We are planning our ‘first’ couple’s trip without our kid for about a week around San Francisco area in mid-October this year. I have drafted a rough itinerary and need some suggestions from people who have also done a similar trip. The focus of the trip is to do things that we can’t typically do well with a 3 year old kid – like driving around in a convertible, stay out late for dinner, drink wine on a patio etc. We are from Toronto, Canada and want to experience the best of the West Coast. I enjoy big city architecture and views, and my wife enjoys small town experiences. We want to remain (somewhat) on budget with hotels (or B&B, inns in smaller towns) not more than $200/night and dinner not more than $25-$30 pp. Any suggestions on itinerary (are we missing something great), hotels and eating spots that will make our trip more enjoyable and memorable will be very appreciated:
Day 1 – Fly into SF airport, rent a convertible, drive up to Napa Valley. Do a winery tour, enjoy some good local wine, have dinner in quaint restaurant. Do a balloon tour at dawn, brunch etc. What will be a good choice for an inn/ hotel/ resort and dinner for one night ?
Day 2 – Drive to San Francisco via the Golden Gate Bridge, soak in some views of the bay area, check into a hotel with a free or inexpensive parking. What are good choices for hotels considering that we plan to do in-town sight seeing where possible by walking/ public transit?
Day 3 & 4 – See San Franciscoès touristy and not so touristy areas to get a good feel of San Francisco. We are both big foodies and eating at the not-to-miss restaurants, holes-in-the wall is equally important to as the usual tourist attractions. Some suggestions on unique west coast city experiences would be great!
Day 5 – Drive to Monterey, lunch in a local café, see and drive around Monterey / Carmel area, dinner in a local restaurant, stay a night in Carmel. Not sure if we should add Santa Cruz to the route to Monterey, and where to go for local seafood eateries.
Day 6 – Do Big Sur drive down Route 1 to Cambria. Not sure how much time we need to allow for stopping to see some of the beaches, viewpoints etc. I am assuming I will take the whole day and we are probably better off staying a night in Cambria as opposed to driving back to Carmel for night. Suggestions on accommodation and some good local restaurants would be great.
Day 7 – Drive back up to San Francisco and catch a flight to Toronto by evening. Not sure if there can be an interesting small town on the way back where we can do a quick stop over for lunch and some quick site seeing. I was planning to take Route 101 to SF.