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New Here..Need Help..Want to See California!

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New Here..Need Help..Want to See California!

Hey everyone,

Great forums..Heres my situation..Planning a 10-12 day vacation to the west coast in June..Coming from NY..have only been to LA twice both times with buddies for Lakers finals game..This time plan on bringing my girlfriend and seeing the West Coast and hopefully another Lakers Finals game. This schedule is pretty much contigent upon them making it..So heres the basic outline of what I was thinking..

Day 1- Fly into SF from JFK and spend 2 days and 2 nights.

Day 3- Go to Wine Country and stay a night

Day 4- Drive to LA- Hopefully Lakers Finals game-Stay in LA 3 Nights

Day 7- Drive to SD- Sightsee and Stay 2 nights--Fly to Vegas

Days 9-11 Hit up Vegas and Fly back to NY

I want to see the coast of California..Wine country, Big Sur, Golden Gate Bridge, things like this and of course the LAKERS!!

Im willing to stay in nice luxury hotels since I work 7 days a week, when I vacation I like to do things to the best I can so I try and stay in places as best possible such as a Four Seasons..

Would love everyones thoughts on this itinerary, recommendations on what I should do and where should I go and overally about this whole trip in general.

Thank you in advance!!!

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1. Re: New Here..Need Help..Want to See California!

The itinerary is pretty good, if a bit rushed, for seeing the cities of California and that near-California city Las Vegas. You're not going to see much of the coast between the cities. You've only given yourself one day to get from Napa to LA. If you drive it via the more coastal freeway (101 as opposed to I-5) you're looking at a good 9 hours' drive. You might be able to walk around a bit in a couple places like Santa Barbara, but that's it. You don't really have time to see everything, so setting it up this way is one way to go, it's just a decision.

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2. Re: New Here..Need Help..Want to See California!

If you want to see Big Sur and the coast, you annot do it with your schedule. You should drive down Highway 1 from Monterey/Carmel, and you cannot do that and see anything if you go from Napa to LA in one day You will need to take an inland route.

I would take a day away from LA and a day away from Las Vegas and drive from Napa to Monterey/Carmel and see the sights there...Point Lobos for example. Then the next day drive and explore the coast, giving yourself time to stop and marvel at the scenery, and stay overnight at Cambria, for example, or a little further on to Pismo Beach, then to LA the next day.

Edited: 20 January 2011, 10:18
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3. Re: New Here..Need Help..Want to See California!

Sounds great everyone thanks this is what I was looking for since its my first time doing this..

Now that I look at it, you seem correct, it may be a little difficult to do all of this..

I see that one recommendation would be to cut down LA and Vegas, however if the Lakers are playing in the Finals, Id want to spend an extra day in those cities...(Ive been to both and they are my 2 favorite cities and during the Finals, it will be extra special.)

So, this could be an alternate plan:

Days 1 and 2 --SF

Days 3 and 4- Wine Country

Days 5,6, and 7- Los Angeles

Days 8,9, and 10- Las Vegas

Does that look better?

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4. Re: New Here..Need Help..Want to See California!

I don't see that you've taken on the suggestions given so far.

<<I want to see the coast of California>> This usually means Hwy 1. From Napa/Sonoma to Los Angeles on the view route (Hwy 1 through Monterey & Big Sur) is almost 500 miles. You want to do that in one day? No stopping?

With your short visit, it will be hard to fit everything in. Here are some ideas (can't do them all, but they are ideas to get you thinking):

* take this Puter's Day Trip North, and stay in Napa/Sonoma at the end of the drive rather than returning to SF: tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60713-c139373/San-Fr…

* fly between SFO and a southern California airport (there are several)

* drive boring I-5 between Napa & L.A. (no scenery)

* visit the Paso Robles wine region along the coast instead of better known Napa/Sonoma

* fly into LAX at the beginning of your trip and venture up the coast a bit to Pismo Beach or Cambria, making day trips from there. Then return to L.A. and continue your plan

Edited: 20 January 2011, 14:47
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5. Re: New Here..Need Help..Want to See California!

Here's an itinerary that could work for you:

Days 1 & 2: San Francisco (1 full day for sightseeing)

Day 3: Leave SF VERY early ( 6:00 am) and start the drive down the coast to Cambria. This is about a 5 hour drive without stops. If you factor in 2 hours for a few brief stops, lunch, photos, etc., you could roll into Cambria by 1pm and have time to visit the Paso Robles wine country, which is about 25 minutes away and comparable to Napa/Sonoma without all the crowds.

