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California Hwy 1, San Francisco help

bright ice

Ideal_Rock
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May 14, 2010
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4,019
For those of you who have done the CA Hwy 1 drive from San Francisco down to the Hearst Castle, please share with me what you found to be a must see or do while on the trip.

Also, what are the must see/do in San Francisco and the northern part into Napa Valley?

We are headed there in a few weeks and seem quite overwhelmed with how to manage our time. I bought the Fodor's Travel CA book which is very helpful but I would love to hear your personal experiences.
 

VRBeauty

Super_Ideal_Rock
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For me. checking out tide pools is a must! Two good spots are Half Moon Bay (here's a State park there, as I recall) or Point Lobos State Park in Carmel. You'd want to time it so you hit the area near low tide. Also deep fried artichoke hearts, anywhere near Watsonville. Yum yum!
 

bright ice

Ideal_Rock
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VRBeauty|1461781260|4024231 said:
For me. checking out tide pools is a must! Two good spots are Half Moon Bay (here's a State park there, as I recall) or Point Lobos State Park in Carmel. You'd want to time it so you hit the area near low tide. Also deep fried artichoke hearts, anywhere near Watsonville. Yum yum!
Thanks VRBeauty, will check it out! I have been told about the artichoke hearts :lickout:
 

aljdewey

Ideal_Rock
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9,144
A huge caveat - it all depends on what interests you/what you like to do.

That said....

RTE 1 South of SF: I'd stop in Pacifica near the ocean to watch the waves. In Monterey, the aquarium's pretty good and there is a tourist-y area if you're into that at Cannery Row.

I'd definitely do the 17-mile drive between Monterey and Carmel, and I'd plan to spend a day walking around Carmel. In addition to cute town feel, there are some awesome antique jewelry shops on Ocean Ave in Carmel that are worth visiting. The Mission in Carmel is also worth visiting. Whatever you do in town, plan to walk down Ocean Avenue to the beach about 30 minutes prior to sunset - it's a nightly town ritual and not to be missed.

Heading south of Carmel, I'd stop in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to see the waterfall - it's a 10-minute walk (not even a hike) in the park, and it's one of only two waterfalls that fall naturally into the ocean in Calif.

In SF:

Too many things to list, but my favorites are:

Go to Twin Peaks - stunning views both day and evening
If you're a walker, walk the GG Bridge
Go on a Victorian Home Walk
Haas Lillenthal house/museum
Shops on Fillmore
Grab a picnic lunch from Lucca's Deli on Chestnut Street in the Marina and head to Crissy Field to have lunch overlooking the bay or up to Alamo Square to lunch in front of the Painted Ladies
Wander the shops at the Ferry Building

North of SF:
Marin Headlands
Wander downtown Sausalito
Go to Muir Woods (short detour off route 1 in Mill Valley)
When in Napa, picnic lunch at V Sattui (they have an amazing deli!)
 

bright ice

Ideal_Rock
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4,019
aljdewey|1461782300|4024236 said:
A huge caveat - it all depends on what interests you/what you like to do.

That said....

RTE 1 South of SF: I'd stop in Pacifica near the ocean to watch the waves. In Monterey, the aquarium's pretty good and there is a tourist-y area if you're into that at Cannery Row.

I'd definitely do the 17-mile drive between Monterey and Carmel, and I'd plan to spend a day walking around Carmel. In addition to cute town feel, there are some awesome antique jewelry shops on Ocean Ave in Carmel that are worth visiting. The Mission in Carmel is also worth visiting. Whatever you do in town, plan to walk down Ocean Avenue to the beach about 30 minutes prior to sunset - it's a nightly town ritual and not to be missed.

Heading south of Carmel, I'd stop in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park to see the waterfall - it's a 10-minute walk (not even a hike) in the park, and it's one of only two waterfalls that fall naturally into the ocean in Calif.

In SF:

Too many things to list, but my favorites are:

Go to Twin Peaks - stunning views both day and evening
If you're a walker, walk the GG Bridge
Go on a Victorian Home Walk
Haas Lillenthal house/museum
Shops on Fillmore
Grab a picnic lunch from Lucca's Deli on Chestnut Street in the Marina and head to Crissy Field to have lunch overlooking the bay or up to Alamo Square to lunch in front of the Painted Ladies
Wander the shops at the Ferry Building

North of SF:
Marin Headlands
Wander downtown Sausalito
Go to Muir Woods (short detour off route 1 in Mill Valley)
When in Napa, picnic lunch at V Sattui (they have an amazing deli!)
Thanks!

This is the kind of things I want to hear.
 

amc80

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jun 18, 2010
Messages
5,765
I second 17 mile drive. Pebble Beach is fun as well. The Santa Cruz Boardwalk is worth seeing, depending on how much time you have.
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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40,198
I hated Hearst Castle.

Big Sur is a must visit. Yelp for recommended places. One has a huge fire pit. Must visit.

Definitely see 17 mile drive.

I would stay in Big Sir. Hearst Castle area only has crappy motels with misleading advertising to look upscale.

What do you like to do? Are you a hiker? A biker? A shopper? A foodie? A wine lover? Carmel has a great jewelry store. Tide pools are a must as well.

