(Closed) California Road Trip – Need Tips – Part 2!

posted 7 years ago in Travel
Post # 3
207 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

@kmarie719:  This is just my opinion, and maybe I am biased because I live near LA. But I would definitely shorten the time in LA for more time in San Fran. I feel like one day in LA is plenty to see some of the sites. However, there is SO SO SO much to do in San Fran. I have gone to San Fran almost every year for the past three or four years and we still have not done everything that there is to do there. There is just SO much. It’s one of my favorite cities, not to mention is has THE best food. (Go to Tartines bakery and Zacharys Pizza!!!!!) 

Also, you could go to Napa Valley, which has some AMAZING wine tasting. You won’t regret stopping at Korbel Winery. It’s my favorite.

As far as San Diego, I LOVE the Gas Lamp District and we stay there almost every time we go. It is nice to be able to hit up some of the bars and restaurants and gets some drinks without having to worry about driving, because you can walk from place to place! 

Post # 4
7199 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2015

@kmarie719:  What are you planning to do in Eureka? Because while a stop there is good to break up your drive, I really don’t see spending that much time there. Ain’t much going on. 

Los Angeles: You will be able to see the Hollywood sign while just driving around, so unless you plan to hike closer, don’t worry about it. The walk of fame is, like, miles and mostly covered in urine. If you want to stop at the Chinese theater and look at the few stars on the walk there, that will give you the “touristy” feel but is going to take all of maybe an hour. So yeah, you could do LA in a day if you just want to hit a couple tourist spots. In that case, I’d head up and stop in Monterrey or Cambria/San Simeon if you’re interested in Herst Castle. 

San Diego: I would stay in the Gaslamp and drive out to the beach. Coronado is too far out and you’ll end up spending most of your time there. You could just go out for a day and come back in but if you want to be able to walk to eat & drink, the Gaslamp is really the way to go. I think I mentioned this on the last thread- but the South Park area has some great food and shopping. It’s a fun spot to walk around.

San Francisco- It sounds like you have a great plan! I would try to hit China Town or Japan Town also, but I really like Asian food so maybe that’s why 🙂 


Post # 5
9841 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

I personally would stay one night in the Carmel/Monterey area. Otherwise you’re driving what…like 8 hours in a day (providing traffic isn’t horrendous)? Plus that would give you time to explore Big Sur a little bit more. It’s not really an area I would just drive through.

Post # 7
7199 posts
Busy Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2015

View original reply
@kmarie719: Well…. if you’re really into Asian food you might want to stay in LA another day and hit the San Gabriel Valley. Arcadia, Monterey Park, etc are chock full of Asian restaurants. You could just try to hit dimsum for breakfast on your way out of town though. 

Eureka IS a good stopping point… just not someplace I would stay more than one night. It’s small and boring, but so is everything else between Sonoma and Portland. Personally, I would stay one night there just to break up the drive and use the extra night somewhere else… LA, SF or Portland. 

Post # 8
5217 posts
Bee Keeper

Here is the hard sell for Brooke dale lodge and Big basin again 🙂 

Big basin:




The Lodge:

Post # 9
1228 posts
Bumble bee

Eek, try to just skip Eureka and Portland.. Why not south lake tahoe? You will never see a more beautiful lake.. But it also could be snowing depending on your trip.

I agree with some of the other posters. Carmel is THE place to stop at.. It’s gorgeous.

Also, don’t spend so much time in LA. I’ve been there a million times and there’s not much to see. Definitely spend more time in SF. It’s so beautiful and has so much amazing history. Maybe try to visit Alcatraz or Angel Island?

Post # 10
5892 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

View original reply
@kmarie719:  This is what I would do:

Day 1- Arrive San Diego. Afternoon and Evening see the sights, spend the night

Day 2- Morning, see sights in San Diego or start drive up the coast. Stop for Brunch/Lunch somewhere along the coast like San Capistrano or Laguna Beach. Arrive in LA Afternoon. Afternnon/Evening in LA. (I would see Mann’s Chinese Theater area in the afternoon. Then go to Santa Monica for dinner and ride the Ferris Wheel. I love seeing well known landmarks so when I watch TV/Movies I see them and I remember my awesome trip)

Day 3- If you are a TV/Movie person I would do a Warner Brother’s tour (make sure to make a reservation) in the morning. Or see other things in the morning. Or just get on the road. If you take PCH the entire way, it will take 8+ hours to get to Carmel/Montery. So lunch on the road. Dinner on the road or in Carmel/Montery. 

Day 4- Breakfast and Lunch in Carmel/Montery. Drive to SF. Afternoon and evening in SF. Spend the night.

Day 5- SF

Day 6- SF 

Day 7- Leave very, very early. Drive to either Humbolt Redwood National Park (south of Eureka) or the Redwood National Park (North of Eureka). Afternoon in the park. Spend the night near the park.

Day 8- Leave early. Drive to Portland. Evening in Portland. Spend the night 

Day 9- Portland

Day 10- Morning in Portland, Leave 5pm.


That give you in each city (depending when you leave to drive):

San Diego- .5-1 day

LA-.5-1.5 days

SF- 2.5

Portland- 1.5


Post # 12
5892 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: October 2010

View original reply
@kmarie719:  Glad I could help and have a fun and safe trip!

Post # 13
2511 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: December 2009



We’ve been to CA 3 times now (driven from Oklahoma) & the first time we went, our destination was San Fran. It was awesome. So totally different from anywhere I’ve ever been. TAKE COMFORTABLE SHOES. That’s all I can say because we walked so much I got the most horrible blisters I’ve ever had in my life!! Also, make sure to cross the GG BRIDGE.. We didn’t & I regret that. We were going to walk across it but hubby chickened out & I started by myself then I chickened out too! Lol.


Lastly, I see your drive involves highway 1 up the CA coast. Be prepared. That road is nothing to play with. Had I known what was involved we would have gone a different route. See, here in Oklahoma we don’t have 2-lane cliff side highways without guard rails hundreds of feet above a crashing ocean.. Don’t get me wrong, it is GORGEOUS, but it’s a good thing you’re traveling NORTH on it instead of south, because at least you’ll be hugging the mountain instead of riding on the edge. The further north you go the crazier it gets. At first you’ll be like “Oh this isn’t so bad…” Well, just wait awhile lol. The hairpin turns are NUTS & the speed limit is like 35 MPH. Oh & when we went THERE WAS A CONSTRUCTION ZONE. On the tiny cliff side road! Omg I almost had a panic attack. Seriously, the bees warned ME about that road a few years back when I asked for similar advice. I am now the proud owner of a bumper sticker that says “I survived Highway 1”. True story. 


Be be safe & have fun!


Post # 14
2831 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2014

View original reply
@kmarie719:  Yes; Carmel would probably be a must see (going for my honeymoon).

Post # 15
2389 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

We did a very similar trip last summer!!!  But we only went as far north as Napa.  In San Diego, I would recommend NOT staying in the Gaslamp.  It’s really just a few restaurants and bars and hotels – frankly you could be in Indianapolis and not know the difference.  We stayed on Shelter Island at the Best Western Plus Island Palms and it was great!!!  Gorgeous pool, great view – we felt like we were on a tropical island.  And it’s much closer to the rest of the city than Coronado.  Also, the zoo is NOT to be missed.  It was our second favorite thing of the whole trip.  The first being . . .

The Monterey Bay Aquarium.  For real the coolest place ever.  They have an awesome fine dining restaurant IN the aquarium where you can look out over the bay while you eat.  If you’re planning to stay in Carmel one night, I highly recommend the Carmel Mission Inn.  Monterey and Carmel are very close together.  

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