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Help! Only have 5-6 day trip! Need ideas! SF and BIG SUR

Philadelphia
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Help! Only have 5-6 day trip! Need ideas! SF and BIG SUR

HI!

For my husbands 50th bday in mid April Im taking him for 5-6 days from Philly to N Cal.

I wanted to try:

Fly into San Fran (?)where should we stay? Dont need much city activity just see cross the bridge maybe

Mt Tam (hike maybe 2 hrs and have picnic?)

Muir Woods (is this the best choice?)

Then drive to Big Sur?

for Deetjens or Post Ranch (HUGE price difference!)

Anything else? I heard half moon bay is nice

We are ouitdoorsy hiking nature people and we like to relax and not rush. The Post Ranch in Big Sur had this hot tub that looked amazing and Deetjens looked cool and unique. PR is really steep but that HOTTUB and pool look to die for, but maybe not worth it??? dont know?? Is Ventana better

We arent shoppers (though walking around little shops would be fine) we like to get vigorous outdoor activity and then maybe nap or relax in hot tub, eat and go to Bedroom!!! lol...we dont need fancy or nightlife or anything.

Some sites/views would be great, outdoors of course. We need fresh air and to relax!

THANKS SO MUCH!

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1. Re: Help! Only have 5-6 day trip! Need ideas! SF and BIG SUR

We were just in the Big Sur area a couple of weeks ago, it's so pretty there! Even if you don't stay at the PRI, try to have a meal at Sierra Mar, the restaurant there is VERY good. We have been for dinner in the past and this past trip enjoyed desserts out on the patio after lunch at Nepenthe. We did a tour of the property at PRI and were shown the Treehouse Room which was really unique and private. Have fun on your travels! :)

San Francisco
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2. Re: Help! Only have 5-6 day trip! Need ideas! SF and BIG SUR

There are great hikes in Marin County (just over the GG Bridge). Park of the area is federal (Golden Gate Parks Conservancy) and part state (Mt. Tamalpais). Trails in both are well maintained and marked.

I found a trail map for the Marin Headlands online:

http://tinyurl.com/marin-headlands but couldn't find anything similar for Mt. Tam. (There are lots of books available for sale however.)

Many of the Marin Headlands trails have great views of city and Pacific. Some Mt. Tam trails have views, others are more forested.

The Moutain Home Inn in Mill Valley is right at the confluence of a couple of trails. You could hike the Panoramic Trail and have lunch on the terrace at the Inn. http://www.mtnhomeinn.com/

San Jose, California
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3. Re: Help! Only have 5-6 day trip! Need ideas! SF and BIG SUR

There are TONS of places to hike in the bay area. The bay is ringed by hills and almost all of them have hiking trails. The spine of mountians that runs down the peninsula just south of SF has some of the best. see the Mid Peninsula Open Space web site for maps. Farther South is Big Basin, great hiking in redwood forests. Henry Cowell near Santa Cruz is great as well.

http://www.openspace.org/

http://www.bigbasin.org/

www.parks.ca.gov/default.asp?page_id=546

San Jose, California
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4. Re: Help! Only have 5-6 day trip! Need ideas! SF and BIG SUR

Also just across the bay, in the hills above Oakland and Berkeley, there are some really nice places, like Tilden park and Redwood Regional park. You can problem get to some of them using public transportation. BART then Bus

http://www.ebparks.org/parks

San Francisco
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5. Re: Help! Only have 5-6 day trip! Need ideas! SF and BIG SUR

bahiker.com has a ton of trail routes and information on hiking in the bay area and specifcally on Mt. Tam.

It'd take longer than 2 hours (unless you can find a way to do a one way hike), but my absolute favorite is hiking from Pantoll Station at Mt. Tam down the hill to Stinson Beach, then having a picnic or lunch there. We usually hike back up too, but if you could find a way to get your car down to Stinson Beach beforehand, that'd be much easier. It's a gorgeous hike and Stinson is a fun little beach town to walk through.

Otherwise, the coastal trail from Muir Beach onwards is beautiful too.

