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SF to LA via PCH - 1 week intinerary - Need advice! :)

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Vancouver, Canada
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SF to LA via PCH - 1 week intinerary - Need advice! :)

My wife and I are planning a trip down the Pacific Coast Highway in September.

We will be spending FRI/SAT/SUN in San Fran, but are then planning on driving and exploring the coast, and would love some input/advise on this part of our trip...

.....

MONDAY

-Santa Cruz (morning)

-Monterey (early afternoon / evening)

(Spend the night in Monterey)

TUESDAY

-Carmel via 17 mile drive (morning / afternoon)

-Big Sur (late afternoon / evening)

(Spend the night in Big Sur)

WEDNESDAY

-Big Sur (morning)

-Hearst Castle (early afternoon)

-Pismo Beach / SLO (late afternoon / evening)

(Spend the night in Pismo Beach or SLO)

THURSDAY

-Solvang (morning)

-Conan O'Brien live taping (afternoon)

(Spend the night in either Santa Monica or Hollywood area)

FRIDAY

-Santa Monica, Hollywood, other areas of LA, etc (all day)

(Spend the night in either Santa Monica or Hollywood area)

SATURDAY

-Santa Monica, Hollywood, other areas of LA, etc (all day)

(Spend the night in either Santa Monica or Hollywood area)

SUNDAY

-Santa Monica, Hollywood, other areas of LA, etc (morning / early afternoon)

-Fly out of LAX at 6pm

.....

Does the itinerary seem too rushed, or is there any areas that you feel deserve more/less time?

We would have liked to spend an extra day / night exploring the coast (maybe stay in Santa Barbara, although we have been there for a day before)...but we got Conan tickets for the Thursday, so it forces us into LA a day earlier than we would have preferred.

Thanks!

Mark

San Francisco...
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1. Re: SF to LA via PCH - 1 week intinerary - Need advice! :)

Frankly Solvang needs perhaps 30 mins to an hour and you will be done. I think Santa Barbara is worth a day or at least half a day but you have to be at the Conan show. I get it. if you stay in SLO, then you can zip down to SB and personally I think skip Solvang and do SB spend a few hours there and then drive to the Conan taping But if you have seen SB before, sure stop in Solvang and then drive to the taping

I would skip 17 mile drive and spend that time in Point Lobos. I presume you mean Big Sur village for an overnight. It is a nice rustic part of the coast

Le Biscuit D -- Any comments on the PCH name ? :-)

Edited: 21 August 2013, 20:08
Santa Monica, CA
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2. Re: SF to LA via PCH - 1 week intinerary - Need advice! :)

Please do stop by Solvang. It is one of my favorite small towns. It won't take too long, either. You will need to save Santa Barbara for another time.

Hope you have fun at the Conan O'Brien show. Let us know about the experience. I am interested in doing that, so helpful hints are much appreciated.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: SF to LA via PCH - 1 week intinerary - Need advice! :)

Thanks for the reply belomiser.

As far as SLO / Pismo Beach goes - which is a better option to spend the night?

(both seem nice...is SLO worth visiting?)

Good to know we would only need an hour in Solvang. It's kind of on the way, so I think we'll make a quick stop just to check it out and take a few cheesy photos. The quick stop will give us more time to spend in SLO/Pismo or Santa Barbara before the taping.

Yes, I am thinking Big Sur Village. That part of the coast looks absolutely beautiful.

Here are a few things we were thinking about doing at each place...

Monterey - Cannery row, the Wharf, maybe the Aquarium.

Carmel - 17 mile drive, check out the village, Point Lobos.

Big Sur - McWay Falls, Pfeiffer Beach, Partington Cove, maybe try to get into Esalen for a massage/hotsprings.

Hearst Castle - take a few of the 40 min tours.

Pismo/SLO - not sure, but probably something chill / low key.

LA Area - Santa Monica pier and promenade, Venice beach, Conan taping, Getty Ctr, Hollywood stuff, maybe drive to Malibu...we'll have 3 nights in the area so we'll figure it out as we go.

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: SF to LA via PCH - 1 week intinerary - Need advice! :)

Thx ddffpp

We've been to Santa Barbara before, so I think we'll only make a quick stop (maybe for lunch or something), or just skip it all together.

Grover Beach...
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5. Re: SF to LA via PCH - 1 week intinerary - Need advice! :)

SLO is a college town and caters to that crowd. You will find more budget friendly lodging options in SLO compared to Pismo Beach, but Pismo Beach has several nice hotels overlooking the ocean, if that appeals to you. Hopefully your trip in September doesn't coincide with Cal Poly starting back up or you could have difficulty finding lodging, as many parents will be coming here to set their students up for their life away from home.

The Kon Tiki Inn would be a good option. It's well within walking distance of shops/restaurants/beach and pier and gets rave reviews on TA.

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6. Re: SF to LA via PCH - 1 week intinerary - Need advice! :)

I think Solvang is way more interesting than SLO (and so do my kids and extended family members).

Here's a bit of PCH advice from National Geographic (from Monterey through Cambria, I believe):

…nationalgeographic.com/travel/…

It really does give you some great pictures of PCH to get you started anticipating. You could actually press on to Solvang (rather than stay Pismo) if you wanted a leisurely breakfast before going on to L.A. I'm guessing you should allow 4 hours to get to the taping. Are your tickets the kind where you get in line and they take the first so many people? Or are they actually reserved? Conan is unlikely to sell out, but September is a busy month and if he's taping, you may have to plan to get there earlier. More than once my kids have gone down for tapings and been disappointed by being too far back in the line. Check your tickets and the website.

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7. Re: SF to LA via PCH - 1 week intinerary - Need advice! :)

I think Solvang is a tourist trap and SLO has more life and character than Solvang (and so do my kids and family)

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8. Re: SF to LA via PCH - 1 week intinerary - Need advice! :)

You'll get the BEST danish pastry and cookies in Solvang!

Grover Beach...
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9. Re: SF to LA via PCH - 1 week intinerary - Need advice! :)

Well, at least Solvang has one redeeming value..... the bakeries.

Los Angeles
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10. Re: SF to LA via PCH - 1 week intinerary - Need advice! :)

Yes, people really disagree about Solvang. We managed to drive away the DE from Solvang, thereby.

I suppose I should be more open about my dislikes, but somehow, I can't quite do that here. Not quite.

Anyway, some people really like Solvang and some people don't. Some people (apparently) like SLO (it's just another town on the 101 to me; Paso Robles, OTOH, has developed quite a character later).

Solvang also has several wine tasting rooms, great pretzels, abelskiver (sp?), Danish embroidery supplies, clogs (naturally), cuckoo clocks and doll collector shops (really good doll collector shops, if you're a doll collector), a replica of the Little Mermaid that sits in Copenhagen, a charming California Mission, Nojoqui Park (so tranquil and beautiful, and not a long walk, just a couple of miles by a great drive outside of Solvang proper on the way back to the 101 southbound).

But then, my kids like Disneyland, too. We pretty much like all the places we go together as a family, to be truthful. It's a fun family place to be. We like picnicking in that little park.