(Closed) Our Hwy 1 Golden Coast Road Trip to San Francisco Honeymoon!!! Ideas??!!

posted 5 years ago in Honeymoons
Post # 4
Member
5 posts
Newbee

Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur. It has purple sand!  The pictures look gorgeous. I hope to go there myself one day. 

Post # 5
Member
731 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: March 2013

Don’t know how far south you are starting on hwy 1, but La Jolla is gorgeous! I’m a San Diego native, and that’s where I always take my out of town visitors. That’s actually where we’re getting married, too! 🙂 If you decide to stop there, I suggest La Jolla Cove and the Children’s Pool, where you can get really up close with seals. As you make your way North, if you want to move a little bit inland, I definitely think the J. Paul Getty museum in Los Angeles is worth it. Admission is free, parking is $15. Bring food and picnic in the gardens in between exhibits. It’s absolutely gorgeous, and almost like a retreat! The other thing I can think of is Tomales Bay for oysters. YUM. I also suggest you spend a lot of time in SF! The food, history, architecture, nature, and sights are just too awesome to rush through!

Post # 6
Hostess
11168 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

@jackchi:  First I hope you have an iron stomach! Most Californians know that taking Highway 1 all the way up the coast not only takes forever but leaves even the strongest of us feeling quite ill. I might suggest taking Highway 101 and cutting in to bits that you love and must see or perhaps taking it only from Hearst Castle up to Big Sur and then cutting back in. I by no means want to rain on your parade, just a thought.

If you do decide to stay on the 101 for a bit there is the famous Madonna Inn, definitely worth stopping for food and to take a few pictures. The place is incredible. Also on the 101 near the Central California area is the adorable Dutch town of Solvang. Fun to stop.

For Big Sur make sure to stop and eat at Nepenthe’s near Big Sur National Park. Beautiful view and delicious food. A few miles down the road towards Monterey you will find a small sign and steep hill for Pfeiffer Beach…take it! It is one of the most stunning locations with beautiful rock formations. Don’t be afraid of the small road, you aren’t lost. The turn is easy to miss so keep an eye out and don’t be afraid to ask the locals for help.

In Monterey the hotels are pretty expensive BUT there are a few that are reasonable and clean. Lover’s Point Inn and the Super 8 (crazy I know!) are clean, recently renovated and we have stayed there on quick getaways before. We typically stay at the Monterey Park Plaza Hotel (pricey) so if you don’t stay there at the very least go inside, walk around and sit on the deck and have a drink…amazing view of the bay. If you have time definitely check out the Aquarium it is worth it. They have a cute restaurant inside (not the cafe) that has pretty good food and a great view of the bay as well….guaranteed to see seals, otters, sea lions etc during your meal.

For San Francisco please make sure you book your Alcatraz tour as soon as possible, don’t wait until you are here. I would hate for you to miss out and they do book up quickly. Definitely check out Muir Woods, it is gorgeous, but be prepared for cooler weather, fog and rain in April. If you love chocolate walk over from Pier 39 to the Trolley Station and Ghiradelli’s Square and have some ice cream, hot chocolate or something else decadent. You can also take a trolley ride from here if you like. We have those Red Bus Tours that might be a good option instead of driving around the city…which isn’t easy, even for the most seasoned of us.

If you have time I definitely suggest driving 40 minutes North of San Fran to the beautiful wine country (where I live). It is a gorgeous drive and well we have wine. 😉

Happy Planning!

Post # 7
Member
2969 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

omg, i loooove big sur and the whole monteray area! i’ve been going on vacation there since i was a little kid. my husband had never been there before, but he joined us for the first time 2 summers ago and he loves it now too!

pfeiffer big sur state park is beautiful! that’s where we always go camping and where my husband and i took our engagement pictures. i believe it’s $10 to get in. there are hiking trails if you’re into hiking, but it’s nice to just sit along the river and enjoy the park too.

in monterey, 17-mile drive is worth a look. it’s really pretty!

there are light house tours you can take, but i believe they’re a little on the pricey side. i’ve never done one, so i can’t really say if it would be worth it or not.

i love going to fisherman’s wharf/cannery row and sampling all the clam chowder!

every tuesday there is a farmer’s market in monterey. it’s right there buy fisherman’s wharf. there’s always cool stuff to check out and good food too!

the monterey bay aquarium is also really cool!

carmel is also a nice little town in the area. clint eastwood’s restaurant “the hog’s breath” is located there. i’ve eaten there once. there are pics and movie props in the restaurant. it was pretty cool.

as far as san simeon, i’ve only been there a few times.

every year elephant seals gather on the beach for birthing/breeding, but i believe they go back to the ocean in feb/march, so you may miss them.

morro bay and cambria are also nice to check out.

so excited for you!

Post # 8
Member
1663 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

So fun!

I did this with my fiance a couple of years ago, sort of– we started in San Diego, stayed there for a few says, and drove up the coast through SF and into Sonoma County (wine country).  We drove back down to San Diego to fly home.

Are you starting as far south as SD?  There’s lots of fun and beautiful stuff to do/see around there– I would recommend Coronado, Old Town, La Jolla, Mission Beach (really any beaches)… If you head north from there you can stop at lots of amazing beaches on the way up north.

