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10 day trip: San Fran, Napa, Carmel, Lake Tahoe - Too Much?

Toronto
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10 day trip: San Fran, Napa, Carmel, Lake Tahoe - Too Much?

Hello everyone,

I have been trying to plan out an itinerary which included San Francisco, Napa and Carmel, but now my husband found out that our favourite band will be playing in Lake Tahoe towards the end of our trip. We see this band every year locally anyway, so I would rather stick to our original plans because I'm not sure if we can fit all of these locations in ten days (at least without feeling exhausted).

If you had to choose between Carmel or Lake Tahoe, which would you prefer? We are interested in mostly relaxing on the beach, spas, biking, shopping, good restaurants and some nightlife.

If we were to fit everything in 10 days, this is what I was thinking:

3 days in San Fran

2 days in Napa

3 days in Carmel

2 days in Lake Tahoe

Any suggestions would be much appreciated. Thank you.

San Francisco...
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for San Francisco
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1. Re: 10 day trip: San Fran, Napa, Carmel, Lake Tahoe - Too Much?

You don't say when or which part of the year If summer, you may get more warmth and beach time at Tahoe than in Carmel, which is lovely but it is not the image of a hot CA beach with warm water

Cannot compare an ocean to a lake. You have a large lake in Toronto which looks like an ocean but Tahoe is smaller Most would do 3-4 days in SF and each place you drive to takes 3-4 hours so plan for drive time

You should map it out so you don't zig zag the area which is what you will do with your current plan

Edited: 14 July 2013, 16:04
California
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2. Re: 10 day trip: San Fran, Napa, Carmel, Lake Tahoe - Too Much?

But if the band won't be in Tahoe till the end of their trip how can they reasonably rearrange the order of the trip to avoid zig zagging?

San Jose, California
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3. Re: 10 day trip: San Fran, Napa, Carmel, Lake Tahoe - Too Much?

I just returned from Toronto. I liked everything about it except commute traffic on the 401 :-)

So back to your itinerary - all 4 locations would be too much for me in 10 days, so here are some thoughts:

Carmel is beautiful and has a wonderful coastline and some neat beaches. These are more beachcombing sort of beaches than those where you sit out and relax though, so keep that in mind. Shopping is good for boutique-type places and galleries. Not much for nightlufe though - but you may have gotten your fill of that in SF. Lots of good biking opportunities there too.

Lake Tahoe in summer is pretty busy, esspecially on the south end. Later in the summer the weathr should be nice and warm, so you could relax on the beach there. I dont know about shopping, butyou'll find nightlife, esspecially in the south shore casino area. For biking, there is a good path around much of the lake that is really nice to ride.

You have Napa on your itinerary - is it Napa specifically that you want to visit, or are you generally interested in visiting wineries? If it is the later, you might consider skipping Napa and adding a day to Carmel to visit the Carmel Valley wineries.

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4. Re: 10 day trip: San Fran, Napa, Carmel, Lake Tahoe - Too Much?

Carmel over Lake Tahoe! www.carmelcalifornia.com :)

Toronto
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5. Re: 10 day trip: San Fran, Napa, Carmel, Lake Tahoe - Too Much?

Thank you everyone for all of your input! Sorry, I forgot to mention that we are planning to visit CA the last week of August, into September.

I still haven't made a decision, but it sounds like I might have to cut Carmel out of the picture to avoid "zig zagging", even though I was really looking forward to seeing the beautiful beach and quaint town.

So the route will be San Fran > Napa > Lake Tahoe. Unless I just do a day trip to Napa while staying in San Fran so I can still visit Carmel: San Fran > Carmel > Lake Tahoe. It's still kind of a zig zag, but not as much.

Or option three, cut out Lake Tahoe all together! Decisions decisions. I will have a talk with the husband though and let you know what we decide.

Thank you!

Washington State
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6. Re: 10 day trip: San Fran, Napa, Carmel, Lake Tahoe - Too Much?

Remember to consider how busy it will be over the Labor Day holiday weekend. Prices and availability at your preferred lodging might be challenging, and driving back to SFO on Monday Sept 2 may be slow going.

Napa, CA
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7. Re: 10 day trip: San Fran, Napa, Carmel, Lake Tahoe - Too Much?

Bay Area residents flock to Napa, Carmel and Tahoe over Labor Day Weekend. It's best to stay in the city that weekend if it fits in with your plans. It's actually pretty quiet in SF then unless there are some special events planned that tie in with the America's Cup this year.

Edited: 14 July 2013, 20:57
8. Re: 10 day trip: San Fran, Napa, Carmel, Lake Tahoe - Too Much?

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