San Francisco to San Diego road trip
Replies: 13 - Last Post: Feb 14, 2013 1:14 PM Last Post By: bzookaj
Jul 24, 2008 2:15 PM
Trying to plan a 9 day trip from SF to SD in August (yes, I know this is very last min and almost everything is booked already) Here is the basic plan. After SF, we would like to find accomodation for around $60 a night give or take if possible. Any suggestions on accomodations would be welcome. Also, I know this plan is probably overly ambitious so any recommendations on what to cut out would be appreciated. We are planning on driving on Hwy 1 from SF to LA.
Day 1 - arrive in SF, stay in SF
Day 2 - more SF
Day 3 - more SF
Day 4 - get rental car from the airport in the am, then head north to check out Sausilito and Muir Woods. Then start driving down, maybe making a stop in Santa Cruz. Head towards Monterey (is aquarium worth a visit?) Stay in Monterey or Carmel?
Day 5 - Drive thru Big Sur/ Cambria. Visit Hearst castle (or is it a tourist trap?) End up in San Luis Obispo.
Day 6 - Spend a little time in SLO and keep going, spend a little time in Santa Barbara. Stay in LA.
Day 7 - morning in LA, then take highway to San Diego.
Day 8 - SD
Day 9 - SD...is the zoo worth visiting? if so, how long to allow for visit? Anything else besides Balboa park and beaches not to miss?
Thanks so much for your feedback!
Jul 24, 2008 5:29 PM
- Why are you going to the airport to rent a car? There are agencies in the city. Some will even pick you up from your hotel.
- $60 is not realistic really unless you stay far away from central areas in motels or bid on Priceline, and even then. It's high season.
- Hearst Castle and the aquarium are both worth visiting.
- San Diego is short, but fine. The Zoo there is one of the best, so definitely worth visiting. It's in the Balboa Park, so you'll be there anyway. Other than that, see La Jolla, Gaslamp, Pacific Beach, Old Town, Coronado. 2 days should be just enough if you plan well.
- LA is the biggest and most spread out place out of everywhere you're visiting, so you're really not allowing ANY time to see anything there. Also, you'd be hard-pressed to even find a motel in any convenient area for $60. You can bid on Priceline for a 3 star hotel by LAX for that price. Other than that, you'll need to up it to at least $100 unless a private room at a hostel is an option. Honestly, I don't even know why you're stopping there. Since you won't be able to see anything (especially since you'll have to stay far away from anything of interest at that price), you might as well just skip LA and drive straight to San Diego.
Jul 24, 2008 9:28 PM
2We did this in reverse a few years back.
I liked what little we saw of sausalito. You might also consider swinging by Haight Ashbury and the famous twisting road is fun to drive down before you head off.
We really liked Carmel. It's a nice looking town and the location and attitude there was supeb. Monterey seemed a bit more impersonal, it's a bigger town and the main strip is essentially one huge set of tourist shops and restaurants. However it is still probably worth a look.
Unless you plan to properly see LA I'm not sure it's even worth the brief stop. We stopped at Hollywood on one brief visit, and Santa Monica pier on another and hated both. But this was in december so perhaps summer will give the beach area at least a better look.
San Diego Zoo is definitely worth a look - far more interesting and scenic than any other zoo you;'ve seen (though I'm guessing in August crowds will be insane.) SD as a whole is a farly attractive city.
Jul 25, 2008 2:57 AM
3I lived in Pebble Beach and used to travel up and down that coast in that region. It has been about 10 years or so since I lived there and $60 a night was not a possibility back in those days for anything remotely decent in the summer. Not only that, but one of my frustrations was that most places required a two night minimum. I think you could MAYBE find something north in Seaside....but Seaside isn't a very great place.
I understand your airport rental....it usually is the best one-way rate to go airport to airport. Do look into Enterprise. I am doing a trip in August from LA to SF and I found Enterprise to be by far the best rate. You enter the info as if you are picking up and dropping off at the same location, but you can call a number to see if they will allow you to drop off at a major city for no additional charge. Apparently if it is SF, SD, or LA they seem to allow it. I saved over $200 compared to the next best rate I could find.
If you are picking up your car at SFO and you don't have a lot of days to do your travels, look into some redwood parks en route to Santa Cruz as opposed to driving back up north. I apologize that I can't remember their names off hand, but I was recently given some great suggestions of places just south of San Francisco.
