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Old 12-29-2012, 02:08 PM   #1
alisonbestford
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Question LA - SF - where to stop en route

In May my partner, myself and 14 year old daughter are flying into LAX for a two week trip
The first week we will be staying at Capistrano Beach before heading up to San Francisco (where we will be staying for 3 nights) and our flight home.
I'd like to split the journey into three so was wondering whether anyone had any suggestions for stay over points along the way.
The first stop will be Memorial weekend so I want to book Sat and Sunday night somewhere and then drive on to stay another two nights else where before we arrive in SF.
Does anyone have any suggestions please?
I was wondering about Santa Barbara - any ideas would be much appreciated
Thank you.
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:06 AM   #2
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Hi! We usually just go on 5 and straight to DL...it is only a little over 6 hours from SF, but, if you want to go the longer more scenic way there are may places to stop. Santa Barbara is good, I like going to Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Also there is Solvang which is called "little Denmark". Closer to the Bay Area but is really nice is Carmel with 17 mile drive and Monterey Bay. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the best in the world.

Hope this helps a bit!
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Old 12-31-2012, 11:39 AM   #3
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Thank you
We have decided to take a two night break in Solvang and another in Monterey so your suggestions sounds as though I have planned okay
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Old 12-31-2012, 03:50 PM   #4
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I would have suggested taking I-5 for a straight shot and maybe making a pit stop at Harris Ranch for something to eat. The smell outside is a bit interesting. One never forgets the stench of tens of thousands of cattle and their associated odors.

Of course the issue with I-5 is that it does take additional time to get to San Francisco. Also - be wary of bridge tolls. There is a discount at certain times for "carpools" (at least 2 or 3 people per vehicle depending on the bridge) although the discount requires use of a prepaid toll transponder. California's system is known as "FasTrak". There are different providers (one in Northern California and the other in Southern California), but their toll collection is linked such that they are compatible.
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Old 01-03-2013, 10:27 AM   #5
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I don't understand why anyone would recommend the 5 for tourists. Take the 101 and take in the scenery. Monterey Bay aquarium is neat. Santa Barbara zoo is nice, and small. State st. In Santa Barbara has some cool shops and restaurants. Solving, as mentioned earlier is a cute little town.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:38 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.bungle View Post
I don't understand why anyone would recommend the 5 for tourists. Take the 101 and take in the scenery. Monterey Bay aquarium is neat. Santa Barbara zoo is nice, and small. State st. In Santa Barbara has some cool shops and restaurants. Solving, as mentioned earlier is a cute little town.
It can take an additional day and a lot of the coastal route can be winding. Some people get motion sickness.

Of course it's a matter of preference. Perhaps the OP wants to visit Monterey or Santa Cruz. Perhaps an additional day in San Francisco might work better. It really only takes about five to six hours, while 101 and CA-1 will take considerably longer and might require a day's lodging along the way.
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Old 01-03-2013, 01:01 PM   #7
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It can take an additional day and a lot of the coastal route can be winding. Some people get motion sickness.

Of course it's a matter of preference. Perhaps the OP wants to visit Monterey or Santa Cruz. Perhaps an additional day in San Francisco might work better. It really only takes about five to six hours, while 101 and CA-1 will take considerably longer and might require a day's lodging along the way.
It is a one hour/ 50 mile difference between the 101 and the 5. The OP mentioned wanting to stop over along the way so the 101 is the clear choice. How can anyone recommend the 5 over the 101 to a tourist wanting to see the sights? Also, the 5 has a high CHP presence.

I've never heard of the 101 being "winding" and assuming the OP is a disney theme park visitor, I wouldn't imagine motion sickness would be too much of an issue.
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.bungle View Post

I've never heard of the 101 being "winding" and assuming the OP is a disney theme park visitor, I wouldn't imagine motion sickness would be too much of an issue.
Well, lets just hope it isn't too winding........

Yes we will be visiting DL but have chosen to stay at the beach and would prefer to take the scenic, if slightly longer, route to SF as mr. bungle suggests

I'm looking forward to visiting Monterey and calling at Santa Barbara along the way.
I doubt that 2 weeks will be anywhere near long enough to visit the places we would like so maybe another trip will be in the "offing" when the youngest leaves home

Thanks again for your help
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mr.bungle View Post
It is a one hour/ 50 mile difference between the 101 and the 5. The OP mentioned wanting to stop over along the way so the 101 is the clear choice. How can anyone recommend the 5 over the 101 to a tourist wanting to see the sights? Also, the 5 has a high CHP presence.

I've never heard of the 101 being "winding" and assuming the OP is a disney theme park visitor, I wouldn't imagine motion sickness would be too much of an issue.
I said the "coastal route". 101 is hardly coastal after Santa Barbara and isn't coastal again until Eureka. I was adding CA-1, because if someone really wants scenic coastal, it has to include CA-1.

I have taken parts of that road, and motion sickness can be an issue. I've certainly heard about people on US-50 going to/from Tahoe getting out of their vehicles to lose their lunch. I didn't travel that long on CA-1, but it does seem to have a similar layout where the road was designed around the terrain (especially around Big Sur) unlike I-5 which was designed to be as straight as possible.
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Old 01-04-2013, 11:37 AM   #10
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Then we shall have to get out the road map and consider CA - 1 too

As a family we aren't ones to stick rigidly to a plan - I just wanted to arrange a couple of stop overs along the way so we will take our time and head off where the fancy takes us
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Old 01-04-2013, 12:08 PM   #11
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This is the Bixby Bridge on California Highway 1 near Big Sur:



While it is spectacular, it may not be for everyone. There are sharp dropoffs and many areas without guardrails. I'd say the same for anyone traveling to Lake Tahoe or Yosemite where they are mountain roads where one needs to be really cautious. This is more important if one is traveling southbound. It's single-lane in each direction with no center divider most of the way, so you need to be alert for vehicles in the opposite direction crossing the median.

Here's a blog posting about a CA-1 trip from San Luis Obispo to Monterey.

http://braxtonandyancey.blogspot.com...alifornia.html

Again, it's a great view but not for everyone:



If you travel this route, it is much better by day. There can also be severe traffic in stretches. I remember being slowed down at Half Moon Bay, where it took about 30 minutes to travel 2 miles.
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Old 01-04-2013, 03:02 PM   #12
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Looks lovely
I think I shall be letting my partner drive this stretch though
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Old 01-05-2013, 11:31 PM   #13
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I would not do 2 nights in Solvang. I would do more in Monterey and Carmel. Much more to do and more scenic.
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Old 01-06-2013, 06:53 AM   #14
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I would not do 2 nights in Solvang. I would do more in Monterey and Carmel. Much more to do and more scenic.
The problem is it will be Memorial weekend and I just wanted a base for the two nights.
I doubt we will get there until the evening as I want to visit Santa Barbara and we will be leaving the morning after the second night so I guess that only leaves us one day
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