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Old 03-08-2013, 11:45 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by Disneylovers2000 View Post
Are their any suggestions for other places to stay or suggestions for my travels? I would love to hear them! I am still a little concerned about my time line but I think it will work itself out. Any other suggestions on travelling down the coastal highway, I am a little nervous about driving it! Would love to hear any other suggestions or if someone has done this drive, let me know what went wrong/right for you! Thanks so much!
Its an easy drive (not too windy like the Northernmost parts of the state that wind through the redwoods), its just super loooong and two lanes or less most of the way so plan on switching drivers every few hours if possible. Hopefully your rental car will include cruise control.
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Thank you for your valuable information. Unfortunately we already have our hearts set on driving the coast and wouldn't want to miss out on this.
Do you have any recommendations on an inexpensive place to stay in Fairfield? I am looking at the Best Western Cordilia or the Comfort Inn Cordilia.
I'm afraid I'm not familiar with those hotels since I live here and my family usually stays at the Marriotts in Vacaville when they visit to be close to the shopping outlets.
I will echo an above post that Pismo Beach is beautiful and much more populated place to stay than San Simeon, so lots more choices.
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:29 PM   #17
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A wonderful stop on 1, just south of Monterrey is Point Lobos State Natural Reserve - a perfect example of No. CA coastline with seals, otters and huge waves crashing into cliffs and well marked trails. Might be a perfect place to stretch the legs for the family. Bonus if whales are migrating - last time we were there a pod of 100+ whales went by off the coast.

Oh, and ask a ranger - they have binoculars to borrow.

In fact, once you see Pt. Lobos, you might want to backtrack off the coast to the 68 E and take that to the 101 South. It really doesn't get much better than Pt. Lobos. Plus this takes you into Salinas and if you're a Steinbeck fan, stop by his library.

Oh, and stop anywhere were fried artichokes.

The problem with the 1 is that you might pull up behind a tour bus or RV that decides to drive 30 MPH for the next 120 miles.

I'd try to drive a little farther on to San Luis Obispo than San Simeon - bigger town and lots of options to eat/sleep.

Safe travels.
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Old 03-08-2013, 12:54 PM   #18
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I'd try to drive a little farther on to San Luis Obispo than San Simeon - bigger town and lots of options to eat/sleep.

Safe travels.
I believe the OP is concerned with the safety of driving at night along the coastal route, or that's the impression I got.

I've mostly driven CA-1 down to Monterey and a little bit beyond. I mentioned US-101. I did that from Santa Barbara all the way up to the Bay Area up to about 3 AM. It is a bit interesting at night and not for everyone. There were some curving sections where I was thinking maybe I should find a place to stop and sleep it off, but I kept on going. Maybe King City would have been the place.

Of course all this wouldn't be an issue taking I-5. That's about as easy a freeway drive as you're going to find in California. But then the only view is of the Harris Ranch feedlot.

A good way to take in the coast without driving would be Amtrak's Coast Starlight. However, it sounds like the OP is driving a personal car and not renting. If renting, it might be possible to drop off in the Bay Area and then rent another car in Southern California.
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:10 PM   #19
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I believe the OP is concerned with the safety of driving at night along the coastal route, or that's the impression I got.
Coast Starlight is a wonderful idea.

The distance between SLO and San Simeon is only about 45 miles so it's not much extra and the road by then is fairly straight but yes, if driving at night is an issue and they're visiting Hearst Castle, San Simeon is perfect (and not sketchy at all).
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:58 PM   #20
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I do this drive frequently since I live in Fairfield now, and our close friends live in Lompoc, about a half hour south of Pismo. Honestly if all you want is pictures ... I'd skip the coastal road altogether and almost cut in half your driving time by going down the 5 instead of the 101. Its beautiful, but really only worth it if you plan on doing the sights along the coast. The drive you're talking about should take ~11ish hours compared to 6 hours via the Interstate 5.

Also, getting Fisherman's Wharf/Golden Gate/Trolley tour ... that's easily a full day of sightseeing. I'd recommend spending a full day in SF then head back on the 80/580 to the 5 South on to Anaheim if your goal is to get to Disneyland. You'll be a lot less cranky, especially since the road is so much straighter and you can go much faster.
You live in FF? I live in SS!

