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  1. #1

    Default Roadtrip Las Vegas - SF - San Diego - Vegas - What Between Carmel & SD?

    Hello all,

    We are a couple living in Brussels, Belgium. We are soon (1 week) leaving for our holiday which will be a roadtrip around the west coast.
    We have only 14 days for our trip but don't mind some serious driving and concentrating on a few selected places. Our plan is:
    Arriving in Las Vegas and staying there for 1 day/2 nights -->
    Driving all day and arriving close by Yosemite where spending 2 nights / 1 full day -->
    Driving to San Francisco and spending there 3 days -->
    Leaving SF early in the morning, stopping at Monterrey and finally spending the night at Carmel (also our first wedding anniversary...)

    This is where we get puzzled. We are leaving Carmel on a Wednesday morning and we will have to be in San Diego on Friday. We do want to drive through Big Sur but otherwise we really don't know where to stop or what to see.

    We were considering wine tasting around Solvang/Santa Barbara area. We do not, however, want to spend a night in Solvang as I'm Nordic and would want to see more of California rather than Denmark in the US. Also, we are heading to San Diego on the 4th of July and we are guessing traffic will be super bad especially around LA, on that day. Hence we would like to get fairly close to SD already on Thursday.

    So, we would love it if anyone has any good tips for two days/nights between Carmel and SD.

    The rest of the trip; Staying 3 days in SD and then taking one day to drive back to Vegas.

    I'm sorry if I've taken way too much space and time here. We've just already been searching and reading everywhere what to do and see but haven't been able to decide!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Some General Discussions and Specific Hints

    Bienvenue sur les forums de RoadTrip Amérique. Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    You should probably start by reading through these discussions of very similar trips by others. They will give you a good feel for what's available to you to see an do in that general area, as well as what you might be able to accomplish in two weeks.

    As for your specific questions, I'd set aside two days just for the Coast Highway (CA-1) so that you have time to see the sea life along the way as well as San Simeon. Then it's about a half day's drive between Los Angeles and San Diego, depending on traffic. Well worth a stop on this stretch is a stop at the Mission of San Juan Capistrano for a bit of California history. The 4th of July itself is actually likely to be a pretty light day for traffic as it is a holiday. The worst traffic will be the evening of the 3rd.

    AZBuck

  3. Default A few suggestions?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kritter View Post
    [...]This is where we get puzzled. We are leaving Carmel on a Wednesday morning and we will have to be in San Diego on Friday. We do want to drive through Big Sur but otherwise we really don't know where to stop or what to see.

    We were considering wine tasting around Solvang/Santa Barbara area. We do not, however, want to spend a night in Solvang as I'm Nordic and would want to see more of California rather than Denmark in the US. Also, we are heading to San Diego on the 4th of July and we are guessing traffic will be super bad especially around LA, on that day. Hence we would like to get fairly close to SD already on Thursday.

    So, we would love it if anyone has any good tips for two days/nights between Carmel and SD.
    [ ...]
    If you're heading south from Carmel, the standard set of places to visit runs roughly as follows:

    - Carmel area, including the 17 mile drive (very scenic). (and I'm assuming you've done your visiting in the Monterey area, which is just a few miles from Carmel, such as Cannery Row (Steinbeck), the Aquarium, etc as per your interests)

    - Down through Big Sur. I'll refer you to other guides for Big Sur. There are very beautiful scenic spots, and some very interesting places to visit, and a bit of history and literary history in the area. Depending upon your interests this can be from a couple of hours to a full day.

    - Elephant Seal Colony at Pedros Blancas (about 10 miles north of San Simeon). This is a colony (actually several) which is right along Coast 1. Huge seals, and very accessible visible from the road in several places.

    - Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Now a state park, but an interesting place to do the tour. This will take at least a couple of hours. Highly recommended.

    - Wine Country near Paso Robles, which is reachable from the coast near San Simeon. Last time I looked, there were around 120 wineries in the area, if you want to do wine tasting.

    - There are several beach towns along here with differing styles and flavors of charm. Morro Bay, Pismo Beach, Cambria and numerous others. Depends upon your tastes and peferences.

    - Guadalupe Dunes. This is a bit off the beaten track -- but this is where Cecille de Milles filmed several of his desert movies -- Valentino's pictures, and his huge production of Cleopatra, among others. Today, the dunes have moved in and the old movie sets are lost under the dunes -- you can sometimes find old structures and props as the dunes move across the area. Much less populated and busy that the other dune areas on the central coast, and a good place to say you visited the coast.

    - Lots and lots of beaches. A couple of my favorites are Jalama, Surf Beach, Carpenteria, and Ventura.

    - Vandenberg Air Force Base. Today, the 2nd most active space lauch site in the world. Check with the base for tours and access, particulalry if you're not a US citizen.

    - Santa Barbara. In particular, the old Spanish Mission in Santa Barbara is considered one of the most beautiful. There is also a very nice outdoor mall walking and shopping area in down town, and other places to spend a pleasant afternoon.

    - Ojai. This is an artists colony nestled up in the hills north of Ventura. Very nice.

    - Channel Islands National Park. If you are interested, there are half day and full day trips out to the channel islands available from Ventura area. Sea life, very scenic, and not very visited at all.

    That brings you down to the LA area, which can take weeks to visit, depending upon your interests. I'm not going to give specific recommendations here, since I'm not sure of your tastes.

    Now, from LA to San Diego is from 2-4 hours, depending upon where you start your journey in the lA area (which can be 2 hours across at highway speeds). If you start near Ventura, and just drive straight through, its about 4 hours to San Diego. If you start further south in the LA area, say near the "OC" such as Newport Beach, Huntington Beach, or Laguna, its only about 2 hours to San Diego.





    -

  4. #4

    Default Thank u

    Just wanted to thank you for the replies which were a great help. Unfortunately though, we did not get to see Big Sur at all. During our trip the fires around the coast and Big Sur were so bad that they had closed some parts of the road and no people were let drive down there.
    Obviously, we were somewhat disappointed but got some comfort in taking that 17-mile drive as well as walking around Point Lobos.

    Hope others have better luck and the fires will die down.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Washington state coast/Olympic Peninsula
    Posts
    3,318

    Default Ohhh...that's too bad about the fires

    But it sounds like you still found some excellent things to see and do. I'm glad that you found some of our suggestions helpful.

    We love roadtrip reports. Would you mind sharing some of your trip? Maybe your favorite things like best scenic views? Best restaurant? Best lodging? Funniest thing that happened. Or skip these and just share whatever you choose. We would appreciate it.

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