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San Francisco to LA - route help and places to stay

Northumberland
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San Francisco to LA - route help and places to stay

HI

We are starting our trip in Chicago and getting the California Zephyr across to San Francisco. We then have 3 nights in San Francisco and 3 nights at the end of the trip in LA but have 8 nights in between. We want to go to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite and Monterey but I am open to suggestions as to how we do this.

I had initially thought two nights at Lake Tahoe, 2 at Yosemite and 2 at Monterey, 1 at san luis obispo and 1 at Solvang - does this look ok or would you do this differently.

I am also unsure of where to stay when we go to Yosemite - I have seen so many places mentioned that I am confused. We don't mind driving a little while to get there if we could stay in a small town or something like that where we can walk to some bars/restaurants. The same applies to the other places - if there is somewhere with some lovely charm which has great places to stay where we can walk to a few bars etc that would be great.

Any help or advice would be great.

Thanks :)

San Francisco...
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1. Re: San Francisco to LA - route help and places to stay

Do look at a map. The CA Zhephyr stops in Truckee and Reno near Tahoe so you can stay there and then either take the train or drive to SF

After SF, Yosemite would be the next stop and then Monterey and Cambria and then LA

with 300 posts you may know that each state and city has top questions -- Do look at them -- the Ca forum has a primer on the Highway 1 drive. Lot of Info on where to stay in Yosemite in the YNP top questions.

I don't get it why you want to spend time away from yosemite instead of staying in YNP and enjoying nature. If your plan is to enjoy bars and restaurants then perhaps you may want to spend more time in a major city

Northumberland
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2. Re: San Francisco to LA - route help and places to stay

HI

Thanks for your reply. We don't want to get off the train - we want to do the whole journey.

We don't want to spend loads of time in bars and restaurants and I am not a massive fan of big cities. I think we just wanted to get a feel of a charming town and having a walk out at night.

I will look at the other forums too - thanks again :)

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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3. Re: San Francisco to LA - route help and places to stay

Definitely check the Top Questions on each forum. If this trip is scheduled for summer 2014, you need to get lodging reservations soon for Yosemite.

After you see what's recommended (Top Q) and see what's available (your research), post a question on each forum. Let folks know which places are on your short list. Share info about your travel group and travel style. Describe what you'd like to be doing in that destination. Then the replies you get will be relevant to your trip!

For example, I think staying in Yosemite makes the most sense for almost all travelers. But maybe you'd prefer to be in one of the "gateway" towns over an hour away where you can choose a restaurant & bar (I don't know that they're "charming", but you'd have more options for dining. Yosemite Valley would be great for a "walk out at night" with starry night sky, but few dining options and no real "town.")

I'll watch for your new thread on the Yosemite forum.

-------------

There is a thread in the Top Q with info about the coastal towns along Hwy 1. With your travel style, you might not want to stay in the most popular towns. You might want to stay in smaller ones.

Grover Beach...
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4. Re: San Francisco to LA - route help and places to stay

You want to do the whole trip by train?

The train doesn't follow the northern part of the coast. It's all inland. You would basically depart from Emeryville or Oakland and travel down the coastal interior of the state to San Luis Obispo. You can stop in Salinas and bus over to Monterey, but you really need a car to see the sights in/around Monterey.

The train turns toward the ocean in Pismo Beach and you have some nice views into Santa Barbara and Ventura, but the train goes NO where near Big Sur or Solvang.

Honestly, the route between SF and LA is best done with self driving. That gets the best coastal scenery in (Big Sur) and gives you the flexibility to stop and enjoy the many scenic wonders the California coast has to offer.

Maybe ride the train down to Salinas and rent a car from there for the Monterey to Santa Barbara leg of your trip and then continue to LA via the train from Santa Barbara. Yes, you'll have one way drop off charges, but it would be well worth it.

Edited: 15 April 2014, 00:39
Washington State
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5. Re: San Francisco to LA - route help and places to stay

I think the OP wants to take the train all the way to San Francisco rather than getting off in Reno. Although the train doesn't actually go all the way. But getting off in Truckee or Reno and then getting back on & continuing to San Francisco is something the OP wants to avoid.

San Francisco, Ca
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6. Re: San Francisco to LA - route help and places to stay

Yosemite is beautiful and natural and scenic, but the cost of that beauty is that there is very little development in the park. Yosemite Valley will give you a small number of dining and accommodation options, but it's the location that's key (despite very high prices), not the quantity of choices or ambiance. The town of Mariposa is one of the little gateway towns to Yosemite, but I don't think it's charming enough to warrant the long drive needed to get to the attractions of Yosemite Park.

You can find lots of charm in Monterey -- in fact, stay in Carmel, rather than Monterey, for cute little B&Bs that just ooze charm.

7. Re: San Francisco to LA - route help and places to stay

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