I’d second PPs who suggested using Highway 101 as well as 1– it will take you way longer to just use 1, and you can still see lots of good stuff using both roads.  CHeck out Tripadvisor– when we were planning this trip there were some forums that discussed how to separate out which highway on which parts.

We stayed in Cambria, which is just before you hit Big Sur heading north.  Our hotel was cute and much nicer than I anticipated– a little hidden gem!  It’s on a main road, but quiet, and the beach is right across the street.  We got in super late (estimated time badly) and they’d left the key out for us.  It’s the Little Sur Inn (http://www.orbitz.com/hotel/United_States–CA/Cambria/Little_Sur_Inn.h115556/?WT.tsrc=Ops&WT.mc_ev=emailclick&WT.dcsvid=51795090).

Big Sur is amazing– plan to stop lots to take pictures and appreciate the view.  It was just incredible.

If you have the budget for it I’d rent a convertible.  We did that for this trip– SO worth it.  It feels like you’re part of the landscape.

I’d also second recommendations to spend time in San Fran itself, and Sonoma County.  I love those areas!!  Oh, in SF, take the ferry to Sausalito, fun day trip to walk around.  And have drinks at the Top of the Mark, amazing views of the city.  And have Mexican food in the Mission district (tons of amazing little taquerias).

Having done this drive and then driving back down to SD to the airport– I would recommend making the drive one-way if possible for you at all.  WE didn’t plan that way because it was more expensive, but it was annoying to spend an entire LONG day driving back down just to fly out.  And it was only one day because we took Highway 5 rather than either of the coastal routes– but 5 is SUPER boring and just full of trucks.  If we did it again, we’d fly out of SF to cut off that part.

Post # 9
Member
752 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Subscribing to this because it’s on our ‘bucket list’ before we consider having kids, I definitely want this for future planning!

Post # 10
Member
752 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

Also I’d add consider Pricelining your hotels in the major cities, you can be very central for a good price!

Post # 11
Member
38 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: September 2012 - Bailey's Palomar Resort

We went to a wedding in Avila Beach last year and it was Beautiful! Mr. B always says he wants to go spend the weekend there! It’s on the south end of San Luis Obispo. Also, Santa Barbara is really pretty, but it depends where on the coast you’re actually beginning the trip! There are also tons of places in San Diego/Orange County that are great, but knowing where Havasu is, my guess is you will start more around the LA area?

Post # 12
Member
228 posts
Helper bee

If you like wine and/or beer, there are a ton of stops you can take on the drive.  Lost Coast Brewery, Anderson Valley Brewing Company, Lagunitas, and Bear Republic for beer, for example.  I’ve also heard there is some great beer in San Diego.  For wine, there is so much to be had all the way up and down the coast — Sonoma/Napa is an obvious choice, but also Paso Robles (which is a growing wine country close to where Hearst Castle is), Santa Barbara, Mendocino Valley, Santa Cruz, Monterey, and many more…

If you like cute little towns, between Eureka and San Francisco on the coast is Fort Bragg, and south of San Francisco is Half Moon Bay.  Monterey and Paso Robles are also beautiful places to stay for a night or two.

If you like hiking, there is a ton of that as well…definitely include a redwood forest hike (maybe around Eureka), or at least a redwood drive, such as the Avenue of Giants.  Mt. Tamalpias (where we got married a year and a half ago, just north of San Francisco) has some nice hiking as well.

Post # 13
Member
104 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2013

I second the vote for Nepenthe in Big Sur. Leave time to get lost in the store as well.

Post # 14
Hostess
11168 posts
Sugar Beekeeper

@paperwhite:  Hooray for another fan!! I have been going there since I was a child and I rarely run into people that know about it. 🙂

Post # 15
Member
2551 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@Treejewel19:  I second the 101 suggestion as well. While the 1 is a gorgeous drive, it’s alot of hairpin turns, steep mountain grades, and high cliffs over the ocean with no guard rails. NOT my cup of tea- my poor Fiance had to drive the whoel way. We drove it from SF north to Eureka (which requires a little bit of time on the 101 anyway) when we visited out here before moving. FYI- from SF to Eureka north on the 1 (connecting at Bodega Bay) it took us 8+ hrs, however the same trip on the 101 takes half the time, or 4 hours. Ya, its a nice drive but so is the 101 in the area north of SF. If you are really still set on it then I’d recommend Sea Glass Beach in Ft. Bragg, the coastal town of Mendocino (great arts & wine), Mendocino Brewing Co., any of the wineries along the coast there… And I wouldn’t bother with a convertible, at least here north of SF you’d get zero use out of it as the coastal weather is mostly foggy & chilly in the summertime. I’ve never been south on the 1- going north left me with no desire to ever traverse that road again! 

@instantcoffee:  I live in Eureka now & Ave. of the Giants is a must-see if you are in the area, as is the Carson Mansion (used as the haunted house in Salem’s Lot & a few disney films), Trees of Mystery, Klamath River Jetboats, & the sleepy town of Trinidad….

Post # 16
Member
6124 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: August 2012

Airbnb.com is a great way to find spare guest rooms or empty homes and apartments for decent prices. 

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