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SF to SLO, 1 night or 2 and where?

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Massapequa, New York
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SF to SLO, 1 night or 2 and where?

Having some trouble figuring out best place(s) to stay after leaving SF in order to accomplish the following with my 11 year old daughter.

Leaving SF with rental car Tuesday July 8 at 10 am and need to spend night of Friday July 11 in Anaheim to get early start at DL Saturday am.

We are booked in Monterey at Casa Munras the night of the 8th and in San Luis Obispo the night of the 10th. Where should we be on the night in between on the 9th? I don't mind moving hotels.

We would like to see/do:

1. Santa Cuz - Henry Cowell for redwoods, possibly quick stop to see beach boardwalk

2. Would like to do boat ride on Elkhorn Slough -Safari not running the 8th but the Whisper is available on the 8th and 9th at 8am, 11am and 2 pm. Heard you see more animals in the morning so not sure when to do this. Is it feasible to head back up to Moss Landing from Monterey even though I'm eventually heading South?

3. Monterey Aquarium

4. Point Lobos State Reserve

5. Carmel Village/Point pinos Lighthouse

6. Big Sur PCH drive

7. Bixby Bridge

8. Waterfall trail Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park

9. Stop at Nepenthe

10. Elephant seal rookery

Cambria

Pismo Beach

Not sure about Hearst Castle

Would like to get quick peek at Santa Barbara and Solvang on the way from SLO to Anaheim.

What do you think is the best way to approach this? 2 nights in Monterey? 1 night in Monterey and one somewhere in between before SLO?

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Menlo Park...
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1. Re: SF to SLO, 1 night or 2 and where?

I'd say a second day at Monterey. It's close enough to Elkhorn and of course Pt Lobos and the aquarium that you could conceivable do those before leaving Monterey. Then the rest as you head down hwy 1. You could take hwy 1 from SF and visit Butano redwood on the way rather than Cowell. Staying 2 days in Monterey means you don't have to pack and unpack that extra time and the luggage would not be in the car. It's an easy drive from Monterey to SLO even with all the stops.

Massapequa, New York
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2. Re: SF to SLO, 1 night or 2 and where?

I just wasn't sure if 2 full days was too much in Monterey/Carmel area when there is so much we want to see further south with only one night in SLO before heading to Anaheim. Is there any good town to stay in between Monterey and SLO?

Grover Beach...
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3. Re: SF to SLO, 1 night or 2 and where?

"...Is there any good town to stay in between Monterey and SLO?"...

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Sure, but they're all within 45 minutes of SLO.

Why SLO? It's a college town.

With all the things you want to see/so on the 8th, I would spend 2 nights in Monterey and the third night in Pismo Beach or Avila Beach.

Massapequa, New York
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4. Re: SF to SLO, 1 night or 2 and where?

Ahhh, didn't realize SLO is a college town. I booked the Madonna Inn in SLO. I think my daughter will get a kick out of the quirkiness of it and it looks like a nice pool area. They also offer horseback riding on a trail which I think she will also love.

Would you recommend Hearst Castle for an 11 year old? Is there a short tour or is it a half day deal? I'm not sure how much time we'll have for it and I understand reservations are necessary in advance so I'd have to be sure before we're locked into it.

Thanks for your help!

Grover Beach...
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5. Re: SF to SLO, 1 night or 2 and where?

Hearst Castle tours only last about 45 minutes now, but you then can walk the grounds as long as you like afterwards. Whether it's appropriate for an 11 year old would be based on the maturity of your daughter and whether she appreciates things of a historical nature.

Massapequa, New York
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6. Re: SF to SLO, 1 night or 2 and where?

Thank you! I'm sure she would enjoy a 45 minute tour, I was afraid if it was something like 3 hours that she might get bored. What else do you recommend that we see while we're in that area? After the night at Madonna Inn we head to Anaheim and San Diego for our last 3 nights in California.

Grover Beach...
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7. Re: SF to SLO, 1 night or 2 and where?

There's an elephant seal rookery a few miles north of Hearst Castle that I consider a must, but you can catch that en route to Hearst Castle.

You do have at least 1 night planned for Monterey, right?

Here's a list of places to stop and explore between Monterey and Hearst Castle, along with a time estimation for each one to help with your planning and to ensure you arrive in time for your late afternoon tour at Hearst Castle (Leave Monterey by 8:00 am, if possible):

Point Lobos State Reserve: 2 hours

Bixby Bridge: 10-15 minute photo op

Nepenthe/Phoenix Shop: 1 1/2 hours (Lunch with amazing views/Big Sur souvenir shopping)

McWay Falls @ Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park: 30 minutes

Ragged Point: 15-20 minutes (Last of the elevated views of the Big Sur coast)

Elephant seal rookery near the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse: 15-30 minutes

The above stops, along with the drive, adds up to approx. 9 hours. Of course, you don't have to do all of the above stops, nor do you have to spend as much time at some of them. HTH

Massapequa, New York
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8. Re: SF to SLO, 1 night or 2 and where?

Thank you, Kibbles, that is extremely helpful as far as timing of the day!

Massapequa, New York
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9. Re: SF to SLO, 1 night or 2 and where?

Thank you, Kibbles, that is extremely helpful as far as timing of the day!

Massapequa, New York
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10. Re: SF to SLO, 1 night or 2 and where?

Just had another thought. How long is the drive from Casa Munras in Monterey to Point Lobos State Park on a Wednesday around noon? Maybe we can do Point Lobos Wednesday afternoon, go back to Casa Munras Wednesday night and then leave Thursday morning for everything else on the way to Hearst. Is round trip Point Lobos-Monterey doable/practical to save some time the next day? Thanks.