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2 Week Vacation in California: SF, Napa, Yosemite, HWY1, SB, SD, LA

2 Week Vacation in California: SF, Napa, Yosemite, HWY1, SB, SD, LA

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Old Feb 27, 13, 8:42 pm
  #1  
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2 Week Vacation in California: SF, Napa, Yosemite, HWY1, SB, SD, LA

On a whim booked a 2 week road journey to California with a friend. Here's our tentative schedule.

5 NC > LAX
6 SF
7 SF
8 Muir Woods
9 Napa/Wine
10 Yosemite
11 Yosemite
12 Monterey
13 Big Sur
14 Santa Barbara Ojai
15 SD/Tijuana
16 SD/Zoo
17 SD
18 LA
19 LA
20 LAX > RDU

I already know this is ambitious, should be fun and I know we won't be able to do everything. Will have a rental car. Looking advice for regional hotels/hostels/food attractions primarily.

Restrictions: 50-70 per night hostel/hotel/inn/etc.
- Looking for reasonable or special food spots that are cheap/reasonable.


Yosemite - Frontrunner seems Merced/Fresno for YART bus into Yosemite and overall cheaper fare than be stuck up in the mountains.
Monterey - Monterey peninsula seems the best for the area.
SB - Have heard alot of SLO, Cambria, any ideas on cool cities near Santa Barbara?
SD - Anything in this region works, considering near the border for a TJ visit.

Will be scouring the forum for info!
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Old Feb 27, 13, 9:44 pm
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Originally Posted by Woobra View Post
On a whim booked a 2 week road journey to California with a friend. Here's our tentative schedule.

5 NC > LAX
6 SF
7 SF
8 Muir Woods
9 Napa/Wine
10 Yosemite
11 Yosemite
12 Monterey
13 Big Sur
14 Santa Barbara Ojai
15 SD/Tijuana
16 SD/Zoo
17 SD
18 LA
19 LA
20 LAX > RDU
Consider this route as well:
LAX - YOS - Wine Country - Sonoma - SF - Monterey - Carmel - San Simeon - Cambria - Santa Barabara - Malibu - Santa Monica - Hollywood - Huntington Beach - Laguna Beach - SD(forget Mexico) - Encinitas - LAX

You can pick your dates but that route IMO gives you a great loop and hits all the good spots.

If going to beaches, hit a Costco and grab a cheap beach towel and buy a cheap boogie board.
Buy wine in Wine Country and pack it in the car for the hotels stays and save a fortune.
Walk Carmel Beach and shops and move on to the San Simeon. Buy tickets for Hearst Castle in advance for the sunset tour and stay in Cambria.
You can do SB and Malibu on same day and stay in Santa Monica instead.
SD might be expensive for hotel so think about Pacific Beach or LaJolla instead. Both will be pricey but you might live the areas better than the Gaslamp.

Just my 2 cents. It's a great time and be prepared for cool weather from SF to Santa Monica, I was in Cambria in August, outside temp was 44 for the high. Had a fire on in hotel that night, very chilly.
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Old Feb 27, 13, 9:51 pm
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Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 99
Can you do open jaw... fly to sf, oneway car, fly out of lax/san? Lots of extra driving in there (time, personal energy, and gas cost!) Fyi, we are at $4+/gal right now, and this is supposed to be low season.

A few other thoughts:
--skip ojai, stick with SB (but stay in ventura county for cheeaper hotels.)
--why TJ? You underage and want to drink? Don't drive in, and check border xing wait times.
--your hotel budget is tight. Priceline and betterbidding.com are your friend. Watchout for parking fees @ hotels in major cities downtowns.

Enjoy cali!
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Old Feb 27, 13, 10:05 pm
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Sorry, should have been more specific. Flying into LAX, driving to SF. Should have a friend there to bum housing. In general timeline was decided by other party on this trip, so I don't have much of a choice.

LAX covered with a friend as well.
Ojai has nothing there by what I found
TJ - for the other member on the journey, I'm 25 so no drinking doesn't interest me although very good tacos do!

Ditto on parking fees/gas, already know its going to hurt! However, I'm in the State so no regrets.
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Old Feb 27, 13, 10:36 pm
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Originally Posted by Woobra View Post
TJ - for the other member on the journey, I'm 25 so no drinking doesn't interest me although very good tacos do!
If its just tacos, tequila, etc, there's lots on this side of the border, even mexican-authentic. Not worth the hassle, imho. Just sayin'...

Anyway, in san diego, visit north park, south park, normal heights, uptown, littlle italy areas for cool urban neighborhoods with craft food and beers... if that's of interest. Lafayette hotel is in that area...very affordable. Mission beach or coronado for beach time, if warm enuf.
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Old Feb 28, 13, 8:27 am
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Originally Posted by aptravel View Post
If its just tacos, tequila, etc, there's lots on this side of the border, even mexican-authentic. Not worth the hassle, imho. Just sayin'...

