Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > America - USA > California
Reload this Page >

Beach town (or resort hotel) near San Francisco

Beach town (or resort hotel) near San Francisco

Old Feb 3, 17, 12:09 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: SE England
Programs: Amex Cent and all that comes with it
Posts: 264
Beach town (or resort hotel) near San Francisco

Hi All,


I'm after some advice re. where to stay for two or three days prior to driving to Yosemite.

Myself and six year old will arrive in San Francisco on a Thursday this August, from the UK, and (I think) we'll stay there for the weekend. I'd like to then travel south(?) a little and stay at a beach town (or resort if 'special') prior to heading over to Yosemite. Doesn't need to be swanky, though it can be., Big Sur is out of the question until we come back with MrsAdey!

So any advice where to go would be appreciated..... Child friendly, nice beaches, not too secluded unless it's a great resort hotel.

Santa Cruz? Monterey? I'm at a loss and hoping for some advice from fellow FT'ers. We are very familiar with Southern California but not so 'up north'!. Don't want to travel too far that the follow on drive to Yosemite is too long.

Thanks in advance,
Adey
mradey is offline  
Old Feb 3, 17, 12:29 pm
  #2  
Moderator: Delta SkyMiles, Luxury Hotels, TravelBuzz! and Italy
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 25,339
Santa Cruz and Monterey are both fine choices. Santa Cruz has exquisite scenery and some beaches (the water will be cold) Monterey offers a bit more variety as well as one of the world's great aquariums. The Monterey area will offer more hotel options.
https://www.montereybayaquarium.org
obscure2k is offline  
Old Feb 3, 17, 10:00 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: SJC/SFO
Programs: UA MM Gold, AA Gold, HHonors Gold, Marriott Gold, WN CP AList
Posts: 249
Good suggestions above but you may want to consider Capitola just south of Santa Cruz.
http://capitolavillage.com/
Bearbear is offline  
Old Feb 4, 17, 12:09 am
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Central California
Programs: Former UA Premex, now dirt
Posts: 6,459
In addition to the well known attractions like the aquarium, Monterey has the really nice Dennis the Menace Park which is great for kids your child's age.
abmj-jr is offline  
Old Feb 4, 17, 12:22 am
  #5  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Atherton, CA
Programs: UA 1K, AA EXP; Owner, Green Bay Packers
Posts: 21,690
Six year old?

https://beachboardwalk.com/

If your six year old likes nature, could get a tent-cabin at this place:

http://www.costanoa.com/

if you want some mild adventure. Lots of nice walks around the resort property.

Visit Pigeon Point Lighthouse, very close to this resort,

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigeon_Point_Lighthouse

And a little hike out to see the Elephant Seals at Ao Nuevo State Park, again, close to this resort and Santa Cruz.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=523


You'll have a great time. Perfect time of the year to visit.
Doc Savage is offline  
Old Feb 4, 17, 7:17 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: PHX
Programs: AA Aluminum, WN B+
Posts: 929
Agree with the above that the Santa Cruz area would be the place to look. Plenty of activities to keep the little one occupied for a few days. Off the top of my head:

-Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
-Monterey Bay Aquarium
-Roaring Camp Railroad
-Mystery Spot
-Gilroy Gardens theme park

Also pay attention to the temperature forecast and pack accordingly when you get close to the trip. The coast can be around 60F/15C while just 20 miles inland it could be around 85F/28C (or warmer) that time of year.

Last edited by Lost; Feb 4, 17 at 7:26 am
Lost is offline  
Old Feb 4, 17, 2:07 pm
  #7  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Berkeley, CA USA
Programs: Piggly Wiggly "Shop the Pig!" Preferred Shopper
Posts: 43,245
Originally Posted by Lost View Post
Agree with the above that the Santa Cruz area would be the place to look. Plenty of activities to keep the little one occupied for a few days. Off the top of my head:

-Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
-Monterey Bay Aquarium

-Roaring Camp Railroad
-Mystery Spot
-Gilroy Gardens theme park

Also pay attention to the temperature forecast and pack accordingly when you get close to the trip. The coast can be around 60F/15C while just 20 miles inland it could be around 85F/28C (or warmer) that time of year.
My emphasis on two things most six-year-olds would love. Then again, the SC Boardwalk is not much different than small amusement parks elsewhere. The MB Aquarium is extraordinary, however.

Would you be up for a sea kayak adventure, OP? If so, I strongly recommend renting one at the Elkhorn Slough, a short drive north of Monterey: http://www.elkhornslough.org/visit.htm You will likely encounter dozens or even hundreds of sea otters, sea lions and seals. The water in the slough is calm, so you need not be an experienced kayaker.
dhuey is online now  
Old Feb 5, 17, 10:19 am
  #8  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: SE England
Programs: Amex Cent and all that comes with it
Posts: 264
Many thanks for the excellent advice all!

I'll look in detail at the suggestions over the next couple of days and report back with our choices.

The kayaking sounds fun... mrsadey has had a couple of lessons locally. I'd need to arrange child care though as it's just the two of us for this part of the trip.

