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Old 01-15-2011, 01:23 PM   #16
Muddy Rivers
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Thanks to everyone for your ideas. We are thinking of perhaps skipping Yosemite this time and driving down the coast to see those sights, if the car rental (picking up in SF and dropping off in LA) doesn't become cost prohibitive. Of couse we would end up in Anaheim and squeeze in a couple of days in DL. How can I resist?

That said, has anyone gotten any good deals on rental cars for June?
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Old 01-15-2011, 06:32 PM   #17
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As far as Fast Food, a trip to California requires me to goto an In and Out. Animal style burger and Neopolitan shake. It's not on the menu


I would do Day 1 stopping in Monterrey you can see some redwoods on the way. Day two stop in Cambria or Morrow Bay, Hearst Castle on that segment or the next morning. Day 3 arrive in LA.

I seem to remember some rental company signs in the Fishermans warf area. Also in a hotel near Union Square. So don't limit yourself to going to SFO to pick up a car.

Some people like to priceline rentals.
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:22 PM   #18
Muddy Rivers
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We learned about In N Out on our last trip and loved it. We learned how to order off the menu. We are looking forward to In N Out on this trip almost as much as Disneyland! Wish they had them on the East Coast.
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Old 01-23-2011, 02:30 PM   #19
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I wanted to 2nd that last comment - with the ages of your kids it will be a perfect way to really introduce them to the genius that was Walt Disney. Allow at least 4 hours I'd say - I spent 4 there once and 6 another time.

Our favorite Chinese food - reasonably priced - is at the House of Nanking at Columbus and Kearny.

For 4* dining we love Restaurant Gary Danko - you need reservations as soon as they become available ( either 30 or 60 days ahead - their website has the info). Pricey but fantastic California cuisine.

There's a fun Morrocan place with belly dancing where you sit on the floor -- food is very good- El Mansour.

Alcatraz is much more interesting than I expected it to be.
The Exploratoreum is fun - interactive science exhibits.
I also enjoy the SF Cartoon Art Museum - only takes an hour or so usually. It's near SF-MOMA - wild modern art

The japanese tea garden in golden gate is lovely. So is the aboreteum there and the De Young gets great exhibits

The Palace of the Legion of Honor has a bunch of Rodins (the Thinker for 1) as well as some great paintings.

Muir woods is very close ( just over the bridge ) and mind-blowing -- the age and beauty and size of the redwoods is just amazing.

SF is one of the world's great cities. Enjoy!

As for rental cars - try priceline. You can bid on them. I've used hotwire for cars too. And COSTCO! With their discount codes I've gotten really good deals. If you're not a member I know Walmart also had some rental car discounts. Quite honestly I've never had to show my costco card and the codes are clear on the site - but it's a gamble.
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Old 01-23-2011, 02:49 PM   #20
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How long would you allow for Alcatraz, including the boat ride? Would a morning trip be best or is that the most crowded time?
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:38 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muddy Rivers View Post
How long would you allow for Alcatraz, including the boat ride? Would a morning trip be best or is that the most crowded time?
We took an 11 a.m boat over so we had to check in a bit after 10 if I remember correctly, we came back from the island about 3ish. Once on the island you may stay as long as you like so the earlier you get there the less crowded it will be. The crowds will pick up as the day goes on.
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Old 01-23-2011, 04:41 PM   #22
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We learned about In N Out on our last trip and loved it. We learned how to order off the menu. We are looking forward to In N Out on this trip almost as much as Disneyland! Wish they had them on the East Coast.
Fries, animal style with extra spread....ohhhh yum!
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:16 AM   #23
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The night trip to Alcatraz is a much better way to go than the daytime trips. As it gets darker, the place gets spookier and the city views are great. Get tickets well in advance on-line.

Parking a car in town is expensive, so you might want to wait until your last day to pick up one. Then do the city drive on your way out of town and don't plan on going too far from the city that day. I know the "drive" has a name - the number of miles - but for the life of me, I can't remember it. There are good maps for this drive and there are also signs along the route.

