We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Trip Report: California for Austs - Pismo Bch to Carmel

Which Carmel hotels are on sale?
dd/mm/yyyy dd/mm/yyyy
See hotels
Townsville...
Level Contributor
98 posts
7 reviews
Save Topic
Trip Report: California for Austs - Pismo Bch to Carmel

Pacific Coast Highway.

We travelled on the coast road to take in the amazing views. Breath taking. Make sure you allow plenty of time for photo stops as the road is windy and slow. We travelled in February so the traffic wasn't bad but I imagine summer traffic would be slow going. I felt safer that we were the right lane and not the lane on the edge of the cliffs .The road really does hug those cliffs. Just north of San Simeon (I think) we stopped for a large crowd of people that were hovering by the edge of the road. The beach was covered in hundreds of huge creatures - sea elephants. Squirrels were also ferreting around in the bushes. I love the surprises that California gave us.

Ragged Point.

Our lunch stop was about the half way mark at Ragged Point. This was a clearing on the edge of the cliffs. There was a motel, restaurant, gallery, coffee shop, take out and gas station.

My kids said "It looks just like Twilight" (Yes, I'm a bit of a Twihard).

the buildings were log cabins, were huge pines and it was so green. As the weather was getting cooler, we ate outside and enjoyed the warm sunshine. It was a very attractive area with beautiful vista points for photos. The gallery also had lovely gifts.

As the journey was slow and my husband a bit tense from tackling the turns, we didn't make any other stops. We wanted to make it to Carmel before losing the light. Sunset was about 5.30. Sadly, no Hearst Castle or Napenthe.

Carmel

Walking the streets of Carmel is like stepping in the pages of a story book. Stepping back in time - quaint houses, crooked paved streets, flowers in window boxes and fairy lights. Facinating!

Our weekend in Carmel coincided with a national golf tournament at nearby Pebble Beach, much to my husband's delight. The town was very busy and golfers and spectators were out celebrating. The golfing fraternity were spending up in the many art galleries, high end boutiques and fine restaurants. We stayed

Hofsas House which was a short and pleasant walk from the town centre. It is an older establishment, 1930's(?) and German architecture. The reception ladies were welcoming and helpful. Our room was large and clean with a fireplace but on the second floor with no elevator. However, this didn't bother me as I was still working off hot chocolate calories and husband carried the suitcases anyway. A complimentary breakfast of coffee, juice, pastries and fruit was provided in the reception sitting room. As I said, this was an older place and very simple which may not appeal to all, but we were warm and comfortable. It was just fine for us.

Dinner was enjoyed at the Village Corner as recommended by the Hofsas Ladies. It was a short walk to town and a delicious Italian style menu. We were impressed by this restaurant.

The next day, Husband caught a bus to watch the golf and get a few tips from Tiger Woods (golf tips only!). This was the hightlight of the trip for him. To be at iconic golf couse with best golfers in the world! I took a cab to the Monterey Aquarium with the kids. Cab was expensive $25 but quicker than the bus. The aquarium was facinating. Different exhibits than Australia and so big. We were there for 5 hrs so I didn't see anything else in Monterey. In the afternoon, the kids and I went to a park only a few street away from Hofsas house. The ladies of hofsas house gave the kids a frisbee and there were swings and a climbing fort. A local invited my kids to play ball with his son. So lovely. It was nice to do something ordinary and we enjoyed chatting with the locals.

Dinner that night was at Em Lee's, pleasant service and the food was OK.

On leaving the next morning, we wanted to have brunch at Mission Ranch (Clint Eastwood's place) but the restaurant wasn't opened. How do they make it look like a painting? So pretty! We also stopped at the Catholic Mission. Facinating history and a beautiful church. It was good to sit quietly in the church, reflect and give thanks for our safe travels.

On the road again....Off to Mariposa.

Pacific Grove...
Destination Expert
for Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Monterey County
Level Contributor
5,363 posts
24 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Trip Report: California for Austs - Pismo Bch to Carmel

Thank you for the wonderful report. I love the way you describe everything. And also glad that the only tips your husband got had to do with golf! :-)

Come back soon!

