Help with California Itinerary!

Discussion in 'California' started by Steven Schwartz, Mar 31, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    Hi all,

    Got invited to a wedding in CA on Saturday night, Oct 12 - San Francisco. Considering flying in to LAX and driving north to the wedding while taking in some special sites.

    Both in our mid-60s. Want to see beautiful stuff. If there are any special chain hotels where we could use points, that would be a plus. A friend recommended the Ventana Inn and I see it on LuxuryLink. Been to Carmel and Monterrey many years ago but could certainly return. assume we would fly out on Wed, Oct 2 so should have a full ten days.

    I would be very grateful for any advice you all could give. Many thanks-

    Steve
     
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  2. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    I have to assume that you either like traffic or you really, really want to take the drive.

    I just did LAX to SAN on Wednesday (90 minutes) and SAN to LAX on Friday (3 hours) and traffic -- depending on when you drive, obviously -- can take all the fun out of any ground portion of your trip.

    Personally I'd fly into SFO and branch out from there... maybe North a couple of days towards Sonoma and wine country or South towards San Jose, or towards the redwoods -- if that's your type of thing.

    Like I said though, depends on your preference. If you want to make it a road trip from LAX, I'm sure it will be nice too.
     
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  3. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    A couple of nice boutique type hotels on the way up would be the Apple Farm Inn in San Luis Obispo and the Madonna Inn also near San Luis Obispo. You can't use any points there, but they are both nice places to go to. The Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay is absolutely fantastic and Marriott points will work there. The Lodge at Pebble Beach or the Inn at Spanish Bay are also fantastic places to spend some time. My wife loves the Post Ranch Inn in Big Sur, but I have trouble staying somewhere that does not have television in the rooms. Don't miss the 17 mile drive when you go up there.
     
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  4. LarryInNYC

    LarryInNYC Gold Member

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    A trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco will not hit the San Diego traffic south of LA. Assuming that Dr. Schwartz is planning on driving route 101 there shouldn't be much traffic once they're an hour or so out of LA.

    Nothing but beauty along that route. The direct inland route on I-5, not so much.

    Unfortunately, that time of year is a little late to take in King's Canyon / Sequoia National Parks or Yosemite (but check with Sequoia National Park, it may still be passable).

    You could also consider flying into San Francisco and doing a loops north and / or south from there. North would take you through Mendocino and up to Redwoods National Park. There are plenty of stunning places to visit along that route and you could make a nice four or five day trip.
     
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  5. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Up along PCH/Hwy 1 can be nice, via Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Big Sur, Carmel/Monterey. If you have never seen the desert, I do recommend Death Valley. Kings Canyon/Sequoia National Park and of course Yosemite are worth a visit, too.
     
  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Early to mid October shouldn't be a problem, IMO. Quiet time for sure, but unlikely to have snow.
     
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  7. harvson3

    harvson3 Silver Member

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    I recommend one stop in Santa Barbara and using it as a base for local wine country. Lovely town and pleasant strolls. Would recommend either Apple Farm or Madonna Inn for SLO and its local vineyards. Pismo Beach hotels have nice oceanfronts but are far from the Paso Robles vineyards (but near the Edna Valley).Those are the main attractions between LA and Big Sur: surf and wine. Skip Ventura. Disclosure: grew up on the Central Coast.

    PS: There are active MP members living in SLO.
     
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  8. MSPeconomist
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    MSPeconomist Gold Member

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    I love the PCH drive but don't rush. Also, check rental car drop off charges, which could force the decision in favor of loops from SFO.
     
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  9. viguera
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    viguera Gold Member

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    Preach.
     
  10. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    Of course, at that time of the year, Death Valley would be great. HOWEVER, you would probably have to backtrack to Barstow to get around the mountains as north of Death Valley you could very easily have snow and major road blockages. Even if you make it to Stateline/Reno and take Interstate 80 across, Donner pass has been known to have to be closed even in early September if the the weather gets really nasty.

