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Trip to SF Need advice to include Big Sur/Hwy 1

Midwest
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Trip to SF Need advice to include Big Sur/Hwy 1

Planning to visit in the month of either May, (Birthday)June(Anniv.) Sept. (best weather in SF?). Would love to visit Alcatraz,(nite tour) Golden Gate, Fisherman's Wharf, etc. Would like to include a nite or two stay around Big Sur/Hwy 1. I was thinking maybe fly into SF pick up a car enjoy Hwy 1 overnight, then head back to SF and visit for 6 to 7 nites. Try to take a day trip to Nappa Valley if possible. Could we get rid of the car when we arrive in SF, I'm getting the idea that it's very expensive to park. Need hotel advice. Must say...I am all about the view! and location! All within a reasonable price, willing to plurge somewhat if nec. LOVE seafood and great food in general. (Foodies) Thanks in advance

SF
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1. Re: Trip to SF Need advice to include Big Sur/Hwy 1

Try priceline.com for the best hotel deals. http://biddingfortravel.yuku.com/ will help you for the bidding strategy. It takes a while to learn, but it's worth. (I stayed at Hyatt Regency at Union Square back in June for $90/night).

Yes, no car in the city. Use Bart or shuttle to get to your hotel. Then, Zipcars are all over the city if you have a membership. Otherwise, public trans or taxi. Taking F tram to Fishermans Wharf, Ferry Plaza or Castro is a treat by itself. For trips out of the city, try City Rent A Car. It's the best rental shop in the city run by a friendly bunch (http://www.cityrentacar.com/). Better than Enterprise, etc. They'll pick you up from your hotel.

Enjoy your trip, it's the best damn city in the world!

Grover Beach...
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2. Re: Trip to SF Need advice to include Big Sur/Hwy 1

You mentioned possibly including a night or two around Big Sur. My suggestion would be to spend two nights in the Monterey/Carmel/Pacific Grove area and do Big Sur as a day trip. There is a great deal of things to see/do on the Monterey Peninsula and it's a good place to base yourself for all the area has to offer.

Other things to enjoy in Monterey:

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Point Lobos State Reserve

Carmel's beautiful white sand, cypress tree lined beach and adorable cottage homes

17 MIle Drive

Asilomar Beach area in Pacific Grove

You'll find an amazing array of great restaurants on the Monterey Peninsula:

Seafood: Massaro & Santos, Fishwife, Passionfish, Sardine Factory

California Fusion: Grasings, Pacific's Edge at the Highlands Inn, Tarpy's Roadhouse, Max's Grill, Red House Cafe

Mexican: Pepper's Mexicali Cafe

Italian: Il Fornaio, Domenico's on the Wharf, Vito's

Mediterranean: Fandango, Stokes, Montrio Bistro

If you tell us your budget for lodging and the type of lodging that appeals to you (contemporary, traditional, B&B, budget), we can make some recs for you.

Los Angeles
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3. Re: Trip to SF Need advice to include Big Sur/Hwy 1

There are many reasons not to have a car in SF, it's fun to get around by public transportation plus you can also see more when you're not driving. It's a pain to find parking.

That being said, you might want a car for your day trip across the Golden Gate Bridge (I never get tired driving over it) to Napa and/or someplace like Muir Woods.

We prefer Carmel and Pacific Grove, these days, as charming walkable towns, to the more urban Monterey. If you only have one night, I'd suggest you stay Carmel and see Big Sur in the morning after enjoying the Carmel/Monterey/Pacific Grove area as much as possible the afternoon/evening before. Kibblesmom's advice about 2 nights there is really good. Big Sur can easily take up an entire day, plus there are all those other things to do in the area..

Midwest
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4. Re: Trip to SF Need advice to include Big Sur/Hwy 1

Thanx for all the suggestions so far, looking forward to visiting SF! Thanx for the Mexican restaurant suggestin...It's a real toss up between which is truly my fav...Mexican or Seafood. Muir Woods was on my must see list also. I will really think about staying 2 nights along Hwy 1. Thanx again everyone!

