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Please tell me if this is a logical plan!

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Please tell me if this is a logical plan!

PLEASE provide input. We have never been to this part of California and am very confused. This is what I have outline, but I need to purchase the air tickets and want to be sure i am on target. Ideally, I would love one day shorter...Thoughts? ( We are a 40 ish aged couple who are burnt out from busy careers and just want to relax , have some romance and enjoy the beauty of California )

Fly to Monetery

Three nights in Carmel ( Monterey Aquarium, Pont Lobos, etc )

Drive to Cambria

Three nights in Cambria ( Hearst Castle, Jagged Edge, Peiffer Park, Pasa Robles Wineries etc)

Drive to Santa Barbara

Two night in Santa Barbara

Fly home

Please provide thoughts....Thanks .

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1. Re: Please tell me if this is a logical plan!

Your plan is certainly doable. The main thing to keep in mind is to plan a whole day of travel between Monterey and Carmel (through the area also known as Big Sur). On paper it's about 90 miles, and it can be done without stops in 3 hours. However, no one drives through without stopping, as it's pretty much the most spectacular drive in the US. Once you reach Cambria, you probably won't want to backtrack into Big Sur.

Here's a suggested plan. You don't have to see every place I've listed, but they're things I think are worth visiting.

Day 1-3 Monterey. See Monterey aquarium, 17 Mile Drive, Carmel, Point Lobos

Day 4 - Drive through Big Sur. Maybe see Pfeiffer Beach, lunch at Nepenthe or Sierra Mar,definitely visit Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park (McWay waterfall a must). Ragged Point (is that what you meant by Jagged Edge?) is pretty, but the restaurant isn't worth it. Plan on getting into Cambria before dark.

Day 5-7 - Cambria. Piedras Blancas seal rookery, Hearst Castle, Moonstone Beach, Paso Robles vineyards (Hwy 46 inland is gorgeous), Cayucos Pier, historic downtown San Luis Obispo, Avila Beach pier

Day 8-9 Santa Barbara. Don't know much about the area. Others can help you there.

I've included two links. One has average travel times in this area, the other is a list of things to do and see in Big Sur.

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g240329-i513-k3068…

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i14592-Big_Sur_…

Edited: 11 March 2010, 12:29
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2. Re: Please tell me if this is a logical plan!

Sorry - I meant a whole day of travel between Monterey and CAMBRIA - not Carmel!

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3. Re: Please tell me if this is a logical plan!

You have done a great job of spacing out your itinerary to maximize your time on the coast. Not bad for someone claiming to be confused. Scooterboss has given you sound advise for what to see/do during your visit.

Not sure what you mean by "one day shorter". Do you mean one less day of vacation or less travel time between destinations?

There's so much to see/do between all your destinations that could easily take up a full day of travel. Once you get past Pismo Beach, though, the highway turns inland away from the coast and you can make pretty good time to Santa Barbara. Just watch out for the California Highway Patrol who set up with their radar guns between Los Alamos and Santa Barbara. Drove that route last October and they were EVERYWHERE. :-)

Here are a few websites I recommend to visitors for each of your planned stays:

www.aliveistheair.com

www.cambriachamber.org/

www.santabarbaraca.com

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4. Re: Please tell me if this is a logical plan!

What fabulous input ! Thank yo so much. I have spent hours working on this and cannot wait !

Any additional thoughts on hotels?

Looking at the Tickle Pink Inn in Carmel and the Blue Dolphin B & B in Cambria. Have NO idea about Santa Barbara yet.

Love the help !

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5. Re: Please tell me if this is a logical plan!

The Tickle Pink Inn in the Carmel Highlands is in a fabulous location overlooking wild coves from high above the ocean. I guess the only downside is the fact that you have to drive to get to Carmel's shops and restaurants and sometimes the traffic into and through Carmel is hellacious.

But definitely a great place to get that relaxation you're looking for.

