A friend and I will be traveling to Northern California in just over a week. We will be there for 11 days. We have a wide range of interests and are up for just about anything. Our current plan is:
Day 1: Arrive at SFO around 12:30, pick up rental car and head to Santa Cruz. Spend the afternoon/evening enjoying the beach and boardwalk. What route would you recommend to Santa Cruz? I was planning on driving down highway 1. Is there any stops you would recommend along the way?
Day 2: Drive up Highway 1, stopping at Big Basin for some hiking to see the redwoods and then on to Bodega Bay for dinner at the Tides and Wharf restaurant. What sights would you recommend us stopping at along the way (we will be be spending the day at Pt. Reyes national seashore on Day 3)? How far north would you recommend us driving this day? We are interested in seeing the coast and I think I read somewhere on Trip Advisor that it really gets scenic north of Bodega Bay but I want our drive to be somewhat leisurely. We will be staying in Petaluma that night.
Day 3: Spend the day at Pt. Reyes National Seashore. That afternoon/evening drive over to Napa.
Day 4-6: Staying in Napa. Plan on spending one day touring the Sonoma area and two days touring the Napa area, visiting the wineries, eating at some great restaurants, enjoying the hot springs in Calistoga.
Day 7-11: Drive back to SFO, drop off rental car, pick up another friend at the airport, check into our hotel in Union Square and spend the rest of the trip exploring SF.
Does this sound doable? I've tried to plan the trip so that we get to see/do some of the things we want without trying to do too much. This is our first trip to Northern California so I wanted to accomplish alot (however, after planning the trip but before visiting I already know that I want to come back) but I also want it to be laidback and leisurely.
I think what I am mainly looking for in this post is routes/points of interest during our road trip portion of the trip: the drive from SFO to Santa Cruz and then north to Bodega Bay or however far you recommend we drive that day.
Thanks so much for your help.