PDA

View Full Version : Advice needed: Drive from DL to San Fran


Dis Ohana
07-29-2006, 07:35 PM
We are driving from Disneyland to San Francisco in late December. We have about a week to get to SF from Anaheim and thought we'd drive along the coast and stay overnight in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Monterey, then SF for two days. My question is, how is the drive along the coast at that time of year? I've heard that it rains a lot and the roads are somewhat hazardous. Would we be better off just flying into SFO and hanging out in the city?

I know this is off topic, but I've found so much useful advice in planning our vacation on this MB, I figured you all could help me with this too. :thumbsup2

CalGal
07-29-2006, 09:11 PM
Often, it doesn't rain too much until Jan., so you may not have any trouble at all. Even so, you could always have a contingency plan to drive 101 rather than hwy 1. Hwy 101 is not treacherous at all. It's pretty easy to cut over to 101 from Monterey, and both San Luis and Santa Barbara are on 101.

With 3 overnight stays, you are only driving around 2-3 hours per day. You may wish to cut out one of the overnights.

Dis Ohana
07-30-2006, 12:56 AM
Good to know, I think we'll cut San Luis Obispo out of our overnight stay. Thanks so much for the advice.

travelgirl06
07-30-2006, 01:27 AM
I agree, it shouldn't be rainy in December, so you should be fine to drive (if it is raining hard the 101 is a better bet than the 1, but otherwise the 1 is gorgeous!). San Luis Obispo would make a nice midday stop between SB and Monterey. There are a lot of nice beaches nearby (Pismo Beach & Avila Beach south of San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay to the north). SB to Monterey should only be 4-5 hours of driving, so you should easily be able to slip in some time on the central coast on your way up. There are some fun elephant seals near Cambria (right off the 1) that merit a quick visit.

Disneyanajc
07-30-2006, 12:27 PM
Your trip up the coast will be beautiful, you may run into rain, but as the other poster stated you can always cut over to 101. Our favorite stop is in Cambria, we get a hotel on Moonstone Beach Drive, great views, great beach. A wonderful place to have dinner in Cambria is Brambles. For dessert ask for the Brandy Ice. Oh and you can always go to Hearst Castle and do one of the tours.
JC

ps from Disneyland to Cambria is about a 4 hour drive on 101.

Niele
07-30-2006, 06:44 PM
Totally agree with all above. If you don't want to stop in SLO you could always stay in Morro Bay, they've got some great seafood and beautiful views. You can do a quick stop at Montana de Oro (park along the coastline at lower end of Morro Bay), beachcombing is really fun there. You might have to deal with some rain on the drive but, who knows with the weather lately, it may be the most fantastic driving weather. We drove it during late November a few years back and had no problem. Don't forget to stop at Mavericks - huge, powerful, incredible waves during winter..... Enjoy!!!

Dis Ohana
07-31-2006, 01:19 PM
Thanks for all the feedback, I feel a lot better about making the drive knowing I can get on the 101 if need be.
I've revised the plan a little based on your reccomendations, how does this itinerary sound?:

Saturday afternoon: Leave Disneyland ( :sad2: )
drive to Santa Barbara (thought we'd check out Stearns Pier and walk around downtown area)

Sunday: Visit Santa Barbara Mission Homes; leave SB around noon.
Leave SB with stops in Solvang and Pismo Beach; stay overnight in San Luis Obispo. (Would Morro Bay or Cambria be a nicer place to stay?)

Monday: Leave SLO and stop over in Cambria and Morro Bay; drive to Pacific Grove for a 2-night stay. Is Pacific Grove area a nice place to stay?

Tuesday: Visit Monterey Aquarium and Cannery Row. Visit Carmel. Stay another night in Pacific Grove.

Wednesday: Leave Monterey with a stop in Santa Cruz; stay 2 nights in San Francisco.
While in SF I thought we'd visit Fisherman's Wharf; Ghiradelli Square; Ride cable cars; visit the Golden Gate Park. Any other suggestions?

Friday: We will be driving to Yosemite early Saturday morning, the cost of hotels goes up quite a bit on the weekends, so I thought we'd get out of town and possibly stay at Half Moon Bay overnight.

My children are 11 & 13. We are from Hawaii and the only other time they've been off the island was to go to Disneyland. I'm so excited about this trip and want to make it special for them. I know this is way off topic for this board, and I thank you for taking time to answer my questions.

denyd
07-31-2006, 03:52 PM
One more thing to checkout before you finalize your plans is the Rachel Ray Tasty Treats & $40 a day show on the Central Coast of California. They were both on last Saturday night. Check the Food Network.com web site for the re-run schedule. These shows point out some great places to see from Monterey Bay to San Luis Obispo, including Cambria & Morro Bay.

wdwfanatic
07-31-2006, 05:17 PM
I have a ? We will be driving from Monterey to the Hollywood area and does anyone know about how long that will take? Most of the time we will probably be on the coastal highway.

pxlbarrel
07-31-2006, 05:40 PM
We did that route a few years ago but in August (DL to San Jose...ok, not San Francisco but the same area).

