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  1. Default Pacific Coast Highway Roadtrip 4 Days. From San Diego to Northern California

    Hello All,

    My wife and I are taking our 16month old daughter on her first road trip up the PCH. We are flying into San Diego in early Jan 2012 to visit family and have 4 days to drive up north. will leave back to NYC from LAX.

    We will probably stay along the coast. We really enjoy visiting small towns, antique shopping, beaches, and eating regional food.

    Pebble Beach will probably be the furthers we would go.

    Still a little vague as we just decided today. Any recommendations on what to do and what city's to spend the night in (not LA)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some to Consider

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Just a few spots along that drive that I've enjoyed with my grandsons and I think you and your daughter would as well:

    In San Diego: Balboa Park by all means. While best known for the San Diego Zoo, there are also museums devoted to giant bugs and model railroads, a carousel, numerous gardens and a puppet theatre.

    Los Angeles Area: A hidden gem is Balboa Island in Newport Beach. Actually if you drive out onto the peninsula which fronts it, you'll find public parking on the ocean side, and on the bay side there's the Balboa Fun Zone with its Ferris Wheel, Children's Museum (with pirate dress up attire), shaved ice, and as a special treat a little ferry over to Balboa Island and back.

    On the PCH: Watch for some of the many sea lion rookeries that dot the coast. Just be careful not to get too close as a bull sea lion can move surprisingly fast despite its great bulk and awkward appearance.And in Monterey, be sure to visit the Aquarium.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2009
    SF Bay Area

    Default Suggested starting point for an itinerary

    Does your four days include a return to LAX for the flight to NY? I also assume you will have covered San Diego before starting the roadtrip North. If so, then I'd suggest structuring it somewhat like the following:

    Day 1 - San Diego to Cambria with a lunch/shopping stop in Santa Barbara.

    Day 2 - Morning tour of Hearst Castle (book beforehand and check on whether small kids are OK), continue up Big Sur Coast to Carmel/Pacific Grove/Monterrey. Stay two nights.

    Day 3 - Do the Monterey Peninsula: shop in Carmel, 17 mile drive, Monterey Bay Aquarium

    Day 4 - Back to LA on 101.

    Small(ish) towns you may want to check out on this loop: Cambria, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, Cayucos, Solvang (slightly off route but very 'Kitsch'; a little bit of Denmark in California), San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles. Antique shopping is not my thing, so I don't have any recommendations there, but Carmel/PacificGrove/Monterey, Cambria, and Santa Barbara should have lots of shopping options.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Starting from the 'top'.

    You might want to consider heading direct to Monterey from SD via I5 and 101 [Paso Robles] and then start your trip 'proper' heading south down the coast. That will give you 3 days to explore the wonderful recommendations above and will also put the oceanside viewpoints on your side of the road.

  5. Default

    Thank you so much for the help. Wife and I are looking into all your suggestions. I like the idea of doing the coast north to south.

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