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Itinerary tips/tweaks for this?

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Galveston, Texas
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Itinerary tips/tweaks for this?

So here's something I threw together. This is for a family of 5 (ages 68/39/35/15/11). The oldest can't walk far easily (might need to rent a cheap/basic wheelchair, but not sure where). Below is the end of the trip after a few days in Monterey and a few days on the South end of Big Sur (we are doing a lot of hikes and sight-seeing while the oldest relaxes and reads while enjoying scenery). Any thoughts and fill-in ideas (where the ??? are) will help. We really want a unique experience and so nobody is really into things like Hearst Castle, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Alcatraz, Museums or anything of that sort. Just sights and nature stuff...

---------------------------WEDNESDAY, 7/23

WAKE - Ragged Point - CHECK OUT - sunrise @6:07am

BREAKFAST - 8:00am Breakfast on way out ??? (or late-ish Bfast in Big Sur) ???

ACTIVITY - Sightsee - Ragged Point, DRIVE North to Big Basin (3:30 drive time)

LUNCH - Santa Cruz or late-ish San Francisco "Ton Kiang" ??

ACTIVITY - Big Basin Redwood Park (hike/sightsee) - Baker Beach - San Fran

DINNER - San Francisco - Ton Kiang (Dim Sum)

NIGHT ACTIVITY - Night walk, cable cars, etc.? Yoshi's JAZZ club?

STAY - San Francisco - Wharf Inn - sunset @8:21pm

---------------------------THURSDAY, 7/24

WAKE - San Francisco - Wharf Inn - sunrise @6:07am

BREAKFAST - San Francisco (Hollywood Cafe)

ACTIVITY - Get Passes - Cable Cars, Pier 39, Lombard, Coit,

LUNCH - Boudin (Wharf) - dessert at Ghirardelli Square

ACTIVITY - Golden Gate Park/Japanese Garden?

DINNER - In & Out Burger OR ??????

NIGHT ACTIVITY - See Bay Bridge Lights/ride cable cars (low lines late)

STAY - San Francisco - Wharf Inn - sunset @8:20pm

---------------------------FRIDAY, 7/25

WAKE - San Francisco - Wharf Inn - CHECK OUT - sunrise @6:08am

BREAKFAST - San Francisco ??????

ACTIVITY - Sightsee San Francisco

LUNCH - San Francisco - “Pacific Catch” or “The Codmother” ?

ACTIVITY - Sightsee - Golden Gate drive, Hawk Hill, etc, something North end (view sunset) ???

DINNER - near SFO ??????

STAY - Holiday Inn Express - near SFO - sunset @8:19pm

---------------------------SATURDAY, 7/26

WAKE - San Francisco/San Bruno area early - sunrise @6:08am

BREAKFAST - San Bruno (Rolling Pin donuts) or ??????????

ACTIVITY - ????

LUNCH - ????

1:30pm - DROP car @ SFO AIRPORT and Leave

Forestville, CA
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1. Re: Itinerary tips/tweaks for this?

hi there: curious the reason you have 'sunrise' times--presuming for your own personal info or is everyone getting up at that hour and heading out the door! Your idea of a wheelchair may be very helpful.

DAY ONE/Pacific Coast/SF Day

If your hotel provides a decent sort of breakfast, take advantage of that. I try to find *something* i can eat in a complimentary hotel breakfast but also for the car, i keep water and perhaps apples & nuts for munching. The driving time from Ragged Point to San Francisco is 4 hours (without stopping). Lunch in Santa Cruz will be an hour and you'll probably like to walk around the boardwalk (especially the kids), so add more time. Baker Beach might be brief (not sure about accessibility) and then somewhat close by is your restaurant of choice, Ton Kiang. While I love Yoshi's, i think you and your family will be tuckered out (maybe not the kids) and recommend getting to your hotel, parking, and perhaps as you wrote, taking a cable car or meandering around FW.

DAY TWO/SF neighborhood/Golden Gate Park day

I highly suggest you don't drive while in the North Beach/Fisherman's Wharf/Chinatown area. After breakfast, I suggest not going back to FW but instead, walk up Taylor Street until it intersects with Columbus Ave (about 2.5 blocks), then catch the 30-Stockton bus up to Union Street (the heart of North Beach). If you must go to the 'crooked street', from Taylor & Columbus, cross Columbus and one more block is Lombard, turn right and walk 2 blocks.... i'm only suggesting this as it is on your itinerary, otherwise I would say skip it.