Grover Beach...
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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6. Re: Help! Only have 5-6 day trip! Need ideas! SF and BIG SUR

Big Sur is an amazing area of the California coast. You'll find lots of hiking opportunities in Andrew Molera State Park that take in some awesome sights. Be sure to visit Pfeiffer Beach and drive down the coast a bit to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to take in the views of McWay Falls that drop to the beach below.

Many of the trails on the east side of Big Sur may still be closed at the time of your visit. This past summer's fire caused a lot of damage to the trails and the area needs to be rehabilitated before human traffic can be allowed.

One suggestion for great hiking in a fabulous setting is Point Lobos just south of Carmel along Highway 1. You'll find several trails along coves, shorelines, rocky outcroppings, etc. with views looking back to Carmel. The orange moss dripping off the pine trees in Point Lobos is surreal and interesting.

PRI is steep in price, but the views, ambiance, etc. might make it worth it to you.

San Jose, California
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7. Re: Help! Only have 5-6 day trip! Need ideas! SF and BIG SUR

There is some great "urban hiking" to be had in SF. Walk up the Greenwich or Filbert steps to Coit tower, great views there. Walk though North Beach and Chinatown. Or maybe along the Embarcadero to Fisherman's wharf and beyond. Or Golden Gate Park, Ocean beach.

SF is a great city just to walk around in.

Berea, Ohio
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8. Re: Help! Only have 5-6 day trip! Need ideas! SF and BIG SUR

When my husband and I spent a week in SF / Monterey Bay area in October, Point Lobos State Reserve

was one of our favorites. See my review “Walk gently; breathe deeply; discover its spirit” at

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g32172-d1025…

We were also grateful that TA advisors had directed us to Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park. Though the .8 mile loop is easy, not the vigorous sort of activity you seem to be seeking, it's an awesome setting. See another of my reviews “Redwoods and ollallieberry pie” at tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g32377-d1168…

No one's mentioned the recreational trail along Ocean View Blvd. in Pacific Grove or West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz, but we really enjoyed the vistas as we walked there, too.

Santa Cruz...
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9. Re: Help! Only have 5-6 day trip! Need ideas! SF and BIG SUR

You can see a redwood park at Santa Cruz on your way to Big Sur so you don't have to take the extra trip to Muir Woods. It will also not be crowded with tour buses the way Muir is.

If you want to visit Half Moon Bay (which is just a cute coastal town) then you will be driving down Highway 1 on your trip to Big Sur and will run into Santa Cruz about 50 miles later. Watch for the very large sign that says "Welcome to RIVER STREET Downtown Santa Cruz" and turn left there. There is a traffic light. This is Highway 9 and 7 miles later you will find Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park on the outskirts of Felto . Then just return to Highway 1. and continue your trip to the Monterey Peninsula and on to Big Sur.

If you want to skip the northern part of this coastal stretch, for times sake, then take Hwy 280 out of San Francisco. It is fast and a beautiful drive with little traffic. At Sunnyvale exit to Hwy 85 and then watch for the sign to Santa Cruz, which is Highway 17.

You will cross the coast range. When you come down to the flat, watch for the exit to Mt. Hermon Road and follow this to Felton, turn left at Highway 9, watch for the Henry Cowell signs. After you have visited, continue on Highwy 9 until you hit Highway 1 and then proceed as before.

For a hotel in San Francisco we often recommend the Chancellor, which is on Union Square, is an historic boutique hotel, rooms refurbished last summer, great staff, lovely small restaurant with great breakfasts, intimate and cozy bar.

http://www.chancellorhotel.com/

If you check the hotel reviews here you will find them overwhelmingly positive for this hotel.

tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g60713-d1156…

Also look for reviews on Post Ranch, Ventana and Deetjens here.

What a great 50th birthday present. Have a wonderful time.

airtahoe
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10. Re: Help! Only have 5-6 day trip! Need ideas! SF and BIG SUR

Oh yes, Mt. Tam would be great. I have done it several times and we always had a blast.

I'll tell you my secret hiking place if you guys don't all rush there:) It has a tiny redwood lined road with very little parking at the trail head. A 20 ft. waterfall at the end. It is called Baltimore Canyon. Goggle that. Shhhhh keep it quiet.

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