I love the Aptos area of Santa Cruz personally. And Muir Woods in Marin. Close to Napa I love Calistoga area and Yountsville.
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
Okay so, some links:


I meant Capitola not Aptos (apparently): https://www.facebook.com/CapitolaVillage/ LOVE this area. So cute, so seanic, and lots of good places to walk and enjoy the coast and some grub. MUCH better and nicer than the Monterey Wharf (waste of time, IMO). I erroneously refer to as Aptos, but it's Capitola. Apparently my husband just doesn't correct me when I refer to it wrong.

Carmel-by-the-sea jeweler: http://www.fourtane.com/ You love old cuts, so this is a must visit IMO.

Big Sur restaurant I love because of the huge fire pit: http://www.nepenthebigsur.com/

Go to Muir Woods, and visit downtown Mill Valley, while you are at it and have lunch at Sol Food -- best Puerto Rican food in the Bay Area. So good.

In Napa, if you have the budget for it, in Sonoma or Calistoga or Napa itself, book a spa day. They have some really lovely spas there. https://www.tripadvisor.com/HotelsList-Napa_Valley-Spa-Resorts-zfp7903703.html If you can afford it, stay at the Carneros Inn. I personally have never ponied up the cost for it, but everyone I know who has, has loved it.
 

bright ice

Ideal_Rock
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May 14, 2010
Messages
4,019
Gypsy|1461810098|4024440 said:
Okay so, some links:


I meant Capitola not Aptos (apparently): https://www.facebook.com/CapitolaVillage/ LOVE this area. So cute, so seanic, and lots of good places to walk and enjoy the coast and some grub. MUCH better and nicer than the Monterey Wharf (waste of time, IMO). I erroneously refer to as Aptos, but it's Capitola. Apparently my husband just doesn't correct me when I refer to it wrong.

Carmel-by-the-sea jeweler: http://www.fourtane.com/ You love old cuts, so this is a must visit IMO.

Big Sur restaurant I love because of the huge fire pit: http://www.nepenthebigsur.com/

Go to Muir Woods, and visit downtown Mill Valley, while you are at it and have lunch at Sol Food -- best Puerto Rican food in the Bay Area. So good.

In Napa, if you have the budget for it, in Sonoma or Calistoga or Napa itself, book a spa day. They have some really lovely spas there. https://www.tripadvisor.com/HotelsList-Napa_Valley-Spa-Resorts-zfp7903703.html If you can afford it, stay at the Carneros Inn. I personally have never ponied up the cost for it, but everyone I know who has, has loved it.

Thanks Gypsy!
 

star sparkle

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 2, 2008
Messages
1,706
How much time do you have, and how do you plan on spreading out your time? IE, are you just briefly stopping by each place until you get to Hearst Castle, or do you plan on staying longer in certain areas?
 

bright ice

Ideal_Rock
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star sparkle|1461871914|4024765 said:
How much time do you have, and how do you plan on spreading out your time? IE, are you just briefly stopping by each place until you get to Hearst Castle, or do you plan on staying longer in certain areas?
We have a total of 7 days outside of our 2 travel days. We plan on 2-3 days in the San Francisco area, then head up to Muir Woods and on to Napa Valley where we plan on spending 1 night. Then our plans are to head on down to Hwy 1, spend 2-3 days/nights somewhere about Monterey or Carmel and take in Big Sur and Hearst Castle as well.

I am overbooking, double booking to assure we have accommodations in each area depending on how long we choose to stay in each.
 

ame

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 7, 2004
Messages
10,718
Most of this was already covered, I guess, but I would suggest that you pack food/snacks/drinks because there are a lot of spots along the route where there's literally nothing. We made more than one mistake thinking that we would be able to stop in a few miles for something to eat and then there was literally like 3 hours before the next ANYTHING. And we were about to pass out. Also, if you have some kind of bring along wifi, or signal booster for your phone, bring that too, because there's a lot of dead zones along Hwy 1 as well.
 

LLJsmom

Ideal_Rock
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I grew up in SF and just recently did the Alcatraz tour. So worth it and fascinating. Definitely spend time eating at the Ferry Building. If you love cheese, Cow Girl Creamery in the Ferry Building is a must. Next door they make the most delish pastries with the cheeses at Cow Girl and they run out every day. Hog Island Oysters is there too, along with Slanted Door, one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in the city. Don't bother eating there. They have a take out counter so just get it to go and walk and eat and enjoy the sites. Once you walk out the ferry building if you go right less than half a mile you will be at the exploratorium science museum. Fun and fascinating. The boat tours to Alcatraz are right there. Book in advance!! Keep going and you end up at pier 39. Tourist trappy but still fun! Keep walking and you will end up at the Marina green. Amazing views of the golden gate bridge and the bay. If you start at the ferry building and take this route, it's about 2.5-3 miles when you get to this point. Don't worry about food. There are restaurants everywhere. Depends on how much of a walker you are. You can get to the bridge by 3.5 miles. The bridge itself is about 3 miles back and forth. In the early morning, it's beautiful. Sometimes it's a bit foggy and windy so bring a jacket.
 
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