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California Pacific Coast Road trip

boca raton
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California Pacific Coast Road trip

Hi,

My husband and I would like to take a road trip along California's Pacific Coast in early August. We were planning on traveling from Aug 2-Aug 8th. We like to drive around and sight see, staying in different places but I dont want to plan too much i a short time.

My first question - in this amount of time, should we start in San Diego and head north or start in Los Angeles? We want to travel north to San Francisco, also making a stop in the sonoma area before flying home.

Based on another blogger's itinerary and photos, I created a sample itinerary but I am not sure where to stop for just a few hours and where to stay overnight? Again I know this is vague, just trying to get some suggestions on what areas to stay or just drive through, and the time i should spend in each considering the aug 2- aug 8th time span:

san diego

LA

santa barbara

san luis obispo

big sur

carmel

monterey

san fran sisco

sonoma

I am aware we will just be driving through some of these areas and sightseeing, and others we will stay overnight. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

Thank you:)

Cuenca, Ecuador
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1. Re: California Pacific Coast Road trip

Hello bocablondee, and welcome to TripAdvisor and the California forum.

Given the short amount of time you have for this trip, San Diego and Sonoma are out of the picture. Save them for another trip in the future, though. Here's a tentative itinerary for you, not knowing your budget or travel style, but express an overall take on what many travelers here like to do:

August 2: Los Angeles/Hollywood: Hollywood Sign, Walk of Fame, Universal Studios or other studio tour of your choice, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Overnight in Anaheim.

August 3: Anaheim: Disney Parks. Overnight in Anaheim.

August 4: Anaheim: Disney Parks. Overnight in Anaheim.

August 5: leave Anaheim for Cambria/San Simeon. Tour Malibu (drive through), Simi Valley (Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum 2 to 3 hours) and Santa Barbara (one to two hours) along the way. Overnight in Cambria.

August 6: Tour Hearst San Simeon State Historic Park in San Simeon in the AM (two hours on Experience Tour), then out to tour along California State Route 1 (six hours time with stops included). See elephant seal rookery (best in the mornings), McWay Falls, Nepenthe (restroom stop and eats) and Bixby Bridge. Overnight in Monterey/Carmel.

August 7: leave Monterey for San Francisco. See what you can in a day there. SF City tour recommended due to your short time there, and of course a cable car ride. Overnight in SF.

August 8: tour SF. Fisherman's Wharf, Alcatraz tour (nighttime in the Summer is a good idea). Book tickets ASAP as they sell out weeks and even months in advance for popular times and dates. Golden Gate Park if you have the time.

Book lodgings ASAP due to your traveling in the busy Summer season. LA/Hollywood, Anaheim, Cambria/San Simeon, Carmel/Monterey, and San Francisco. You'll be glad you did!

Drop your car rental in SF upon arrival. Most tourists don't use their car while here, and finding parking on the street, etc. and paying for parking at a hotel or parking garage is expensive here. FYI. You can take a variety of public transportation back to SFO airport, or take a shared ride van shuttle. . . up to you.

Please respond to forum members' comments posted here for you. That way, you get your questions answered (and you get to ask more of them too) and you may fine tune your trip to make it the best it can be for you. Hope this helps, and let us know your thoughts.

boca raton
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2. Re: California Pacific Coast Road trip

Thank you so much for the helpful info. I would prefer to skip Anaheim/Disney parks, since I am from Florida and Disney world in Orlando, FL is enough:) Do you suggest adding one either San Diego or Sonoma ? Or another coastal city? Thanks again!

Washington State
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3. Re: California Pacific Coast Road trip

Hi

Please read some of the numerous articles & threads linked to the Top Questions in the upper right. Perhaps you'll want to spend more time around Santa Barbara & the Santa Ynez Valley wineries. Maybe you'll be more interested in Pismo Beach, Cambria, and Paso Robles wineries. The Monterey Peninsula can entertain folks for many days with dining, wineries, coastal exploration, golf, bike riding, water sports, Aquarium and more.

