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Help - California trip but just belatedly realised big sur closed!

(21 Posts)
Polgara2 Tue 18-Jul-17 08:23:43

Obviously I'm behind the times but I've only just read on here that big sur has closures. This will seriously impact on our planned road trip in September! Originally we had planned :
Fly into San Francisco sunday
4 nights SF (booked)
1 night Monterey
1 night somewhere in between
1 night Santa Barbara
3 nights Santa Monica
1 night somewhere maybe Fresno?
2 nights Yosemite (booked)
1 night near SF
Fly back next day sunday

Doesn't seem to be much point going from SF to LA on the inner highway as the big sur drive was the whole point!

So do we divert? Maybe fly from SF TO Las Vegas, spend 3 nights there then fly down to LA?

We are on our own (DH, me dd20 and dd17) for the first week then meeting up with SIL for the second and she is flying into LA from Seattle on the Sunday for the second week.

or is there better use of the available time? Anyone know more about these things than me? Oh this is giving me a huge headache (bigger than the one deciding where to stay in each original town confused)

Thank you!

OP’s posts: |
irregularegular Tue 18-Jul-17 08:32:44

No don't change your plans. Big Sur was also closed when we did a similar trip a few years ago. I'm not sure exactly how much is closed, but I imagine you will still be able to do much of the coast, just not the actual Big Sur bit. We diverted inland a little bit and it was beautiful. Lovely little valleys with tiny villages and fruit growing. Going further back I lived in California for a few years so have been to Big Sur before. It's nice, but not that nice. Monterery and Santa Barbara are still well worth visiting and driving inbetween. We stayed at Cambria and visited Hearst Castle.

TefalTester123 Tue 18-Jul-17 08:48:30

Our original plan was 2 nights Monterey, 1 Big Sur, 1 Madonna Inn then Los Angeles.
I have rebooked as 3 night Monterey, 1 Santa Barbara then Los Angeles.

We'll still drive downto as far South on the coast road as we can, but will double back and stay that night in Monterey (saves having to unpack/repack). Yes, we'll miss some (lots of) scenery but we weren't planning to do Hearst Castle anyway.

PatriciaHolm Tue 18-Jul-17 09:12:16

We're going on Sunday! 2 nights Venice Beach, 4 nights LA, 1 night San Luis Obispo having driven up the coast,
2 nights Fresno (planning water park here!), 5 nights SF. We flipped and flopped around Yosemite, but the sequoia grove at mariposa is closed when we go and we left getting accommodation in the park way too late so the kids (11.5 and almost 13) voted waterpark!

Teds77 Tue 18-Jul-17 10:31:20

You can still see the more spectacular bits from the north. So possible options might be -

Stay 2 nights in Monterey and use the extra day to drive as far south as you can go and come back again. Then drive inland to Santa Barbara the next day.

Try to find accommodation in Big Sur. then drive back north before heading south to Santa Barbara. If you can, you could consider trying to stay here on your first night from SF and then go back to Monterey afterwards for the second night so the drive to Santa Barbara isn't so long.

kath6144 Tue 18-Jul-17 17:18:57

Op, we are currently at Yosemite having done a very similar trip, Dc 17 & 19, fortunately my daughter read about Big Sur being closed a few months ago, whilst we were still booking some hotels.

We also did 4 nights in SF, we did loads on those 3 days but it did tire us out after the long flight and jet lag. Are you doing Alcatraz, do you know it needs booking?

We ended up doing 2nights in Monterey, on the middle day we drove down the 26 miles that are open on the north side, stopping for quite a while at Point lobos, a marine reserve at northern end. That and the numerous stops for photos etc took most of day.

The next day we did the aquarium in the morning then drove the long way around to Cambria, at bottom end of big sur. We had originally planned just a night there, had BS been open, but changed it to 2 so we could do southern end from there. Although less miles are open at southern end, it is very dramatic, and worth seeing, including the elephant seals.

You may be used to long road trips and jet lag, we arent and seriously underestimated the tiredness, esp inland when temps have soared. We are glad of a few nights self catering at Yosemite, which is beautiful by the way, but busy!

kath6144 Tue 18-Jul-17 17:37:07

Patricia - just out of curiosity, why on earth are you going across to Fresno from San Louis Obispo, then to SF? Is there a reason that you are coming so far inland rather than the quicker route up the 101 to Monterey/Santa Cruz and then on up to SF?

Having driven from Cambria (just north of SLO) to Yosemite via Fresno at the weekend, I would say it is probably the most boring drive we've ever done, long miles of nothingness, and Fresno (where we stopped for lunch and provisions) had little going for it. I know it has the water park, but if you coming this way then Yosemite has so much more than just the Mariposa grove.

If you couldn't get in anywhere nr Yosemite (we are in Wawona, but still close enough) then I would say that Monterey and Santa Cruz are both lovely and much much better places to stay at between SLO and San Fran than Fresno, with plenty to do. I would also guess there are water parks around those places without having to go to Fresno!!

