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Old 06-29-2012, 09:06 PM   #1
bamagirl@hrt
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Please Critique My San Fran, Monterey, Yosemite Itinerary

My family of four (me, DH, DD14, DS11) will be visiting California for the first time October 6-13. I have done a lot of research on TripAdvisor and in materials from AAA. However, I would love opinions/suggestions/input from my fellow DISers. Here is the plan:

Sat, 10/6: Arrive at SFO around 1pm. Get luggage & rental car & head south via Hwy 1. Stop at Half Moon Bay on way to Santa Cruz, where we will spend the night at the Dream Inn. If time, maybe do Natural Bridge St. Park and/or Henry Cowell Park for redwoods.

Sun, 10/7: I hope to get reservations for the pontoon tour at Elkhorn Slough. Then drive south along Hwy 1 to admire the Pacific coast. I would like to make it down to McWay Falls, with stops along the way before turning around to head back to Monterey. Maybe spend some time at Point Lobos on this day. Am I cramming too much in here?

We'll be staying at Best Western Beach Resort for 2 nights.

Mon, 10/8: Begin the day with a whale watching tour. Seeing a whale in the wild is on my bucket list. Prices here seem much more reasonable that in Alaska. I am a little worried about getting seasick, but plan to take all precautions I can. After tour, walk around Cannery and Fisherman's Wharf. Late afternoon at Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Tues, 10/9: Head to Yosemite. I realize that we will barely scratch the surface of what Yosemite has to offer. However, we really want to see what we can. It may inspire a return trip someday. We plan to enter the park at the south and see the Mariposa Grove. Then drive north, with a stop at Glacier Point, then continuing to the Yosemite Valley. We will spend one night at the Ahwahnee (my 20th anniversary gift to my husband).

Wed, 10/10: Reservations for 2 hour Valley Floor tour at 10am. Sightsee until 1-2pm, then head west to San Francisco.

We will spend 3 nights at the Argonaut in SF.

Thurs, 10/11: Dylan's Sightseeing tour, ending in Sausalito. Explore Sausalito & take ferry back. Plan to get Alcatraz tickets at 90 day mark. Hoping for the night tour either Thursday or Friday night.

Fri, 10/12: Cable car ride, ferry building, Ghiradelli Sq, Golden Gate Park, Walt Disney Museum, or whatever else strikes our fancy on last full day.

Sat, 10/13: Back to SFO where flight leaves at 10:00am


What do you think? I know we're packing a lot into a week, but we like to see as much as possible. If, by chance, the Giants make the playoffs and there is a game while we're in SF, my son would love to go. He's a big baseball fan.

Thanks so much for your help!
Christy
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Old 06-29-2012, 09:18 PM   #2
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The Best Western Beach Resort gets a from me--right on the beach--Loved it. Make sure you get to McWay Falls as it is spectacular!!!
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Old 06-29-2012, 10:30 PM   #3
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Sounds good. When we where in SF last year we got a bus tour that had hop on /off for 2 days. It hit a lot of the areas you want to see. Plus it went across the Golden Gate Bridge . You could get off at the observation sites on each side to take photos.
If your SFHotel is the one by Fishermans Wharf/Ghiradelli Sq. you can walk down to take a ferry over to Sausalito. We have done that on our last 2 trips to SF. We went over in the morning walked around had lunch then came back early in the afternoon.
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Old 06-30-2012, 12:29 PM   #4
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Sounds like a great trip to me. Your first Yosemite day is cram-packed, with the drive from Monterey, Mariposa Grove, and Glacier Point. But if you leave Monterey first thing in the AM, you should be able to do it. You're also wise to be scheduling your whale watching cruise for the first thing in the AM. I've been out on Monterey Bay a lot. The winds usually kick up in the afternoon, starting about 1PM or so. So it's not at all uncommon to have the morning cruises be beautiful, glass calm affairs; and afternoon cruises to be rocking and rolling with passengers turning green. With an AM cruise and perhaps some Bonine, you should be great.

If you're going to be in Moss Landing on a weekday (e.g. Monday?), drop me an email (not a PM, I rarely see those), and I can arrange to give you a quick tour of our facilities at MBARI, if you're interested.

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Last edited by GrandBob; 06-30-2012 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 06-30-2012, 04:41 PM   #5
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Forgot to mention if you are at the Ferry building at lunch time check out Gott's. Loved the garlic fries.
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Old 06-30-2012, 05:19 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the input! It makes me even more excited for our trip to get here! GrandBob, thanks so much for the tour offer. Right now we're planning to be in Moss Landing on a Sunday, but I may contact you if that changes. Thanks also for the whale watching advice. It makes me feel better about spending that long on the open sea.

ncc, the garlic fries sound amazing!! I'm really looking forward to exploring & eating our way through the ferry bldg!

