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Interesting and 'off the beaten track' places to stay in CA?

Liverpool, United...
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Interesting and 'off the beaten track' places to stay in CA?

Hi, I'm travelling with my family of 4 (2 adults, one 14 year old and one 9 year old) to California on august 2nd for 3 weeks.

We've booked our flights but not any hotels yet as we're not sure where we want to stay. At the moment, we'd like to stay in las vegas, los angeles, santa barbara, carmel, san fransisco, yosemite, death valley and possibly the grand canyon and san diego if time allows.

What we're really after though is one or two interesting, off the beaten track places that we can stay for one or two nights which have lots of interesting things to do for all of us. We're thinking about wine country but we're not sure there would be enough activities, besides wine tasting, that we would enjoy.

Anyone got any thoughts?

San Francisco...
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1. Re: Interesting and 'off the beaten track' places to stay in CA?

Not sure what off the beaten track activities you want to do and what "interesting things" you want to do.

Getting a good guide book in Liverpool or even looking online may help you look for things you want to do. If you look at CA itineraries on this page or search the forum for trip reports and itineraries, you will get an ideas of what you could do. Even looking through a few pages of the CA forum will give you plenty to read and think about

The Ca guide is also a great source here on TA.

I would also suggest you use google maps to plan your route, look at weather.com for temperatures in August . Death Valley and Las Vegas will be extremely hot so plan accordingly.

Edited: 15 March 2012, 20:08
santa rosa, ca
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2. Re: Interesting and 'off the beaten track' places to stay in CA?

The cute little town of Occidental, located on the Bohemian Highway, west of Santa Rosa (an hour's drive north of San Francisco) is located among the redwoods and only 20 minutes from the ocean... very much off the beaten track! It has some very good restaurants, some boutique shopping and a zipline tour through the redwoods. A little further down the road is the town of Monte Rio, located on the Russian River....the town is a bit rundown but it does have a movie theater and a golf course. If you head east along the Russian River on River Rd. you can visit the Armstrong Grove of redwoods in Guerneville. Further along River Road are some wineries.

If you head south of Occidental towards Hwy.12 you will see the teeny tiny town of Freestone which has the most awesome bakery (Wildflour). Take a left onto Hwy 12 and that will take you to the ocean and Bodega Bay area with beaches, seafood and salt water taffy.....these beaches are NOT swimmer friendly and very dangerous so keep an eye on the kids!! Doran Beach is the safest as it faces south and does not have *sleeper Waves*.

I hope you all have a wonderful vacation!

San Jose, California
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3. Re: Interesting and 'off the beaten track' places to stay in CA?

There are lots of good places to visit in CA, plenty off the beaten track. It just depends on what sorts of things your family is interested in.

Here are some ideas:

* Hwy 49 runs north-south through the CA gold country. There are lots of interesting towns along that route and plenty of good outdoor activities. You could visit this area before or after Yosemite. The Lakes Basin in Sierra County and Nevada City and Grass Valley in Nevada County are my favorite areas along Hwy 49. There are some wineries along Hwy 49 as well, so you could visit some wineries without dedicating a couple days to "wine country".

* Further north is Lassen National Park - this is a great park with beautiful scenery and good geo-thermal features. It is also not very busy - even on holiday weekends when Yosemite will have bumper-to-bumper traffic through the park, Lassen is blissfully uncrowded. In that area are also some state parks too and a few wineries at the town of Manton.

* Redwood National Park is another great area to visit - this is actually made up of several state parks and national land. Eureka is the largest town up there, Arcada is nice - home to Humboldt State University. My favorite parks up there are Prairie Creek Redwoods and Patrick's Point. This area has the benefit of combining ocean and woods.

* Fort Bragg and Mendocino are great towns - gorgeous coastline, several state parks for hiking and all of that. Also good for combining ocean and the woods with some neat towns. And there are some wineries in that area too - Hwy 128 has a whole row of them.

Liverpool, United...
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4. Re: Interesting and 'off the beaten track' places to stay in CA?

That's really useful,thanks v much for your hints!