It actually became a mission tour...we stopped at all the missions. Unintentional at first but then it became a thing. LOL

We took our time going up the coast. We stopped an San Simeon to do a tour of William Randolph Hearst's mansion.

But the thing I remember is having a huge ice cream cone in San Luis Obispo. It was in an ice cream shoppe that had been featured on the Food Network. OMG, it as very yummy and very filling.

We also ended up staying overnight in Carmel because there were no rooms left in Monterey. That was ok because we did the 17 mile drive early in the morning before it got crowded and it was beautiful.

Niele
07-31-2006, 06:45 PM
Wow, Dis Ohana, that sounds almost like the trip we took a few years ago. Hit Disneyland and Universal Studios, then drove up the coast to Morro and stayed at the Embarcadero Inn #888-223-5777(watched sea lions on the balcony and had fire place in rooms), then drove up to Monterey and stayed at the Monterey Plaza Hotel #800-368-2468 (more sea lions and otters from balcony), hit the aquarium and drove "17 mile drive", then over to Yosemite at the Ahwahnee Hotel #559-253-5635 (watched bears from our window), then up to Lake Tahoe for some skiing then to Bodega Bay and the Inn at the Tides #800-541-7788, and then drove down the coast and finally got to San Francisco. There is a great place, the Wharf Inn #877-275-7889, they have a 2 BR "penthouse/family suite" (nothing that fancy, I think it was only the 4th floor, but it had a lanai with table and chairs looking right out over the wharf area and another smaller lanai looking straight up to downtown, really cool views and so close to the fresh fish/cioppino at the market - we'd grab some and take it up to the room). We are also from Hawaii and it was our daughter's first trip to the mainland, and she was about 18 at the time!!!! You will have a total blast. Just make sure you stop alot to stretch your legs and take lots of pictures. :goodvibes

DisQueen
07-31-2006, 07:48 PM
If you are in Cambria for a meal, try Lynn's. It's great food and suitable for a family. It's a local's favorite and known for their baked goods and gift foods like preserves. I think there's one in San Luis also. Depending on your kids, you might prefer a night in Morro Bay vs. Cambria. Morro Bay beaches are good for beachcombing, even when it's chilly. Cambria is beautiful, but it's lots of B&B's and little shops.

travelgirl06
08-01-2006, 12:03 AM
San Luis Obispo has an Embassy Suites that is nice for the family, each suite is two rooms (a bedroom and a living room with a pull out couch), plus you get free breakfast and cocktail hour, there are also hot tubs (inside and out) and an indoor pool. The only disadvantage is that you are about 15-20 minutes from the beach, but you are in a town with lots of great food and tons to do. If you decide to stay in Morro or Cambria, I would recommend reading other DISers suggestion to make sure you get a great hotel (both of these towns are on/very near the water, but they are smaller towns so it depends what you're looking for).

Dis Ohana
08-01-2006, 12:59 AM
One more thing to checkout before you finalize your plans is the Rachel Ray Tasty Treats & $40 a day show on the Central Coast of California. They were both on last Saturday night. .

I can't believe I missed this show! The next one is in September, I already set up a reminder so I can watch it then. Thanks!

Niele: I am checking out the hotels you suggested, sounds like what we're looking for. Thanks for passing that info along. We're renting a house in Yosemite West closer to the Badger Pass - hopefully there will be snow when we're there. This will be the first time we all see snow (not counting Maunakea :rotfl: )! We are planning on visiting Awahnee for the Sunday brunch.

Travelgirl: We're going to book at Embassy Suites; we definitely could use some room on a trip this long. We will spend time at Morro Bay and Cambria, looks like there are some great restaurants there. Definitely will try Lynn's as DisQueen suggested. And the ice cream at SLO that pxlbarrel suggested! That sounds good.. :thumbsup2

Thank you all for the great suggestions. I know it's a way off but I'm so excited. I don't know anywhere else that I would have got such great information. Thank you so much! :wave2:

Niele
08-01-2006, 02:08 PM
Now I'm really jealous - I want to go. As for snow, you'll almost definitely see it in Yosemite. We had great snow there at Thanksgiving time. One suggestion, rent an SUV with snow or all-weather tires and/or be sure to take chains. There are some roads during winter which, depending on the weather, may require this. You WILL have a great time. Aloha!

