We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Itinerary help- Sonoma, maybe SF, maybe Monterey area?

Allentown...
Level Contributor
602 posts
84 reviews
Save Topic
Itinerary help- Sonoma, maybe SF, maybe Monterey area?

I am in dire need for some advice and help with arranging my thoughts! The research is making my head spin!

My husband and I are planning a 2014 late May/early June first visit to California and we'll have 8 nights (arriving on Thursday, flying home following Friday). I'm planning this far in advance because we mainly use VRBO and other rental sites for traveling and many places already have 2014 bookings.

I've been tossing around several itineraries. Originally was planning to visit Yosemite and Sonoma/Napa wine region, but feel we should save Yosemite for another trip where we can stay at least a week there and visiting wine country is a must for this trip.

At this point, we are looking to mainly spend our time in the Sonoma/Napa area (would stay closer to Sonoma) and Monterey Peninsula (I think). We're mainly interested in visiting wineries/vineyards and outdoor activities (hiking, biking, kayaking). The biggest debate is throwing some time in San Francisco in to the mix.

Initially, I was thinking 2 nights in SF just to see highlights including Alcatraz, 3 nights Sonoma, 3 nights Monterey area (including a drive down to Big Sur). I know many will say 2 nights in SF is not enough, but we want to spend more time in the other areas. If we do visit SF, it will be at the end of our vacation when we can ditch our rental car.

My questions/conflicts are:

Would it be better crowd-wise to visit wine country or Monterey area over a weekend? Since we arrive on a Thursday, we would pick up our rental car and drive to our 1st destination for 3 nights.

Should we take SF out of the mix all together and save it for when we are willing to spend more time there and spend 4 nights each at the other two locations (Sonoma and Monterey Peninsula)?

OR

Consider just visiting SF and Sonoma/Napa as I read some other posts that sections of the Sonoma coast and other areas near SF are as scenic as Monterey/Big Sur?

I would appreciate any advice or input to help me make some decisions so I can start booking accommodations. Thank you!

Mentioned in this post
Sonoma
Sonoma
Sonoma County, CA
Napa
Napa
Napa Valley, CA
Monterey Peninsula Inn
Monterey Peninsula Inn
648 Reviews
Pacific Grove, CA
San Francisco
San Francisco
California
Monterey
Monterey
Monterey County, CA
Big Sur
Big Sur
California
San Francisco Bay
Level Contributor
3,120 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Itinerary help- Sonoma, maybe SF, maybe Monterey area?

Crowd wise, you'll have better luck on the weekdays in Monterey and Sonoma/Napa, that is, if you want to avoid crowds. I like the idea of 3 nights in Monterey, 3 nights in wine country, and 2 nights in SF. It does short SF, but then you'll just have to come back for more, plus Yosemite (a week in Yosemite--what a luxury!)

Booking early will help you snag the best accomodations in ALL these places, as they are etremely popular in May/early June.

Mentioned in this post
Monterey
Monterey
Monterey County, CA
Sonoma
Sonoma
Sonoma County, CA
Napa
Napa
Napa Valley, CA
Allentown...
Level Contributor
602 posts
84 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Itinerary help- Sonoma, maybe SF, maybe Monterey area?

Of course, I would like to avoid crowds all the time, but know that's not entirely possible :)

I was more concerned about jam-packed tasting rooms in wine country if we stayed over a weekend before moving on to another destination. Or crazy coastal traffic in the Monterey area if we opted to spend the weekend there.

We want to be able to relax and enjoy the areas too without being in a rush to see/do everything. Just debating for the amount of time we have if we should stick to two areas instead of three.

Mentioned in this post
Monterey
Monterey
Monterey County, CA
San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
Level Contributor
56,158 posts
149 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Itinerary help- Sonoma, maybe SF, maybe Monterey area?

Anyone can justify spending 3-4 days in wine country and in the Monterey Peninsula. One has seen Trip reports of people wishing they had more time in SF after 4 days given their interests. You have 7 full days plus some time on the arrival and departure day depending on your flights.

I always think in terms of full days one gets in a place. 2 nights in SF is just one full day which is a rush. If you come before the start of Summer which is after Memorial day, the crowds will just start as many schools are just getting over so you may be ok but if you come in May you should have better prices and hotel rates (unless there is a convention in SF)

yes parts of the Sonoma coast rival the Big Sur but a short part and is your reason to do Sonoma, the coast or wine country ? You do need to decide that and you can then break up your days accordingly

Mentioned in this post
Monterey Peninsula Inn
Monterey Peninsula Inn
648 Reviews
Pacific Grove, CA
Sonoma
Sonoma
Sonoma County, CA
Big Sur
Big Sur
California
4. Re: Itinerary help- Sonoma, maybe SF, maybe Monterey area?

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 11 August 2014, 05:18