Day 4: Cambria to LA via Highway 1/101 is approx. a 4 1/2 hour drive

Continue with your original itinerary for the rest of your trip.

Your original Day 4 plan would have you on the road for a minimum of 10 hours with a drive down the coast. Even with the itinerary I came up with, you will be driving past most of the sights, but that's all you really have time for. A few good places for brief stops: McWay Falls @ Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (11 miles south of the Big Sur village area), Ragged Point, elephant seal rookery near the Piedras Blancas lighthouse.

No lux hotels in Cambria, but some very nice inns with gorgeous ocean views:

http://www.moonstonelanding.com/

www.cambriainns.com/sandpebblesinn.html

http://www.elcolibrihotel.com/ (newest upscale hotel in the area, but no water views)

Edited: 20 January 2011, 19:01
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6. Re: New Here..Need Help..Want to See California!

A couple of suggestions for places to stay:

Los Angeles - Stay in Hollywood (you can take Metro to the Lakers game).

Perhaps the Renaissance Hotel

http://www.renaissancehollywood.com/

Its easy to walk to many of the Hollywood sites within minutes from this location.

For San Diego, you might consider staying in Coronado at the Hotel Del...

or if you more into partying stay in downtown San Diego in the Gaslamp Area. Although Hotel del Coronado is older, it is a grand hotel with a perfect beach location.

http://www.gaslampdistricthotels.com/

http://www.hoteldel.com/

For Wine Country - it depends what area of wine country (Napa?) (Sonoma?) (Healdsburg?). Or you could instead go to the other wonderful wine country (Paso RObles Winery).

1) San Francisco - Four Seasons

http://www.fourseasons.com/sanfrancisco/

2) Depart San Francisco and drive down the coast - highway 1 seeing Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Carmel, and staying at:

Post Ranch for the night.

http://www.postranchinn.com/reservations/

3) Continue through Big Sur and go to Paso Robles Wine Country - stay at Justin Winery.

www.justinwine.com/visit_just_inn_bb.php

http://www.pasowine.com/

(Note: You will need to give up

4) Drive to LA and spend 3 nights. (Note: you might also want to consider staying at Chateau Marmont since you have a car and can drive to the game)

http://www.chateaumarmont.com/

5) San Diego

Just wanted to give an alternative to see some other great wineries...Paso Robles has fabulous wineries. Justin's does a wonderful job.

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7. Re: New Here..Need Help..Want to See California!

wow these are all amazing and wonderful responses especially kibblesmom and mini..

thanks for the great feedback..

was thinking of staying at either the Ritz right next to Staples in LA or at the SLS in Beverly Hills, so since Ive been there before, thats the only part ive got covered..

Im gonna look into the places recommended in the SF and Napa Valley area...I definitely dont wanna rush things and spend the majority of the time driving.

Would love to hear any other opinions! Thank you very very much!

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8. Re: New Here..Need Help..Want to See California!

Hi John

If you still insist on visiting Napa, then you are looking at a good 10 hour drive to LA along the coast without stops. It will be a long and tiring day. You'll be traveling on a 2 lane (1 in each direction) highway for a major stretch of the Highway 1 route, sometimes perched high above the ocean with sheer drop offs, tight hairpin turns, and a few areas with road construction where you might experience some delays.

If you don't want to rush things, you'll need to give the drive at least 12-14 hours. Don't expect to roll into LA early on Day 4.

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9. Re: New Here..Need Help..Want to See California!

Yikes kibbles! Thanks 4 that more in depth detail about the drive. Don't know if I wanna Spend all that vacation time driving. So Ur recommending going to the other winery u mentioned?

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10. Re: New Here..Need Help..Want to See California!

My suggestion is to leave San Francisco and start the drive down Highway 1, stopping in Cambria or even Morro Bay for the night.

Paso Robles (just east of Cambria via Highway 46) is a wonderful wine region with many great wineries that rival those in Napa/Sonoma (in fact, many of the wineries in Napa/Sonoma buy grapes from Paso growers to make their wines). The Far Out wineries west of Paso Robles are located among oak studded hillsides, quiet valleys and offer some of the finest wines you'll ever have the privilege to enjoy . And it's a short 25 minute drive back to lovely Cambria. About 30 if you opt to stay in Morro Bay.

www.cambriachamber.org/

http://www.morrobay.org/cm/Home.html

Here's a link complete with just of a few of the area's best (Opolo, Tablas Creek, Justin Winery highly recommended):

winecountrygetaways.com/paso-robles-wineries…

Edited: 21 January 2011, 21:42
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