(Closed) CA honeymoon – advice & suggestions pls!

posted 8 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 3
1486 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

You could easily do the drive in a day, but I’d spend at least a couple in order to see the other fantastic(!) places you’ve mentioned. 

Something to consider:

Make sure you know exactly where you’re going when you get near Los Angeles.  There are a TON of different freeways, and it is often very crowded so if you remember which one you’re wanting at the last minute, you might not have the time to make your exit, and if you’ve never been there, it can be difficult to get your bearings again.

A week in LA seems like a LONG time to me, but granted that could be because I used to live near there.  I would personally take some time, maybe see the San Diego Zoo, or spend a day at one of the beaches.

The drive to Las Vegas is not bad once you get out of the city, it doesn’t take so long, but there are long stretches of nothing.  So think about when you need to stop for gas/lunch whatever.

And one last thing, there is (or at least there was, a couple of years ago) a border checkpoint between california and Nevada, and I guess you’re not supposed to bring fruit between those states, because I got hugely yelled at for eating a banana!  I’m talking like a 40 minute lecture from this guy.  So, I’ve never eaten fruit on that drive again.

Let me know if you have any other questions, I’ll do my best to help!

Post # 4
752 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2010 - Ocean View Villas/Jasmine Seafood Restaurant

I would definitely recommend making sure you spend a day or two just relaxing.  It sounds like you have a lot planned and you’ll likely get real tired real quick.  Do you need/want food recommendations?  I lived in LA a long time ago, but still have several favorites.

Post # 5
2392 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I drove highway 1 from SF to LA with my family a few days ago.  We left San Francisco maybe mid-morning, made it to Carmel (right near Monterey) a little before dinner, then left in the morning and spent the afternoon at the Hearst Castle.  We made it to Santa Barbara by dinner the next day and then left for LA in the morning.  So that was two nights and parts of three days for the drive – you could extend it (or leave earlier the first day) to give yourselves more time in Santa Barbara and Monterey, though.

Check what times the whale watching trips go, though.  If you need to leave early AM, you might want to spend a night in Monterey before whale watching.

Also – I’m not sure b/c despite living in the Bay Area for 2 years, I’ve never actually been to Yosemite, but I think it’s a 4 hour or so drive… might be a little exhausting to only spend one day there.

I’m also a little doubtful about the week in LA – there’s a lot to do there, but a LOT of traffic and it’s very tough to get around.  That said, I’m kind of generally prejudiced against LA because I like my cities more dense and less sprawling.

Post # 6
3613 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2010

Hey that’s cute – we’re from LA and we went to Ireland for our honeymoon πŸ™‚ We absolutely loved your country! CA is nowhere that picturesque, but it can definitely be fun. I think you have a  great itinerary. SF to LA is about 8 hours but you can do it over 3 days with all the stops you have planned. When I did that with my parents we had one overnight stop in Morro Bay, and we did everything you’re planning except for the whale watching. Just my two cents, after being used to the gorgeous castles and real history and art in Europe, Hearst Castle may be a letdown.

In LA, you could do Hollywood and the Walk of Fame, Santa Monica Pier and Promenade, Venice Beach, Disneyland and/or Universal Studios. Those are usually our sightseeing spots when we have guests out of town.

Post # 7
138 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: January 2011

I currently live in San Francisco and spent 8 years living in Los Angeles… with MANY trips to Vegas.  If you have any specific questions, please feel free to message me!

I agree with most posts here, a week in LA may be a bit long, I would spread that out to the sights down to San Diego (normally a 2.5 hour drive.)  LA does have a lot to offer but it depends on what you plan to do! There are beaches in Santa Monica down thru the South Bay (hermosa, manahattan beach), shopping in Beverly Hills, everything in Hollywood from clubs, famous hotels, landmarks, etc…. but a week of all that may get a tad boring.  The cities along the coast down to SD are beatuful! Id definitely try to check out La Jolla if you have the time.

Be very wary of traffic!  A drive from SF to LA (non scenic) should take 5 to 5.5 hours, scenic drive (route 1) should take 8-9 hours.  I drove from LA to SF, non scenic and it took 9 hours.  The drive from LA to Vegas should take 4-5, it once took us 10 hours! It all depends on time of day, day of week and LUCK!

Again, message me with any questions! Even if it is just for hotel or rest recs!

Post # 8
1079 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: August 2010

I would take four days to get to LA – stop in Monterrey and go to the Aquarium, see Pebble Beach, drive the coast, stop at Hearst Castle, stay in Santa Barbara. Take your time – it’s a beautiful drive and you shouldn’t rush it. Spend at least one full day in Yosemite, more if possible, and do some hiking to get away from the tourists. LA is a city and has many things that are common to cities – the rest of the state is amazing. From LA take the boat to Catalina Island and watch for dolphins on the way. From SF north see the redwoods. While in SF take a boat tour out to Alcatraz and do some of the free library walking tours of the city – they’re informative and really fun.

Post # 9
106 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

Having lived in LA and the Central Coast, I’ll add my two cents….

(Day 1) SF to Monterey on the scenic Highway 1 will take about 4 hours or so… If you took some inland highways, you can easily cut it down to 2-3 hours. The scenic, longer drive is worth it!