Folks generally recommend 3 full days for a major destination. But you don't have time to stay in L.A. for 3 days and in SF for 3 days. You'll have to figure out which destinations are "worth it" to you, based on your travel style, interests, and time available.

Be prepared for a light layer of marine fog most mornings.

Set your itinerary and get reservations soon. Some popular places along the coast may already be booked.

Santa Cruz...
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4. Re: California Pacific Coast Road trip

I would add the day to San Francisco, definitely.

boca raton
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5. Re: California Pacific Coast Road trip

Thank you PacificNWFamily I will check out those topics. Thanks for suggesting wineries in areas we will already be visiting!

San Francisco...
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6. Re: California Pacific Coast Road trip

If this is just a drive by and a check list that we have been from SD to SF, sure you can do a city a day if that is your travel style But as was mentioned most would stay at least 2-3 days in SD, LA, SF and then at least a day in SB or Pismo or Cambria or Monterey. But with 6 days trying to do over 600 or 700 miles well you can do the math.

Your car rental won't be cheap either with one way rentals.

My opinion would be to pick a region either SoCal or the Central coast or NorCal and do justice to that area instead of just driving through

But it is your vacation

boca raton
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7. Re: California Pacific Coast Road trip

Thank you for the suggestions.

We like to sightsee and be able to stop along with way, and I would rather spend extra on a nicer hotel if that helps. Also, I am not a wine enthusiast so to speak, but I would like to go on a winery tour for the experience.

We were told by others to stay on the pacific coast highway the entire time to go through the areas of Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Hearst Castle, San Luis Obispo and Sta. Barbara? (see below)

If we decided to add a day to vacation (aug 1-8) and start in LA instead of San Diego and head north, ending in San Francisco- what about this schedule as far as time? Feel free to comment on adding time in a certain area or staying i a specific hotel, etc.

aug 1- fly from Ft. Lauderdale, FL into LA, overnight in LA

aug 2- explore LA (overnight)

aug 3- in morning drive through Santa Barbara to San Luis Obispo (overnight)

aug 4 - morning drive through Big Sur, Carmel, and in Monterey (overnight)

aug 5-monterey (stay overnight)

aug 6- drive to san fransisco & explore (stay overnight)

aug 7- san francisco (overnight)

aug 8 - fly out of san francisco in eve

Please feel free to "tweak" schedule or substitute one area for another. (ex- do we want to stop in malibu instead of one of these places?)

Uden, The...
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8. Re: California Pacific Coast Road trip

That schedule works well. Maybe stay Cambria instead San Luis Obispo at Moonstone Beach. Make you reservations that time of year. I would not want to spend extra time in Malibu. Pacific Coast hw stops near Oxnard. Just follow hw1 (Cabrillo Hw)

boca raton
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9. Re: California Pacific Coast Road trip

Yes Tet14, I should have been more specific- Cambria is the destination rather than just the area of San Luis Obispo.

I originally was told about Muir National Park , north of San Francisco, but how do the redwood parks near Big Sur compare? This way I dont have to travel out of the way?

Also, we planned on "passing through" Santa Barbara for just an afternoon lunch and walk around State St. I wanted to see one of the missions there, but I see there are also missions in Carmel on the way to Monterey. Is Santa Barbara worth the short stop based on our time frame?

As far as a winery experience, would anyone suggest a specific one in Monterey?

Thank you all for your help!

San Francisco...
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10. Re: California Pacific Coast Road trip

Whether something is worth it is very subjective and in the eyes of the beholder. Santa Barbara is a gorgeous town and imho the Mission there is a great one to visit.

montereycountyweekly.com/news/… you can chose a winery based on the wines you like to drink.

There are two Redwood parks between Monterey and SF in the Santa Cruz area -- Big Basin and Henry Cowell. Both a nice. Henry Cowell is easier to get to.