Dis Ohana
08-02-2006, 04:57 AM
I called Budget to ask about all weather tires and chains - they said they don't rent cars that way and discourage customers from driving in the snow. Do you know where I could rent a car that comes with these things? I am renting the car in Anaheim. Thanks!

Niele
08-02-2006, 01:59 PM
We've always used Hertz and they do have "winterized" suv's. We've got one reserved for our February ski trip to Tahoe. It costs like $8-$10 more per day but it comes with ice scrapper, ski racks and snow or all weather tires. You can check it out online at their website, you can pick the "extras" at the bottom when you're picking out the car. We usually get a car with the navigation system too. I'm not too good with directions on the mainland ..... :cloud9:

jlmarr
08-02-2006, 03:55 PM
If you are so inclined you might have dinner at the Hitching Post in Buellton (same exit off the 101 to get to Solvang). This is the restaurant that was featured in the movie "Sideways":

http://www.hitchingpost2.com/restaurant.html

Leofoenget
08-03-2006, 10:32 PM
Actually Monterey in December is wonderful. I would say do the drive in 2 days it will be nice.

Dis Ohana
08-04-2006, 01:59 AM
Niele: I tried the Hertz website and did not see the "winterized" option. I'll call directly to see if they can add it on. Mahalo!

jlmarr: I love Sideways! I'm going to watch that movie again before our trip. Thanks for the link for the Hitching Post, the menu looks great. We're going to try to stop there for dinner.

Leo: Thanks for the comment on Monterey; we weren't really sure what to expect weather wise and wasn't sure if a two night stay would be two too many.

Thank you all again for your advice. If anyone else has suggestions on where to eat or what to do I'd love to hear it.

:wave2:

pxlbarrel
08-04-2006, 04:04 PM
Ohh....if you like garlic....there's a garlic restaurant. The Stinking Rose. There's one in San Francisco and there's one in Los Angeles (Beverly Hills). I've been to both and I absolutely love it. Try the garlic ice cream with mole sauce. It's amazingly good!

If you go to the Beverly Hills restaurant, asked to be put in the Vampire Room. Great decor with Bela Legosi watching you dine.

http://www.thestinkingrose.com/

Dis Ohana
08-05-2006, 01:27 AM
pxl: Thanks for posting that menu. I've heard of the Stinking Rose, but til now had no idea why it was called that! :confused3 I thought it was some sort of cactus. :rotfl: I looked at the delicious menu and the pictures of the restaurant; what a cool place to eat. I'll definitely try to talk the family into eating here when we're in SF.

minnietoo
08-05-2006, 10:58 AM
Have you thought of stopping in Pismo Beach area to view the monarchs? They travel - and nest in the eucalyptus trees at Pismo from Oct-Jan. When driving - be careful as you may have some suicide bombers hit your windshield.

Hi - I just registered today - have been having fun lurkering but can't keep my comments to myself anylonger :sunny:

Leofoenget
08-05-2006, 03:52 PM
they did a bit on it on the Food Network. It looks like a wonderful restaurant. Look it up on food network or google it.

I think they were on the local food show on the radio today too.

Dis Ohana
08-06-2006, 04:21 AM
Minnietoo: Welcome to the DIS Boards :wave2: ! We are definitely making a stop at Pismo Beach; my daughter loves butterflies and won't believe her eyes. Thanks!

Leo: I keep missing good shows on Food Network. I'm going to have to start taping episodes!

Niele
08-07-2006, 03:32 PM
I agree completely with pxlbarrel, the Stinking Rose is a great restaurant in SF. It's not too big so you may want to try and get reservations if they offer them. Parking was a little bit of a hassle, too. Maybe a cab for that night or if not too cold walking around the city in it's holiday decorations is really fun. I still use my coffee mug daily which I purchased when we were there a few years ago. Don't forget to get down to Fishermans wharf for some fresh seafood, yummmmmm!!

Judy from Boise
08-07-2006, 06:36 PM
this has a lot of great info....so I am going to move it to the board where it fits the best.....just follow the link !

pxlbarrel
08-07-2006, 08:14 PM
I agree completely with pxlbarrel, the Stinking Rose is a great restaurant in SF. It's not too big so you may want to try and get reservations if they offer them. Parking was a little bit of a hassle, too. Maybe a cab for that night or if not too cold walking around the city in it's holiday decorations is really fun. I still use my coffee mug daily which I purchased when we were there a few years ago. Don't forget to get down to Fishermans wharf for some fresh seafood, yummmmmm!!

I have that mug too!!! We walked from Fisherman's Wharf to the restaurant but it was the middle of summer when we did that. We took a cab back to the the train station after dinner (we were commuting from San Jose).

