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Old 01-05-2013, 09:56 AM   #1
Spoogle
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Opinions on my SF to LA road trip?

Vacation Dates are Wed., May 22 - Mon., June 3. Memorial Day falls on Mon., May 27, so we will be splitting Memorial Day weekend between San Francisco and Monterey. Will crowds be unbearable?

-Wed., May 22 - Arrive in SF late (10 or 11 pm) - we may try to find a hotel near the airport for this one night and transfer in the AM
-Thurs., May 23 - Transfer to a hotel near Fisherman's Wharf (or wake up there) and do some sort of all day winery tour. Recommendations?
-Fri., May 24 - Start the 48 hour hop on hop off bus tour; night tour of Alcatraz
-Sat., May 25 - Continue sight-seeing and attend the Giants/Rockies game @ 1:05 pm
-Sun., May 26 - Check out of hotel, pick up rental car, brunch at Spinnaker, drive down to Monterey. Which route should we take and what should we see on the way?
-Mon., May 27 - Memorial Day - Early morning whale watching. After do some sight seeing that we didn't accomplish the day before. Check out Carmel, 17 Mile Drive, Cannery Row, maybe Aquarium, possibly kayaking?
-Tues., May 28 - Continue driving down coast toward LA/Anaheim taking our time sight-seeing. Any must stops?

Here's where I need some opinions. I originally planned to spend Tues, Wed and Thurs night (5/28-5/30) in the Los Angeles area then Fri, Sat and Sun night (5/31 - 6/2) in Anaheim for Disneyland. Which of the two cities will have larger crowds on the weekend? Should we first head to Disneyland first then finish up in Los Angeles? We will then fly home out of LAX on Mon., 6/3.
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Old 01-05-2013, 01:11 PM   #2
bcla
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Not sure about most of the route, but this is my suggestion for Fisherman's Wharf to The Spinnaker, to Monterey. You weren't specific about exactly where your hotels and rentals were, so I picked some random locations - the Budget Car Rental in Fishermans' Wharf and Cannery Row in Monterey as the end destination.

http://maps.google.com/maps?saddr=Bu...=2,3,4&t=m&z=8

I tweaked the route for maximum coastal views, including the Great Highway in San Francisco and California Highway 1 through Half Moon Bay. I also threw in Conzelman Road through the Marin Headlands.



If you get there early enough, I'd recommend visiting the Point Bonita Lighthouse.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:54 PM   #3
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Personally, I would try to do Disneyland on a weekday and avoid the weekends. Most of the people who visit DLR are locals, and the crowds are always heavier on Fri-Sat-Sun than during the week. I never go on a weekend day unless it's the only option for our trip.

You might check out this website: http://www.isitpacked.com/disneyland...ctor-calendar/ for a rough estimate of what the crowds could be like for your visit.

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Old 01-06-2013, 07:40 PM   #4
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-
Quote:
Wed., May 22 - Arrive in SF late (10 or 11 pm) - we may try to find a hotel near the airport for this one night and transfer in the AM
At that time of night traffic is light- drive to your Fisherman's Wharf hotel- 2 advantages- you are were you want to be the next morning without the commuter traffic and you have one less check in/check out

Quote:
-Thurs., May 23 - Transfer to a hotel near Fisherman's Wharf (or wake up there) and do some sort of all day winery tour. Recommendations?
I know someone who did this one and enjoyed it- haven't done these types of tours because we just tend to do it ourselves http://www.winecountrytourshuttle.com/
The start at the ferry building which is at the beginning of the Piers, FW is Pier 39/40 area....

Quote:
Fri., May 24 - Start the 48 hour hop on hop off bus tour; night tour of Alcatraz
Buy your tickets as soon as you can for Alcatraz- night tour sells out early!


Quote:
Mon., May 27 - Memorial Day - Early morning whale watching. After do some sight seeing that we didn't accomplish the day before. Check out Carmel, 17 Mile Drive, Cannery Row, maybe Aquarium, possibly kayaking?
The aquarium is an all day thing- and will be especially crowded on Memorial Day. We are members, go often and still never spend less than 5 hours there. If you are going to do 17 mile drive then do that on your way south since it heads south rather than do it and come back to Monterey.

Quote:
-Tues., May 28 - Continue driving down coast toward LA/Anaheim taking our time sight-seeing. Any must stops?
This is a long drive down the coast (about 6 hours with minimal potty breaks). Some great places to stop are Solvang (off the beaten path but a great place to stay the night), Santa Barbara and Santa Monica on your way into LA
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Old 01-17-2013, 10:44 PM   #5
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You simply must drive the coastal route from San Fran south to the OC. Stunning views. Be sure to check out the elephant seal colony right on the beach near Hearst Castle (free). In Monterey, rent kayaks right next to the Monterey Plaza hotel. YOu will kayak with the sea otters right offshore. They are adorable.
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:57 PM   #6
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Re:

FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD AND HOLY, PLEASE don't go to Disney on the weekend if you can avoid it! You WILL be kicking yourself! Lol. :P Some good places to see along the way are Solvang (a short time there will be enough, it's a quaint but small "village." You might like Santa Barbara, Heart Castle, the Winchester Mystery House, or Carmel/Monterey along the way. Hope you have fun! San Francisco is one of my favorite cities, and there is lots to do here in LA.
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Old 02-04-2013, 07:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danaesacto
-
At that time of night traffic is light- drive to your Fisherman's Wharf hotel- 2 advantages- you are were you want to be the next morning without the commuter traffic and you have one less check in/check out

I know someone who did this one and enjoyed it- haven't done these types of tours because we just tend to do it ourselves http://www.winecountrytourshuttle.com/
The start at the ferry building which is at the beginning of the Piers, FW is Pier 39/40 area....

