DH and I are heading to Monterrey peninsula after a conference in Napa. We leave Napa Sun 7/20 and depart SFO on a red eye Thursday 7/24. We will have spent time in SF prior to conference, so we will bypass city on our way south. We have 4 nights and the better part of a 5th day to enjoy the area.
1) should we do a night in Santa Cruz or just stop on the way south. We are in late 40s so I don't want to feel like an old fogey in a college/surfer town.
2) we want to cover the area between Monterrey and Julia Pfeiffer Burns park, so should we base ourselves in Monterrey and do day trips or plan to do nights in Carmel and Big Sur? We like to stay within walking distance of good restaurants and bars and are more prone to be on the move, rather than just chilling (seems that all reviews of Big Sur mention chilling/getting away from it all, so I'm thinking it will best be explored as a day trip).
We do like to do day hikes, but DH has a bad knee so we'll focus on shorter but scenic trails - nothing too adventuous. We love to stroll towns and duck into shops, galleries etc.. We are not the type that need to check off a visit to every historic site and museum. We love craft beer and good wine. Suggestions?