    And as previously noted I-5 is not good for scenery, However, Highway 99 on the other side of the valley does go thru some interesting small (for California) towns that represent the rural side of California.
     
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  11. JetsettingEric
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    JetsettingEric Silver Member

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    I would suggest the Pacific Coast Highway drive. Never done it personally, but heard great things.

    Picking the right car is key.. perhaps something fancy from one of the exotic car rental shops at/near LAX.
     
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  12. jgg630

    jgg630 Silver Member

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    Stop at Hearst Castle, Santa Barbara, and there is a restaurant that over looks the ocean on the drive from Lax to SFO. It's a beautiful drive.
     
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  13. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Barstow is a bit out of the way. To get back towards San Francisco (or Hwy 101 or 99) from Death Valley I'd go via Mojave, over Tehachapi towards Bakersfield (probably my least favorite city in CA, so don't spend time there). While Tehachapi pass can be closed due to snow in the winter, I think chances of that in early October are minimal.

    In Mojave, you can probably see lots of old airliners parked at the airport. It's also home to Scaled Composites but I don't think they offer any tours, and not sure what the chances are of seeing any test flights.
     
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  14. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    I think between LAX/SFO; the Hyatt Santa Barbara is the only viable chain property that you could use on points.

    If I was you ... I'd go into SFO and then go north to Napa. Then maybe south to Monterrey. Then go home...
     
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  15. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    The Hyatt Carmel Highlands well regarded:

    http://highlandsinn.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels-highlandsinn/index.jsp
     
  16. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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    If you don't mind the atrocities committed by the Spaniards against the indigenous population, then visiting the historical missions along the way might be your thing. All but five of the 21 California missions are located between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The impressive Santa Barbara Mission is large and well preserved, but the smaller missions are also worth a visit.

    Hearst Castle, along HWY-1 at San Simeon the sprawling mansion and compound built by publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst (Citizen Kane), epitomizes quirky California. This historic estate, which has 56 bedrooms and 61 bathrooms, is now a State Park offering tours to the public. We stayed at an Inn at Cambria when we visited back in 2000.

    I'd personally take HYW-1, the scenic route, but if you prefer a faster way take HWY-101, and look for the distinctive curved poles of roadside mission bells that mark the historic El Camino Real route (the Spaniard Royal Highway).
    [​IMG]
     
  17. daninstl

    daninstl Gold Member

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    PCH is great. I'm of the opinion that I would fly into San Francisco but hey if you enjoy the road trip go for it. Also if you have to be anywhere downtown SF I would suggest you drop the car before you try to park there. There are places to park but overnight parking is very very expensive downtown. I would try to get across the Golden Gate to the North and visit Muir woods then from there take the back roads west over to the coast for some of the best views in the world. Any easy few hours during non-rush hours can cover that.
     
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  18. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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  19. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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  20. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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  21. Betty Boop

    Betty Boop Gold Member

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    I highly recommend the drive from LA to SFO - I did it once years ago and I think we went up and back (from SAN) in 10 days. I took my little red turbo charged sports car for the ride and it was great! Wonderful places along the way have been mentioned - Santa Barbara and Hearst Castle. There are some great wineries in Paso Robles. There is the quaint village of Solvang. Cambria is a sweet place for a stop over. I know you want to used points but there are some great B &Bs - one of my favorites is Four Sisters Inns - up in Monterey they used to have a 'Green Gables' type B&B. Also, if you like Steinbeck, you might want to visit Salinas. YES - do it!
     
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  22. wrxmom

    wrxmom Gold Member

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    That's Columbus Day weekend and some schools have the Monday off for a holiday so there could be traffic.
     
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  23. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    Also Fleet Week.

    http://www.fleetweek.us/
     
  24. Steven Schwartz
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    Steven Schwartz Gold Member

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    And that, Ed, is exactly what we decided to do. Many thanks to all. Will stay at the Westin in Napa (sounds great) and still have to decide on a place in the Carmel/Monterey area. Finish for the wedding in SF. Looking forward to it.
     
  25. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    That might help ya
     

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