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san francisco double stopover what to see?

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london
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san francisco double stopover what to see?

hi,

travelling to alaska and back from japan in august with wife and 3kids(12,9,6) in summer.

we are going thru sfo on going and way back and would like advise on itinerary..

itinerary is arrive thurs7th aug 9.25am sfo leave 1900pm for anc

then on return arriv 15th 19.49pm leave 16th 13,25pm..

we want to go to ana nuevo on 7th to see the elephant seals and other day in san fran..(but can change round)

questions are which day to go to ana nuevo?- is traffic busy coming back to airport if we do it on the thurs late afternoon.?

where to stay on 15th?have radisson and ihg points..

what to see in san fran-is it best to have a car both days?particular worried about traffic!

anything else to see near ana nuevo-way back up?

thanks!!!!

Dublin, California
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1. Re: san francisco double stopover what to see?

You'll need a car to get to Ano Nuevo State Park. So assuming your luggage is checked through, you can rent a car to drive there and back. But that's after a very long flight with time differences and a fairly long drive. It could be quite tiring. You'll probably encounter traffic on your way back to the airport.

On the 15th and 16th you don't really have a lot of time. Maybe best to stay in town (SF) to maximize your time in the city. No you don't need a car for those 2 days.

london
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2. Re: san francisco double stopover what to see?

thanks-wonder if poss to do ano nuevo on the 16th??seems to open at 8.30am..

also,if we do go into sfo on 16th was thinking having rental car would be easier due to length of time bart seems to take...

San Francisco, Ca
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3. Re: san francisco double stopover what to see?

Would you recommend an American visitor to have a car to see central London (or stay outside the city to do so)? It's much the same here (without the congestion charges) -- traffic, high parking costs, plus one way streets and hills. It's very easy to stay in town and take public transit.

london
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4. Re: san francisco double stopover what to see?

understood-but without car using bart etc will really cut down on time av in sfo on sat morning as it takes so long to get to airport and also v difficult to get to the golden gate bridge without a car.the plan would be just to use the car to get to and from hotel and the gold gate bridge

Edited: 11 March 2014, 19:11
Bloomington, Indiana
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5. Re: san francisco double stopover what to see?

Takes so long to get to (from) the airport?

This befuddles me a little. BART time between the downtown stations & SFO is just over 30 minutes (varies slightly from station to station) and it runs on a fixed schedule (so you can time catching a specific train when going from SF to SFO). Catching a specific train is questionable from SFO to SF due to the variability of luggage arrival, etc, but the wait time for an inbound train departure to SF is usually measured in minutes. You're not looking at really early or late arrivals/departures so really infrequent or non-service isn't an issue (but, yes weekend service isn't as frequent as weekdays). Similarly a cab from much of SF will take the same time it would take you to drive, probably around 20-30 minutes (but, traffic obviously has an impact and heaven forbid if there is a major traffic snarl).

Plus, with the rental car you'll have the time it takes to pick-up/return the car and get to/from the main terminal area and the remote rental center (longer than from the BART station at SFO). Even if you say this is only 5-10 minutes it could eat up any time saved over BART by driving.

Sure, there will be the time to get from hotel to a BART Station, but many (most?) of the downtown hotels are just a few minutes walk from Market Street & a BART Station. I'd say a 5-10 minute walk would cover pretty much any Union Square or Embarcadero hotel (and many others). Now, if you're talking hotels in Fisherman's Wharf or Lombard Street (you might want the latter for free parking), then it does take longer to get to BART.

I just don't see how using a car to get to/from downtown SF & SFO is going to be a major time saver over a cab or BART. As for shuttles, I'd probably say yes as they can take longer to get to/from the airport based on other stops, etc. (although this usually isn't as bad *from* SF to SFO).

Now, I'm *not* saying you shouldn't have a car (since you have so little time in SF, it will make getting to the GG Bridge easier/quicker, and obviously need one to do Ano Nuevo), but I wouldn't say get one so you can get to/from the airport a lot quicker; I just don't see any major time savings of a car over BART. Unless you're at a hotel that isn't close to Market Street, I'd be surprised if the total time saved amounted to much more than (maybe) 15-30 minutes (total) and I wouldn't be shocked to hear that the rental car option ended up taking longer if there was some kind of hiccup in picking-up or dropping off the car.

That's my $.02,

hlo

Edited: 11 March 2014, 19:49
london
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6. Re: san francisco double stopover what to see?

thanks hlo

very informative..

i was act thinking of staying in fishermans wharf and the info on tripadvisor does say around 90mins one way.. also was wondering if car easier with kids and luggage..

will it be very crowded taking a car on sat morning around 10-11 to the airport?how long would it take?

also if i switched my itinerary round and did ana nuevo on 16th morn do you think i could make it back from there for a 1.20pm international flight(no ckd luggage) i think the park only opens at 8.30am,,

Dublin, California
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7. Re: san francisco double stopover what to see?

Aug 16 is a Saturday so you should have no rush hour traffic going to Ano Nuevo or coming back to the airport.

Bloomington, Indiana
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8. Re: san francisco double stopover what to see?

Okay, with an FW hotel, there could be some time savings (but query if significant); still not 100% sure it would (by itself) be worth renting a car (again, you have other reasons).

I'll now digress, are you sure you want to stay in Fisherman's Wharf? (That's a whole other can-o-worms that is a frequent topic on the forum that I'm going to avoid at this time.)

If you do, there is a variation call the BART/Taxi hybrid that you might consider (SFO BART to Embarcadero Station where literally steps away there is a cab line at the Hyatt, cab to FW hotel; vice-versa for the return).

hlo

london
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9. Re: san francisco double stopover what to see?

you are correct-no need to stay in fw at all... i wondered about it only have ihg and radisson pts

car rental would only be because it would be free and easier with kids luggage and can hit costco next to sfo but the bart looks fairly simple..and is prob better.

i wonder in that case would civic centre be a good place to stay?seems to be a hol inn there.. could bart in easily and

go on the cable car down to fw which is a touristy must do we will have to do anyway...

sorry to transgress,but about these cable cars -how long would the wait be from fw back up on a sat morn??

is it outrageously long?

Bloomington, Indiana
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10. Re: san francisco double stopover what to see?

Real quick:

1. Civic Center = no, lots of reasons.

2. Cable Cars between FW & Union Square shouldn't be used as a fast transit option. They're not that fast in general and these routes often have long lines to board and/or not much room to board.

hlo

Edited: 11 March 2014, 22:00