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Old 08-13-2006, 09:34 PM   #1
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Short trip from SF to see beach scenery?

As part of our San Francisco trip this September, DH has requested to go to the computer history museum in Mountain View. It looks like it's only open from 1 to 4 and the docent-led tour is at 2:30. We were originally planning to rent a car in LA and take a day to drive up to San Francisco via Highway 1, but that fell through. So, I was thinking to maybe head out to the coast for a quick trip and then head back to the museum. We'll probably be staying out near the San Francisco airport.

I looked on the map, and the first location I found was Santa Cruz. Would that be a good place to go for a few hours? I'd want to leave our hotel around 9 and make it back to Mountain View in time for the 2:30 tour while still leaving ourselves a few hours at the coast to enjoy the sights and get some lunch. Any other suggestions? Also, we'll be doing this on the Wednesday of our trip, if that makes a difference in traffic.
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Old 08-13-2006, 10:24 PM   #2
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If you are going to be staying in the SF Airport area, and really want to see Santa Cruz, then I would not recommend doing the computer museum. There are a couple of reasons.

1. Traffic on hwy 101 which will probably be the route you will take to get to Mtn. View is bad, both in the morning and the afternoon. You would be driving from your hotel via 101 to San Jose and then onto hwy 17 over the mountains to Santa Cruz. I would allow at least an hour to 90 minutes for this drive when there is no traffic.

2. You could spend the entire day in Santa Cruz, or even skip that town and go a bit further down to Monterey, which has much more to see. Santa Cruz is nice, though with the boardwalk.

3. If you cannot remove the computer museum from your schedule, then I would suggest going to Pacifica and taking Hwy 1 south to Half Moon Bay. It's a nice drive with plenty of ocean to see. You can stop for lunch in Half Moon Bay and then head back over the hill via Hwy 92 to San Mateo and then go south on 101 to Mtn. View.

4. If you are able to make the coast into a day long trip, I would say to still go to Pacifica or Half Moon Bay and then take Hwy 1 south all the way to Santa Cruz. The views are pretty spectacular on a nice day. Afterwards, you can travel the reverse way from option #1 to head back to your hotel.

Hope these suggestions help.
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Old 08-14-2006, 05:12 PM   #3
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The computer museum is a must. I've been the planner for the trip and this is the only thing DH has asked to do, so I want to be sure he gets to do it Still, it's not going to take up an entire day, so that's why I thought about going to the coast. I'll take a look at the map and look for Half Moon Bay. Thanks!
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Old 08-15-2006, 12:42 PM   #4
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I second Half Moon Bay! You may even want to go after your tour of the computer museum for dinner and the sunset. Depending on what time you leave the computer museum, the traffic can be a bear, so allow extra time
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Old 08-16-2006, 02:51 AM   #5
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I would say Half Moon Bay, since it's easier to get to the SFO airport from there than Santa Cruz. But I would check the weather, because it can be really cold in Half Moon Bay, even if it is HOT in Mountain View.

Another nice beach, just about 5-15 mins south of Santa Cruz, is Capitola. A cute little beach town, with a lovely beach. Santa Cruz has the Boardwalk, which some people like. But is can be crowded and noisy there.

If you do go to Half Moon Bay, you'll spend less time driving and more time at the beach. The beaches there are more natural (not much in the way of town, restaurants actually on the beach), and very beautiful.

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Old 08-16-2006, 06:18 PM   #6
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Agreeing with the Pacifica/Half Moon Bay suggestions.
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Old 08-17-2006, 03:57 PM   #7
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Half Moon Bay is the best choice from SFO and getting back to Mountain View. From SFO though, take 380 West to 280 South. This is called affectionately by the locals... the forgotten highway. It avoids the congestion of 101 South.

So take 280 South to 92 West which will take you into Half Moon Bay. 280 is much much more scenic than 101.

Once you are done with Half Moon Bay, go back using 92 to 280 South. Stay on 280 South until you see Sand Hill Road. Take Sand Hill Road East (to the left) and go through a part of Stanford University. Go past the Stanford Mall on the right. Merge onto El Camino Real heading South and turn left onto Embarcadero. Stay on Embarcadero until 101 South. Merge onto 101 South to Mountain View.

It seems a bit complicated but there is a reason to the madness...

280 shows you the scenery to Half Moon Bay.

Half Moon Bay - Northern California Beach.

Going back on Sand Hill Road - well Sand Hill Road is a component of the Silicon Valley boom history as it is the home of most Venture Capital firms. It also takes you through Stanford University and Palo Alto where the Hewlett Packard story began the Silicon Valley history.

Then of course the Museum.

On the way back you can also use 280 to 380 to get back to SFO. Less traffic than 101.

If you get the chance to go even further south. Then go back to Half Moon Bay and head to Santa Cruz, then Monterey and do not miss Carmel-by-the-sea.

If you need more information, PM me. I used to live there and some of the people I know started the Museum a while back.

I am going back in December... ;-)
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Old 08-26-2006, 10:33 PM   #8
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Another vote for Half Moon Bay - you didn't say where your are staying in SF - but going to Pacifica and then driving down to Half Moon was very nice (it just recently reopened, was closed since last winter due to rock slide - in case you hear something about being closed) but I would return back on 92 and take 280 south and avoid 101 completely - about 30-40 minute drive (non comute - on weekday traffic goes in to SF in morning, out at 4-7PM). Just do a map quest. The computer musueum is good for a Techi - but definetly do the docent, they have great history. The museum is still fundraising - so don't expect it to be fancy at all - it does have all the equipment but the infrastructure is still being developed. My husband and I enjoyed it but my then 11 & 13 were bored very quickly. If your husband is like mine he also will want to drive by some of the company's in Silcon Valley -just ask at the musuem they can point you to Google, Apple & many others.
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Old 08-29-2006, 12:53 PM   #9
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Thanks for all your replies!

We'll be staying out by the airport on the day that we visit the museum and moving into the city the next day. I talked to DH and I think I'll probably print out this thread and take it with us, but go with more of a wake up that day and see what we want to do approach. We'll spend the first few days at DL, so I want to make sure we're not running overselves ragged by this point in the trip. Who knows, we may just take the morning to do laundry and hang by the pool
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