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3 days/2 nights road trip from San Jose to Solvang and back

San Jose, California
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3 days/2 nights road trip from San Jose to Solvang and back

Hi,

Please help me plan a 3 days road trip from San Jose to Solvang. I live in San Jose.

Things I would like to cover - Monterey, 17-mile drive, Pismo Beach, Solvang, Hearst Castle

Optional - Carmel, Santa Cruz(Mystery spot etc)

I would like to start early Saturday morning (8am) and be back by Monday evening(8 or 9pm)

Any suggestions for stay/things to see etc are most appreciated. I could skip the places closer to San Jose like Monterey, Santa Cruz on some other weekend if there's more places to explore further south.

Another option I was looking at was a drive to Mt. Shasta but looks like it's going to be raining there all weekend.

Open to other options/suggestions.

Thanks!

San Jose, California
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1. Re: 3 days/2 nights road trip from San Jose to Solvang and back

Check the weather for the Big Sur area too - if it is raining in any significant amounts (i.e. more than a slight sprinkle) you won't want to take Hwy 1 south of Camel. Assuming that it isn't raining, how about something like this:

Saturday: Leave SJ at 8am, drive to Monterey/Carmel and have breakfast. Either pack a picnic lunch before leaving SJ or pick up picnic items in Monterey/Carmel before heading out - plan to leave Monterey/Carmel by about 11am. Drive south on Hwy 1 through Big Sur. Stop at Point Lobos and many other places along the way, picnic lunch somewhere along the way, overnight in Cambria. Plan to spend the better part of the day for this drive. Without stops, Camel to Cambria is about 3 hours, so if you spend 3 hours en route with stops, you should get into Cambria about 5pm, which will be before dark and in time to check into your hotel, relax a bit, and have a leisurely dinner.

Sunday: Backtrack a little ways north on Hwy 1 to visit Hearst Castle, then head back south on Hwy 1 to Hwy 101 and onto Pismo Beach - overnight at Pismo Beach. The drive from Hearst Castle to Pismo Beach is only about an hour, so you can arrange this day however you like. You could spend a little time in Cambria before heading up to Hearst Castle, or you could hit Hearst Castle first thing in the morning and then stop in SLO for lunch, maybe go to Sycamore Springs at Avila Beach for a mineral soak, or head straight down to Pismo Beach and spend the after noon hanging out there. Lots of options.

Monday: Drive south to Solvang and spend a little time there, then head back to SJ via Hwy 101. It is about 1 hour from Pismo to Solvang, then about 3.5 from Solvang back up to SJ. Hwy 101 is freeway or divided highway most of the way, so you don't have to worry about getting back before dark, so you could have a leisurely morning in Pismo Beach and then spend several hours in Solvang if you like. Or you could stop in Paso Robles on the way back for a little wine.

One caveat - I am not terribly big on Solvang myself, so if it was MY trip, I'd skip that in favor of more time in Cambria or Pismo, Paso Robles wine country, or Santa Barbara.

Grover Beach...
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2. Re: 3 days/2 nights road trip from San Jose to Solvang and back

Why Solvang? If it's for the local wine, fine. But, if not, it's seen better days. And even if it is for the wine, you would do better to stay in Cambria and visit the nearby Paso Robles wine country instead.

Edited: 11 February 2014, 00:24
Santa Clara...
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3. Re: 3 days/2 nights road trip from San Jose to Solvang and back

I will repeat my response that I gave in your other thread.. (though november gave you excellent advice about the Central Coast area yourself)

... and please do read about the Central Coast drive. Your list of to-do reads like a collage of the pamphlets folks get at most motel lobbies (Solvang, Mystery Spot). Not that there is anything wrong with some of the kitschy stuff, but most of us would suggest you read explore the natural beauties along the coast within the state park system that does not require a fee to a proprietor.

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c197885/Califo…

Edited: 11 February 2014, 01:41
San Jose, California
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4. Re: 3 days/2 nights road trip from San Jose to Solvang and back

Thanks guys for the wonderful suggestions! It was Solvang because I thought my wife would love the Danish village feel that Solvang has got to it. I think it's unlike other cities in California.

Also can you suggest some nice and not too expensive ($100-200) places to stay in Cambria and Pismo beach?

San Jose, California
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5. Re: 3 days/2 nights road trip from San Jose to Solvang and back

One of my friends has Danish ancestry and absolutely loves Solvang. It makes her feel connected (and before someone points out that it isn't authentically Danish - I know, she knows, everybody knows - but it still makes her feel good). It's not a bad place, it just doesn't really do it for me. I do have fond memories of stopping there when I was a kid - we'd frequently make the drive between Ventura County and the Bay Area and that was a favorite stop - along with Pea Soup Andersens :-) In your case through, since you think your wife would really like Solvang, then you should definitely go - and it isn't like this is your one shot to see the Central Coast and have to make any hard choices about how to spend your time. There will be plenty of opportunities to explore the area further. If you were coming from Outer Mongolia and this was your ONE chance to see California, it would be a different story.

Grover Beach...
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6. Re: 3 days/2 nights road trip from San Jose to Solvang and back

"....Also can you suggest some nice and not too expensive ($100-200) places to stay in Cambria and Pismo beach?"....

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

You're traveling over the weekend, so finding "nice" lodging within your budget may be difficult.

Cambria: Cambria Pines Lodge, Bluebird Inn, Creekside Inn, perhaps Castle Inn

Pismo Beach: Hilton Garden Inn, Spyglass Inn, Kon Tiki Inn, Sea Gypsy

San Jose, California
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7. Re: 3 days/2 nights road trip from San Jose to Solvang and back

In Pismo, add the Cottage Inn

San Jose, California
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8. Re: 3 days/2 nights road trip from San Jose to Solvang and back

Thanks guys. It's been a busy week and i'll be making my hotel bookings today. I hope I find something :)

Grover Beach...
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9. Re: 3 days/2 nights road trip from San Jose to Solvang and back

Let us know if you need further recs in case the others are booked up.

Los Angeles
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10. Re: 3 days/2 nights road trip from San Jose to Solvang and back

Just going to say, lovers of Northern European food (such as pickled herring and the like) LOVE Solvang and so do many others. I am not big on Danish food (except...the Danish...which they do very well in Solvang). Solvang has a lovely gourmet grocery store just past the main part of town and back roads that take you past some of the best horse breeding and pony breeding grounds in California (not to mention Nojoqui Park, which is gorgeous - when it's been raining, anyway; there's a waterfall).

Our out-of-state visitors (and my immigrant relatives) love Solvang - I like Los Olivos a *lot* because you can do wine tastings without driving and then do some olive oil and olive tasting before setting out again, sober.

I'm sitting here right now with a toothpick holder purchased at Rasmussen's in Solvang in 1958 - and what's weird, is last time we were there, they still had them! It features a wooden Danish boy who dispenses cigarettes and if you press his hat, he sticks his tongue out at you. I also like their various wood toy collections - all lead free and lovingly made. In Denmark.

Sometimes I wonder if people are just sort of jealous of its interesting past:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solvang

It captures so much of central California history in one place.