Post # 1
My DH and I are planning on going to California at the end of the summer/early Sept for our 1 year anniversary. We plan on flying in to San Fran and then driving down to LA and flying home from there. But we need suggestions of things to do in between! We have about 10-12 days, and these are the sites/things that are on our list so far:
– Napa (of course)
– Big Sur
-Monterey and Carmel
– Santa Barbara
Anyone have any other suggestions? Also, how long would you say we need in each place?
Any info would be great 🙂
Post # 3
@hilsy85: I recommend a visit to Hearst Castle on route 1. Really cool place and they have all sorts of tours.
My grandparents lived in Carmel and it is a BEAUTIFUL place. You will definitely want to check out Carmel-by-the-Sea. I also recommend driving 17mile drive in Pebble Beach.
Also, if you like Aquariums, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is great, I also love Fisherman’s Wharf. You can feed the sea lions there.
In SFO, if you are interested, the trip out to and tour of Alcatraz is pretty cool.
Post # 4
@KatNYC2011: Thank you! I definitely came across Hearst Castle in my research and it looks awesome. It seems like it’s an easy drive from big sur, is that right?
Post # 5
I agree that Hearst Castle is awesome. I went with my family when we drove down the coast visiting colleges. I don’t recall exactly how far it is from Big Sur… I think we saw it on a day we started in Carmel and ended in Santa Barbara. Which are also both gorgeous.
In Napa, I love Calistoga. It’s not really on the way from SF to LA (it’s like an hour or two north of San Francisco), but it’s a small spa and wine type town. There’s some nice restaurants and chill bars on the main drag, and a lot of wineries in the area.
Post # 6
hmm…i did this drive when i picked up my sister from college but we did it in about 12 hours instead of 12 days. i think it’s better to drive south than to dirve north because that way you are on the side of the highway closest to the ocean.
let me think of some things to do. you already have some good options with big sur, napa, monterey, santa barbara.
– the hearst castle in san simeon
– stop to look at the elephant seals
i can’t come up with anything else at the moment but read this NY Times article.
or google, sites to see on pacific coast highway
Post # 7
Cambria is not too far away from Hearst Castle. It’s a cute little town to spend part of the day walking around and have lunch or dinner. Not a whole lot to do, but it’s nice.
If you’re into hiking, there is the Arroyo Hondo Preserve along the way. All different levels of hiking and the area is really pretty.
Kate’s for breakfast in Carmel. And check out Solvang too. It’s a kitschy little town with lots of yummy bakeries.
Post # 8
For the drive to Big Sur, I would check on the roads. This past winter some really big storms took out some of the roads and for a while you couldn’t drive down to big sur. I believe that they should be fixed by late summer, but I would totally check.
another fun place to stop is Pismo Beach. It’s a fun little beach town that is good for a 1 night stop.
Post # 9
San Fran: Make sure to go to Alcatraz Island, the wax museum and the golden gate bridge. Maybe 2-3 days there
Santa Barbara- Definately check out the Santa Barbara Mission!
Post # 10
Monterey – You must go to the aquarium. You can do Monterey in a day but 2 would be nice. If you’re into oysters – this is the place for you
Carmel – super cute and walkable. You’d want another day here. Do the “17 mile drive” Its so beautiful!
Big Sur – A MUST! It’s so gorgeous. Go to julia pfeiffer state park and take the short hike to the falls
We went camping at Andrew Molera state park and had alot of fun. There is a trail that goes through the campsite out to the beach and then up a cliff for a stunning view.
I haven’t been to Hearst Castle but I hear its worth seeing.
Santa Barbara – beautiful and fun. You could spend a couple days here shopping and walking around
You’ll also be driving right through wine country. Stop and spend a couple days in Santa Ynez or Los Olivos.
Post # 11
Sonoma! The winery’s are outstanding and it’s GORGEOUS! We went last year on our anniversary and it was gorgeous.
Stop over in Cambria too and check out the harbor seals that lay on the rocks. They are adorable!
Post # 12
This is what we’re planning as well.
Here’s out itinerary:
Day 1: Santa Barbara (Misson/city/relax)
Day 2: Solvang, Morro Bay, Cambria, Hearst Castle
Day 3: Monterey (Aquarium/city)
Day 4: Santa Cruz, Mystery Spot, Half Moon Bay
Day 5: San Francisco (Alcatraz), drive to San Jose
Day 6: Winchester Mystery House
Day 7: drive to Yosemite
Day 8: Yosemite/Oakhurst
Day 9: Yosemite/Oakhurst
Day 10/11: return drive with anything else we want to see along the way
My FI worked in Yosemite valley for awhile and he’s excited to show me the area since I’ve never been–that’s why we’re spending so much time there
Post # 13
Santa Cruz Boardwalk – it has one of the oldest wooden roller coasters in the US … and it’s a great place for pictures.
Bonny Doon Vineyards, just north of Santa Cruz on HWY 1 …
The Central Coast is breath taking!
Post # 14
A little biased but you should definitely spend some time in Santa Monica & Venice.
Post # 15
@kala_way: you will have to eat at the place i am getting married at in oakhurst! the food is so delicious!
@hilsy85: laguna beach! the beach is beautiful and the town itself is really cute! about 1 hour away from la. how about doing a theme park for one day?? like disneyland? hollywood walk of fame! make sure to bring your $$$ cuz those characters want money if you take a pic with them! lol
Post # 16
The latest update on Hwy 1 south is that it should take 3 years to fix it completely. Although it’s a nice drive, I’d probably avoid the area. If you come to Carmel, drive south to Garrapata SP or even Pfeiffer, do for a hike, and then come back and head out to 101 to make the trip south. You’ll get plenty of ocean views on the shorter trip and you’ll avoid the road hazard down there. You can take the 101 through Paso Robles and do some wine tasting there (it’s totally different from Napa) and then swing back across on the south side to do Hearst castle if you must. Also, if you’re into history and that kind of thing, you could make your trip down the 101 about the missions- it was the old road that Junipero Serra took and the buildings are really beautiful. Gosh, there are so many things to do here, I’ll probably PM you with some more ideas later 🙂