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California Honeymoon Itinerary - comments/advice

London, United...
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California Honeymoon Itinerary - comments/advice

Hi there,

This is a very tentative plan for our honeymoon (first two weeks of September 2014 - we like to plan ahead!). We're pretty flexible, so we're open to advice from seasoned traveller/residents:

- Fly from London to San Francisco

- Spend 4 days in San Francisco

- Drive to wine country (Sonoma or Napa), spend 2 days there

- Drive to Monterey/Carmel, stay overnight (so we don't do the PCH all in one day)

- Drive down the Pacific Coast Highway to LA, see the Hearst Castle and Big Sur on the way

- Spend 5 days in Los Angeles/Orange County

- Drive to, and spend 3 days in, Yosemite

- Drive back to San Francisco, fly back to London

We're seasoned travellers and are pretty energetic so we can see a lot in one day. We know we won't be able to see everything but let me know if you think I've not allocated enough time for a certain place. We like sightseeing, food, museums, nature (not into hiking/camping/sports), some kitsch (Disneyland is a distinct possibility), and a little bit of lolling about on the beach.

Thanks for your help!

Los Angeles
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1. Re: California Honeymoon Itinerary - comments/advice

I would take a day off of San Francisco or LA and overnight in Cambria (or Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, or maybe even Santa Barbara) Driving Monterey all the way to LA and touring Hearst Castle that same day is, I think, too much in one day, especially with the slow drive through Big Sur and all the stops you'll want to make there.

Other comment is you may find it a better use of your time to fly in to San Francisco and fly home from LA, instead of going all the way back to SF. From SF you can drive to Yosemite, then Yosemite back to Monterey before heading south down to LA.

Houston, TX
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2. Re: California Honeymoon Itinerary - comments/advice

Agree--add a night in Cambria. The most spectacular section of the coastal drive is the 90 miles between Monterey and Cambria--takes about 2.5 to 3 hours without stops for anything, or traffic delays, etc. You do not want to rush through this part of the drive. When you leave Monterey/Carmel, plan to stop at Point Lobos State Natural Reserve. At least three great walks to choose from there, with great views. You can easily spend a couple of hours there. Then stop at the Bixby Bridge overlook for some photos. Have lunch at Nepenthe. Stop at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park for the short walk to McWay Falls. Stop at the elephant seal rookery on the beach near Piedras Blancas, just north of San Simeon. Then on into Cambria for the night. Book the first tour in the morning for Hearst Castle, then on down the coast.

On the drive to Monterey, you will pass through Santa Cruz. Just a few miles inland you will find the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Great interpretive loop trail through the immense trees that you can walk in about 45 minutes.

London, United...
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3. Re: California Honeymoon Itinerary - comments/advice

That sounds great - thanks for the advice from both of you! I didn't realise the sights along the PCH would take that long to see. I'll definitely plan to stop for another night.

I hear what you're saying about flying out from LA instead of going all the way back to SF via Yosemite, but I'm worried that the flights would be way more expensive...maybe that's not the case though. If someone knows either way, that'd be helpful.

What's the drive between Yosemite and LA like, out of curiosity? Anything interesting along the way?

Fremont, California
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4. Re: California Honeymoon Itinerary - comments/advice

i also agree with Cambria

where I may be debating is if you take the day off of San Francisco or Los Angeles

(your choice - unless your plans were a multiple day trip to the theme parks, then I would agree with taking it away from San Francisco - San Francisco - a perfect place to start your honeymoon. Congratulations.)

Moonstone Beach area of Cambria is nice

or you could do a bed and breakfast experience at a winery



Also there is a lot of wineries throughout this area


The rest of your itinerary looks great.

Washington State
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5. Re: California Honeymoon Itinerary - comments/advice

Many UK visitors get open jaw (into one airport and out of another) and a one way car rental. They don't complain about the prices!

L.A. to Yosemite isn't the best part of California. It's over a small mountain pass and then north up the San Joaquin Valley (produce producing region.) Mostly it's flat and .... flat. If you're interested in agriculture, you might enjoy the long drive.

Be sure to read the Top Questions on the right side of the page (full TA website.) There is some great info about the coastal drive on Hwy 1, much of it focused on the section between Monterey & Pismo Beach.


SFO - SF (5 nights) - {pick up rental car when you leave} Sonoma / Napa (2 n) - Lake Tahoe (1-2 n) - {eastern entrance of Yosemite: Tioga Pass} Yosemite Valley or nearby (3 n) - Monterey (1-2 n) - Cambria / Pismo Beach (1 n) - L.A. (2-3 n) - Anaheim / Orange County (2-3 n) - LAX

Santa Cruz...
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6. Re: California Honeymoon Itinerary - comments/advice

I like PNWF's itinerary. Can you add some days to your trip?

About the open jaw flight (in one city, out another). If you book your car with a Great Britain 'hire' company, before you leave, your rate will include all of the necessary insurance, so you don't have to add it or worry about it. It will also allow you to pick it up in one city and drop it off in another without a "drop-off" fee. This is not available to those of us who live in the US. I would take advantage of it. Many people use carhire3000.uk.

7. Re: California Honeymoon Itinerary - comments/advice

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