Here's my trip plan and a few questions. Looking for any advice as to whether I need to adjust the trip a bit. Wife, 2 boys aged 4 and 8 - pretty good in the car with a few stops.
Day 1) Leaving San Diego on a Sat. in April - driving up to Yosemite. Staying at Best Western Plus Yosemite Gateway Inn in Oakhurst. Just to relax, indoor pool, etc. before heading into park.
Day 2-4) Sun. leave around 8 or so and head to Yosemite floor. Have a cabin in Curry Village for 3 nights. Bringing the bikes so we'll have Sun. thru Tuesday to explore.
Day 5-6) Wed. leave Yosemite and head over to Monterey area. We're staying at The Sanctuary Beach Resort. Plan to arrive at our leisure depending on when we leave Yosemite and then either go to the Acquarium/dinner in Monterey that night or the next day. I'm thinking we do the town of Monterey the afternoon/night we arrive so that we can enjoy the resort the next day (full day).
Day 7) Fri. leave Monterey and drive down Big Sur. Likely will skip 17 mile drive based on forum reviews given views in Big Sur. Plan is to stop a few places to take a few short hikes, grab lunch, take photos and enjoy the day. We had considered Hearst Castle but given time I think we'll plan that for a future trip when our 4 year old is a bit older. Stop over in Santa Maria Inn (enjoy some open-pit BBQ for dinner :) Considered staying a night on the beach but given likely late arrival, tied kids (and driver) and early departure I'm not sure that it matters.
Day 8) Casual drive back to San Diego that Saturday....I want to drive down coast at least thru Malibu area with a stop or two along the way. Once we hit LA, that'll just be pass-thru back to our home in SD.
Sounds good? Any changes I should consider? I have a few questions:
1) Should I buy a state parking pass (I think $195) if I'm going to be parking along the way in state parking lots/beaches? I do live near Torrey Pines State Beach so I could use it there too but I usually just try to find free parking.
2) What suggestions do you have for my time in Monterey and the day along Big Sur? I'm just beginning to research all the great things along the drive but could use some help narrowing down the things we should do with our kids.
3) After we leave Santa Maria what recommendations if any do you have along the way up to the point where we hit LA Traffic below Malibu? :)
Once the trip happens I'll do a trip report - very excited about this one to explore more of CA. I see this as a way of seeing enough and understanding where we want to focus a future trip.