Post # 1
So Fiance and I have decided to go to northern California (San Francisco area) for our honeymoon in June of next year. We are both from the east coast and have never been to California. Fiance is not really a beach person and I think even I would get bored sitting on a beach for a week so we decided to do something a bit more active.
I was hoping some of you San Francisco/California natives could help me out with the logistics of what I have planned out so far. As much as I would love to spend 2-3 weeks around the area exploring everything there is to do, neither Fiance nor I have that much vacation time so we will probably be staying for 6-7 days. The plan as I see it in my head right now is to fly into SF on Sunday night after our Saturday wedding (arrive around 9 PM probably). We would stay over Sunday in SF and then do some SF exploring on Monday. Right now the top spots for us are see the Golden gate bridge and Fisherman’s wharf (can you even do that on a Monday?). We would stay over in SF again Monday night.
Tuesday we would head to either the Sonoma/Napa area or the Carmel area. We don’t have time for both so we are going to have to decide which area we want to see more (any suggestions are appreciated!). We would stay over Tuesday night and Wednesday night in whichever area we chose.
Thursday morning, probably pretty early we would then head out to Yosemite. We are both outdoorsy and love hiking, nature and all that good stuff so we are super excited to see Yosemite. We want to do this at the end of our trip so that we will be completely over any jet lag as we plan to do some good hiking. We will stay in/near Yosemite on Thursday and Friday nights. We would then head back to SF on Saturday and fly home.
Do the logistics of this trip make sense? Should we spend more time one place as opposed to another? I know there is a ton to do in SF but we don’t want to spend our entire time there. Forgot to mention– we will be renting a car for the whole time and don’t mind doing a decent bit of driving (as we have planned). Also if anyone has any recommendations for hotels in any of these areas please let me know!
Post # 2
i think you are trying to cram way too much into a week. Yosemite is a week’s vacation in and of itself…
Post # 3
I think your itinerary is pretty good, but you should change the order of things. Napa Valley is pretty close to San Francisco, and Yosemite is far, so it would be better for you to save Napa for last so it will be easier for you to return to San Francisco to fly out on Sat.
if I were you I would spend a little longer in San Francisco, and leave for Yosemite Tuesday evening after rush hour. Spend the extra time eating dim sum in Chinatown and going to Alcatraz. Then you will have all of Wednesday and Thursday to spend in Yosemite. Early Friday morning, drive to Napa. Go on an afternoon vineyard tour and then find a dinner and wine pairing in the evening. Saturday morning you can spend shopping or just strolling around in Napa before you have to drive to San Francisco to catch your plane. Depending on what time you fly out – you want to be really careful to leave yourself enough time in case of crazy traffic. I don’t know San Francisco area well enough to know what the traffic looks like between Napa in San Fran on a Saturday, but Yosemite is a good 4 Hour drive from San Fran so surely it can’t be that bad.
Post # 4
SJSIegmann: It’s funny that people associate SF with awesome beaches – the waters are freezing and it’s pretty chilly/windy at all the beaches in the area lol And yes, you can visit Fisherman’s Wharf on a Monday 🙂
Your next step depends on what you plan on doing in Napa/Sonoma or Carmel. I personally like Carmel area better because I feel you have more options in terms of activities. There’s Monterey and Santa Cruz nearby also.
There’s a lot of wine and great food in Napa/Sonoma, and I love the wine tasting tours. Since you say you are more outdoorsy, I’d pick Carmel 🙂
Post # 5
I would skip Sonoma/Napa, and extend your SF trip and Yosemite by a day on either side. You can definitely do Fisherman’s Wharf on Monday (or any day) but it is pretty toursity and a lot more hype than it’s worth, in my opinion.
Post # 6
- Wedding: November 2014 - 11/15/14-Vineyard
It depends what you like to do. SF has sooo much to do and see and great restaurants. Do you like wine tasting? Shopping? Napa is mostly wineries/wine tasting, great restaurants and Carmel is the beach, 21 mile drive and shopping. From either of those places depending on where in Yosemite you go, it will be about a 4 hours+ drive out there. That is a lot of driving in very little time. With you liking hiking, you might want to add another day to Yosemite. Also, make reservations NOW as they book up realllllly fast out there well ahead of time.
Post # 7
SJSIegmann: I used to live in Sonoma county so I’m going to be biased here!