Enjoy some of the other places you want to see that neighbor LA and just skip LA. The people above are right. It's a tough town to see on the quick. I'm going there for 3 days and 2 nights and I'm not even making plans to do anything but a ball game, one museum, The Getty, and poolside relaxing. I could do more...but why? I've been there before when my brother lived there and we burned an entire day picking a friend up at LAX, hunting down a place that sold Brats, and grocery shopping for a BBQ.
Give me the finger if you see some dope in a cherry red Chevy HHR driving the opposite way....I seem to be getting them a lot lately from the rental agencies and I will be doing a trip from LA to SF around the same time.
Jul 25, 2008 9:47 AM
4First of all I would skip Zoo's and Aquariums.$60 a nite will not do it. You could go to a Big 5 Sporting goods store buy a tent ($40) 2 sleeping bags ($20 each) a camp stove about $40 a cooler $5 and pay a camping fee of about $10-$15 a night.If you went to a thrift store and bought the gear used it would be cheaper. Campgrounds exist all along the coast. In Monterey the city has it's own campground and another exists east of town at the Laguna Seca racetrack I believe that one is run by Monterey county.Drive right on through LA. Hearst Castle is neat but you might limit yourself to just 1 of the tours if money is an issue.If you really want to see animals go to the Wild Animal Park it will be hot in Aug so try the later part of the day..For a beach experience in SD try Ocean Beach or Coronado.OB is one of the least changed beach towns. Has a nice pier. Check it out on Ocean Beach web cam.comI lived in OB for 20+ yrs and in Monterey/ Pacific Grove for a couple.I just did the camping thing (9 Days to Glacier Park) I could not have afforded it if I needed to pay for hotels so I camped for the first time in about 25 yrs and I had a Blast.The only thing extra that I added was a air mattress ($bout $20)
Jul 25, 2008 12:23 PM
5you might want to try the hostels http://www.hi-santacruz.org/rooms_rates.htm
Tou won't find very much at $60/night.
You could take a ferry over to Sausalito or better yet, rent a bike and go over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito and take the ferry back on one of your SF days - getting to Sausalito is just as fun as being there. Then drive to Muir Woods early in the morning so you can get a parking space.
Take Highway 1 down to Santa Cruz. There are small towns and beaches along the way.
Yes, the aquarium in Monterey is interesting but very popular. If it's a weekend, be there at opening time or buy tickets in advance online.
Carmel is more expense than Monterey.
Hearst Castle is interesting. But of course, what I find interesting you might think is a tourist trap.
And the only zoo I'll visit is the one in SD (not a zoo fan).
Jul 25, 2008 1:33 PM
6You write Big Sur/Cambria but I'm sure you know they are not next to each other. Be sure to check the tour times of Hearst Castle (San Simeon) if you plan on driving from Monterey, seeing Big Sur and getting to San Simeon in time to take a tour, taking a tour and then driving on to SLO the same day. Sounds awfully rushed to me. You can reserve Hearst Castle tours in advance, which would probably be a good idea if you are arriving in the afternoon, and don't want to wait until the next day if the tour you want is filled.
Jul 27, 2008 3:35 PM
7Thanks so much for all the advice...we were thinkning of camping, but it's more work than I want to do on this trip...since all hostels seem to be booked up now, we're just gonna have to suck it up and pay more. Instead of San Diego, we are going to stay in Carlsbad, since we have a car and are mostly interested in going to the beach anyway. We also got a hotel for San Francisco...so still looking for the in-between stops, anything around $100 at this point in a decent area would be great if you know of anything. Thanks again!
Jul 27, 2008 7:05 PM
8As mentioned, check www.hotwire.com. You can easily get a hotel in San Diego in a more convenient area for $100 that will be at least a 3-star.
Feb 14, 2013 7:40 AM
Feb 14, 2013 8:48 AM
Feb 14, 2013 8:53 AM
11Since this is a very old thread, you will have better luck getting answers if you post your questions in a completely new thread.
When you do that, you will find you get the best answers when you provide more information.
What time of year?
Will you be driving or taking public transit?
How old are you? (this can be important)
What do you like to do? My "top places" might be your "really boring." Hiking in the wilderness? Camping? Wildlife? Museums and art galleries? Partying until dawn? Theater? Music festivals? Fine dining? Historical sites? Skiing? Surfing?
Please don't say you are interested in everything--do you really want recommendations for a tour of a sewage treatment plant or a list of the best topless bars?
Feb 14, 2013 12:24 PM
Feb 14, 2013 1:14 PM
13Go to the main branch page.
Click the green "Post new topic" button.
And remember to answer those questions. Otherwise you likely won't get the help you're looking for.
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