Ok--you are in the old Italian neighborhood of North Beach. At Union/Columbus, you will be rewarded with a lovely city-block park (Washington Square), trees, pretty church, benches, people strolling about, cafes dotting the area for delicious coffee/pastries/foccacia and very good Italian fare. I would definitely have lunch in North Beach. Do have a good tourist map so you can walk around a little. There are shops, bookstores, cafes, great bars, restaurants, possible sightings of wild parrots, an Italian deli (Molinari's) where you can get YUM sandwiches to go. Getting up to Coit Tower will require either the 39-Coit bus or driving (as the elderly person will not be able to negotiate the hills). Be prepared for lines of cars. If you haven't driven so far this day, i'd hail a cab to get back to your hotel....rest.

Then you want to go to Golden Gate Park.....I'll let someone else chime in here. I can appreciate going to In an Out for a quick lunch....but dinner? while you're in San Francisco?? http://www.yelp.com/c/sf/restaurants

DAY THREE/Crissy Field/Golden Gate Bridge/Marin Headlands/Muir Woods Day

If you wish to visit Muir Woods, I suggest being there early (9AM) as the tour buses started to unload around 10. This is a BEAUTIFUL place to visit.....www.nps.gov/muwo/

afterwards, you can head into Mill Valley and have lunch at a number of places (Joe's Taco Lounge on Miller Avenue will please everyone)..or after Muir Woods, head up to the Marin Headlands for spectacular views, then cross the Bridge and make your way down to Crissy Field. Free parking and the best vista ever. presidio.gov/explore/Pages/crissy-field.aspx

You will be heading south to SFO during the Friday evening commute. I suggest having dinner in SF and then heading down to SFO to avoid bumper-to-bumper traffic. I would find other places to eat than Rolling Pin Donuts.....research TA restaurants in the area. ok. gotta stop.

San Francisco, Ca
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2. Re: Itinerary tips/tweaks for this?

If you stop in Big Basin, your "late lunch" in SF will be quite late... maybe even 3 pm depending on how long you hike. I would lunch in Santa Cruz, hike Big Basin, then head to SF for dinner.

Thursday - Coit Tower is slightly geographically away from the other spots, particularly because of its hilltop location. You could take the Hyde cable car to Lombard, walk down, take the #30 bus on Columbus southbound to Union Street and transfer to the #39 bus to Coit Tower. From there, maybe a downhill walk on the Filbert Steps to the Embarcadero would be ok? Then take the F line streetcar to Pier 39.

Are you planning on taking your car for the afternoon's sightseeing? If so, you might swap Thursday afternoon and Friday morning and just use transit on Thursday and the car on Friday. It would be quite easy to combine the GG Bridge, GG Park, Hawk Hill and the sunset.

(By the way, sunset viewing will be from the western end of SF, not the northern. You can still see the sunset, of course, but you're not facing it like you are at Ocean Beach. Be sure to bundle up for it, wherever you are! That would be another good reason to have the car for this.. you can sit inside with the heater on and still enjoy the sunset!)

If you did the car all day Friday, your lunch stop would be Pacific Catch.

And if you do Hawk Hill, you might be interested in the 16th Ave/Moraga steps -- whimsical tiled art project.

The area around the airport is primarily industrial, but there are some bay wetlands boardwalk trails that you might find interesting. I'm sure a Google search would find them.

San Francisco, Ca
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3. Re: Itinerary tips/tweaks for this?

By the way, what sort of passes are you buying? Another advantage of doing all transit on Thursday and driving on Friday would be you only need a one-day pass (and even then, it's more for convenience than cost-savings).

Galveston, Texas
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4. Re: Itinerary tips/tweaks for this?

Thanks for the replies. I will read over and make some notes. Should we get the passes for the cable cars etc for a few days or pay per ride?

EDIT

Hah...I see you beat me to the pass question. Would I just get the $15 pass from a kiosk?

The sunrise times are just notes in case we find a close place that is good to watch...not a must.

Edited: 19 May 2014, 23:37
Forestville, CA
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5. Re: Itinerary tips/tweaks for this?

hi again: since you wrote you want a 'unique experience'...Fisherman's Wharf and places similar will not provide you with a unique anything. It's fine to visit for a short while of course but where you will get a feeling for this great city is in her neighborhoods and local restaurants, on a cable car or F trolley line, by the marina or Pacific Ocean, down on the Embarcadero, and at a number of city landmark sites.

