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Best time 2 leave &where 2 stop between Monterey & Morro Bay

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Best time 2 leave &where 2 stop between Monterey & Morro Bay

During our road trip of California, we have 1 night at Monterey & 1 night at Morro Bay. Could I have some advise on what the best time to leave Monterey is to make the most of the sights down the Big Sur & any recommendations to stop for a bite to eat - Nepenthe I think seems to close to Monterey, would like somewhere ideally half way-ish with good views / scenery. We want to arrive at Morro Bay around mid-late afternoon. We will be travelling down on Tuesday 17th September

Thanks in advance!

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1. Re: Best time 2 leave &where 2 stop between Monterey & Morro Bay

Leave very early as there is lots to see -- especially if you want to get there by mid-afternoon.

The following article is a good summary of the attractions along the way (from south to north).

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c182762/Califo…

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2. Re: Best time 2 leave &where 2 stop between Monterey & Morro Bay

I still think you can fit Nepenthe in for lunch with a stop at Point Lobos and Pfeiffer Beach. You have plenty of time for the drive, so this is doable. By the time you finished at Point Lobos and Pfeiffer Beach, it will likely be lunch time and you will have seen some of our best scenery. Something that many of our visitors miss out on.

Nepenthe to Morro Bay is approx. a 2 1/2 hour drive WITHOUT stops, so you would still have plenty of time for stops at McWay Falls, Ragged Point and the elephant seal rookery and arrive Morro Bay by late afternoon.

Your only other food options along the Big Sur coast are at Lucia (Great view, but don't know anything about the food), Gorda (NOT good) and Ragged Point (Views are semi-distant. Food expensive and unmemorable).

I would recommend Sebastian's General Store across from Hearst Castle, but they're closed on Tuesday.

Edited: 28 April 2013, 23:50
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Gosport, United...
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3. Re: Best time 2 leave &where 2 stop between Monterey & Morro Bay

Thank you for your comments :-)

So should we leave Monterey early still then head to Point Labos and Pfeiffer Beach for a couple of hours first, then make our way on to Nepenthne for an early lunch? Or do we have time to get up grab breakfast then head off say around 10ish to see these sights before a lunch stop - or I assume that would leave it a bit too late to then see the second half of the sights / stops before reaching Morro Bay at a reasonable time?

We obviously don’t want to miss anything important or rush any sightseeing - we don’t have a strict time that we need to reach Morro bay by, but would just like to get there early enough to be able to have stroll around and relax a little before dinner (which can be a late dinner!)

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4. Re: Best time 2 leave &where 2 stop between Monterey & Morro Bay

I am sorry you asked for comments and feedback and AL said you should leave as early as you can as there is a lot to see. That is what we feel. If you want to leave at 10 please do. It is your vacation

Gosport, United...
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5. Re: Best time 2 leave &where 2 stop between Monterey & Morro Bay

Yes, AL Said to leave early & Kibblesmom gave the impression that Nepenthe was probably the best place to stop for lunch. If we leave early, (to me I assume early is around 7 / 8am) and spend around 3 hours sightseeing down to Nepenthe, then we are going to arrive too early for lunch at around 10/11am - that is the only reason I asked if it was better to leave a little later.

Yes it my holiday, but I am asking for help and advice from people who know best so I can make the most of a once in a lifetime trip - I assume my estimation of around 3 hours down to Nepenthe from Monterey isn’t long enough then?

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6. Re: Best time 2 leave &where 2 stop between Monterey & Morro Bay

I think it depends on what you find interesting. 2 hours in the Louvre is enough for me but my wife could spend 4 days there. But most people probably spend a day.

Monterey to Nepenthe is about 1 hour drive without stopping.

What you could do is look up the "sights" along the way and decide which ones appeal to you and how much time you want to spend on each to figure out when to leave.

- Pfeiffer Beach ~ Beach with sea stacks, georgous views and spectacular sunsets is not well marked, Turnoff to beach (between Big Sur ranger station and the post office) is not well marked (20 minutes and up)

- Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park ~ State Park with redwood groves and hike to waterfall (1 hour for the hike)

Andrew Molera State Park ~ Hidden gem houses the Cooper Cabin (Big Sur's oldest building) and a beautiful beach where condors can sometimes be sighted. (1 hour and up)

Point Sur Lighthouse ~ Seen from the highway (5 minutes)

Bixby Bridge ~ Famous arch bridge used in many car ads, driving southbound you need to watch for it shortly after the Rocky Creek Bridge. Perfect pull-out for the classic photo is on the bridge's north side. (10 minutes)

Garrapata State Beach ~ 2-mile long sandy beach with dangerous surf conditions accessed via a steep path down from scenic parking turnouts right on Highway 1. (5 minutes to stop, 15 minutes + to walk down to beach)

Point Lobos State Reserve ~ Stunning scenery, abundant wildlife viewing and walking trails (Sea Lion trail is accessible) (1 hour to just drive and view sights, 2-4+ to hike)

Carmel Mission ~ Historic mission founded by the Spanish in 1771 (30 minutes)

17 Mile Drive ~ Beautiful scenic drive on a private fee road among the Pebble Beach golf courses (2 hours and up)

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7. Re: Best time 2 leave &where 2 stop between Monterey & Morro Bay

You have plenty of time for the drive even if you leave Monterey at 10am. However, you won't really have time for both Point Lobos and Pfeiffer Beach. Pfeiffer Beach is a bit of a drive to get to. About 20 minutes down from Highway 1 and another 20 minutes to get back to the highway. Then you have a bit of a walk from the parking area to get to the beach, so this little detour will take up at least an hour of your time.

Point Lobos is one of those places where you need to spend at least 2 hours there to do it justice. The park opens at 8:00 am and if you want to fit this into your itinerary, I suggest getting there by 9:00 am at the latest. If you spent 2 hours at Point Lobos, you would arrive Nepenthe around noon, along with many other folks like yourself wanting to enjoy a lunch with a view. Expect a wait.

Let's say you leave Monterey at 10:00 am, visit Point Lobos until 12 noon and stopped for lunch at Nepenthe. You would likely be back on the road by 2:00 pm and still have a good 5 hours of daylight for the normally 2 1/2 hour drive to Morro Bay. So you have more than enough time for the drive and will likely roll into Morro Bay between 5 and 6 pm with a few well planned stops. This excludes Pfeiffer Beach, though.

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Gosport, United...
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8. Re: Best time 2 leave &where 2 stop between Monterey & Morro Bay

This sounds really helpful and a few intersting things to look at / think about that I hadnt actually come across yet!

Thank you Kibblesmom & ALTippet both so much for your time & help!

Gosport, United...
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9. Re: Best time 2 leave &where 2 stop between Monterey & Morro Bay

Hi Again

I wanted to pick your brains for the next part of our trip if possible please. We have one night in Morro Bay and then will be travelling on to Santa Barbara for a couple of nights. I kind of get the impression that the majority of the sights are between Monterey & Morro Bay - other than Hurst Castle, is there anything particular you could reccomend we should see between MB & SB? We have no real set time to leave MB or need to arrive in SB by (leaving on a Wednesday)

Thanks again!

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Gosport, United...
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10. Re: Best time 2 leave &where 2 stop between Monterey & Morro Bay

* Hearst Castle