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  1. Default road trip, california's central coast

    hi everyone,

    my boyfriend and i are planning a trip to california's central coast for the third week in june (yes, i suppose i've waited until the last minute, huh?). we are flying out of new york. we have a week (flying in saturday and flying out saturday) to spend, and we would like to drive from big sur to santa barbara, stopping frequently to see the sights in between. so, i have couple of logistical questions:

    -does it make a difference whether we fly in to san francisco or los angeles? e.g., does it make a difference if we drive north or south along the coast?

    -does anyone recommend flying in to a smaller airport, such as santa barbara? or is it not worth the extra hassle of changing flights, etc.?

    -is is better to drive just LA-SF or SF-LA, or is it better to do a loop, and begin and end in the same place?

    -is this just too much to cram in to a week? i know we can't possibly see everything, but would it be better to start further south down the coast? we really want to see the channel islands in particular.

    any help would be GREATLY appreciated. it's so hard to find this kind of practical advice in guidebooks.

    thank you again for any advice!

    -vicky

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Timing is actually pretty good

    Quote Originally Posted by rabidmoose
    my boyfriend and i are planning a trip to california's central coast for the third week in june
    Welcome to the Great American RoadTrip Forum! Actually your timing is pretty good -- weather along the coast in summer is usually foggy and cool, but it should still be pretty clear and warm in late June.
    we have a week (flying in saturday and flying out saturday) to spend, and we would like to drive from big sur to santa barbara, stopping frequently to see the sights in between.

    -does it make a difference whether we fly in to san francisco or los angeles? e.g., does it make a difference if we drive north or south along the coast?
    I don't think it makes any significant logistical difference -- I would take the airport with the best connections and lowest fare.
    -does anyone recommend flying in to a smaller airport, such as santa barbara? or is it not worth the extra hassle of changing flights, etc.?
    In a word, NO. The cost will be twice what it would be to a hub airport with no significant advantage.
    -is is better to drive just LA-SF or SF-LA, or is it better to do a loop, and begin and end in the same place?
    The advantage of a one-way trip, is that you can spend more time enjoying the passage and less on getting back to the airport. If I had my druthers, I would choose San Francisco in-bound and out-bound at LAX.
    -is this just too much to cram in to a week? i know we can't possibly see everything, but would it be better to start further south down the coast? we really want to see the channel islands in particular.
    YOu can drive that entire distance (SFO to LAX) in a single 12 hour day. So, a week is a reasonable period of time. How are you getting to the channel islands and which ones are you going to?

    The best book, I have ever found for finding those little-known-locals-only kind of places is this one by Paige Penland. It is the one I use myself. There are also about 50 posts shared by members about favorite places along the coast. Use the search box or look at the bottom of this page for more information.

    Be sure to stop and check out the young studs here.

    Happy Planning!

    Mark

  3. Default

    Wow, thanks for all the info! :)

    Yeah, it's a tough decision with the flights. It would definitely be more enjoyable to be heading in the direction of your departing airport the entire time, without having to worry about doubling back... But one-way tickets seem to be so much more expensive than round-trip that I think we'd end up paying twice the airfare to have that luxury. So we'll have to think it over, I guess.

    We haven't gotten too in-depth with day-to-day planning yet... As far as the Channel Islands, I think we want to go kayaking through the sea caves, and also see as much wildlife as possible. I guess we were going to take the ferry or go on some kind of package kayaking thing. Do you have any recommendations?

    I will definitely check out that book, too.

    Thanks again for all your help; I really appreciate it! :)

    -Vicky

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,059

    Default Round Trip -- Use San Jose!

    Quote Originally Posted by rabidmoose
    Yeah, it's a tough decision with the flights. It would definitely be more enjoyable to be heading in the direction of your departing airport the entire time, without having to worry about doubling back... But one-way tickets seem to be so much more expensive than round-trip that I think we'd end up paying twice the airfare to have that luxury
    In that case I would recommend using San Jose as your roundtrip airport and you can spend the time on the south-bound leg and then zoom north again on US-101 (Santa Barbara to San Jose is an easy seven hour trip on the final day) versus that very long day along the coast.
    We haven't gotten too in-depth with day-to-day planning yet... As far as the Channel Islands, I think we want to go kayaking through the sea caves, and also see as much wildlife as possible
    Kayaking in Monterey Bay is really fun too.
    I guess we were going to take the ferry or go on some kind of package kayaking thing. Do you have any recommendations?
    I haven't done that yet but look forward to seeing what you find out there!

    Mark
    Last edited by Mark Sedenquist; 05-01-2006 at 11:52 AM. Reason: typos

  5. #5

    Default One way vs round trip

    Hi Vicky,

    I am planning a similar trip on the east coast, starting in Greensboro, NC and ending in Jacksonville, FL. Expedia has an option to book a flight with multipule destinations. It was only $40 more then flying round trip out of one airport. You might want to give it a shot and see what you come up with.

    As far as airports, I HATE LAX. It is enormous and very busy. I am from Orange County so when I fly home I fly through there (SNA is the airport code) vs LAX. ANd their rental fees are less then LA. It is actually cheaper with most airlines then LAX. Another thing for you to check out.

    And dont forget to stop for burgers at "In N Out". If you have never been to California you dont know what you are missing. they are everywhere. Just look for the big yellow sign with an arrow pointing to it. check them out at www.in-n-out.com. Or you could stop and ask anyone and they will tell you where the nearest one is.

    Have a great time in my home state, and happy planning!!


    Kelly,

    "The plan is nothing; planning is everything"
    Dwight D. Eisenhower

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