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San Louis Obispo or Monterey/Carmel

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San Louis Obispo or Monterey/Carmel

We have 3 nights to spend in the San Louis Obispo and Monterey/Carmel area. Which location offers the most sites to see?

Santa Cruz...
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1. Re: San Louis Obispo or Monterey/Carmel

That completely depends upon your interests. In the San Luis Obispo area you can travel to wineries and it is a lovely city. You can tour Hearst Castle from here.

I would choose the Monterey/Carmel area because it is on the coast, is near Big Sur, has Point Lobos Reserve to walk in (on the seashore)has a world class aquarium, the 17-Mile Drive, good shoppin in quaint shops (Carmel), art galleries, etc. etc.

Up to you.

Petaluma, California
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2. Re: San Louis Obispo or Monterey/Carmel

How about one night in Cambria - the beautiful and quaint village near Hearst Castle that sits half way in a forest and half way on the rocky ledge of the ocean. From there you can do Paso Robles wine tasting or visit Morro Bay, etc. (Cambria is the most north end of the San Luis Obispo county)

Then I'd go on for two nights in Monterey/Carmel. Be sure to not miss the aquarium.

Uden, The...
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3. Re: San Louis Obispo or Monterey/Carmel

The SLO area has a great shoreline too. Avila Beach, Pismo Beach and Morro Bay are well worth visiting. We stayed at Pismo for one night but extended our stay due to the great wildlife shore over here!

The Monterey/Carmel area is upmarket and expensive.

You have to pay to drive the 17 miles drive and I still don't know why. It has not much more to offer than Hw1.

We have accomodation in Santa Cruz when we're in the area. In Santa Cruz, they have a fine tourst trap, it's called: The Mystery Spot, the only place where gravity has vanished.

Highly recommanded.

Tet

Pacific Grove...
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4. Re: San Louis Obispo or Monterey/Carmel

Not meaning to be rude, but Monterey, Pacific Grove, and Carmel have far more naturally beautiful sea shores than The San Luis Obispo County areas. Pismo and Avila are very touristy beaches surrounded by shops and funky restaraunts, like Miami in the 1970's.

Monterey county area does not have to be overpriced. There are reasonable accomodations, such as the Olympian Motor Lodge in Pacific Grove. And there are reasonable restaraunts, like the Portola Cafe in the Aquarium.

I personally never recommend 17 mile drive, because there are more and just as beautiful coastal stretches outside of it. I think it is more of a prestige things to say you have been there.

Pacific Grove...
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5. Re: San Louis Obispo or Monterey/Carmel

I like Gourmand's idea: one night in Cambria and a day in the Paso Robles area. Be sure to time your drive up the coast so that you can spend enough time in Big Sur and still make the drive to Monterey (one hour) while it's still light--not only would you miss the spectacular views after dark, but it's also a little scary driving that road in the dark (for me at least). For Big Sur info, see www.bigsurcalifornia.com. While in the Monterey area, it's worth it to take a drive into Carmel Valley. The terrain is so different from the coast's and it's quite beauitiful. If you go all the way out to Carmel Valley Village (about 25 minutes from Highway 1), I'd recommend eating at Cafe Rustica. Also, Point Lobos State Park, which is just south of Carmel, is a gorgeous place for some easy hikes overlooking the ocean.

Petaluma, California
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6. Re: San Louis Obispo or Monterey/Carmel

Hey Roadwork! Have you ever been to the Montana de Oro state park in Los Osos in SLO county? It is 8,000 acres of natural raw habitat overlooking the ocean. I have been to Point Lobos and it is beautiful, but I still think Montana de Oro is more gorgeous. I agree Pismo is touristy (but so are Monterey and Carmel!) but Avila is one big giant beach with very little human interference anywhere. In fact, there is even a secret nude beach in Avila. Well, it is not too secret since even I know about it. Ha!

Anyway, just a differing opinion.

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7. Re: San Louis Obispo or Monterey/Carmel

Monterey/Carmel is my favorite part of the CA coast. Big Sur and Pacific Grove are also not to be missed while in this area. There is never enough time for us to do everything we want to do while in this gorgeous area. Have fun and please report back with us after your travels. :)

Pacific Grove...
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8. Re: San Louis Obispo or Monterey/Carmel

Again not to be rude,

I have been to Montana De Oro. I walked along a trail that had those short dark green bushes that ranchers hate for their cattle. It always seemed to be foggy and windy at 'The Rock' in Moro bay. I did go to school in the area.

If you grew up there, like I grew up in a coastal town, then you are surely used to the surroundings and it is home to you, like my windy hometown is home to me.

I do not think Carmel Beach is as touristy as Pismo. Parts of Monterey are, like Del Monte Beach. But I think the rock formations and sea shore are more pictureque in Pacific Grove and Big Sur.