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Family travelling from LA to SFO

Burlington, Canada
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Family travelling from LA to SFO

We are travelling in October 9 nights with age 7 & 9 year old well travelled kids on a THURSDAY.

We like adventure and moving around trips with foodie fun adventures.

We have been to SAn Diego,Laguna beach. La jolla and disneyland twice so this trip we are changing things up and are are flying in LAX early afternoon. Rental car pick up and considering Magic Castle hotel/motel. We can do the walk of fame. People watching , original farmers market, Mulhalland drive, universal studios. We are planning 1-2 nights max.(thurs friday)

We would like to make overnight stops along the way to SF . Hotels with pools and breakfast included are a bonus.

San fran we plan on arriving wednesday so we have 4 nights we can stop and stay overnight before we get here. My spouse suggested palm springs but I am not sure if this is too off the beaten path .

We want to see Redwoods, 12 mile scenic drive, cypress trees, some beach's for kids to play, etc. also places we can leave car at hotel and walk to restaurants is ideal.



Santa monica

Are locations we have read about.

Thank you

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1. Re: Family travelling from LA to SFO

Santa Cruz?

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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2. Re: Family travelling from LA to SFO

After driving scenic Hwy 1, I don't think you need to pay for 17 Mile Drive. Folks who seem to like it are photographers, golfers, or passionate about seeing big houses through the shrubbery. (Okay, there may be other folks who like that drive, but I just don't get it.)

I agree with TravelingChumley; Santa Cruz has nice beaches for play, but October is getting cool.

The redwoods at Henry Cowell are popular with folks who are making the L.A. to SF drive (near Santa Cruz.) This grove isn't as crowded as Muir Woods north of SF.

No time to go over to Yosemite?

Anaheim, California
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3. Re: Family travelling from LA to SFO

I am a fan of the 17 mile drive, but I am a photographer, it is a beautiful drive with some great scenic views, .

IMHO, it is worth the few dollars in the "toll" fee for the vehicle.


I am also a fan of Santa Cruz, especially the Beach Boardwalk, the scenic train, and the Mystery Spot (which is a strange classic tourist roadside attraction).


Santa Cruz...
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for Santa Cruz
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4. Re: Family travelling from LA to SFO

Here is a traveler article about Santa Cruz. Your children would love the Santa Cruz Beach Boadwalk, which is an old fashioned amusement park on the beach.


Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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5. Re: Family travelling from LA to SFO

Pismo/Avila Beach 2 nights: Pismo Lighthouse Suites, Cottage Inn, Sandcastle Inn, Oxford Suites, Avila Lighthouse Suites

Monterey 2 nights: Best Western Beach Resort Monterey, Monterey Bay Inn, Embassy Suites

Most hotels that offer breakfast serve continental style: cereals, breads/bagels, fruit, boiled eggs.


I think Avila Lighthouse Suites would be a good choice for the Pismo/Avila area. It's right across the street from the beach where there is also some playground equipment and there are several shops/restaurants close by you can walk to. It's a small beach community, so traveling by foot is very doable. The Custom House restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. Avila is a good place to enjoy a relaxing day at the beach, walk the pier, maybe rent kayaks and paddle the small bay Avila sits in. Avila Valley Barn on the road leading to Avila is a VERY family friendly environment. They sell fresh produce, baked goods, ice cream and they have a pen with small farm animals the kids can hand feed. There's also a hot springs pool on the road leading to Avila the kids might enjoy.

The Monterey area is also good for a few days, although the beaches in this area are not well suited for play. Too many rip tides, crashing surf, etc. But there is the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, bike rentals for riding the rec trail, Museum of Natural History, paddle boats at El Estero Lake, MY Museum (An interactive children's museum that allows them to use their creativity).

Santa Cruz is only 45 minutes north of Monterey and can be seen on the drive up to SF.


IF you're planning on taking the scenic route up through Big Sur, be sure to stop at the elephant seal rookery and McWay Falls @ Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. If the kids get car sick, bring ginger capsules for that part of the drive. Lots of sharp hairpin turns, especially at the start of the drive.

Los Angeles
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for Los Angeles
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6. Re: Family travelling from LA to SFO

Santa Monica is basically still in LA. You may want to do a night in Santa Barbara to start off after you leave LA, its 90-120 minutes north of LA. Monterey and/or Carmel for 1-2 nights for sure I would say. Cambria is about half way between LA and SF, and Morro Bay & Pismo Beach are not too far from there. Santa Cruz is another stopping point a bit closer to San Francisco (after Monterey / Carmel).

7. Re: Family travelling from LA to SFO

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