The Langshaw Family

Liverpool, United...
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5. Re: Interesting and 'off the beaten track' places to stay in CA?

Thanks for taking time out to reply.really interesting info which we will definitely use

Langshaws

Liverpool, United...
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6. Re: Interesting and 'off the beaten track' places to stay in CA?

Thanks v much for your helpful response.many thanks

Pangs aww

San Jose, California
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7. Re: Interesting and 'off the beaten track' places to stay in CA?

I meant to mention earlier - I definitely agree about checking temps for Death Valley and Las Vegas that time of year before you decide on going there - it will be seriously hot - so hot that you probably won't be able to do much outside. That is probably fine for LV, but for Death Valley, you'll need to do your sightseeing early in the morning or just see it by car.

Napa, CA
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8. Re: Interesting and 'off the beaten track' places to stay in CA?

Thanks, n_m about Manton. Never heard of it before so it's now on my bucket list. Anselmos sounds like a good place for a meal.

Lanshaw - All the places you list are hardly "off the beaten track". It seems like everyone from the UK does that loop and in the summer when it's bloody hot.

If you don't mind the heat though, you might look at visiting the Gold Country right outside Yosemite if you end up going there and are able to find lodging. There's some interesting things to do in the area.

If you (or your kids) like trains, there's the Sugar Pine Railroad in Fish Camp:

http://www.ymsprr.com/

or, Railtown 1897 in Jamestown. A number of westerns were filmed in part here:

www.yosemitegold.com/yosemite/railtown.htm

There's also Columbia State Historic Park near Sonora which is a living re-created mining town that's very popular with children:

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=552

Also, nearby are some mines and caverns in the region. Moaning Cavern is especially popular with adventuresome folks who want to rappel or zip line:

http://www.caverntours.com/

There's also high quality vineyards in the area if you want to explore a wine country different from Napa and Sonoma. Ironstone even has summer concerts in the vineyards:

http://www.ironstonevineyards.com/

but there are a number of other smaller vineyards in the region as well:

http://www.sierrawineries.com/

This area is not all that "off the beaten bath" for Californians but it's not that well known to foreign visitors since Yosemite grabs the spotlight and folks usually just rush through the Gold Country to get to it.

With all there is to do in the Yosemite region, you could easily spend a week or more there. And then, there's the Eastern Sierra too. But, don't let me get started on that.

San Jose, California
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9. Re: Interesting and 'off the beaten track' places to stay in CA?

Manton is definitely one of those places that qualifies as off-the-beaten-path by anybody's definition :) The town is basically a general store, a bar, and a volunteer fire department. Oh, and a cemetery. And that's it. It is on a back road between Red Bluff and Shingletown. The best time to go is probably spring time when the hills are still green - lots of oaks and grasses at that elevation. I drive through there as an alternate route on my way up to Shingletown and Lassen since it gets me off I-5 faster, which is pretty much always a good thing.

The wineries there are all on a small road leading out of Manton - I think there are 6 or 8 wineries up there. Alger Vineyards is probably my favorite. Super low-key places with friendly owners and good prices on the wine.

california
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10. Re: Interesting and 'off the beaten track' places to stay in CA?

I like to get off the 101 freeway fter it makes the turn away from the coast, either at Hwy 1 or at Buellton, for Hwy 246. Both drives are pretty, and will end up in Lompoc. Mission La Purisima is right outside Lompoc. You can drive out Ocean Ave to the beach. Sometimes there are closures for Snowy Plover nesting season.

Flower fields should still be blooming early August.

http://69.89.22.138/~lompocco//images/flower%20tour%20map.pdf

We usually eat at Sissy's in Lompoc if we stay the night there (the cost of rooms is usually far less than the alternatives). Another great place for dinner (assuming you are meat eaters) north of town is the Casmalia Hitching Post

http://www.hitchingpost1.com/

You can rejoin the freeway near Orcutt but I think it's nicer to drive on Hwy 1 all the way to Oceano Dunes and Pismo. Once I saw a man walking his potbelly pig at Grover Beach!

Edited: 16 March 2012, 01:55