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Side trip from San Francisco, Carmel or Monterey

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Mullica Hill, New...
posts: 6
reviews: 25
Side trip from San Francisco, Carmel or Monterey

Planning a trip with my husband and 16 year old son. I know what I want to see but unsure of order. Flying in from Philadelphia airport in either June or August (which is better?) Would like to spend time in San Franciso, would like to see Carmel, Monterey, drive the Pacific Coast Highway and probably as far south as Morro Bay. Absolutely want to see Sequoia National Park. I'm having trouble figuring out the order of the trip - where to fly into and fly out of to go back home. Looking at 8-9 day trip. Any suggestions?

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 15,517
reviews: 8
1. Re: Side trip from San Francisco, Carmel or Monterey

You don't have enough time to cover all those places, JoJo.

Here's the only realistic way to make it work:

SF: 2 nights

Monterey/Carmel: 1 night (3 hour drive from SF via Highway 1)

Cambria: 1 night (3 hour drive from Monterey via Highway 1, but really needs 6-8 to do it justice)

Sequoia: 2 nights (4 to 5 hour drive from Cambria via Highway 1/Highway 46/Highway 101 north to Highway 46 East to Highway 41 to Highway 198)

SF: 1 night (6 hour drive from Sequoia via i-5)

The above plan only gives you one full day in SF and little time for exploring the Monterey/Carmel and Cambria areas. Going as far south as Morro Bay would add an extra hour of driving time between the Monterey and Sequoia leg of the trip.

posts: 24
reviews: 58
2. Re: Side trip from San Francisco, Carmel or Monterey


We're heading to the same area from Boston in July/August. It is a lot cheaper for us to fly into San Jose than San Francisco. Car rentals are also cheaper. We are driving all the way to Seattle, then flying to Anchorage before flying back to Boston. The car rental is about $300 less from San Jose with a drop off in Seattle. Anyhow, you need more than 8-9 days. In June you still might have some snow in the upper elavations of Sequoia NP. If your out there you should spend a couple of days at Yosemite. We are flying into San Jose, then heading to SF, then to Yosemite, then Sequoia NP, then Carmel, then taking the Pacific Coast Hiway all the way to Crescent City/Redwood NP. Are you using credit card points??? You still have time to get some valuable points such as the Chase Hyatt card and the Chase fairmont card (they both will give you two free nights and SF and Carmel can be expensive). We are using two free nights at the Hyatt Carmel Highlands. It is worth it to stay inside most national parks as opposed to staying outside and spending a good portion of your time driving

3. Re: Side trip from San Francisco, Carmel or Monterey

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