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Old 08-18-2010, 10:29 AM   #1
Join Date: Oct 2009
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Any fun sights to stop and see from So Cal to San Francisco?

Hello! After many trips throughout Southern California and Vegas, we are heading up north to San Francisco in October! Can't wait, it'll be lots of fun!

We're driving from Southern California (San Bernardino/Desert area specifically) and plan on going up the coast on the 101 for a more scenic drive. We already know of the sights within San Francisco to check out, but what about on the drive??

Anybody have any suggestions for places to see on the way there? It is just my boyfriend and I, no kids. I know there is San Luis Obispo, Hearst Castle and the Winchester House along the way.

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!
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Old 08-18-2010, 11:14 AM   #2
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You should definitely see Big Sur and do the 17 mile drive to Monterey. The aquarium there is World Class!

The Winchester House in San Jose is very interesting and worth the stop. You can also stop in Santa Cruz and check out the boardwalk.
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Old 08-18-2010, 01:22 PM   #3
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Hurst Casle has scheduled tours its near the south end of big sur.

Carmel is a tourist town with fancy little shops just south of Montery.
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Old 08-18-2010, 04:07 PM   #4
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Santa Barbara is really nice and just off 101. They're downtown is on a street called State Street, and you can walk up and down it, or take a trolley if you want. It ends at the water and there is Stern's Wharf which has a few good restaurants. I know in SLO there is a wall somewhere that is covered in gum. You could stop there and leave a piece of yours. Right outside SLO is the Madonna Inn which is really famous for having themed rooms. Don't know if you can go in any, but it's a fun stop. Above SLO is Pismo Beach, also 101. It's really pretty as well. Santa Cruz like PP said above is nice. You can walk around the shops downtown or go to the beach and walk along the Boardwalk. Don't know what's open during the week, but the shops and rides might be open on the Weekends. Winchester Mystery House is okay, kinda chessy though. If you miss it, don't worry. But right across the street is Santana Row which is a really nice/upscale outdoor mall. They have shops, nice restaurants and bars.

If you're driving 101 though, be VERY careful in King City. It is a total and complete speed trap. There is a section where the speed limit goes up to 70 mph. Right when that part ends, it's King City. There are always tons of CHP hiding around there. I can't tell you the number of people I know who have gotten tickets there. So definitely go the speed limit or close to the speed limit.

Hope that helps!

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Old 08-18-2010, 11:58 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone!

To Kim3339, thanks for the advice about King City. Funny that you mentioned King City though, because we were thinking of stopping somewhere around the halfway point to stay overnight. King City was one place I noticed was about 2-3 hours out of San Francisco, and was actually wondering if this was an okay and safe place to stop and sleep? I've never heard of the city itself, and I was hoping it might be cheaper than San Luis Obispo area.

Thanks again to everyone for the advice! I'll check these places out!
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Old 08-19-2010, 04:23 PM   #6
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I know that King City is really small. Never stopped there more than for gas and a quick bite to eat. They have a lot of fast food restaurants, sit-downs, not really sure. Hotels/Motels, not really sure. If you don't want to stay in Slo, you could check out Pismo, it's a little more north above SLO, not sure about prices. Another place if you want to get closer to SF is Salinas. It's about 30-45 minutes north of King City. It's a bigger town/city than King City, and more of a city than KC.

Sorry if I scared you about King City, I didn't mean too! It's just a big speed trap and wanted to warn you. I remember last November I was driving home from Santa Barbara and when I was going through KC, I saw no less than 3 CHP driving, and 4 more tucked away by on ramps within like 10 miles. The ones that are driving are kinda crazy, they drive right up on you until you move over, they won't move. They're a little overboard there!

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Old 08-19-2010, 05:28 PM   #7
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No worries, you didn't "scare" me about King City. Thankfully my boyfriend is a pretty good driver and not one of those who speeds around the highways. He just sets it to cruise and enjoys the ride! But definatly thank you for that warning, that's always good to know!

It was just ironic that you mentioned it specifically, when I was looking at it as an option to stop and sleep! I only asked because I never really know about stopping to sleep in small cities I've never heard of! You never know if it's one of those creepy-little towns.

Yes, I was looking for a pit stop that was a little bit closer than San Luis Obispo, so then we could get up in the morning and head right to San Francisco. So I will check out Salinas.
Thanks very much!!
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Old 08-20-2010, 07:36 AM   #8
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Solvang is a cute little town, off the 101, that might be worth a visit. The town is a little Denmark in the Santa Ynez Valley.

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Old 08-20-2010, 06:44 PM   #9
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Really, US101 is not that much more scenic than I-5. And it only goes along the coast as far as Santa Luis Obispo, and then it goes inland.

For the really scenic route, you want Highway 1. That's where Hearst Castle is (in San Simeon) -- if you take US101 the whole way, you'll miss Hearst Castle.

I agree with the PP that Solvang is a cute stop along the way. It's off 101, but before you need to cut off on Hwy 1, so not much out of the way. If you combine that with staying in San Simeon, going to Hearst Castle, and then making lots of stops on the Big Sur coast for pictures, you'll have a great trip.

Oh, near the town of Big Sur, have lunch or dinner at Nepenthe's. Very pricey, but with views you'll remember your whole life.

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