A bike ride across the Golden Gate to Sasaulito (for lunch) with a return by ferry is a real treat and not too difficult. A couple of places rent bikes, sell ferry tickets and have route maps - I used "Blazing Saddles" a couple years ago.
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Old 01-24-2011, 04:04 PM   #24
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Parking a car in town is expensive, so you might want to wait until your last day to pick up one. Then do the city drive on your way out of town and don't plan on going too far from the city that day. I know the "drive" has a name - the number of miles - but for the life of me, I can't remember it. There are good maps for this drive and there are also signs along the route.

49 Mile Scenic Drive


Most of the route is best enjoyed in the day time. But if possible, try going over Twin Peaks at night. The nighttime views from the top are amazing!

HTH,
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Old 01-25-2011, 04:19 PM   #25
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Definitely get an early start & go to Alcatraz in the am. Another thing we loved was Pebble Beach. The scenic 17 Mile Drive is so beautiful http://www.pebblebeach.com/activitie.../17-mile-drive Many recommended to us that we could roast marshmallows/make smores on the beach in Carmel afterwards, but my Mom wasn't up to it. I would love to do that one day though!
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Old 01-29-2011, 03:43 PM   #26
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Old 01-30-2011, 12:45 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CPT Tripss View Post
The night trip to Alcatraz is a much better way to go than the daytime trips. As it gets darker, the place gets spookier and the city views are great. Get tickets well in advance on-line.
I've done both - I agree the night tour has its own mystery and some of the creepy factor BUT you do miss a lot of the little details IMO because it is dark. Either way, the tour is fascinating and IMO not to be missed. The night tour sells out very quickly, if that is your choice, get your ressies ASAP
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Old 02-01-2011, 05:22 PM   #28
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Highly recommend a Segway Tour We did it when my son was 14 (minimum age allowed there) and had a blast - probably the highlight of the trip! Wish we'd had time to do the advanced tour, that one takes you down Lombard Street . There are a couple companies that do these, and they originate in the Fisherman's Wharf area. Think we used the Electric Tour Company or something like that.

We stayed in the Fisherman's Wharf area, knowing full well we were in the thick of the tourist area. But it was a good location for us, easy to get public transportation (didn't rent a car until the end when we went north for a few days to Muir Woods and Sonoma), lots of food options, and generally things going on well into the evening. But it is touristy and that may not be the atmosphere you're after. We good a good deal at a Marriott that had just been renovated, right behind In and Out Burger and thought it was a good location.

CityPass was a good deal as we had already planned on going to most of the places included. It was also nice to have unlimited bus/trolley transportation and the requisite cable car ride was included. Lines for the cable cars were LONG, if possible I'd do that first thing in the morning and not on a weekend.

Something I haven't seen mentioned is the Saturday a.m. Farmer's Market at the Ferry Building. Oh my - if only I could shop there every week The variety and quality was amazing, from vegetables, to cheese, meat, baked goods, the list goes on..... And the Ferry Building is worth seeing by itself, great architecture.

Alcatraz is a must see, make sure you have warm clothes with you. Very chilly out on the water. In fact, we found SF generally cool when we were there, not a lot of opportunity for shorts in the summer for us.
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Old 02-09-2011, 08:40 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Muddy Rivers View Post
I would love to get suggestions for our first time trip to SF. A family of 4, DH, DS (19), DS (16) for a June trip (10 days). Would like to see Yosemite also. We did southern Calif & Disneyland 2 years ago, so we won't be heading south this time.

Would love suggestions for dining (especially brew pubs for DH as well).

What are your best experiences with:

Rental cars
Restaurants
Hotels
Disney Museum
All other "tourist" attractions worth seeing

Not sure how much we can fit in 8 days (2 days I put aside for flying in/home).
My DD(14) loves the Disney Museum, the Musee Mechanique, San Francisco Ride the Ducks, the Rainforest Cafe, the Aquarium of the Bay ,and the Wipeout Bar and Grill (family-friendly). She also likes the Turbo Ride on Pier 39.

Print this out for every member of your family, and it will probably save you quite a bit: http://www.mapwest.com/coupon/coup_70.html
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Old 02-10-2011, 07:48 AM   #30
Muddy Rivers
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Thank you. We are having fun planning our trip!
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