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San Francisco, Carmel, Sonoma 4th of July Week Help

Northern NJ
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San Francisco, Carmel, Sonoma 4th of July Week Help

I posted this on the California forum and received input to post on the SF forum.

Getting into SFO on 6/28/14. Originally thought of going to SF for 4 nights then on to Sonoma and then to Carmel before heading back to the airport. Because it is 4th of July week, is there a location that would be best for the 4th. Will traffic be a problem on certain days? Would love some guidance regarding the order of our visits to different locations and for how long. At this point we don't have a return trip scheduled so should we book through an airport other than SFO?

Input received, "I would avoid Sonoma and Carmel during the 4th of July weekend (Thurs - Sun). Maybe stay in SF then and enjoy the fireworks. There are less business travelers on holiday weekends so you should be able to get a room fairly reasonably although you should ask about that in the San Francisco forum."

Makes sense to me, any thoughts. Will SF have plenty to do over the holiday weekend?

Thanks

San Francisco...
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1. Re: San Francisco, Carmel, Sonoma 4th of July Week Help

sure -- same advice here. Most holiday weekends may need 2 day hotel minimums so it makes sense to do those areas first and spend the weekend in SF. All the normal visitor activities can be done plus the fireworks are fun to watch . I personally thing the East coast has more parades et al compared to the major areas but there are parades in other bay area cities -- you can plan that closer to the date on www.sfgate.com/events

Traffic is something one deals with and frankly you may or may not have it -- don't worry about it.

Edited: 03 March 2014, 15:09
Forestville, CA
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2. Re: San Francisco, Carmel, Sonoma 4th of July Week Help

i think 4th of July in the city (San Francisco) would be great fun...there will be stuff going on and depending upon the FOG, you may or may not see the incredible fireworks show down by the water but go anyway.....it's usually on barges north of Pier 39 i think - …about.com/od/…San-Francisco-July-4-Events. If that link doesn't show, just cut and paste and you will find out all the great stuff to do in the city during the 4th. I once was in the town of Sonoma on the fourth and the fireworks celebration was held in a field; very low-key and rural. It is spectacular in San Francisco.

Not sure if Sonoma was a day-trip or a few days....you may consider the town of Healdsburg which is in the heart of the wine country...it has a pretty town square/hotels/high-end restaurants/art galleries and antique shops, bakeries, bookstores, etc....it's become a destination place. The town of Sonoma has a pretty square as well and is a bit more relaxed all around. If you went up north, you'd have to backtrack through SF again to get down to Carmel -- not the most efficient travel route and then back to SFO.... perhaps choose Carmel or Sonoma but not both?

Forestville, CA
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3. Re: San Francisco, Carmel, Sonoma 4th of July Week Help

sorry....the link didn't go to the events on the 4th but you can probably find it.

San Frantastic
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4. Re: San Francisco, Carmel, Sonoma 4th of July Week Help

Trying to watch the fireworks in San Francisco is a zoo. Don't even try to think about taking a car. Unless you want to stand around for hours, don't bother. They aren't even that great.

Given your preferred destinations I suggest flying into San Jose. That way, Carmel wouldn't be that much more of a stretch. Chillax a couple of days there (they might even have very nice fireworks that are not crazily jam-packed to the point of viewer impairment). Then head to San Francisco for a bit (at least 4 days, IMHO). And then on to Healdsburg (excellent advice from previous poster). Darling town, and the perfect way to unwind from your California adventure.

This way, you cut down on your back-tracking. And if you take Hwy 1 back from Carmel to San Francisco, it'll effectively be only one back-track: back to SFO from Healdsburg. But by then, at the end of your trip (and, presumably, all that wine tasting), you won't even notice.

Northern NJ
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5. Re: San Francisco, Carmel, Sonoma 4th of July Week Help

Thanks for the advice, much appreciated. Healdsburg sounds great, exactly what we were looking for.

Forestville, CA
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6. Re: San Francisco, Carmel, Sonoma 4th of July Week Help

i must protest!...'not even bother?'... the fireworks in the city are fabulous (if not foggy)...i agree, a bit crowded but it still is a great evening. Of course, I didn't drive...just take Muni. When I lived in North Beach, there were a few times i would sit up at Coit Tower and watch them over the bay ...and when i lived in the Castro, one year i went to the top of Divisadero and looked down at the Marina .... if they pack a dinner, they could drive over to Vista Point or even better!! the Marin Headlands!! --- along with lots of people, so go early and have a picnic dinner. Yes...go to the Marin Headlands and treat yourself to a fabulous vista, fog or no fog.

Northern NJ
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7. Re: San Francisco, Carmel, Sonoma 4th of July Week Help

A bit of a change in plans but I am taking advice of the responses I received. Fly into San Jose on Saturday and head to Monterey. Have Marriott points so this is a free hotel for 2 nights. This gives me the chance to see Monterey and Carmel.

Head to Sonoma on Monday for 2 nights. ( I know the recommendation was Healdsburg but hotels/B&B's are really expensive) Staying at a B&B in Sonoma for roughly $200 per night a block or 2 from the square. I know the drive is a bit over an hour but I can drive to Healdsburg from here as well as Armstrong woods. Maybe Bodega Bay?

Last stop, San Francisco on Wednesday staying until Saturday.

Is this too much? Suggestions? I guess I am trying to get as much as I can out of this trip. Appreciate all your input, it really helps.

Thanks

San Francisco
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8. Re: San Francisco, Carmel, Sonoma 4th of July Week Help

<<I know the drive is a bit over an hour >>

From where to where? The drive from Monterey to Sonoma will be 3+ hours.

Staying 2 nights gives you only one full day in Monterey/Carmel and Sonoma. And a fair amount of driving in between. And you have only 2 full days in SF, which is a bit short. But it's a feasible itinerary. Depends on your travel style.

Northern NJ
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9. Re: San Francisco, Carmel, Sonoma 4th of July Week Help

Thanks, drive I was referring to was from Sonoma to Healdsburg. I like to just enjoy so I may be pushing it and have to take some part of this trip and save it for another time.

San Frantastic
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10. Re: San Francisco, Carmel, Sonoma 4th of July Week Help

The Marriott in Monterey is great! If you are a frequent Marriott stayer, they might upgrade you to a corner room. Very nice views. Also, the breakfast buffet is pretty good for a buffet, and if you get it for free -- even better.

I don't think you need to do Sonoma & Healdsburg. I'd rather go to Healdsburg, but either one is nice.

Skip the extra wine country sight-seeing and head back to San Francisco as early as possible and as quickly as traffic will permit. Once you get here, you will definitely wish you had more days to explore the city.