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My last question, my last booking....

Melbourne, Australia
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My last question, my last booking....

We leave SF on June 22 to drive down the coast to LA. We have allowed 3 nights and was going to do 1 Monterey, 1 Cambria and 1 Santa Barbara.....I have a 15 year old daughter and 11 year old son. Is this a good choice or should we do 2 nights somewhere and 1 somewhere else? I am a little confused as to what would be the best option.

We would love to shop and just soak up what the lovely coast has to offer!!!!

We plan to do Hearst Castle and would like to stop off at Santa Cruz too....

Many suggestions would be great!!!!!! :)

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Cuenca, Ecuador
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for California Desert
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1. Re: My last question, my last booking....

Hello sharynleydin, and welcome back to the California forum.

You have a great choice of stops on your itinerary. . . San Francisco, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Cambria, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles. You're hitting all the stops an international traveler would like to see. Keeping in mind your family's love of shopping (I've read back to your January California thread) you will have a full day with the Santa Cruz stop (beaches, boardwalk and funky shopping) and Monterey (Cannery Row shops and restaurants, Monterey Bay Aquarium, and strolling on the shoreline). If the Aquarium is a strong desire to see, I would skip Santa Cruz and travel as early as you could to get in to see it. Lines can be long, and they do get crowded later in the day.

Cambria/San Simeon is the usual stop overnight for Hearst Castle tourists. These are the two towns closest to it, with restaurants in town. You can check into Avila Beach, Morro Bay (love the picturesque Morro Rock jutting out of the ocean there and its wharf) or even San Luis Obispo on lodging availability in that geographic area of the Central Coast, but I think you will want to stick close by to Hearst San Simeon State Historic Park itself to be that more time efficient.

Now is a good time to get tickets for Monterey Bay Aquarium (saves time in line) and Hearst San Simeon SHP (guarantees preferred touring time/availability). Hearst usually gets booked 1 to 2 months ahead of time, so your timing in planning is right. Do it soon and get that preferred start time to your tour. Here's the link for the Aquarium www.montereybayaquarium.org/vi/tickets.aspx and for Hearst Castle http://www.hearstcastle.org/tours/prices

When you come by San Luis Obispo, take a restroom break "pit stop" at the Madonna Inn, which is a family owned and run hotel right off US Route 101 at Madonna Drive (can't miss it). Each room is uniquely different. The men's restroom is not only uniquely different, but it's truly a one of a kind. . . allow your gentlemen in your party to clear the way for the ladyfolk to take a looksee! You will appreciate the founder's sense of creativity and humor. . . it's located downstairs from the main lobby at the top right of the lobby, then down the stairs. Women's restroom right there too.

Have a safe flight here and enjoy your travels with us.

Melbourne, Australia
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564 posts
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2. Re: My last question, my last booking....

Thanks you for your suggestions!!!

I don't think we will do the Aquarium, as we have a great one here in Australia....

However, some time in Santa Cruz sounds good - I think the kids will like it!!!! I will get not the tickets for Hearst Castle too....

Will definitely check out Madonna Inn...sound intriguing - lol

Melbourne, Australia
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564 posts
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3. Re: My last question, my last booking....

Oh would it be around 2 hours from SF to Santa Cruz and then an extra 1/2 an hour to Monterey?

Trying to time our departure time from SF....

Perth, Australia
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4. Re: My last question, my last booking....

Just inland from Santa Barbara is Solvang .. you may enjoy visiting that as well.

I prefer Carmel to Monterey. The town is sort of Quaint .. and don't forget to visit the sweet shop!

Your husband may enjoy stopping off at the Pebble Beach Golf Club and have a look around and get a souvenir or two from the golf shop?

Carmel and Santa Barbara have a trolley around the town.



http://www.santabarbaraca.com/ (Click on Visitor Information).

It's a beautiful drive down the coast, I know you will enjoy it.

Santa Cruz...
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for Santa Cruz
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5. Re: My last question, my last booking....

>>Oh would it be around 2 hours from SF to Santa Cruz and then an extra 1/2 an hour to Monterey?<<

That is correct. Actually, DH and I regularly travel between Santa Cruz and San Francisco in a little more than an hour and a half. We use 280. 85, 17. coming from San Francisco.

Here is a traveler's article about Santa Cruz to give you more info.


Edited: 06 April 2013, 16:41
6. Re: My last question, my last booking....

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