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California Road Trip

New Jersey
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California Road Trip

Hi – We are planning a trip to California for 10 days in September for our honeymoon. We plan to land in LA rent a car and drive down to SD for one night before beginning our road trip on the coastal highway back up to San Fran. We’d like to fit in as much as possible without making it too crazy and busy. Not sure if we are spending too much or too little time in certain places or missing out on must-do’s. Also we are not sure when to return the car. Please let us know what you think and if let us know if you have any suggestions!

Fri – Day 1 – Arrive in Los Angeles at noon – Rent Car - Drive to San Diego

Sat – Day 2 – Leave SD – Stop in La Jolla and Laguna Beach. Drive to Los Angeles

Sun – Day 3 – Hollywood, Chinese Theater, Sunset Boulevard, Santa Monica Pier, Venice Beach

Mon – Day 4 – Paramount Tour, Mulholland Drive, J. Paul Getty Museum, Beverly Hills, La Brea Tar Pits, House of Blues

Tues – Day 5 – Drive to Carmel

Wed – Day 6 – Drive to Wine Country – Sonoma or Napa?

Thurs – Day 7 – Wine Country – Sonoma or Napa?

Fri – Day 8 – Drive to San Fran – Union square, Lombard St, Alcatraz,

Sat – Day 9 – Good Morning Marina District, The Grove, Chinatown, North beach

Sun – Day 10 – Rent a bike – See The Warming Hut, Golden Gate, Sausalito, North Bay, Ferry Ride Back to SF

San Francisco...
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1. Re: California Road Trip

Wow This rush rush rush trip is a Honeymoon. Sounds Like more of a Honeykeepmoving. Most would suggest 3-4 FULL days in SD LA and SF but you have barely an evening and perhaps a morning in SD and then you want to do Getty and studio and all that stuff in one day -- I guess you can if that is how you travel but since you asked for our opinion, I feel this is really way way too much The drive from LA to Carmel -- Unless you want to do it on 101 -- is along 101 and 1 and the Big Sur which should not be rushed. -- Oh well

With 10 days just stay in SoCal Spend a few days in SD, Orange county Laguna, LA for a few and then if you want to do more Santa Barbara for wine

San Francisco
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2. Re: California Road Trip

Too much. Examples of "too much"

1) Driving to San Diego for the day. And only getting as far as La Jolla. San Diego is a great spot and deserves at least a couple full days. But I'd suggest you save it for another trip.

2) LA to Carmel in one day is too much if you intend on driving Highway 1 through Big Sur. Better to insert an overnight in Cambria between then two.

3) Appears you have 2 full days in SF. Not enough. It needs a minimum of 3 FULL days. (And the Grove is no longer in the Marina.)

4) Two full days is not enough in LA either but I will let the residents of the City of Angels comment on that section of your itinerary.

I would suggest 3 days LA

3 days between LA and SF

3 days in SF.

There are wine areas in Santa Ynez (near Santa Barbara), Paso Robles (near Cambria) and Monterey. Do one of those and keep Napa (which has gotten too precious by half IMO) and/or Sonoma for another trip.

So Cal
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3. Re: California Road Trip

Congratulations on your upcoming wedding!

I generally take the view that any given destination needs as much time as the activities it has that interest you. The problem is when you identify 3 or 4 days' worth of activities and try to cram them into 2 days. So I think you either need to cut some attractions, or accept that you'll only skim the surface if you try to do them all.

I would cut San Diego entirely. It's a great place, but on a Friday afternoon you can count on a 2.5-3.5 hour drive (my recent Friday drive took about 2.5 hours, leaving at about 3:30 in the afternoon). So you'll arrive in time for sunset and dinner. Then you'll be skedaddling right back out the next morning. You won't have time to do or see anything that's actually in San Diego. You could get dinner and a nice sunset and even some nice coastal atmosphere without leaving the LA metro area, sparing yourself all that driving and switching of hotels.

Re LA to Carmel. If you want to drive on the coast (you can read up on that in the Top Questions at right), you need one night at least. Done over one or two nights, it's a wonderland of breathtaking scenery, lovely hikes and some cute little towns. Done in a single day, it's a gruelling slog punctuated by a handful of very short photo stops and "How're we doing on time? Ack, are we going to make it before darkness falls and we plunge off the roadway?!" Much better to take your San Diego night and spend it on this drive instead.

New Jersey
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4. Re: California Road Trip

Thank you for your feedback guys! We've completely revamped the itinerary. so hopefully it makes more sense now. We're not interested in a SoCal trip since that wasn't even our focus, so this is focusing on LA to SF. Couple of open spots and not sure we picked the right Wine touring location. Not sure if we're missing anything or now are spending too long in SF. Also any recommendations on how long we need a car? Feedback is appreciated!

Fri – Day 1 – Arrive in Los Angeles at noon. Hollywood Walk of Fame. Chinese Theater, Sunset Blvd, Santa monica Pier.

Sat – Day 2 – rent bike and do beach bike path. Spend some time relaxing on beach. Downtown for dinner??

Sun – Day 3 – Paramount or Universal Tour. Mulholland drive. Beverly Hills.

Mon – Day 4 – Checkout and drive to Cambria. Spend day in Cambria.

Tues – Day 5 – Book Wine Tour in Paso Robles. Return to Cambria for dinner.

Wed – Day 6 – Check out. Drive to Carmel, spend Day in Carmel.

Thurs – Day 7 – Check out. Drive to San Fran. sightsee in SF

Fri – Day 8 – Sightsee in SF.

Sat – Day 9 – Bike Ride to Sausilito. Ferry home.

Sun – Day 10 – Day trip to Alcatraz and Muir Woods. Japantown and Pacific Heights for dinner.

Edited: 13 May 2014, 18:35
Grover Beach...
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5. Re: California Road Trip

Paso Robles is a premier wine region on the California Central Coast, so good call on that area for your wine tour.

Day 6 should be a long day, so be sure to get an early start. Lots to see/do between Cambria and Carmel:

Hearst Castle

The elephant seal rookery

Ragged Point

McWay Falls

Nepenthe

Pfeiffer Beach

Bixby Bridge

Point Lobos State Reserve

New Jersey
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6. Re: California Road Trip

Great! Thank you! Was really hesitant about the wine location, so very glad to hear it's a good one.

Grover Beach...
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7. Re: California Road Trip

Paso's west side wineries is where you want to start:

Opolo, Turley, Linne Calodo, Daou

www.pasowine.com

New Jersey
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8. Re: California Road Trip

Anyone have feedback on whether the length of time in SF is right or whether we should fit in a different town; whether downtown LA is worthwhile to visit; and what parts of the trip we'd need a car?

Washington State
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9. Re: California Road Trip

"Worth it", "worthwhile", and such is a personal decision. No one can tell you that you must stop at Hearst Castle because it is a required part of a drive on the CA coast. It's impossible for every traveler to love Yosemite NP. Some folks visit San Francisco once, and love it so much that they move there. Other visitors go back every year, while some never want to return.

In general, 3 full days is a good length of time for a first visit to a major destination. There are specific tips on each city/destination forum in the Top Questions on the right.

Most folks drop their rental car when they get to SF as it's so expensive to park. Public transit is good.

One idea to consider ~ look into visiting Henry Cowell Redwoods near Santa Cruz (between Monterey & SF) rather than over-loved over-crowded Muir Woods.

New Jersey
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10. Re: California Road Trip

Would it make sense to spend a night in Santa Cruz then as well?