Anyway, in san diego, visit north park, south park, normal heights, uptown, littlle italy areas for cool urban neighborhoods with craft food and beers... if that's of interest. Lafayette hotel is in that area...very affordable. Mission beach or coronado for beach time, if warm enuf.
Suggestions for special food in SD? Don't mind dives, emphasis on cheap/reasonably pricing.
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Old Feb 28, 13, 9:11 am
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Originally Posted by Woobra View Post
Suggestions for special food in SD? Don't mind dives, emphasis on cheap/reasonably pricing.
The iconic corner taco shop (named something like Aliberto's, and variations thereof) on just about every other block is always super cheap.

Some favorites for reasonable pricing near where I live:
Taste of Thai, Hillcrest (esp lunches)
Brooklyn Pizza, Hillcrest/Mission Hills for slices
El Indio Mexican, Five Points (near Washington/India Sts.)
Berkeley Pizza for chicago style deep dish (Downtown/Gaslamp)
The Mission for b'fast/brunch/lunch (downtown and north park locatoins)
The Broken Yolk for bfast/bruch/lunch--look for coupons! (many locations)
Luna Grill for mediterranean (a relatively new local chain in SD area--fresh and good! a few locations)
Fillipi's in Little Italy for the traditional pizza/italian/red-white table cloth meal (also San Filipo's is similar... a few locations for both)
Rubio's is a SoCal baja-mexican chain that I think is good quality for the price. Many locations.
Hodads burgers in Ocean Beach (eclectic little beach community, well worth a visit.)

I'm not as atuned to other areas like La Jolla (pricey), Pacific Beach and Mission bEach, and even less so further up the coast. I'm sure others will chime in...
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Old Feb 28, 13, 9:39 am
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for info, itineraries, travel suggestions for this route, please see www.tourthecentralcoast.com and www.centralcoast-tourism.com/blog

Don't miss a tour of Hearst Castle in San Simeon, strongly suggest advance tour reservation via www.hearstcastle.com or 800 444 4445. Cayucos is also a nice and unusual place to overnight.
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Old Feb 28, 13, 10:28 am
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Originally Posted by Woobra View Post
Suggestions for special food in SD? Don't mind dives, emphasis on cheap/reasonably pricing.
I'd also suggest skipping TJ. If you want tacos you can go to Tacos El Gordo. Authentic TJ style (they have a location there as well.) and it will save you the time of crossing the border so that you can have more time to enjoy some of the other San Diego areas mentioned by others.
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Old Feb 28, 13, 4:03 pm
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Are you clicking your heels to get from LAX to SF?

5 fly nto SF/OAK
6 SF
7 SF
8 Muir woods
9 Napa
10 Monterey AM, down coast PM, night in San Luis obispo
11 AM hearst castle PM Santa ynez valley
12 Santa Barbara
13-14 San Diego
15-16 LA drive evening up to Bakersfield
17 sequoia/kings canyon
18-19. Yosemite
20 return to SF/OAK for flight home
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Old Feb 28, 13, 4:32 pm
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If I can somehow get out of TJ, will do. Wish I could click my heels to get to SF anytime, food is amazing there.

Thanks for all the info!
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Old Feb 28, 13, 4:32 pm
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You don't need to do a yurt bus.

What I suggest you look into if you want to do this on the heap is look to get a 2 person tent ( under $100 for tent plus sleeping bags) and stay at some camping/KOA sites.

When there get a large cooler from a target/Walmart and buy the 12/24 packs of wter/soda and use the hotels to refil with ice in the AM.

For hotels in SF ...look at Oakland and Pleasanton and outer BART towns fir cheaper hotels and then take BART into the ity.

At Yosmite there are numerous camping ites alot cheaper than hotel. In July you should o one day in the Valley and one day in the Tuolome meadows part of the park. Staying in Fresno for Tuolome is a bit far.


If you need to travel or other reasons prior to this, look at some of the promos sh as Marriott py two separate stay, one night fee. For example day 1 you stay at a Fairfield, day 2 you stay at a town place across the street...then you earned a free night you could use down in SoCal.

Places you will find cheaper are local mom and pop motels and some of the choice hotels. With these you could get a place at or below $80 / night for a room for the two of you.

Good luck in finding hostels or AirBnB to find a bedroom in someones house to rent.
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Old Mar 1, 13, 1:12 pm
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If you are going to Napa for wine tasting and have specific wineries in mind you want to visit, that's fine, but try to avoid the weekends. On the other hand, if you are just looking for a California wine tasting experience, many folks would say to head to Sonoma rather than Napa. It is less crowded, just as scenic, if not more so, and the wineries are just as good and much more accessible.
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Old Mar 1, 13, 1:33 pm
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Originally Posted by JerryFF View Post
If you are going to Napa for wine tasting and have specific wineries in mind you want to visit, that's fine, but try to avoid the weekends. On the other hand, if you are just looking for a California wine tasting experience, many folks would say to head to Sonoma rather than Napa. It is less crowded, just as scenic, if not more so, and the wineries are just as good and much more accessible.
+1.

"more accessible" IME also means "more affordable for tasting and buying bottles!"
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Old Mar 2, 13, 10:33 am
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Originally Posted by aptravel View Post
+1.

"more accessible" IME also means "more affordable for tasting and buying bottles!"
After Muir Woods we'll be heading in that directions, any suggestions for food/to see in Sonoma before retiring in Fairfield?
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