Level Contributor
34,525 posts
890 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Trip Report: California for Austs - Pismo Bch to Carmel

Sounds like a lovely time! I agree with you about Mission Ranch, it is a beautiful property in a gorgeous setting. We have not dined at Village Corner in awhile, we'll have to go there when we are back in Carmel next month. :)

Darwin, Australia
Level Contributor
394 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Trip Report: California for Austs - Pismo Bch to Carmel

Thanks so much againfor the wonderful report, we are traveling from SF to LA in July and are a little bit nervous about the drive, how did you find driving, any useful tips you can share ? Thanks :)

Little River...
Level Contributor
114 posts
30 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Trip Report: California for Austs - Pismo Bch to Carmel

Another great report, keeping up the quality we have come to expect, thanks for such good detail once again :)

Townsville...
Level Contributor
98 posts
7 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Trip Report: California for Austs - Pismo Bch to Carmel

H iAll, glad your enjoying as I am enjoying writing.

Carly, I looked at your past posts. Are you driving San Francisco to LA, stopping at Monterey and Pismo Bch?

We were very nervous too, but friends reassured us that its not too difficult.

Mostly, it was all good. We enjoyed stopping when and where we wanted. You see more of the country side and meet more people. The roads are wide and well signed. We hired an auto car with GPS. ring/email a few days before pickup to confirm your GPS. I had back up maps and directions .Print them off Google Maps. When we first got the car, we drove around the block a few times for practice.

Both of you need to be alert. No flicking through magazines and day dreaming of a longer holiday. My husband's job was to drive in the right lane and my job was to remind him of this and to keep him calm! Familarise yourself with the maps before you start driving for the day. Also, watch the way other cars are going and follow them around corners and lane changes.The GPS with voice directions was annoying. It didn't give the instruction early enough for our brains to process it (accent) and change lanes. So follow the visual on the screen and observe the flow of the traffic.

Most importantly, allow plenty of time. Time to enjoy the drive and time to make mistakes. That is why we missed some sights.Travelling in Winter had less daylight hours. The Big Sur is windy and slow. Summer traffic will be busier, too. Allow for stops so the driver can stretch and not cramp up with tension. Also, stop and enjoy things along the way. If you miss a turn/exit, don't worry, take your time, stop safely when you can, the GPS will recalculate, get your bearings and go around the block. Don't panic. At an intersection with traffic lights, you can turn right even when the light is red (like our left turn anytime with care). At an intersection with all stop signs, who is there first has right of way or give way to the right. We didn't experience any road rage. At gas stations, people were super helpful. Pay first before fuelling up.

Sorry, I can't help with travel sickness. Prepare the kids as you would at home. Snacks, actvities, lunch and toilet stops, bribery and the usual distractions (Ooh, look at all the cows, horses, seals, giraffes, aliens etc.) Don't forget to stop for the sea elephants on the beach near San Simeon. My kids, boy 10 & girl 7 (very active, "Are we there yet? types) enjoyed the drive and lego kept them amused.

Hope this helps. Happy holidays.

Darwin, Australia
Level Contributor
394 posts
28 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Trip Report: California for Austs - Pismo Bch to Carmel

Thanks so much for th reply, it sounds like we just need to concentrate and keep calm and it will all be okay, we leave in mid July and are very excited!

Bound Brook, New...
Level Contributor
48 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Trip Report: California for Austs - Pismo Bch to Carmel

question about "Catholic Mission" - is that the Mission San Carlos Borromeo deCarmelo?

Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
195 posts
27 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Trip Report: California for Austs - Pismo Bch to Carmel

Thank you for sharing, wonderful trip report!

Also we are driving in the US in Sept and are nervous so hoping its not too bad! We will definitely have a GPS and will take our time!

9. Re: Trip Report: California for Austs - Pismo Bch to Carmel

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 04 April 2013, 10:27