Skip Fisherman’s Wharf. Waaaaaaaaaaaay too touristy. Do you like kooky, fun things? Book a show at Club Fugazi one night in SF. Take a hike in the Marin Headlands (just over the GG bridge and behind it). Extraordinary views of the City through the bridge. Carmel IS gorgeous, but it’s further than Sonoma/Napa and personally I’d rather be doing stuff than driving around. I LOVE Sonoma because it is way less crowded than Napa. Hi 29 in Napa literally gets bumper to bumper. And I 2nd that you should probably spend a bit more time in Yosemite since you are outdoorsy and make reservations ASAP! I think there is only one hotel actually IN Yosemite and that’s probably already booked up. Cute little towns outside of the park, though.
Post # 8
I agree with MrsPierce2014. You are cramming a lot into a week. If sounds like you don’t want to miss yosemite, in which case I would skip carmel and stay in SF longer. Instead spend a Day in Marin County hiking mount tam, going to muir woods, downtown Sausilito, the Maring County Headlands are the BEST VIEW of the golden gate bridge hands down. Marin is just accross the Golden Gate from SF vs the much longer drives to Napa and Carmel.
Instead of yosemite have you thought about roadtripping down highway 1 through Big Sur? It’s absolutely stunning, and you could go at a slower more relaxing pace and hit Carmel on your down. Maybe even fly out of LA so you don’t have to drive back up?
Post # 9
- Wedding: March 2017 - California
I absolutely looooove Napa/Sonoma (and I’m not even a wine-o, I just love the beauty of it), so I wouldn’t cross that off the list. I’d sooner cross Carmel off.
Post # 10
- Wedding: February 2015 - Mount Hermon
SJSIegmann: the beaches here are often gorgeous, but WAY cold. So no worries there.
I agree with other Bees, you’re cramming too much in a week. Carmel is great, and I would do that instead of Napa. But, Yosemite is a long drive out to the east and trying to do both that and SF will waste a lot of time driving. Someone else mentioned the Big Sur area, and I agree. Gorgeous, and much more doable with SF. Do Yosemite in a trip all is own.
I would do SF and Monterey/Carmel/Santa Cruz or SF and Big Sur/Marin/Sausalito. It’ll be more relaxing and less driving, and still plenty of hiking and breathtaking views.
Post # 11
SJSIegmann: I’ve never been to Carmel but I LOVE sonoma and would def. recommend visitng there. If you two like to hike you can get a winery tour package with tastings and they usually do a very small walk through the vineyards and processing areas at some wineries. A few places have super cool wine caves too… We love the Francis Ford Coppola winery just off Hwy 101- they have a big museaum with alot of his movie pieces, two restaurants, a huge vineyard, and a giant pool you can rent a spot at for the day (+ a private cabana) usually with live music… Very fun, and the area is gorgeous! You could get in alot of hiking in Sonoma as well if you want..
We love SF as well, and while Fishermans Wharf is touristy, I still enjoy it simply because it’s got lovely views of the bay & alcatraz, and it’s very convenient- parking isn’t too crazy, and you get so many food options in one place. I will say that we have done both restaurant sit down dining there as well as the outside to-go type food cart type places (usually just an extension of the restaurant) and every single time the sit-down dining has been disappointing. The outside carts/vendors are def. the way to go there! I also like that the ferries going over to alcatraz and bay tours are right there as well. We’ve been to Chinatown and really liked it also- I LOVE dimsum! Haight-Ashbury is really fun with really unique stores, but be prepared for crowds and lots of pot smokers…
Never been to Yosemite, but I love hiking as well and know I would want more time there than a few days….
Post # 12
Thanks for all of your suggestions! Yes, we are trying to cram a lot of things into one week. There are so many other things that we would love to do as well and just don’t have the time/money for it right now. We want a very active trip. We don’t want to find ourselves in our hotel room mid afternoon wondering what now? Driving will be our “down time”.
The reason why I picked the three locations that I did was so that we could get a little taste of everything. Some city-going/site seeing, some california wine country or coastline and some beautiful nature and great hiking. I guess I could cut out a day from the middle location and add it to either SF or Yosemite. I couldn’t imagine cutting Yosemite out of the trip, we are too excited to go there. Too many decisions to make! Thank you again for all of your great suggestions.
Post # 13
Skip Fisherman’s Wharf! Walk or bike across the bridge. Go to Marin Headlands for the gorgeous views! Sonoma/Napa is a must! Have a great time! SF is a beautiful and fun town!