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Just booked SanFran to LA for July - help!

(15 Posts)
SoYo Sat 25-May-19 18:27:50

We booked our flights for SF to LA last week (although made the foolish error of booking non-cancellable flights with Thomas Cook before finding out they're in trouble so fingers crossed we actually make it)! We fly into SF and will be staying with family for 3 nights and then drive to LA over 10 nights. It's 2 adults and our 6yr old.

Current plan is:
2 nights in Monterey/Carmel
1 night in San Simeon
1 night in Pisco beach
2 nights in Santa Barbara
3 nights in LA (flying out morning after 3rd night)

That leaves us with an extra night somewhere. I was thinking an extra night in Monterey so we can head down there in an afternoon, spend 2 full days there and then head early morning to drive Big Sur.

If anyone has any California experience please share it! So far I've booked a hotel for the 2 nights in Monterey and nothing else!

OP’s posts: |
sar302 Sat 25-May-19 20:51:30

Oooh! Lucky! We did that for our honeymoon, but had a bit more time. You may not have time to visit Yosemite, which would be my usual suggestion.

Santa Cruz is a fun beach town - that would be good for a night. But I'd probably be tempted with another night in Monterey / Carmel. We stayed in Carmel and loved it!

QuitMoaning Sun 26-May-19 07:14:02

We booked our trip a couple of weeks ago. Flying in and out of San Francisco (upper class courtesy of air miles).
Down to Santa Cruz, then along the Pacific Coast Highway and then across to the Grand Canyon.
Couple of nights staying on the rim then across to Vegas.
Then to Monterey via Death Valley and Lone Pine ghost towns.
Finally finishing up in San Francisco.

Lots of driving but spending 2 or 3 nights at each stop (4 in SF) and some random overnight stops to break up the really long drives.
Going in November so fewer people and the weather should be around the high teens, low 20s so not sunbathing weather but still pleasantly warm.

mysteryfairy Sun 26-May-19 09:56:55

How about a night in a cabin in big sur?

We have done virtually the trip you described. We stayed at the Madonna inn rather than pisco beach which is worth a look just for novelty. In LA we stayed in Santa Monica which I’d definitely recommend as a good choice especially with a 6 year old.

thefuriousfuggler Sun 26-May-19 10:16:18

As pp said - definitely visit the Madonna Inn.

BubblesBuddy Sun 26-May-19 10:38:20

I would second Santa Monica. Definitely longer in Monterey and Carmel area. I think you will be packing up quite a lot if you add in anywhere else. Don’t go over to The Grand Canyon in this trip.

I think the Madonna inn is a bit over hyped. We find bed and breakfasts are great in the USA. Far more personal! Some of these areas will have expensive hotels so you will need to choose carefully! There’s quite a lot of cheap grotty places too.

glsgow107 Sun 26-May-19 12:21:53

3 nights in LA is far too long. I'd have one, maybe two and use your free nights elsewhere.

SoYo Sun 26-May-19 21:07:52

Thanks so much! I think we'll definitely add an extra night onto Monterey. Mysteryfairy I tried for a cabin but we're too late to book it would seem (this is what happens if you never manage to book a holiday more than 8 weeks in advance). As for LA, Santa Monica seems like a good idea! Someone had recommended an AirBNB in the Hollywood Hills but it looks like it would be an arse to drive anywhere from there so probably not a great plan and glsgow107 I've looked at less time in LA but we'll be arriving late one evening then have the next 2 days there to do a few bits (mostly food related by the sound of the recommendations of friends that have lived there previously) and then leaving early the next morning, if we shave a day off there we'll only have a day there.

I had previously wanted a night at Anaheim to do a day in Disney (6yr old is a big fan) but the day tickets are obscenely expensive and I don't think a day's enough anyway so will just have to wait and see if we can do Florida one day.

Thanks so much for all of your advice so far, please feel free to add anything else because we are pretty much clueless!

OP’s posts: |
glsgow107 Sun 26-May-19 21:49:37

Your trip sounds amazing!! Enjoy. And make sure you get to Venice beach just for the people watching! It's fascinating!!

Toodleoopuddle Sun 26-May-19 22:47:25

We did the same trip, got an Airbnb in the walk-streets of Venice (LA) and it was beautiful. Walk to the beach and all the lovely shops, train into city/ universal etc. Could definitely spend 3/4 nights there.

thoughtlessevilshallowbith Mon 27-May-19 09:10:52

We also did that trip when our kids were that age.
Monterey is great for children as the aquarium is wonderful and it's so easy to see lots of wildlife from the shore.
We are going again to LA this summer with our now adult children and I would say if you can do Disney try to .
I think the California one is really nice for young children we have booked an air b&b in Orange County for a few nights specifically to go to Disney - yes it is expensive but as you are already there?

BubblesBuddy Wed 29-May-19 08:23:02

Santa Monica is not really La. LA has some great things to do and see if you keep away from the trashy sites. The Getty Centre is a world class building. I also like the Getty Villa at Malibu. I would stay as near as you can to SM Centre which isn’t far from Sunset Boulevard. This makes getting around, avoiding the freeway, quite good.

We never do Disney. There is so much else to actually do that’s a real experience. The funfair at SM is good and Venice Beach is also worth it. The boardwalk can be cycled along.

ValleyoftheHorses Thu 30-May-19 18:22:02

There’s a lot to do in SF- how long are you there?
We enjoyed Monterey Aquarium, full day driving the Big Sur, elephant seals, Hearst Castle is a must.
We weren’t as keen on Santa Barbara and LA.

SoYo Thu 30-May-19 21:09:22

Thanks everyone!

Valley we're in SF for 3 nights and staying with family.
Bubbles would you suggest staying elsewhere in LA instead of SM?
thoughtless I would love to do Disney but actually the tickets are really pricey and I'm not sure we want to spend $$$$ on one day there.

OP’s posts: |
Curlybrunette Sat 01-Jun-19 20:45:43

We flew home from San Francisco today! We did 3 nights SF, was a great amount for us (me, DH, DS 13 and DS11), then a day at Six Flags theme park and stayed near there for a couple of nights.
2 nights Monterey, we did a whale watching tour with MBWW which was fab, we saw so many whales and hundreds of dolphins.
We drove and stopped at Santa Cruz for a few hours and the beachfront was gorgeous, we wished we'd stayed there a night too. There are a lot of rides which could be a cheaper alternative (or is it more the Disney thing for your DD than actual rides?). The unlimited ride wristband was $40 pp.

A couple of years ago we went to LA and a friend recommended we stay at Venice Beach - don't! It was quite rough especially at night and it was only when we got home our friend realised he'd got mixed up and said no way should we have stayed there!!!

Santa Monica was lovely, but we also had a day at Long Beach, a little out of LA and that was so lovely, I'd love to stay there another time.

I did lots of Tripadvisor reading on LA and was really surprised to find people saying they wouldn't go back and it was a dump. Now I've been I kinda feel the same. I'm glad I went, but wouldn't go back. I don't think you need 3 nights there. Especially if you aren't doing theme parks. We noticed in the supermarkets in SF they had disney passes for sale (like gift cards) they were $185 pp for 1 day entry or $210 for 2 days. $600 gone, crazy!!!

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