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San Diego or Carmel

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Shreveport, LA
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439 posts
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San Diego or Carmel

I am trying to decide how to allocate our short time(8 days plus one travel) that we will have in California. We will visit San Francisco (2 days), Carmel (1 or 2 days?) Los Angelos( 1 day)and San Diego (2 or 3 days?). We will be driving down the coast from SF to Carmel. Would we be better off driving a bit south of Carmel to Point Lobos and just heading on to San Diego (we will have to drive interstate to San Diego because of time limitations), and spending extra time in San Diego, or should we venture on south of Carmel for a bit. This question is in regard to coastline views, beaches, etc.

Thanks!

Silicon Valley, Ca
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1. Re: San Diego or Carmel

Not sure what you mean by taking the interstate to San Diego. If you are definitely going to stay in Carmel, it makes sense to drive down the coast and meet up with US 101 on the way to LA. You could stay a mother night on the coast north of LA and reduce your stay in San Diego if necessary.

Grover Beach...
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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2. Re: San Diego or Carmel

The only thing a"bit" south of Carmel is Big Sur with limited lodging and still hours and hours away from LA.

The Interstate is 2 hours inland from Carmel. Not really a time saver, IMO. I would just stay in Carmel, then take Highway 68 east to Salinas and connect with Highway 101 down to LA. It's a MUCH nicer drive than I-5.

San Diego...
Destination Expert
for San Diego
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3. Re: San Diego or Carmel

You could look to stay in Santa Barbara. It's a nice, scenic beach community. I would try to visit Morro Bay on your way. From there you can drive straight through to San Diego on the freeway.

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
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52,311 posts
423 reviews
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4. Re: San Diego or Carmel

Count your nights not your days.

If you have 7 nights total I would not drive SF to San Diego. I wouldn't go any further south than Los Angeles otherwise you are rushing yourself in every place and missing sights.

The coast between Monterey and Morro Bay is one of the most spectacular in the country, not quite the Amalfi Coast, but close enough.

San Diego...
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10,185 posts
33 reviews
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5. Re: San Diego or Carmel

Carmel is small enough that you can spend 1 day there if necessary. Drive Highway 1 south through Big Sur, then when you get to San Luis Obispo, take the 101 south, through Santa Barbara and then on to Los Angeles.

San Diego...
Destination Expert
for San Diego
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6. Re: San Diego or Carmel

penrichardson - Where are you going after San Diego? Are you flying home from San Diego or driving on to somewhere else?

If you are planning on flying from San Diego to San Francisco and then home I'd consider not coming to San Diego.

Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
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23,645 posts
5,367 reviews
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7. Re: San Diego or Carmel

If you want to do some of the major tourist things in San Diego such as the beaches, gaslamp district, the Zoo and Balboa Park, and Sea World, you need minimum 3 days in San Diego to be able to do it. If you plan to do less than of coruse, less time is doable. Carmel on the other hand you can do in a day.

8. Re: San Diego or Carmel

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