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If we must stay north or east of San Francisco

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Boston...
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If we must stay north or east of San Francisco

Big trip to the SF and Napa Sonoma area in June. We ARE staying in SF for the last 4 nights of the trip, so that's no problem. My issue is the very first night we have in California, when we arrive. We wanted to stay one night in SF after the longish flight from Boston -- to regroup and have a nice dinner prior to driving the next day to Napa. I don't relish having to rent a car on that first day (we arrive about 3 pm) and drive somewhere, but my travel agent says prices on that particular date are sky high. Apparently there is a special event that day. He asks if we would be willing to stay in a town nearby.

Would it be fairly easy and appealing to head to one of these towns from the airport: Sausalito or Berkeley? We would stay the night, get a nice dinner preferably within walking distance of our hotel, then rent a car the next day. Then we would drive to Napa. I know these distances are not great. What might work for us? Want to get to the town you suggest by public transportation. I Think this is on a Sunday.

Thousand Oaks...
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1. Re: If we must stay north or east of San Francisco

This is a situation where I WOULD actually stay near the airport in Burlingame or San Mateo for that night. What I would not be able to answer is 'where could we find a good dinner spot there?'

Where are you picking up the rental car?

Dublin, California
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2. Re: If we must stay north or east of San Francisco

I too would pick a place near the airport. Try the Best Western El Rancho Inn, or the Fairfield Inn in Millbrae. They'll have free shuttle to and from the airport. You are also within walking distance to many restaurants, esp Chinese.

Bloomington, Indiana
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3. Re: If we must stay north or east of San Francisco

Ditto that this sounds like a case where a hotel near SFO sounds like the way to go.

That's all, it's late, maybe more tomorrow,

hlo

San Francisco...
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4. Re: If we must stay north or east of San Francisco

Unless you are flying with many connections, It is just a 6 hour flight from BOS to SFO and yes you get there by 3pm -- and say you are out by 4pm with your car. I personally would not waste a day near the airport -- just drive about 90 minutes to Sonoma or Napa (depends on where you are going) and as they say get to a better state -- find an amazing Napa restaurant and open a bottle of wine and volia

that would be better than spending a hour getting to sausalito or Berkeley imho. If you are really tired then I respect the advice given by TSS and Dr z. and HLO.

Santa Cruz...
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5. Re: If we must stay north or east of San Francisco

If you decide to stay near the airport that first night, the Best Western El Rancho Inn in Millbrae has a nice restaurant and bar, (and a swimming pool, if that interests you. I have only once seen anyone in it....it is cool around the airport.

Ideally, I would take BART into the city and stay there that night, then pick up a car near Union Square the next morning...there are several companies which have offices near there.

Perhaps your travel agent does not know how to find you a reasonable hotel on your date. Where are you staying the last four nights of your trip? I think that hotel might give you a rate for the day you arrive, since you are staying with them for four nights later.

Tell us your date, and your budget, and the hotel your travel agent has put you in for the last four nights and I think we can help you. We find that even US travel agents cannot know everything.

In the meantime, please go to the Top Questions on the right side of your screen (doesn't show on a mobile device) and read the ones which apply to you. There is good information there.

Then come back with the information above (date, budget, hotel for the lat foiur nights) and we can go from there.

Edited: 21 April 2014, 05:30
San Francisco
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6. Re: If we must stay north or east of San Francisco

I agree with belo. If you were arriving at midnight or off an International flight I could understand crashing at the airport. But arriving at 3PM .. bite the bullet and get to Napa. You'll run into some traffic but it's worth a bit of pain to wake up in the morning at your destination.

San Francisco...
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7. Re: If we must stay north or east of San Francisco

as for public transportation, getting to sausalito would be difficult. for berkeley you could take BART. but then you would have to find a car rental place and hotel that was nearby for both locations. too difficult. can you look up car rental prices on your own. maybe you can find a rate that's good for you and not marked up by a travel agency. if you are coming in on a sunday, there won't be traffic if you take the bay bridge. there are a few events on the sundays along 19th ave. and there is the big pride parade on the 29th - if you drive in the afternoon you'll avoid it.

Santa Cruz...
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8. Re: If we must stay north or east of San Francisco

OK. I will go with belo and White Dahlia, if you think you re up to the drive to Napa after your flight.

Some Napa people will tell you to go through the city on 101 and take the Bay Bridge and I 80. My preference is 380 from the airport to 280, going through San Francisco on that and 19th Avenue/Park Presidio Drive and over the Golden Gate Bridge on 101. Then, after San Rafael you take Hwy 37 to the turnoff for Hwy 121 (this is only 7 miles) Stay on 121 through the Carneros region to 29 and into Napa.

I do not know what the traffic situation will be by the time you get your car and over the GG Bridge. I know the traffic will be heavy on I80.

If it matters, the I80 drive goes through industrial areas, the 101/37/121 drive takes you past vineyards on your way into Napa and it a much more pleasant drive, IMO.

So you have choices. Stay near the airport, find a hotel in SF you can afford, go directly to Napa, decide on the route.

Good luck and have a good trip..

ohio
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9. Re: If we must stay north or east of San Francisco

Arriving at 3 pm in this fabulous area and staying near the airport would be very frustrating to me knowing all that I could be doing with the rest of the day. I'd feel like I would be wasting precious vacation time.

If getting a rental car the day you arrive is definitely not an option, I'd agree with Puter's original advice of taking the Bart to Union Square and picking up a rental car there the next day. It might make for an easy return/drop off of your rental car for your San Francisco leg of your trip, depending on where you are staying in San Francisco.

I guess if I were you I would really think about how much money I'd be saving by not picking up my car that day, and weigh that against the hassles and possible disappointment of your first night's stay, as well as the time you'll be taking away from your first full day there.

I've flown from NE Ohio to San Francisco, picked up a rental car and driven to Sonoma or Napa all in the same day numerous times. It does make for a long day, but definitely doable.

If you do end up getting a rental car on the day you arrive, and don't want to drive all the way to Napa that day, driving to Sausalito would be an easy first day's plan. Beautiful views of the city from across the bay, and restaurants within walking distance. I've stayed at the Inn Above Tide there and loved being right on the water.

San Francisco...
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10. Re: If we must stay north or east of San Francisco

Agree with the above. I was thinking; travel agent? I wonder what the date is.

Public transit to Sausalito from the airport would be difficult and time consuming. BART from the airport to Berkeley would be doable - but then you've gotten to the East Bay which is a hassle to come and go with a car for the next day.

Puter's driving directions are what I would also recommend.