Midwest
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5. Re: Trip to SF Need advice to include Big Sur/Hwy 1

I have narrowed hotels down to say....two dozen...;) there are just too many great choices out there. I will list them soon. I don't have access to my list at the moment. I would love to stay under or at $175-$200 per nite. Like I've mentioned before I appreciate a great/decent view from with the room. But I am not willing to pay ridiculously for it. I am not the vacation shopper so Union Square doesn't really appeal to me for that reason. I do like charming little shoppes though. I live very close to Chicago and do enjoy spending nights away near and on Michigan Ave just for the atmosphere and location of so much to see and do. So as you can see I sort of like a myriad of situations/experiences. Look forward to any info and/or advice. Thanx so much.

Grover Beach...
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6. Re: Trip to SF Need advice to include Big Sur/Hwy 1

Well, if it helps, Pepper's Mexicali Cafe has seafood options on their menu. My only complaint with Pepper's is that is can get really loud in there when the place fills up. My favorite time to go is between 4 & 5 pm before the crowds arrive. The food is a bit different than your typical Mexican fare, but it consistently gets voted "best" in the area.

Here's a look at their menu:

peppersmexicalicafe.com/…anchor160076

Looking forward to seeing your hotel list. Under $200 with a great view may be hard, but, if you come at the right time, might be do-able. Sometimes lodgings will have specials before/after travel season has begun or died down. In other words, May or possibly September would more likely have better rates, depending on whether any special events are going on at the time of your visit.

San Francisco
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7. Re: Trip to SF Need advice to include Big Sur/Hwy 1

As Kibblesmom says, that price range and a view might be asking a lot -- at least in San Francisco (and I'd imagine the Monterey Peninsula as well).

If you are able to travel in either May or September I would recommend that as things won't be so crowded.

If you're staying a week in SF you might think about an apartment rental. There are some nice properties available and it usually works out less than a hotel (especially when you factor in how much you can save by eating in for breakfast and perhaps 1-2 nights). www.vrbo.com is a good place to start.

If you want to stick with hotels, post your list and we'll give you thoughts.

Sounds like a nice trip!

Midwest
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8. Re: Trip to SF Need advice to include Big Sur/Hwy 1

Hello everyone, here is the list of my choice hotels so far.... in no particular order...Arqonaut, Chancellar Hotel on Union, Hilton SF/FW,Grand Hyatt Union Square, Sheraton FW, Fairmont SF, Holiday Inn Express & Suites FW, Triton, Holiday Inn SF/FW,Hyatt @ Fisherman's Wharf,Harbor Court Hotel,Hyatt Regency SF,Inter Continental SF, Parc 55 Wyndham US, Hotel Vitale, The Westin on Market Street. PLEASE help me make a decision! Mind you, this list doesn't even include the Carmel/Monterey/Big Sur area I have yet to do my research for that location. I do think It might be a good idea to stay two nights. The month of May is high on my list, but, is there much fog and chill in the air then? Sept. is known for it's mild to perfect weather, so wouldn't that be considered peak season? Don't want to drive over the edge of the cliff due to fog! :) Seriously, how dangerous is driving Hwy 1 during foggy days/nights? Still need advice as to which direction to go first....City first then Carmel or Vice Versa, or does it really matter? Thanx

Midwest
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9. Re: Trip to SF Need advice to include Big Sur/Hwy 1

My SF Hotel list is posted please let me know what you think?

Grover Beach...
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10. Re: Trip to SF Need advice to include Big Sur/Hwy 1

I'm going to respond on the Monterey/Carmel part of your question about the weather in May. May is one of my favorite times of the year to visit the Monterey Peninsula. I just love driving through Pacific Grove this time of year because the pink ice plant is in bloom along the shore and it is gorgeous! Yes, it can be chilly and even foggy, but this past September saw quite a bit of cool and fog. Every year is different. When I visited PG this past May, we had rain, but it was light and eased up mid morning.

As for driving Highway 1 & fog: our coastal fog tends to be more of an overcast than a pea soup type of fog. Plus, the fog is always moving, which makes the drive that much more interesting. I love watching the wispy fingers of fog climb up the coastal mountains of Big Sur while driving this route. Accidents along the Big Sur drive are rare. That's because most drivers take it slow and stay focused on their driving. There are lots of turn-outs to pull over to take in the views or get off the road if you start feeling uncomfortable. Most of the denser fog burns off (actually it recedes off to the horizon) by mid morning, so less chance of encountering it later in the day. I do not recommend driving Highway 1 in the dark if you're not familiar with the road and it's nuances.

Edited: 16 October 2010, 23:15