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Night at San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara?

singapore
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Night at San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara?

Between Big Sur and Santa Monica, would you put a night at Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo?

I plan to check out of Big Sur early morning. I must go to Partington Cave, JP Burns Statem Park for McWay Waterfall, and the bubblegum alley in SLO. I am interested in the Guadalupe Sand Dune. I can't tell how long I will spend stopping for scenery along the way, like elephant seals or whales or the Morro Rock. I am not bothered about Hearst Castle.

On the other hand, the stretch between Obispo and Santa Barbara does not seem to have interesting stops.

I am driving with 2 kids. I don't like driving in the dark unless it is a well lit easy drive.

Thanks!

San Diego...
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1. Re: Night at San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara?

Between those 2 choices, I would choose San Luis Obispo because that would give you more time for the Big Sur area. But I would choose San Simeon, Cambria, Cayucos or Morro Bay actually. I think your time in the Big Sur area plus seeing the elephant seals at San Simeon or Piedras Blancas will fill up a whole day, so that you can be rolling into San Simeon or Cambria just as the sun is going down.

Another member of this forum took a trip to the central coast of California in June of last year and posted an extensive gallery of photos with descriptive captions. Maybe looking through that gallery and reading his descriptions will help you familiarize yourself with the area and know what stops would be best for you and your kids: https://picasaweb.google.com/Mjneenan/Califo…

Napa, CA
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2. Re: Night at San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara?

I would choose Pismo/Shell Beach just south of SLO. There are some ocean front hotels there with awesome views from the guest rooms. These hotels are a lot more reasonable than any hotels with ocean views in Santa Barbara. Pismo/Shell also has some very good restaurants.

Los Angeles...
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3. Re: Night at San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara?

I echo Supercilious. SLO is a college town. If you want more scenic spots and have a vacation feel: Cambria if you run tight on time (but not if you have made it down to Guadalupe Sand Dune), or Pismo/Shell Beach. They are both very nice, with ocean views available.

Santa Barbara is a bit far for you to drive for the day.

Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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4. Re: Night at San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara?

From what I understand, Guadalupe Dunes is currently inaccessible, as the road washed out last year. I'll try to do some research to see if that is still the case.

Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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5. Re: Night at San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara?

Okay, so the road is closed to the dunes center, but they have created a by-pass path and you can park along the road before you reach the wash out area. Parking will be limited to what's available on the side of the roadway.

Here's a link (Click on "Press Release" for more info)

Edited: 02 February 2012, 00:49
Pasadena, California
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6. Re: Night at San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara?

Agree with all of the above, but do take several hours to see Santa Barbara on the drive to Santa Monica. It is about 1/2 way, and will make a great stop.

Berkeley, Ca.
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7. Re: Night at San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara?

I second Pasca's suggestion--Santa Barbara is a great place to walk around, get some food etc.

Manhattan Beach...
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8. Re: Night at San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara?

I'm a big fan of Santa Barbara, but in this case I think you should stop in the San Luis Obisbo area We like Shell Beach for our visits when our son went to college in SLO.

singapore
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9. Re: Night at San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara?

Thanks everyone! I will go with Shell Beach then.

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10. Re: Night at San Luis Obispo or Santa Barbara?

We are in Shell Beach right now! Wow, is it gorgeous here! :)