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  1. Default One Week, L.A. to S.F. (or visa versa) road trip w/ teens

    Last minute opportunity to steal some family time for an adventure together before our son heads off to college. We have never travled to California, only wish we had more time. We like the city, but equally like crusing and backroads and getting off the beaten path. Hoping we have enough time to do both on this trip. Can fly into either L.A. or S.F., but thought that traveling in one direction only, would allow us to do more - don't want a loop w/ only one week. Not really interested in spending time in L.A......if we fly in, we can rent a vehicle and perhaps do a drive by of something iconic before getting on the road heading north. I have found that w/ our kids, being on the move a couple days and then pausing for overnights is the most pleasurable. I have read so many reports here in the past 2 days my head is spinning - the biggest challenge is to focus on what is realistic in only 8 days, and create a pleasurable road trip balancing our love of exploring off the beaten path places, seeing 'must-see' things and then enjoying a couple days in San Francisco since we also love the city. I welcome ideas for pacing the trip, and suggestions for cool, memorable, interesting places I wouldn't necessarily find on my own. Appreciate all feedback!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,546

    Default

    If it were me, I would try to do the coastal route going south - - that way, the scenic pull-outs and viewpoints are on the correct side of the road. We learned that the hard way!!!! Flying into SF and going south makes more sense.

    This is quite a reasonable trip in the time you have allotted. You know your kids the best and therefore, our plotting your trip for you may not work. The drive from SF to LA is usually done in two days, especially along the coastal route. (My daughter and Son-in-law have driven from San Diego to Napa, north of SF, in 11 hours, but that's along I-5.)

    Things to see between SF and LA - - Hearst Castle, Carmel, Solvang. If you are introducing kids to a little education that's fun, there are several California missions along that route ("El Camino Royale") to look at - San Juan Bautista, Santa Barbara, San Fernando, and a couple of others. There are beaches along there, too, which usually interest most children.

    San Francisco has many things to offer, almost all of them in the tourist guide books. After riding the cable cars (kids love that), Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Alcatraz, Lime Point, and Muir Woods (north of the city), don't forget to eat at Fisherman's Wharf. BTW, my husband and I particularly enjoyed the cable car museum and Chinatown in SF.


    Donna

  3. Default

    Ahhh, your advice about traveling south makes sense. Thank you. Definitely want to do the must see things, like Hearst Castle etc. If we were to stop to spend 2 days somewhere along the coast, do some hiking or exploring of quaint small, not often visited spots....any suggestions? Places you've been that you looooved?

  4. Default

    I should be specific in what I am looking for....we are not challenged with time so much or routing. I would love people to share specific places, hikes, meals, destinations they have personally experienced that were memeorable and worth sharing.... Things we would most likely not find in this first west coast trip on our own. A wonderful inn, a memorable lunch spot where the owners were awesome, the great hike that isn't the one listed in all the books, an awe-inspiring view, a particular route through a back-road area. etc. THANKS!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Joplin MO
    Posts
    9,271

    Default

    There *IS* a loop that you could very feasibly do in a week - especially considering you don't care about LA. Do it in and out of SF, head down the coast to Cambria, then head inland to Sequoia and Yosemite, then back to SF.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Location
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Posts
    10,060

    Default Six must-not-miss places near Santa Cruz and Morro Bay

    Quote Originally Posted by cartay View Post
    I would love people to share specific places, hikes, meals, destinations they have personally experienced
    Three such places in Morro Bay... Otter Rafts and the Seal Lion Dock The Otter rafts can be seen if you take the dirt road just north of the restaurant where the seal lion dock is. It's only about 1/2 mile off the road... Pretty amazing to watch otters here.

    And then Phil's Fish Market (scroll down that page to the post with the photos) is one of those fresh seafood restaurants you pretty much have to know is there to even find it... Your teens might be amazed at all of the surfer action at Steamer Lane -- information also in that post above.

    Even better... go to the Map Center page. Click your map on Monterey then click "find attractions within 100 miles... you'll see 27 flags of places we think you might be intrigued by...

    Mark

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,936

    Default That's the one you find

    Quote Originally Posted by cartay View Post
    ...we are not challenged with time so much or routing. I would love people to share specific places...

    ...the great hike that isn't the one listed in all the books, an awe-inspiring view, a particular route through a back-road area. etc.
    That is the one you find!

    You say you have the time, without restriction to routing, so here is a hint...

    Turn down that road and head for the horizon. Take another turn, further along, which looks interesting to you. See a track? Get out of the car and follow it....

    One thing though, make sure you have good detailed maps of the areas where you are. The hikes for which you are looking will not be signposted, nor marked on maps, so you will have to have excellent map reading skills, and a compass - and know how to use it.

    Let's face it, if it is a 'great' hike, it will be in the guide books. What you are looking for does exist, but you need to look for it.

    Lifey

  8. Default

    Thank you for this reply...i'm new to this - my first ever forum experience of any kind. But after discovering all the wonderful conversations going on I couldn't wait to tap into the resource here. Look forward to spending some time tonight (I will go to the Map Center...i promise). Thanks again.

  9. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by glc View Post
    There *IS* a loop that you could very feasibly do in a week - especially considering you don't care about LA. Do it in and out of SF, head down the coast to Cambria, then head inland to Sequoia and Yosemite, then back to SF.
    This is intriguing...I must familiarize myself with the map & route to understand how much 'on the go' we would be. But this is the kind of feedback I appreciate. THANK YOU.

  10. Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Lifemagician View Post
    That is the one you find!

    You say you have the time, without restriction to routing, so here is a hint...

    Turn down that road and head for the horizon. Take another turn, further along, which looks interesting to you. See a track? Get out of the car and follow it....

    Let's face it, if it is a 'great' hike, it will be in the guide books. What you are looking for does exist, but you need to look for it.

    Lifey
    Hi Lifey - I get it:)

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