the cost. It takes a lot of time and is actually fairly boring except for a few iconic photo stops. Driving hwy 1 is better/prettier/more dramatic w/o the houses and condos.
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 07:48 AM
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Check the prices to fly to and from either Sacramento, Oakland or even San Jose. You may find that the car rental prices are better at one of them. SFO is one of my least favorite airports.
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 08:47 AM
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In years past, SFO was not so great, but with the addition of new terminals, and reorganization, I think it's actually very easily navigated now.
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 09:56 AM
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In the numerous times I have visited the Monterey Peninsula in the last 30 years, I have done the 17 Mile drive approximately 3 times (once the first time I visited and twice on request of visitors. On the other hand I have visited Point Lobos and driven down parts of 1 almost every time I have been. So like janis I am not a big fan of 17 mile drive and only recommend going if you are a big golf fan or don't have time to go to Point Lobos.

Ah, it wouldn't be a thread about SFO these days without tomfuller recommending going elsewhere to rent a car!!!
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 10:38 AM
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LOL. 17 mile drive is a yawn, especially if you have already done it. If you have the time and have never driven it, then go for it. If you have girl children, they will probably love all the " junk shopping" around Cannery Row and Monterey Wharf. Even though DH and I hated really touristy shops and sites when traveling , our daughter did and we made time for her to have fun too. Just taking in the scenery was interesting to us, but not to her(at least when she was a child/tween).

Also, if you have anyone prone to car sickness , be prepared on Hwy.1 down to Hearst Castle.
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 03:01 PM
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17 mile drive is A big yawn even the first time, if you are not a golfer, or enamored of big honking "mansions ". Point Lobos is MUCH more about nature scenery.

~Liz
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 06:02 PM
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I think the 17-mile drive is beautiful, with gorgeous vistas, but if you're driving down the coast, it doesn't add anything.
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 06:50 PM
  #28  
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All of you certainly gave us alot to consider. We're leaning towards splitting our trip between Carmel/SF in order go at a more leisurely pace and save Yosemite/north of SF for next time. To blj's post, DH wasn't thrilled about driving 4 hours to get to Yosemite and would rather limit our lodging to 2 places. Carmel looks like to good home base if we head down to to Big Sur/San Simeon. We think our 9 yd DD would really like Hearst Castle - we just spent Xmas break touring some of the mansions in Newport RI and enjoyed it. In regards to Carmel, I'm hoping to find lodging with separate bedrooms/living area/kitchen and was looking on vrbo to see if any place rents by the night. Vrbo and various websites segments it to By the Sea, Highlands and Valley - how far apart are they distance and what factors should I consider in deciding (aside from by the water vs more inland). A big thank you to everyone who's weighed in! I'm definitely noting the airport, car rental, motion sickness tips, etc.
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 07:07 PM
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"By the sea" probably means in Carmel itself. Few places are actually on the water buy much of the town is walkable to Carmel beach.

Carmel Valley is a fair bit inland but is a lovely area w/ its own shops and places to eat.

http://www.carmelvalleycalifornia.com/

The Highlands are 3 or 4 miles south of Carmel.

And of the three would be good but it would take longer to get up and down the coast from Carmel Valley
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Old Jan 21st, 2012, 08:09 PM
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I would not want to fly across the country and then drive 4 or 5 hours to Yosemite. I love Yosemite, but that's an exhausting travel day/night. Your idea to limit your trip to SF and the coastal region is probably wise with children. Sometimes simple is best with kids. I'm not a huge Carmel fan, but I do enjoy walking there along the coastline, and my children always enjoyed the Carmel Beach. I'm thinking staying in Carmel within walking distance of that beach might be the most kid-friendly. I don't recall much in Carmel being that appealing to our children, other than visiting Carmel Mission. We usually stayed in Pacific Grove or Monterey where we enjoyed walking along the bay trail, rode bikes, visited the aquarium, played at various beaches, walked along the wharf and watched the sea lions. Carmel would be fine, though, as you are not far from Point Lobos - a wonderful state park. There is a lot to explore south of Carmel, including Big Sur, Nepenthe and Hearst Castle at San Simeon.

Carmel Valley, while lovely, would probably be inconvenient as it is inland. I'd choose the town of Carmel, Pacific Grove, Monterey or (lastly) Carmel Highlands. The views are fantastic from the Highlands but restaurant choice is very limited and I'm not so sure about beach access in that area.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 04:20 AM
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If you go to Big Sur don't go by the info on your GPS and don't go by the info that Fodors Book provides. They both will point you to the Big Sur area that is by the ocean. The Big Sur area that 99% of the people go to is up in the mountains. Just look on a map before you go.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 09:09 AM
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Note that Monterey and Pacific Grove are adjacent towns (the aquarium straddles the border) and that Carmel (by the sea) is only 5 miles away. Any of those would be good choices for lodging although I agree that Carmel and Pacific Grove are a little more "adult" (meaning fewer tourist sites and fewer knick-knack shops) than Monterey.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 09:52 AM
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"The Big Sur area that 99% of the people go to is up in the mountains."

Huh?

yes, there is definitely a mountain aspect to Big Sur, but I'm pretty sure that what 99% of folks think of by "Big Sur" is the drive down hwy 1, Nepenthe, the ocean views, the cliffs dropping down to the water, etc.
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Old Jan 22nd, 2012, 03:31 PM
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Oh good grief. I don't know what I was thinking. I was think Big Basin Redwoods. LOL SORRY!!!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 06:52 PM
  #35  
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Hello. We are arriving in SF this Friday and plan to head straight to Carmel after picking up our car in Union Square and would appreciate any recommendations for a place to stop for lunch enroute to Carmel. We are looking for a casual place with tasty food to kickoff our CA coast vacation. I was looking at Sam's Chowder House in Half Moon Bay or Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing and would welcome any other suggestions.Thanks!
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 07:32 PM
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I personally just love Phil's and stop there very time we head down to Monterey, but the waterfront view from Sam's is a far better intro to California (even if it is "New England style seafood).
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Old Apr 3rd, 2012, 07:38 PM
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Also depends how hungry you are - sam's is a lot closer to SFO.
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