I appreciate your help!
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Old 07-09-2012, 02:39 AM   #7
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The Giants will make the playoffs but even if you can't make it to the game, you can visit the park. It's open for tours on non game days.
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Old 07-18-2012, 12:05 AM   #8
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While in Moss Landing head to Phil's Fish Market for some amazing seafood (I'm partial to the cioppino).
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Old 07-22-2012, 10:27 PM   #9
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Gott's

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Originally Posted by ncc1701 View Post

Forgot to mention if you are at the Ferry building at lunch time check out Gott's. Loved the garlic fries.
Did Gott's replace Taylor's? Taylor's had terrific garlic fries.

Woody
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Old 07-25-2012, 11:39 AM   #10
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We just got back from Yosemite a few weeks ago. It's amazing!! You have the right idea visiting Mariposa Grove then Glacier Point. GP is not to be missed! So beautiful!

If you visit the Yosemite Valley area, you can park your car and take the buses around to the different sights. There is a short walk to the Lower Yosemite Falls which is really great.

In all honesty, had DH and I had more time (and childcare) we totally would have hiked Half Dome. Just amazing!
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Old 07-26-2012, 05:24 PM   #11
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I just did a San Francisco, Monterey, Napa combination last week. My advice is to plan more time than you think for the drive on Sunday. We arrived to Pebble Beach area on a Sunday and decided to drive to Point Lobos and past the Bixby Bridge. It was a very solid line of cars. Also, we arrived to Point Lobos around 11am and were literally the last car in before they put up the "One car out, one car in" sign. When we left a couple hours later, people were parking all the way out on Highway 1 which was quite a hike to the Point.

Finally, don't allow too much time for the Cannery. It's pretty much a tourist trap and you can do it in no time...
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Old 07-26-2012, 07:01 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deej696 View Post
Also, we arrived to Point Lobos around 11am and were literally the last car in before they put up the "One car out, one car in" sign. When we left a couple hours later, people were parking all the way out on Highway 1 which was quite a hike to the Point.

Finally, don't allow too much time for the Cannery. It's pretty much a tourist trap and you can do it in no time...
Wow, you actually got in at 11am on a weekend day? Was it overcast? If it's sunny, it should fill up before that. But really, parking on Highway 1 and walking in is not bad at all. I mean, you go to Pt Lobos to hike and see nature, right? The trail to Whaler's Cove from there is pretty short. Yes, it's a bit longer to get out to the point, but it's a pretty walk. And you save the entrance fee if you park on Highway 1.

Yes, Cannery Row is a bit of a tourist trap. But there's lots of good stuff to see there, so it's a fun tourist trap Head over to A Taste of Monterey and taste some really nice wines. By the time you leave, you won't care about tourist traps

-Bob
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Old 07-26-2012, 08:25 PM   #13
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I appreciate everyone's input. It has given me much to consider as I finalize all of my details. My husband finally sat down with me a couple of weeks ago to look at everything in detail. (I am the obsessive planner. He doesn't get overly interested until about 3 months from the trip) we did tweak a couple of things.

We decided not to do the whale watching tour. Seeing whales is still on my bucket list, but I am very prone to motion sickness. I was very concerned about being on the open sea for 4+ hours. I think we'll save that one for Alaska after all.

So, now we'll have a half day just to spend at Point Lobos. I think all of us will love it there! My daughter and I like to photograph beautiful scenery. My son likes to explore and hike. We all enjoy nature and the outdoors. It seems like a perfect way for us to enjoy the day and not feel rushed.

We also plan to move the aquarium to another day. So, after Point Lobos, we are going to head east toward Yosemite on Monday. We'll arrive at the Tenaya Lodge just before dark. Then we will be rested before we start touring Yosemite on Tuesday. We'll add a half day to a too short stay.

I also have our tickets for the Alcatraz night tour on Thursday. My son thinks it will be spookier

Again, thanks got all your help!!!
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Old 07-27-2012, 11:00 AM   #14
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Point Lobos is beautiful. I don't know if you'll need half a day but definitely worth a few hours.

You'll like Tenaya. It was a very nice place to stay and is only 10 minutes from the park entrance in the morning.
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Old 07-27-2012, 11:41 AM   #15
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Playoff tickets will be extremely expensive for one game. When the Giants won the World Series in 2010, I knew people who paid $600+ for one ticket to one playoff game directly through the Giants. Touring the ballpark will be a much better option. It literally would have been cheaper for them to buy season tickets and get playoff tickets than to buy one ticket to a playoff game.

I can't say enough about visiting the Walt Disney Family Museum. It's a must visit for a Disney fan. I know people who allowed themselves one day for the museum and decided to totally alter their plans in order to visit a second day.

It's the best collection of Disney animation history that I've ever seen. The only place that will have more Disney animation history is the Disney Archives and the general public can't see that.
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