San Francisco, Ca
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6. Re: Itinerary tips/tweaks for this?

From what I read, you're really only on the cable cars once (if you do it at night either Wed. or Thurs.) or maybe twice if you take it to Hyde Street on Thursday morning. A one-day pass is $15 per person. Three day passes are around $25 per person and both include all public transit run by the city. Cable car fares are $6 per person each time you ride (conductors do make change); buses are $2 (.75 for the 68 and 11) for 90 minutes (no change given). You'll have to do the math to see if it's worthwhile, as it's hard to tell how much you are planning on using transit other than one or two cable car rides.

Buy the 1 day pass from the cable car conductor if that's what you do first, otherwise from a kiosk or Walgreen's.

(And I got a laugh at Chester9cat's sunrise comment... I had a similar reaction. Sunrise time is completely irrelevant in my idea of a vacation!)

Edited: 19 May 2014, 23:42
San Francisco, Ca
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7. Re: Itinerary tips/tweaks for this?

Oh, and there are lots of buildings and hills between us and sunrise, it's not generally something we watch here. You would need to go up to a viewpoint like Twin Peaks, Coit Tower, the GG Bridge to get any sort of interesting sunrise views.

Galveston, Texas
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8. Re: Itinerary tips/tweaks for this?

Oh forgot to mention, I'm not a pro or anthing but am very much into photography (more than the average snap-shooter with a smart phone), that was a reason I noted the sunrise/sunset times.

Noted on the Pier 39 not being a unique experience, but thought it might be a fairly quick walk-through with less time investment that Alcatraz or something of that nature where you are a little more "tied down" and something for the kids...

I am not necessarily going to nail down every single minute of the trip but do like to have a general idea so I know what I'm getting into along with backup restaurants and stops.

I will definitely apply all these tweaks and am very grateful for the advice!

San Francisco
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9. Re: Itinerary tips/tweaks for this?

Two things with regards to your accommodation choices.

1. Why leave the city to stay in San Bruno (where there is absolutely nothing to see) when your flight is not until the afternoon?

2. It's hard to say this tactfully but the Wharf Inn is a dump. For those who like the Wharf it has a good location but the place is a pit. What is your budget per night and are you looking for one room or two?

Santa Cruz...
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10. Re: Itinerary tips/tweaks for this?

On Day One. Are you aware that Big Basin State Park is a little isolated....the south entrance is 13 miles north of Santa Cruz on Hwy 9. Then there is a winding loop road of 17 miles which goes through the park and comes back out to Hwy 9 at the north entrance, which is 8 miles from where you entered. I wonder about your timing on this day. Most people take their time driving through Big Sur and stop to admire the scenery, look at McWay Falls, etc. It sounds as if you are just driving straight through, which would be a shame.

If you hike at Big Basin and then come back to Santa Cruz, that will take even more time. I would not count on a stop for lunch, but take along picnic food that you could eat in the park. You could go on from Big Basin to Saratoga and then Hwy 280 to get to San Francisco, but the road between Big Big Basin and Saratoga is very, very winding and slow.

There is another State Redwood Park, Henry Cowell, which is only 7 miles up Hwy 9. It has hiking trails. It, of course, is not as large as Big Basin, but it is more accessible on a trip like yours.

www.redwoodhikes.com/Cowell/SanLorenzo.html

Here is a traveler article about Santa Cruz to tell you what is here.

http://tinyurl.com/cy7nl3c

It wold be a shame for the kids to miss the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, which is an old fashioned amusement park with rides, and arcade games and food. Admission is free, you pay for what you do and eat. However, I am feeling your time constraint.

You mentioned a dim sum dinner. My understanding is that dim sum is not served at dinner, but earlier in the day. If I am wrong, someone will correct me.

Have you read the reviews for the Wharf Inn? We stay in the city several times a year and once we got the Wharf Inn. We were not happy. It was quite noisy, the curtains were torn, there were stains on the carpet and the closet door was almost off the hinges. There is parking, but it is very tight. I do not know what they do if they run out of spaces. As you can see from the reviews, they are mixed.

tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g60713-d81466-R…

It is too bad you don't have an extra day between Ragged Point and San Francisco, but, we deal with what we have, right? I am sure you will enjoy your trip.