Another option on the Monterey Peninsula you might want to take a look at is the Seven Gables Inn B&B in Pacific Grove. Absolutely gorgeous views from every room overlooking Monterey Bay and the recreational trail that leads you into Monterey. Great for romantic walks or just soaking in the beautiful coastline views:

www.pginns.com

The Blue Dolphin Inn in Cambria is fine, but there are lots of options on Moonstone Beach Drive. Use the link I provided in my previous response and take a look at Moonstone Landing, Little Sur Inn & Sand Pebbles Inn. Because of the changing shoreline, the above inns are the closest to water's edge. Across from the inns on Moonstone Beach Drive is a field with a wooden boardwalk that meanders along Moonstone's pebbly beach (Hence, the name Moonstone Beach). Great places to eat in Cambria include Black Cat Bistro (Great for foodies), Robin's (eclectic ethnic fare... VERY good), Sow's Ear (Consistently voted most romantic restaurant on the coast) & Madeline's.

As for Santa Barbara, well, I never go there. But.... I have always been interested in the Simpson House Inn. The rooms and grounds are gorgeous and it gets a 5 diamond rating, which , I believe, is the ONLY B&B in America to receive such a distinction.

Have fun with your planning.

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6. Re: Please tell me if this is a logical plan!

You were given good advice by the people above. Here's a tip about Hearst Castle. The views from the castle of the coast are stunning. But at this part of the coast it's usually a little foggy until maybe around noon. So book an early afternoon tour so you can maximize the views. I live less than an hour from Santa Barbra, so I've never stayed there overnight. But it's a beautiful city, & 2 nights sounds good. And I have heard about the Simpson House. If you have time there's a quaint Danish village called Solvang only maybe 1/2 hr. to 40 mins. inland from Santa Barbra. Worth the trip if you have time, maybe allow a few hours there. It's in the Santa Ynez Valley where Michael Jackson's estate was. This will be a beautiful, relaxing vacation.

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7. Re: Please tell me if this is a logical plan!

You were given good advice by the people above. Here's a tip about Hearst Castle. The views from the castle of the coast are stunning. But at this part of the coast it's usually a little foggy until maybe around noon. So book an early afternoon tour so you can maximize the views. I live less than an hour from Santa Barbra, so I've never stayed there overnight. But it's a beautiful city, & 2 nights sounds good. And I have heard about the Simpson House. If you have time there's a quaint Danish village called Solvang only maybe 1/2 hr. to 40 mins. inland from Santa Barbra. Worth the trip if you have time, maybe allow a few hours there. It's in the Santa Ynez Valley where Michael Jackson's estate was. This will be a beautiful, relaxing vacation.

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Hearst Castle
Hearst Castle
5,919 Reviews
San Simeon, CA
Simpson House Inn
Simpson House Inn
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Santa Barbara, CA
Solvang
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8. Re: Please tell me if this is a logical plan!

Scooterboss - I am planning our one week family vacation for July. Our plan right now is to fly into Oakland and out of LAX. We will first spend the first 2 nights in San Francisco and then divide 5 nights between Carmel and Cambria. I have been leaning towards 3 nights in Carmel and 2 in Cambria, but given we may spend the better part of a day traveling from Carmel to Cambria, that would only leave us one full day in Cambria. We want to have enough time to see the Hearst castle and also tour some wineries in Paso Robles. I think we may need two full days in Cambria to do this. So, I am now wondering if we should do 2 nights in Carmel and 3 in Cambria. Do you have any thoughts about this?

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9. Re: Please tell me if this is a logical plan!

MikeandHeidi392

I would lean toward 3 nights Carmel over 3 nights in Cambria. Honestly, there's just so much more to see/do on the Monterey Peninsula and you could leave early on the third morning, spend 6 hours driving through Big Sur, do a late afternoon tour of Hearst Castle and have day 2 for wine tasting and exploring Cambria a bit.

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10. Re: Please tell me if this is a logical plan!

The Blue Dolphin on Moonstone Beach in Cambria is lovely. It's a great pick.

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