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First Trip to Cali..trying to plan timewise

Glastonbury,CT
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First Trip to Cali..trying to plan timewise

I would appreciate any feedback on helping to start planning our first trip to California, specifically San Fran.

I am looking to spend 7 nights in early May. I wondered if 4 nights in San Francisco is enough? After we would like to drive down to Monterey/Carmel and spend 2 nights.

I am also wondering about seeing the Redwoods...is Muir as exciting as a longer trip up to the actual Redwood Park?

I usually start by searching these forums which always provide such wonderful tips and advice but what i really need to know is if i can fit the above in a 7 night trip with the final day being travel.

Thanks in advance!!!

San Francisco...
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1. Re: First Trip to Cali..trying to plan timewise

I am glad you are looking through the forums to get ideas. Top questions will also help you. You've not told us your travel style and what you plan to do but typically 3 full days in the city is the minium we recommend so 4 or more days would be good and you can do a lot of things in SF. As far as redwoods go, you can see the coastal redwoods in Muir woods but that place is very crowded. You can stop by Henry Cowell Redwoods on your way to Monterey Carmel.

I don't know if you are traveling elsewhere after Northern California but typically one can do 3 days in SF, perhaps 2 days in Yosemite and 2 in Monterey Carmel if you like to hike and see Yosemite. An alternative is to do a day trip to Napa and spend 4 days staying in SF.

One thing you will also notice in the forums is that locals call their state CA or California and not Cali. Cali is a city in South America. We are in SF or San Francisco and not San Fran or good heavens Frisco :-)

Edited: 28 March 2012, 15:45
Grover Beach...
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2. Re: First Trip to Cali..trying to plan timewise

Looks like a good plan:

4 nights SF

2 nights Monterey/Carmel

Yes, do stop at Henry Cowell on your way to Monterey. Muir will be too crowded to really enjoy it. Yosemite would be nice to fit in, but it books up a year in advance, so rezzies would be hard to come by at this late date. The 4/2 visit will allow for a relaxing visit over 2 places.

Monterey back to SFO (The airport, NOT the city. Sorry, had to put that in after belomiser's rant. :-) ) is about a 2 to 2 1/2 hour drive.

San Francisco...
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3. Re: First Trip to Cali..trying to plan timewise

Rant ? that was a very very polite oh by the way statement from a guy who was a former member of the CALI cartel from Columbia -- sshh. It's a secret. I prefer it to Frisco TX though LOL

Edited: 28 March 2012, 15:57
Glastonbury,CT
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4. Re: First Trip to Cali..trying to plan timewise

HAHA...Thanks for that slang lesson! So New Englandy of me:-)

We are actually beach people...so this is a diversion for us. We love to explore hidden spots, love to eat and love anything about the shoreline. While i plan to do some Tourist traps like alctraz, i am sure the best moments wil be discoveries tucked along the way.

We love catching a great sunset and seeing beautiful landscapes.

I am betting i'll get enough "hiking" in just exploring SF!!

It will be a 7 night trip so i thought we should just concentrate right around the SF area. Trying to work around my husbands work schedule.

I did consider Yosemite but wasn't sure that would be cutting something great out of exploring SF.

We will rent a car

San Francisco...
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5. Re: First Trip to Cali..trying to plan timewise

Oh you are from CT. Sorry Saw Glastonbury and thought it was somewhere in the UK. that part gets cut off from the Photo/profile on this page.

There will be plenty to do in SF and you will have a great time. Please do not rent a car until you leave SF as it is pain to park and costly overnight.

Have a look at http://sfgate.com/neighborhoods for ideas on where to go out of the touristy area.

www.sfcityguides.org/ has walking tours of the city that you may enjoy as well.

Washington State
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6. Re: First Trip to Cali..trying to plan timewise

Hi kk

Having a rental car for your coastal exploration is a great idea. But you probably won't need it or want it when you're in SF.

Santa Cruz has the great beaches; Monterey has the great coastline.

My suggestion is to pick up the rental car in SF after your tourism, and head directly to Hwy 1. Savor this southbound drive thru Half Moon Bay & Santa Cruz. Stay in Monterey. Spend another day driving further down Hwy 1 (Point Lobos, Big Sur) and then back to Monterey for another night. And spend one day just enjoying Monterey & Santa Cruz. That's 3 nights.

I haven't visited Alcatraz, but most folks don't think it's a tourist trap. It's still a reasonable tourist attraction. Tickets can be purchased 90 days in advance. www.AlcatrazCruises.com (grand-canyon-west near Las Vegas is a tourist trap. It was created with the specific intention of separating tourists from lots of their money and was misleadingly named to confuse folks who think they're going to Grand Canyon National Park.)

When your schedule allows for a Yosemite visit, definitely book your accommodations a year in advance. Hikers love the high country around Tuolumne Meadows, and the single lodging option up there fills quickly. Peruse the Yosemite forum Top Questions when you have time to dream about that trip.

Have a great time in SF and on the coast. The 'best moment discovery' we had on our drive from SF toward Santa Cruz were the kitesurfers. It was amazing to watch them in those waves.

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7. Re: First Trip to Cali..trying to plan timewise

What is your budget for lodging in the Carmel/Monterey area and I can suggest several places. This is a beautiful area of the CA coast to spend time in! Also, just a short drive from SF is Half Moon Bay. We are there right now, it's a very quaint area of the CA coast with lots of great restaurants, a cool harbor, shops and pretty beach scenery. :)

Glastonbury,CT
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8. Re: First Trip to Cali..trying to plan timewise

Pacific

That is exactly the sort of experience/ moment i am looking for!

I will keep the car rental advice in mind. I am sure to explore the city itself it would be unnecessary but wondered if we decided to split the days and explore the areas around SF, if we'd want one at our disposal.

We are early risers.....i am looking at the travel time to Yosemite (3-4h) and wonder if this would be a daytrip possibility if we started early AM.....or would i be better off keeping this trip to SF and Monterey/Carmel?

Thanks for that suggestion regarding Monterey/santa cruz..i will explore this further.

Belomiser

Thanks for the links. I will look those over tonight. I love an organized walking tour in Europe but wonder if we could find one outlined for SF and do on our own?

Glastonbury,CT
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9. Re: First Trip to Cali..trying to plan timewise

syrahgirl

Welp...i would say the budget is flexible but i havent started exploring SF area rates yet so i am not sure if i should say that. ( In NYC, we spend $400+ on a good deal for a centrally located Marriott, nice but small rooms) I have sepnt alot less in other areas and ALOT more in the Caribbean. If i can find a deal, all the better!

I was actually thinking a boutique hotel in SF...looked at Palomar...havent gotten any father than that. Really liked that but not sure if its in the area we would want to be in. Any guidance here, would be appreciated. Being beach people, i thought the wharf area but not sure thats is best for exploring.

For the coastline, i would like a water view so this might be where i choose the pricier option. Please suggest away!!

Thanks!

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10. Re: First Trip to Cali..trying to plan timewise

If you like to hike, save Yosemite for a time when you can savor it. Early September or maybe August are good options for folks who want to hike a lot. May / June works well for first timers who want to focus on the Valley, see waterfalls, and don't mind having some roads & trails inaccessible. But again, info on the Yosemite page.

Have fun in San Francisco. It's a fabulous city for walkers.