OP if you decided to drive through FF I recommend staying in Suisun actually, there's a really nice Hampton Inn right off of Highway 12 (which you would consider taking to get to 5 if you went to/through FF/SS), on the small waterfront that we have, it's a new hotel and very nice. There's also the Budweiser and Jelly Belly plants, both have tours available.
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Old 03-08-2013, 03:47 PM   #21
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You live in FF? I live in SS!

OP if you decided to drive through FF I recommend staying in Suisun actually, there's a really nice Hampton Inn right off of Highway 12 (which you would consider taking to get to 5 if you went to/through FF/SS), on the small waterfront that we have, it's a new hotel and very nice. There's also the Budweiser and Jelly Belly plants, both have tours available.
Budweiser and Jelly Belly are in Fairfield though.

In the area I rather like American Canyon. I bit off of I-80, but American Canyon Road is a fun little drive.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:37 PM   #22
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The hotels in cordelia is surrounded by fast food and gas stations. A couple exits from jelly belly. The Hampton Inn is nice and next to a beautiful water area.
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THEME PARKS
  • ANIMAL KINGDOM PARK
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    • Argentina
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Water Parks
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:41 PM   #23
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The other thing you need to keep in mind is that you are doing your driving on work days so you will need to contend with significant traffic on some of your planned drives.

Driving from Fairfield to SF on Tuesday morning you will be travelling with the morning commute. Summertime can be lighter, but just make sure you have factored that into your estimates. Your timeline for Tuesday seems pretty agressive unless you keep your SF touring very brief. You mention going on a trolley tour. I presume you mean a "hop on" type tour rather than riding a cable car. I think those run about 90 minutes - you will get GG bridge included in that though.

Heading to Anaheim on Wednesday you will also probably hit the LA afternoon commute traffic.

I like the prior posters suggestion to go back to 101 via Hwy 68 after visiting Point Lobos. You will get get great Central Coast views and speed up the drive south.

You may want to consider staying in Monterey or Salinas on Tuesday night and then getting up early and powering through the drive to Anaheim - that is very do-able going down 101 if you leave from Monterey early enough and don't stop too much.

Hope you have a great trip!
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:57 PM   #24
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I was just thinking about the plan, and it's going to be more interesting if you plan of taking the Golden Gate Bridge in the toll direction. The issue right now is that they no longer accept cash tolls and have gone almost exclusively to electronic toll collection using transponders. You could set up a one-time payment based on your license plate number.

https://www.bayareafastrak.org/stati...yGGBToll.shtml

The fastest way to get from Fairfield to San Francisco is probably across the Carquinez Bridge and then the Bay Bridge. They do accept cash tolls. You have enough people to qualify for reduced carpool tolls, but I'd hesitate to recommend that for a first timer. It would be really confusing for someone who has never done it. The other thing is that attempting to use the Bay Bridge carpool lanes outside the carpool hours can mean getting a ticket.

Also - the carpool restrictions in California could be a topic to itself.
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Old 03-08-2013, 07:38 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Purrkins View Post
A wonderful stop on 1, just south of Monterrey is Point Lobos State Natural Reserve - a perfect example of No. CA coastline with seals, otters and huge waves crashing into cliffs and well marked trails. Might be a perfect place to stretch the legs for the family. Bonus if whales are migrating - last time we were there a pod of 100+ whales went by off the coast.


In fact, once you see Pt. Lobos, you might want to backtrack off the coast to the 68 E and take that to the 101 South. It really doesn't get much better than Pt. Lobos. Plus this takes you into Salinas and if you're a Steinbeck fan, stop by his library.

Thank you Purrkins for this advise! I was starting to wonder if their might be another route yet still getting the the full scope of the scenic California coastline! This looks like it might be quite doable for us! Not a Steinback fan but we would just be stopping for the night anyhow. Thanks again!
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Old 03-08-2013, 07:41 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by bcla View Post
I believe the OP is concerned with the safety of driving at night along the coastal route, or that's the impression I got.