Buy your tickets as soon as you can for Alcatraz- night tour sells out early!

The aquarium is an all day thing- and will be especially crowded on Memorial Day. We are members, go often and still never spend less than 5 hours there. If you are going to do 17 mile drive then do that on your way south since it heads south rather than do it and come back to Monterey.

This is a long drive down the coast (about 6 hours with minimal potty breaks). Some great places to stop are Solvang (off the beaten path but a great place to stay the night), Santa Barbara and Santa Monica on your way into LA
Your plans in Monterey on Memorial Day are ambitious to say the least. Honestly they are a little unrealistic. We live in Monterey County and that is a busy weekend.
Whale watching is 3 hours, Aquarium is at least 4 and that's conservative. 17 mile Drive is about 1-2 hours as its slow going...that us already 9 hours. I know you want to take the "scenic route" but if you really want to maximize your time, you should take 101 South to Hwy 1, because otherwise you'll waste time driving and stopping too.
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Old 02-04-2013, 08:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junmatno View Post
Your plans in Monterey on Memorial Day are ambitious to say the least. Honestly they are a little unrealistic. We live in Monterey County and that is a busy weekend.
Whale watching is 3 hours, Aquarium is at least 4 and that's conservative. 17 mile Drive is about 1-2 hours as its slow going...that us already 9 hours. I know you want to take the "scenic route" but if you really want to maximize your time, you should take 101 South to Hwy 1, because otherwise you'll waste time driving and stopping too.
what about what I said was unrealistic? It seems you agree with me- so I'm not sure why you quoted me?
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danaesacto
what about what I said was unrealistic? It seems you agree with me- so I'm not sure why you quoted me?
Oops, yes I was!! Just adding on my experience of beings local...grew up in seaside down the road from Monterey...just adding on to what you said....no offense meant! : )
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Old 02-08-2013, 09:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spoogle View Post
Vacation Dates are Wed., May 22 - Mon., June 3. Memorial Day falls on Mon., May 27, so we will be splitting Memorial Day weekend between San Francisco and Monterey. Will crowds be unbearable?

-Wed., May 22 - Arrive in SF late (10 or 11 pm) - we may try to find a hotel near the airport for this one night and transfer in the AM
-Thurs., May 23 - Transfer to a hotel near Fisherman's Wharf (or wake up there) and do some sort of all day winery tour. Recommendations?
-Fri., May 24 - Start the 48 hour hop on hop off bus tour; night tour of Alcatraz
-Sat., May 25 - Continue sight-seeing and attend the Giants/Rockies game @ 1:05 pm
-Sun., May 26 - Check out of hotel, pick up rental car, brunch at Spinnaker, drive down to Monterey. Which route should we take and what should we see on the way?
-Mon., May 27 - Memorial Day - Early morning whale watching. After do some sight seeing that we didn't accomplish the day before. Check out Carmel, 17 Mile Drive, Cannery Row, maybe Aquarium, possibly kayaking?
-Tues., May 28 - Continue driving down coast toward LA/Anaheim taking our time sight-seeing. Any must stops?

Here's where I need some opinions. I originally planned to spend Tues, Wed and Thurs night (5/28-5/30) in the Los Angeles area then Fri, Sat and Sun night (5/31 - 6/2) in Anaheim for Disneyland. Which of the two cities will have larger crowds on the weekend? Should we first head to Disneyland first then finish up in Los Angeles? We will then fly home out of LAX on Mon., 6/3.
Maybe do lunch at Spinnakers on the Friday you are in SF. That way if you leave early enough you can go to the aquarium when you get to Monterey. I also agree with staying in FW the 1 st night. The winery tour we took left around 10:00am

As for driving down the coast plan to stop for a night if you take the Pacific Coast Hwy. I say this because a bus driver on a tour we took in SF told another couple that their idea to drive that route in 1 day with some sightseeing might not be a good idea due to the road being only 2 lanes for a good portion (not to mention winding.)
I would also do DL during the week. If it is anything like WDW it will be more crowded on the weekend.
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Last edited by ncc1701; 02-08-2013 at 10:06 PM. Reason: computer problem
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Old 02-09-2013, 04:53 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by junmatno View Post
Oops, yes I was!! Just adding on my experience of beings local...grew up in seaside down the road from Monterey...just adding on to what you said....no offense meant! : )
Okay good- I hate being thought of as unrealistic I love Monterey- but you locals always have the inside scoop
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:00 AM   #12
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We are members at the aquarium too and you can easily spend all day there and it is a pretty expensive ticket so might not want to rush it. If you are in Carmel around breakfast/lunch time, Katy's Place has amazing eggs Benedict. She only takes cash, but its worth it. The drive from there to LA really is beautiful, but very long. Two lane and very curvy. Spacing it into two days is much easier. Stop around Hearst castle. See the elephant seals.
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Old 02-14-2013, 06:13 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bcla
...I tweaked the route for maximum coastal views, including the Great Highway in San Francisco and California Highway 1 through Half Moon Bay. I also threw in Conzelman Road through the Marin Headlands.

If you get there early enough, I'd recommend visiting the Point Bonita Lighthouse.
Be prepared for the main Great Highway, referred to as the Upper Great Highway, to be closed. It closes A LOT due to high winds blowing sand onto the highway. There is the alternate Lower Great Highway, which is easy, but has no view.

Quote:
Originally Posted by danaesacto
-
At that time of night traffic is light- drive to your Fisherman's Wharf hotel- 2 advantages- you are were you want to be the next morning without the commuter traffic and you have one less check in/check out...

...The aquarium is an all day thing- and will be especially crowded on Memorial Day....

This is a long drive down the coast (about 6 hours with minimal potty breaks).
Yes, yes, yes
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Old 06-02-2013, 06:20 AM   #14
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Such great information!!!!!
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