Sorry to anyone living in Fresno, not meaning to slag it off, but compared to the coastal towns, it seems just a basic inland town.

barkingfly Tue 18-Jul-17 18:23:41

This might help-it's the official traffic map, Also shows closures and fires.

I agree that Fresno is basically the asshole of the San Joaquin Valley.

Polgara2 Tue 18-Jul-17 18:39:15

Oh I just can't decide! I just feel that big sur was the whole point of the trip. Looking at the map there seems to be quite a fair bit of it closed. I'm concerned how much extra driving all the that in and out of the coast will be.
Hmm how long would it take to get from Monterey to Santa Barbara? Is there 2 days worth of things to do in the Monterey area?

I'm just thinking that it was gonna be a lot of driving anyway but there was a reason to it iyswim as in lots to see en route although this was probably more interesting to dh and I than the girls.

Those of you that have had to work round it would you have even planned to go had you known what you would see and what you would miss?

If Fresno is fairly missable is there anywhere else to stay between Santa Monica and Yosemite?

Yes we have already booked Alcatraz thanks Kath and no we are not really used to long road trips etc. I was already worried that we might be over stretching ourselves.

OP’s posts: |
Polgara2 Tue 18-Jul-17 18:43:52

Thanks barkingfly but oh gosh that's a lot of closures!

OP’s posts: |
PatriciaHolm Tue 18-Jul-17 21:04:20

Fresno was basically for the waterpark! Will go have another look. We have booked very flexible accommodation so i think I can still cancel it ...! thanks for the heads up..!

TefalTester123 Tue 18-Jul-17 21:12:23

Good tip is that some accomodation providers in Monterey have a link to the aquarium so you get 2 day tickets for the price of 1. We are staying at the Youth Hostel, which does have that link and is pretty near the aquarium. We'll be kayaking and visiting Point Lobos for great rockpools and seals/sea lions (can't remember which).

TefalTester123 Tue 18-Jul-17 21:14:13

Monterey to Santa Barbara 4 hours on google, but I reckon a bit more as surely that inland road will be busier than normal.

SSYMONDS Tue 18-Jul-17 22:34:04

Happened to us. Go to rancho oso- perfect with kids. Horse riding, swimming pool, fire pits, wagon rides.
Calico ghost town also great fun

GloriaV Tue 18-Jul-17 22:58:40

There are elephant seals near Hearst Castle if you are driving past, Morro Bay is nice with sea otters in the bay and good fish and chips and paddle boarding. San Luis Pier is nice with seals and pelicans. Pasa Robles has a good air display end of august. SLO has a street food market on a thurs night. Miss Fresno!

PatriciaHolm Tue 18-Jul-17 23:13:57

Right, Fresno is toast! Now looking at monteray, Santa Cruz as there is a waterpark in San Jose? (We promised a park, we need to deliver!)

irregularegular Wed 19-Jul-17 08:15:55

I assume flying home out of LA isn't an option at this point? We did SF, Gold Country, Yosemite, Monterey, Cambria, Santa Barbara, Disney, Laguna Beach, home.

I think looking at it now less of Route 1 was closed then that it is now.

irregularegular Wed 19-Jul-17 08:22:48

I've been to Yosemite twice and I'm not even sure what the Sequioa Grove at Mariposa is!

Yosemite is stunning and it would be a great shame not to get there if going to SF.

bruffin Wed 19-Jul-17 08:40:03

We stayed at the garden hilton in monteray. They have a firepit by the pool to make smores.
The court house in Santa Barbara is well worth a wander round and there a sealions stealing from the fisherman on the pier.

Polgara2 Wed 19-Jul-17 22:16:07

Ok thanks everyone. Dh and dd1 have decided they prefer to go to Las Vegas in the middle instead and I'm happy with that. I will start a new thread about accommodation in Santa Monica which I am struggling with.

OP’s posts: |
Belindabelle Sat 22-Jul-17 20:49:56

I have also had to change plans due to the closures. Oh well never mind I have told DH that we will just have to go back once PCH is open as that was the whole point of the trip. I even booked flights to SF as I heard it was best to travel down towards LA so the ocean is on the right hand side next to the car.

We are having 5 nights SF then 3 nights Pacific Grove. At the moment we are then heading to Vegas (driving via Mojave) as DH has decided he MUST see the Hoover Dam. However that can be changed and I am really longing for a bit of sun and a few days by the beach in Santa Barbara. But maybe Pacific Grove/Monterey will fill that need and we should do Vegas?

After Vegas it is Death Valley for one night then Yosemite via Tioga. I can't decide if we should do 3 nights Yosemite or split the journey with one night at June Lake are then 2 at Yosemite. Any advice?

Originally Yosemite was not in the plan as we just going to stick to the coast.

I feel we are all going to need a holiday when we get home to recover.

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