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first trip to CA - anniversary

Dallas, TX
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first trip to CA - anniversary

my husband and i are traveling to CA for the first time this summer over our anniversary. we will be in CA for two weeks exactly and are planning to start in SF and visit the wine country, lake tahoe and yosemite.

anything else we need to hit? not sure if we should go somewhere on the coast like monterey? i've been told that i should make sure to drive down hwy 1 at some point...?

we will be staying for 3 days 4 nights in SF, the beginning and end of our trip. we have not booked all of our hotels yet but i am working on getting yosemite now because i know it gets booked fast. should i book everything now or will it be simple to find a cheap place to stay in sf, sonoma/napa, and south tahoe?

any advice would be great. Thanks!

SF Bay Area
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1. Re: first trip to CA - anniversary

My suggestion would be to book now since many of us in the Bay Area consider these places to be one-tank getaways and thus will be more popular than ever this summer.

Driving from SF to Monterey along the coast or partially along the coast is another possibility.

While Yosemite is beautiful and awe-inspiring, I haven't been there in over 25 years because it was too crowded back in the early '80s. Maybe the trams and more have helped, but it is a really different experience than I had as a child in the 60s camping there. YMMV

Strongly recommend Monterey and checking out Pt. Lobos since that is on Arnie's TBC list! Pt. Lobos is a national treasure and is worth a day visit. So much to see and experience!

Little Sutton...
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2. Re: first trip to CA - anniversary

Yosemite books up anything up to a year in advance so see if you can get a cancellation,Hwy 1 is a superb drive,Alcatraz(wrap up well it gets chilly!) & Hearst Castle are both superb tours,book in advance,enjoy!

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3. Re: first trip to CA - anniversary

San Francisco, "the wine country", Lake Tahoe Yosemite AND Monterey in two weeks is do-able, but it's not going to be the most relaxed of vacations as you're going to be spending a fair amount of time in a car in transit (which may dictate whether or not you have a next anniversary....), zigzapping across the State. To some degree at least part of the winnowing of destinations I'd suggest is going to be handled for you as I suspect you're going to find slim pickings for Yosemite, but you still should do a bit of discussion and determine which destinations rank highest on your list, dropping the others for your next visit. Remember it's your vacation and anniversary, slow down and relax!

Fremont, California
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for San Francisco
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4. Re: first trip to CA - anniversary

First, congratulations on your anniversary. As mentioned, its important to start making your reservations now. Given our economy, the less expensive places will book up faster.

I would defininitely include Big Sur in your plans.

Its part of Highway 1 trip.


YOu can have a delightful time. as mentioned booking in Yosemite is important. If have problems, check such places as Yosemite West, Groveland (Hotel Charlotte is a regular on the site),and others.

Here is a routing:

San Francisco

Drive down the coast - seeing Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Big Sur. Drive back to Monterey.

Drive to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Drive to Yosemite

Exit Yosemite via Tioga Pass driving To Lake Tahoe. Stay at Lake Tahoe, being sure to see Ms. Dixie

From Lake Tahoe to Napa, it is about a 3 hour drive to Napa...so plan next to see Napa/Sonoma. I would spend 2 to 3 days in this area.

From Napa drive north to Avenue of the Giants/Garberville. This is an amazing state park area - which is scheduled to close with the rest of our state parks in less than 90 days. So highly recommend seeing them while you can.


(Note: I like the Best Western in Garberville - reallly nice cheese and wine reception; nice breakfast in the morning; walk to restaurants in the small town).

Then see Mendocino...(note: You can find cheap plces to stay in Fort Bragg- which is about 10 miles away from Mendocino.)

and after that return to San Francisco

This would be a really fun trip....allowing you to see so much...and the amount of driving each day is minimal....

Any questions, feel free to ask. Again Happy Anniversary.

Little Sutton...
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5. Re: first trip to CA - anniversary

If you should be around San Louis Obispo during your trip try a meal at the Madonna Inn's subtly decorated steakhouse,very nice for a very special occasion,enjoy!

6. Re: first trip to CA - anniversary

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