Post # 1
I’m from cali, but never spent much time in norcal/bay area. Our wedding’s in Sonoma in July and we’ll be taking a 3 or 4 day minimoon right after it to unwind and have fun (our honeymoon is delayed til a few months later due to work).
We went to Napa/Sonoma before and loved it and want more time there when we can do it. I love Yosemite (FI’s never been), but I’m nervous that July sounds like a horrible time to go there on a honeymoon (just sounds way too crowded and trafficky)? Ppl who aren’t from cali are always saying to go to Monterey or Carmel but I’ve never been and from googling, I still can’t figure out what those places are like/what you do there/etc.
What do you think? Split and do 2 days Sonoma/Napa and 2 days Yosemite? All Sonoma/Napa? Throw in Monterey or Carmel? Any experiences or advice appreciated.
Post # 3
I am from Cali too and just took a vacation up the coast to Monterey and Carmel. I really liked it up there! We went to the Monterey Bay Aquarium which was awesome! Carmel has a lot of really cute shops and art galleries. The 17 mile drive is a must see too! I would recommend going there for a couple of days and then maybe Big Sur. You could also check out this tiny little town called Cambria. We stopped there by accident because I needed to use the restroom and there isn’t much opportunity along Hwy 1! It was sooo cute! They have some bed and breakfasts and little shops. We didn’t spend much time there but my SO and I both thought it is definitely a place we would like to go back to. It’s close to Hearst Castle too so that could be another thing to check out in the area. Hope this is helpful!
Post # 4
@Shkragoldfish: We did a trip to Sonoma/Napa and then on to Pt. Reyes in August. Pt. Reyes is a little smaller, quieter than Monterey/Carmel but has some lovely restaurants, cute stores, inns, a farmer’s market and the hiking is AMAZING. It’s closer to Sonoma/Napa than Yosemite.
Post # 5
I think there is a lot more to do in Sonoma/Napa. A lot of the larger wineries have some kind of value add – Clos Pegase has amazing modern art, Sterling has a funicular, lots of them do a cheese or other food tasting along with the wine, etc. And Sonoma has a few of the best craft breweries in the country, if you like beer – Lagunitas even has a small outdoor amphitheater where they hold concerts. Carmel/Monterey is nice but tends to be cold and foggy in July (July is the dead of “winter” for many of the bay-adjacent parts of Norcal).
@remijp: Seconding Pt. Reyes. OP, if you like oysters, Tomales Bay Oyster Company has a lovely picnic area right on the water with shuck-your-own-oysters and charcoal grills that is my absolute favorite place to take visitors. Everything but the oysters is BYO so it’s cheap too.
Post # 6
Monterey/Carmel is a good suggestion – and what about Mendocino County? Beautiful wineries, redwoods, gorgeous coast and much less busy than Napa/Sonoma . . .
Post # 7
- Wedding: November 2012 - Oak Tree Manor
@Shkragoldfish: I’ve been to all 3 places and I think it really depends on what ya’ll like to do! If you’re big wine lovers and you won’t have much time during the wedding to do wine tastings, I would stay somewhere romantic in Napa or Sonoma and enjoy some leisurely wine tastings. (We just went the first week of August and the weather was PERFECT – so warm and sunny! We stayed in Calistoga and loved it. I can recommend a couple wineries if you’d like.)
If you want a little more active/urban experience then you can do Carmel/Big Sur and spend a day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. The coastline is gorgeous but the hotels can get pricey so I don’t think staying on the coast would save you any money over staying in Napa/Sonoma. I would be worried about the fog in July though, and there isn’t as much to do if you need activities.
If you are really outdoorsy, Yosemite would be perfect, although it’s a bit of a drive from Sonoma. I don’t think it’s too overrun by tourists in July, depends on which part of the park you go to. Personally, I think it would be an amazing way to unwind after a wedding (we were SO TIRED after our wedding that we slept for 2 or 3 days straight). But if you’re not big on camping/hiking/roughing it, it might not be as relaxing as staying at a hotel or B&B in Napa Valley.
But definitely choose one place and stay there. You don’t want to be doing a ton of driving right after your wedding, because you’ll probably be really tired and just want to relax. I would choose one place and stay for 4 days. If it were us, we’d probably rent a cabin in Yosemite so we could get away from everyone and have some quiet, peaceful time alone.