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help with overpacked itinery

London, United...
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help with overpacked itinery

We will be driving to Monterey/Carmel from Yosemite on Aug11th,staying one night and then driving on to San Simeon to stay overnight on 12th,then onto Santa Barbara for the 13th and Santa Monica the 14th.We want to see as much as possible but realise we will have to miss some things.We have 2 teenage children and our list includes:Monterey aqaurium,17 mile drive,Point Lobos,,Pfeiffer Big sur state park,Nepenthe (lunch),Julia Pfeiffer Burns state park,Piedro Blancas and Hearst Castle.Would really appreciate help with an itinerary and what to miss

Washington State
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for Yosemite National Park
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1. Re: help with overpacked itinery

I'd skip 17 Mile Drive. You'll see lots of coastal beauty on the drive south on Hwy 1, tho' you won't get to see as many mansions.

San Diego...
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2. Re: help with overpacked itinery

Agree absolutely: drop the 17-mile Drive. Spend a couple hours at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and spend the rest of that day at Point Lobos, even 4 or 5 hours at Point Lobos is appropriate. After seeing marine life in the enclosed environments of the Aquarium, then you can see wildlife at Point Lobos including sea lions, otters, deer, rabbits and many birds. At a minimum, walk the Cypress Grove Trail, see China Cove at the south end, return to the open, rocky Sea Lion Point for the sunset. If you have more time, walk some other trails. They are all short and easy, with beautiful scenery. You can even take a picnic lunch or supper there and eat at one of the 3 designated picnic areas. Point Lobos closes 30 minutes after sunset. Sunset on August 11 in that area will be 8:04 p.m., so you will have plenty of daylight time that day. Stay in Carmel, Monterey or Pacific Grove that night.

As far as when to fit the Aquarium in, if you get an early start leaving Yosemite, you would arrive in Monterey about 4 hours after leaving Yosemite. You could eat lunch and visit the Aquarium, then go over to Point Lobos for the rest of the afternoon until sunset. That's how I would arrange it, keeping the next day free for the Big Sur excursion. But if necessary you could save the Aquarium for the next morning.

Next day, make the drive from Monterey to San Simeon, taking the full day for the drive and making stops along the way. Of the sights you listed, the first one you would come to would be Pfeiffer-Big Sur State Park. If you had the time you could take a walk through the redwoods to Pfeiffer Falls. The trail to it is closed at this time but is expected to reopen by summer. The next one of the ones you list would be Nepenthe and you could stop for lunch. The next one would be Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and that could be a relatively short stop, just long enough to walk the short trail out to view the cove with the waterfall that lands on the beach. The next on your list would be Piedras Blancas, where you should be able to view the elephant seals and watch the sunset. That would complete that day. Note that your day use parking fee for Pfeiffer-Big Sur State Park is also good for day use parking at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, so you will not have to pay the $10 day use parking fee again that day.

Then stay at San Simeon that night, or Cambria if you want a little more upscale location. Next morning, take a morning tour of Hearst Castle, then drive on to Santa Barbara. San Simeon to Santa Barbara is about a 2.5-hour drive. Stay in Santa Barbara that night. Then the next day on to Santa Monica.

For information about the Monterey Peninsula area, see www.montereypeninsula.info/guide/mryintro.htm

For information about Point Lobos, see http://pointlobos.org

For information about the Big Sur drive, see http://jrabold.net/bigsur/ and http://bigsurcalifornia.org/

For information about the elephant seals, see http://elephantseal.org

For information about Hearst Castle, see http://www.hearstcastle.org/

Another member of this forum took a trip to the Central Coast area of California earlier this year, including many of the locations you are going to, and posted an extensive gallery of photos with descriptive captions here: https://picasaweb.google.com/Mjneenan/Califo…

A well-organized and clearly-written site for travel in California is at travelforkids.com/Funtodo/…california.htm

Edited: 19 December 2011, 19:18
Santa Cruz...
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3. Re: help with overpacked itinery

I would follow bw's advice.

Very well done, bw. I am printing it out to give to visiting guests. I hope you don't mind :~)

david.....Make an appointment for your first-of-the-day tour of Hearst Castle. You can do that online.

Have a good trip.

San Diego...
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4. Re: help with overpacked itinery

It's basically the exact same advice I have posted over and over and over again regarding that area. Not necessarily the right itinerary for everyone, but it includes what I think of as the "highlights." But thanks!

London, United...
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5. Re: help with overpacked itinery

Thanks so much.Thats been really useful.Can't wait to get there

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: help with overpacked itinery

Three huge cheers to bw92116 for giving such spot on (and comprehensive) advice to so many travelers. I agree with his advice completely - just one possible correction. Since last March, due to budget cuts, Point Lobos has been closing at 7:00pm, not a half hour after sunset. I am not sure this is still their policy, but it was when I was visiting there several days in a row last June. So you wouldn't want to plan on being there well into the evening. Very frustrating for photographers like me who are seeking good sunset shots. But so be it ... I agree - it would be quite easy to spend 4-5 hours at Point Lobos and still drive away thinking that you should have allocated even more time. It's just flat out gorgeous there .... one of my very favorite places!

Pacific Grove...
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7. Re: help with overpacked itinery

Good bw. the only thing I would add is stay at Carmel, or closer to Point Lobos. There is a Best Western between the crossroads shopping center, and the Barnyard, right off Hwy 1 in Carmel.

London, United...
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8. Re: help with overpacked itinery

thanks for all the info so far.We are very fortunate to have found an extra day.Will arrive in Monterey on Aug 10th and arriving in Santa Monica on14th,.have a night booked at Monterey,Cambria and Santa Barbara and would welcome any help on where to stay for the extra night and itinerey

9. Re: help with overpacked itinery

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