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Fun and relaxing road trip - a great week away for a couple. Try this itinerary- we had a wonderful time with it and wouldn't change a thing!
Start this trip with an early-morning flight to SF, or fly in the night before. Rent a car and head south. Don't worry, you'll be back!
Walk around, check out the ocean, have lunch at one of the many great restaurants, and check out the aquarium if you have time.
Drive down the incredible Big Sur coastline. Give yourself plenty of time, because youl'll be stopping at every turnout to take pictures.
Wow, what a wonderful place! Enjoy your own private yurt with a view of the Pacific. Great dinners and waffle breakfast, wonderful staff. Spend a couple of nights here!
Go for a walk on Sand Dollar Beach. The Treebones Resort staff can give you lots of other hiking and exploring suggestions.
Three quick and easy hikes through a redwood forest.
Head south from Big Sur for a visit to Hearst Castle. Get your tickets online before your trip to avoid standing in line at hearstcastle.com. The waiting area and gift shops are a bit cheesy and overblown, but the tour itself is amazing.
Head down the highway in to Cambria for a night (or two!) at J. Patrick House. Wonderful hosts, fascinating guests, fabulous breakfast, milk & cookies before bed, and a hosted wine & cheese hour.
Explore the great shops in town and take a walk on the East West Ranch trail. Ask a local how to get to it.
Have dinner here while in Cambria. (Your B&B host will also have many suggestions.) Sit in the semi-outdoor dining area, which is sort of like a giant bird's nest. Great food.
Drive to Pismo Beach and spend some time exploring.
Call up Extreme Hummer Adventures (or Pacific Adventure Tours - they have the same owner) and reserve a one-hour hummer tour near Pismo Beach. It's a wild, exhilerating ride with a very skilled driver - you won't regret it.
Amazing views and beach with motel prices. Great value!
Head north up the valley into the Paso Robles wine counry.
Take the Grapeline's Vineyard Picnic Tour. They'll pick you up from your hotel (we stayed at the Paso Robles Inn) and take you out wine tasting for the day. Picnic lunch included. Make your reservations (and choose your lunch options) before your trip. This was a great way to spend the day.
Ask for a room with a natrual hot springs tub. For a treat, request a hot springs room in the old ballroom building. Your hot tub is on your own private balcony! (Might want to bring noseplugs for the sulphur smell.) This is a large inn with a motel-ish feel, but has beautiful grounds and an interesting history.
Drive north to Soledad, and head up to the west entrance of the Pinnacles NM. Bring a flashlight if you want to do a cave hike (we forgot one). You can get some amazing views with only an hour or two of hiking (although some of it is a little steep).
Finish your trip by spending a couple of days in San Francisco. There's so much to do here, I won't even begin to make suggestions. Search TripAdvisor for ideas.
Great value and great location near the warf. (Check out kayak.com for the best rates.)