I've mostly driven CA-1 down to Monterey and a little bit beyond. I mentioned US-101. I did that from Santa Barbara all the way up to the Bay Area up to about 3 AM. It is a bit interesting at night and not for everyone. There were some curving sections where I was thinking maybe I should find a place to stop and sleep it off, but I kept on going. Maybe King City would have been the place.

Of course all this wouldn't be an issue taking I-5. That's about as easy a freeway drive as you're going to find in California. But then the only view is of the Harris Ranch feedlot.

A good way to take in the coast without driving would be Amtrak's Coast Starlight. However, it sounds like the OP is driving a personal car and not renting. If renting, it might be possible to drop off in the Bay Area and then rent another car in Southern California.
Thank you for all your help bcla! My concern with driving at night is that we don't want to miss the sights. After all, what would be the point of driving the longer slower way down the coast if all you will see is darkness!
We will be using our personal car for the trip.
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Old 03-08-2013, 07:43 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by pixiewings71 View Post
You live in FF? I live in SS!

OP if you decided to drive through FF I recommend staying in Suisun actually, there's a really nice Hampton Inn right off of Highway 12 (which you would consider taking to get to 5 if you went to/through FF/SS), on the small waterfront that we have, it's a new hotel and very nice. There's also the Budweiser and Jelly Belly plants, both have tours available.
Thank you for those suggestions, I will look into prices for them, sounds lovely to stay on the waterfront! I will not be telling my boys about the Jelly Belly plant, that will definitely delay our trip!!
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Old 03-08-2013, 07:43 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by disneylove69 View Post
The hotels in cordelia is surrounded by fast food and gas stations. A couple exits from jelly belly. The Hampton Inn is nice and next to a beautiful water area.
Thank you!
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Old 03-08-2013, 07:48 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by hilarys View Post
The other thing you need to keep in mind is that you are doing your driving on work days so you will need to contend with significant traffic on some of your planned drives.

Driving from Fairfield to SF on Tuesday morning you will be travelling with the morning commute. Summertime can be lighter, but just make sure you have factored that into your estimates. Your timeline for Tuesday seems pretty agressive unless you keep your SF touring very brief. You mention going on a trolley tour. I presume you mean a "hop on" type tour rather than riding a cable car. I think those run about 90 minutes - you will get GG bridge included in that though.

Heading to Anaheim on Wednesday you will also probably hit the LA afternoon commute traffic.

I like the prior posters suggestion to go back to 101 via Hwy 68 after visiting Point Lobos. You will get get great Central Coast views and speed up the drive south.

You may want to consider staying in Monterey or Salinas on Tuesday night and then getting up early and powering through the drive to Anaheim - that is very do-able going down 101 if you leave from Monterey early enough and don't stop too much.

Hope you have a great trip!
Hilary
Great information! Thank you! We have considered the traffic but will trudge through it
I think the advice for heading back to the 101 is very sound advice! I just hope that we wouldn't miss much by not going to Big Sur- in your opinion (or others too!) Would Big Sur be worth the drive down to it then back track to the 68 or just miss it all together getting all we need for sights from Monterey/Carmel and Point Lobos?
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Old 03-08-2013, 07:52 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by bcla View Post
I was just thinking about the plan, and it's going to be more interesting if you plan of taking the Golden Gate Bridge in the toll direction. The issue right now is that they no longer accept cash tolls and have gone almost exclusively to electronic toll collection using transponders. You could set up a one-time payment based on your license plate number.

https://www.bayareafastrak.org/stati...yGGBToll.shtml

The fastest way to get from Fairfield to San Francisco is probably across the Carquinez Bridge and then the Bay Bridge. They do accept cash tolls. You have enough people to qualify for reduced carpool tolls, but I'd hesitate to recommend that for a first timer. It would be really confusing for someone who has never done it. The other thing is that attempting to use the Bay Bridge carpool lanes outside the carpool hours can mean getting a ticket.

Also - the carpool restrictions in California could be a topic to itself.
WOW! You just gave me some really important advice and information!!
I had not thought of toll booths for bridges or roads - we don't have those up here in Alberta! and I NEVER would have guessed that we couldn't pay cash! It sounds a little hairy getting into San Fran over the bridges and I sure don't want to get any tickets!
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