You can make ressies on the internet...well, that's how I did it a couple of years ago. I assume they're still doing it that way.

Oh and remember that SF is the home of Ghiradelli Chocolate!!!!!! Downtown Disney's not the only place to get that yummy stuff. hehehehe

If your little one likes sea lions, there's a pier that has a gazillion of them just lying about. (ummmm....talk about "sea" air...ugh) :lmao:

SF is one of my favourite places. :goodvibes

Dis Ohana
08-08-2006, 01:28 AM
Thanks for moving this thread, Judy. I had no idea this forum existed!

Niele
08-08-2006, 12:53 PM
That pier with all the sea lions is part of the view from the Wharf Inn's upstairs 2BR "family suite". We'd go out on the lanai every morning with our coffee and watch them... we could hear them very clearly all day long. It was so much fun. What a great view.

Judy from Boise
08-08-2006, 06:06 PM
Thanks for moving this thread, Judy. I had no idea this forum existed!

you're welcome ! Hope you pick up more good info.......there is alo a CA/West trip report board.

Make sure to change your preferences to see "all " of the posts!

Uuaww
08-14-2006, 10:56 PM
I saw the words San Luis Obispo and had to come running. That is my hometown, I go to college at Cal Poly, and I know EVERYTHING about the city. Some must hits are The Madonna Inn (men get ready for the best piss of your life, no joke) Pismo Beach with lunch at Splash Cafe (make sure to get clam chowder in a bread bowl) and in downtown San Luis Obispo you should visit "The Gum Wall", it's classy.

Uuaww
08-14-2006, 10:59 PM
If your staying in San Luis Obispo, and if possible stay at the Madonna Inn, no 2 rooms are the same, and man those bathrooms...

pxlbarrel
08-14-2006, 11:26 PM
If your staying in San Luis Obispo, and if possible stay at the Madonna Inn, no 2 rooms are the same, and man those bathrooms...

LOL I wish I'd known you a few years ago. We stayed at some Best Western (it was ok) across from a McDonalds on what looked like an isolated area. The McDonalds started to close at 10 pm!!! Yikes!!!

The mission in SLO was one of our visits in our impromptu mission tour. :)

Uuaww
08-14-2006, 11:46 PM
yeah it sucks, there are no drive thrus in slo and all the fast food joints (expect T-bell and Jack) close at 10, it blows.

Uuaww
08-14-2006, 11:49 PM
oh and here is a list of the madonna inn rooms with pictures:
http://www.madonnainn.com/tour/index.asp

Uuaww
08-15-2006, 12:01 AM
sorry to make so many posts but i forgot to mention one thing. about 1 hour north of San Luis Obispo is a city called King City, DO NOT SPEED HERE. If you are going 5 mph over, they will pull you over and the will give you a ticket. even if you are going the speed of traffic, it doesn't matter, they will always so after the non-locals, and esspecially the college students (grrr). just a heads up.

Dis Ohana
08-15-2006, 12:41 AM
Wow...great tips, Uuaww..thanks! Is the Madonna Inn kid friendly? It looks great, we're definitely checking this place out. Any reccomendations on where to eat breakfast?

Uuaww
08-15-2006, 12:33 PM
The Madonna Inn is kid friendly to an extent, but in reality its just a really really strange hotel that many people get a kick out of. Breakfast food isn't something college students usually eat with the exception of Jamba Juice. But Margies Diner has some good food and it is def. some homestyle breakfast cooking.

Leofoenget
08-15-2006, 06:05 PM
The Madonna Inn is kid friendly to an extent, but in reality its just a really really strange hotel that many people get a kick out of. Breakfast food isn't something college students usually eat with the exception of Jamba Juice. But Margies Diner has some good food and it is def. some homestyle breakfast cooking.


Does the Madonna Inn still have a tiger in a cage??

poor tiger

jan

Uuaww
08-15-2006, 10:30 PM
no its gone.

tinkermell
08-19-2006, 09:40 AM
My vote for food??? Splash Cafe at Pismo Beach!!! Great clam chowder and burgers and just fun. Expect looooong lines to order. But that is a good sign. It's right on the main street up from the pier with lots of things to see and do. Have fun. Oh and right down the street towards the pier, is the store (Hot Licks??) that was on the Travel Channel for having the candy with insects inside. A one of a kind thing. Yucky, but fun! Good grief while I'm on the subject, how could I forget the cinnamon roll store?? The original place for the best cinnamon rolls that you find at county fairs. It's around the corner up the street. Just ask for directions. Anyone will know. :tinker:

Uuaww
08-25-2006, 05:31 PM
Splash is a lot easier now since they opened one in downtown SLO, college kids use that one.