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First time visit San Francisco Area.... need some help!

Newtown...
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First time visit San Francisco Area.... need some help!

We have an opportunity to fly into San Francisco in March 2014 and stay for 7 nights.... I was planning to rent a car at the SF airport, drive up to Napa, stay 3 nights, drive down to the Carmel area, stay 2 nights and then return the car to the airport and take a cab into downtown San Francisco and stay in the city for our last two nights.... Is this itinerary doable, or are we trying to cram too much into a week? I'm not a big city girl, so two nights in San Franciso should be enough to see the sights I want to see (Golden Gate, Fisherman's Wharf & Alcatraz). Thanks for your input!

San Francisco...
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1. Re: First time visit San Francisco Area.... need some help!

You could check on dropping the car in SF near your hotel to save a cab ride.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: First time visit San Francisco Area.... need some help!

The logistics would work better if you landed at SFO, went down to the Monterey Peninsula, then went up to Napa / Sonoma and ended up dropping the car in downtown San Francisco and then enjoyed your final couple of days there.

A little bit rushed, but sounds like a fun trip.

San Frantastic
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3. Re: First time visit San Francisco Area.... need some help!

Personally, I'd stay 3 nights in the Carmel area (probably stay in Monterey and do a day trip to Carmel) and only 2 in Napa. There's more to see and do down there, I think.

dathecoast's suggestion to go south first is a good one.

Whatever you decide to do< book your Alcatraz tickets ASAP. They do sell out far in advance.

Bloomington, Indiana
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4. Re: First time visit San Francisco Area.... need some help!

My suggestion is close to some of the other responses (and timing of your flights will have some impact).

I'd say:

1. Arrive SFO, pick up car & drive to Carmel/Monterey. Spend the rest of the day there and 1 more "full" day. (On the other hand, if your flight arrive late, might say add another night).

2. Drive to Wine Country ivernight there and then spend a "full" day (maybe 2) there.

3. Drive to SF (city) & drop the car.

4. This will give you 3-5 days in SF which it deserves so you're not too rushed in doing what it has to offer.

5. Take a cab, BART, or shuttle to SFO.

Lastly, it would help if you have gave some idea about what you want/hope to do in each of these 3 locations. For example, if you're a real vinophile, then Wine Country deserves more time.

That's my $.02, pending more info about what you want/like/hope to do,

hlo

San Francisco
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5. Re: First time visit San Francisco Area.... need some help!

Try to schedule your wine country time over weekdays rather than weekends. Lodging will be cheaper and things will be less crowded.

California
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6. Re: First time visit San Francisco Area.... need some help!

I agree with Real_Grenadine, cut Napa to 2 nights and add 1 to Monterey area -- lots more to do.

Newtown...
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7. Re: First time visit San Francisco Area.... need some help!

Thanks for the great feedback..... we will definitely take the suggestion and drive to Monterey/Carmel first, then head to Napa and back to San Francisco for the last few days. Maybe we should stay in Monterey for three nights and cut the Napa trip to two nights. We would like to take a few vineyard tours in Napa and possibly take the wine train lunch excursion. Other than that, I haven't planned anything yet.

In Monterey, we would like to just do some touristy sightseeing. My husband wants to visit Pebble Beach. How about Big Sur?

Does anyone know how far in advance you can you book reservations for Alcatraz? I've read about an evening trip to Alcatraz.... any opinions on that tour? Any other suggestions on must do items for any of these three areas are greatly appreciated!

Vancouver, Canada
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8. Re: First time visit San Francisco Area.... need some help!

Things are shaping up, Lisa!

Pass on the wine train. It's cheesy.

Pebble Beach is terrific if your husband is a golfer. It's on the 17 Mile Drive between Pacific Grove and Carmel. There is Fee for the drive. Pacific Grove is also a great area to stay in while on the Peninsula.If you like B&B's....this one is great..

http://www.centrellainn.com/

BIg Sur is stunning. Don't miss it.

San Francisco...
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9. Re: First time visit San Francisco Area.... need some help!

I don't think there's anything wrong with the wine train. I've done it and enjoyed it. Though I have to admit to it being an election year when I did it - and I found it disconcerting how many supporters of "he who shall not be named, but was an embarrassment to our country abroad" - based on the sign placed in the vineyards near the train tracks.

Overall it was a nice experience. While I haven't rushed back to do it again, I would consider taking visitors there.

Vancouver, Canada
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10. Re: First time visit San Francisco Area.... need some help!

SFimp....to each their own. I haven't done the Wine Train in years....maybe 10? LIkely it has gotten better since I did it.

WIth only a couple of days in Napa / Sonoma and so much there to do / see my thoughts were that there are so many more interesting things that I would do before the Train. Like a terrific drive out through Jenner to Fort Ross State Park. I love visiting wineries, but the area has so much more to offer besides that...

Just sayin... :-)

Edited: 01 November 2013, 23:53