Monterey and its surrounding towns (Pacific Grove and Carmel) are so lovely and quiant. So many good restaurants, cafes, shopping, etc. Not to mention the Aquarium (where I used to work!) and whale watching. If I were you, I’d stay the night in Monterey to enjoy both an evening after whale watching and then a lazy quaint morning.

(Day 2) The drive from Monterey to San Simeon/Santa Barbara along Highway 1 is my favorite! It will take a while (I remember 4 hours to get to San Simeon and another 1-2 hours for Santa Barbara). Just south of Monterey/Carmel is Big Sur with lots of awesome places to stop for a break. I always love stopping at Big Sur Bakery for light, natural foods and snacks, Nepenthe for pricey but good food and the best view you’ll ever see, and the Big Sur River Inn to stop and hang out in their adirondak chairs sitting in the middle of the Big Sur River.

I admit that I’ve never been to Hearst Castle, but I’ve heard that its easy to spend nearly a whole day there. There’s lots a beautiful coastal towns that would have quaint accomodations (Cambria!). I’d recommend taking advantage of these cute towns and driving to Santa Barbara in the morning.

Santa Barbara is a great little city! You’d get there by lunch time on Day 3. Lots of great places to eat; great beaches; sightseeing with local museums (definitely check out the Santa Barbara Mission). I’d recommend spending the rest of the day in Santa Barabara, stay the night, wake up and drive to LA on Day 4 (would take 2-3 hours depending on traffic)

I think it would be easy to spend multiple days in Monterey and then Santa Barbara, but if you give yourself 4 days to get to LA, I think you’d get a good taste for the area πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

Post # 11
1486 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

We’re not exaggerating about the traffic, it can easily double the amount of time a trip should take.  It’s stressful, and not at all in line with a traditional honeymoon feel.

In my experience, late at night (at least after 8 or 9) and then post morning rush hour but before lunch are the best times to drive.  I’d stay clear from 5am to 10am, and then from about 3:30 p.m. until the evening. 

Post # 12
169 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2010

I lived in LA for about ten years and here are my few suggestions for seeing it.  IF you want to sight see and catch all the typical sights (walk of fame, hollywood sign, farmers market etc) I highly suggest booking a good bus tour.  Now this is pretty darn touristy… but those are tourist sights.  Traveling between all those areas is difficult (note traffic discussion) And if you were driving between all these it can easily take you two days if you want to hit all the big stuff from venice to malibu and the stuff in between.  These tours know exactly where they are going and they have parking permits.  You can drop a ton of cash just paying for parking in LA when you decide you only want to be there for 20 minutes to take your picture.  So for the time and the money I say jump on a bus and relax and enjoy yourself.  I have shown people around LA many times and after sending one person on a bus tour I will never do it myself again. 

Catalina… I was never that impressed with catalina but that is just me.  One thing about the island I never did but wanted to was the flying fish tour.  Google it πŸ™‚ 

I second the person who said Hearst Castle isn’t that exciting.  I agree

In Santa Barbara rent sea kayaks down at the docks and go paddle around.  It is one of my favorite things to do and if you paddle over to the bouys then you will get to hang out with all the seals.

I second the person who said go see Carmel. 

Don’t drive to Vegas on friday night (the traffic will be terrible) and MGM is my suggestion for hotel.  A nice hotel with affordable prices. 

I have only had short visits to san fran but in my opinion san fran is much smaller than I thought and I felt like two days was enough to see the main stuff. 

Two days in NYC will barely give you a taste of the city.  But at least you will have seen it.  Per all my NYC friends (and I took this advice) best views of the statue of liberty is from a nice ride on the Staten Island Ferry.  They say the tour isn’t worth it if you are making a quick stay in NY. 

DC- two days will be SUPER rushed if you want to hit the museums.  Depends on what you want to do though.  Holler if you want more suggestions on this. 

One last thing.  Depending on when you are looking at taking this trip.  I really might be cheaper to fly between San Fran, LA, and Vegas.  Southwest Airlines flights can be super cheap.  From LA you can make it to santa barbara in 2 hours if you pick the off traffic times and I think Monetery is like 2 hours from san fran.  Weigh the options because in San Fran and Vegas you really don’t need a car… and it can be more troublesome than public transportation.  Oh and if you are driving in LA… ask for a GPS with your rental car.  You will thank me πŸ™‚

Post # 13
769 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2010

I could have missed someone saying this, but June in SoCal often means one thing – June Gloom (cool, foggy weather).  The positive thing is that you’ll probably have fewer tourists to deal with, but the beaches here are generally warm July-October.  You could get lucky and get a nice week, but that is something to keep in mind when planning your activities.  I live in a LA beach community and always feel bad for the tourists shivering in shorts and tank tops each June πŸ™‚

Post # 14
1288 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2010 - Indiana Memorial Union

Since you’re driving from LA to Vegas, stay a night in Palm Springs! It’s soooo old hollywood in a crazy way and since you’ll be there in the summer, rates are much lower. We did our whole honeymoon there and loved it — relaxing under a cabana next to a pool with an amazing view of mountains is just pure bliss.

We stayed at the Viceroy but the Ace is supposed to be awesome too. If you have a big budget, I’d stay at the Parker.

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