Adey
mradey is offline  
Old Feb 5, 17, 1:04 pm
  #9  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Berkeley, CA USA
Programs: Piggly Wiggly "Shop the Pig!" Preferred Shopper
Posts: 43,245
Originally Posted by mradey View Post
The kayaking sounds fun... mrsadey has had a couple of lessons locally. I'd need to arrange child care though as it's just the two of us for this part of the trip.

Adey
If it works out, I think kayaking in the Elkhorn Slough would be the best and most memorable part of your trip. It's something you can experience only here. Sea otters are some of the cutest creatures you'll ever see.

BTW, I think the Elkhorn Slough is vastly superior than the Monterey Bay for kayaking -- for novices, at least. The water on the bay can get choppy, and you are less likely to encounter marine mammals up close.
dhuey is online now  
Old Feb 6, 17, 5:51 pm
  #10  
Suspended
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 254
I'd recommend Santa Cruz as a beach town, and I would also suggest that the Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park is a great diversion that both you and your child would appreciate. Anywhere further south would also be taking you further away from Yosemite.

Monterey is not too much further south, and as noted above, the Aquarium is great for an intellectually curious child.
DeweyCheathem is offline  
Old Feb 7, 17, 7:56 am
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,901
Originally Posted by mradey View Post
Santa Cruz? Monterey? I'm at a loss and hoping for some advice from fellow FT'ers. We are very familiar with Southern California but not so 'up north'!.
The beaches up north are much colder than SoCal beaches in the summer. Just so you know so you are not too disappointed when you have to wear a jacket even in August thinking that California would be nice and warm. The first time we traveled to San Francisco in the summer we couldn't believe how cold it is there... none of us brought jackets.
Need is online now  
Old Feb 7, 17, 9:56 am
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: SNA
Posts: 16,734
Originally Posted by mradey View Post
Many thanks for the excellent advice all!

I'll look in detail at the suggestions over the next couple of days and report back with our choices.

The kayaking sounds fun... mrsadey has had a couple of lessons locally. I'd need to arrange child care though as it's just the two of us for this part of the trip.

Adey
No reason the 6 year old can't kayak, mine were out quite a bit younger than that.
VickiSoCal is online now  
Old Feb 7, 17, 12:48 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: London & Sonoma CA
Programs: UA 1K MM, Hertz PC, BAEC Silver
Posts: 7,995
Living in the SE of England and spending most summers in Northern California (many of which were as a child or with my young children, I'd like to add my ha'porth.

As alluded to above, coastal Northern California is often / usually cold and foggy in August, its worst month. But 5 miles inland, it's guaranteed hot. The landscape is somewhat reminiscent of Northern Cornwall but the water is freezing cold (which is why it can be so foggy, because of the hot inland air colliding with the cold ocean air). Much of the coastline within 50-60 miles north or south of San Francisco will likely be cold and grey, and the local architecture can make things seem even more grey - none of the brightly coloured cottages which you find in seaside Cornwall.

From my perspective, Santa Cruz is tacky and grey and Elkhorn Slough was disappointing in that it did nothing to dispel notions of David Brent's habitat from my mind. Likewise, I would avoid Half Moon Bay, Bodega Bay, Stinson Beach etc for much the same reasons.

Having done the negative, I'd like to add some positives, of which there are far, far more. Monterey's Aquarium is absolutely fantastic and the children - and adults - will love it. If you can stomach the drive to Yosemite, I would stay in Carmel (the town of which Clint Eastwood was mayor). It's charming and, importantly, it's all walkable (if you stay on Ocean Avenue). The beach there is sheltered and stunning and, as long as you avoid weekends, very uncrowded. Plus there are great ways of scrambling across to Pebble Beach (underneath the famous golf course). My children enjoyed finding lost golf balls under the cliffs. It's just a short drive to Monterey and its Aquarium.

In that area, your other option is to stay in Carmel Valley, which snakes inland from Carmel and is usually outside the fog bank. There are nice resort style hotels there, but you would have to drive in to Carmel for the beach.

Reading your OP, I really think that Carmel would fit the bill for a father and child break.
lhrsfo is offline  
Old Feb 7, 17, 1:25 pm
  #14  
Moderator: Travel Safety/Security, Travel Tools, California, Los Angeles
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: VNY | BUR | LAX
Programs: AAdvantage | MileagePlus
Posts: 11,773
Originally Posted by lhrsfo View Post
(which is why it can be so foggy, because of the hot inland air colliding with the cold ocean air)
Actually, as I learned years ago when I took California geography at UCLA, the marine layer is created by warm humid air from the central Pacific Ocean passing over a cold ocean current flowing southbound from Alaska along the California coast.
TWA884 is offline  
Old Feb 7, 17, 1:35 pm
  #15  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 83,672
If you go to the small town of Asilomar, there's a conference center next to a (public) beach. You're likely to see big deer here. They come right up to the doors of hotel rooms in the conference center. It could be a fun little stop if you're driving past.
MSPeconomist is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread