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Where is best to stay along California Coast in July

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Isle of Man, United...
posts: 18
reviews: 2
Where is best to stay along California Coast in July

We (3 of us) are traveling from Big Bear Lake on 21st July and arrive in Yosemite on 26th July so have a few days in between to stay in maybe two destinations along the coast but wondering which places are best to stay in?

We are in our early 30’s so looking for somewhere quite lively. I have an imagine of sipping cocktails near the beach.....

I was thinking of Santa Monica maybe then somewhere nearer San Francisco end? What do you think?

Any help you can give would be great! Thanks

San Diego...
posts: 8,550
reviews: 29
1. Re: Where is best to stay along California Coast in July

The choices are basically Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach, San Luis Obispo, Morro Bay, Cayucos, Cambria, San Simeon, Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey, Pacific Grove and Santa Cruz. All are at the ocean except San Luis Obispo is inland. All are pretty small towns except Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz are bigger. As far as being "lively," I don't think of any of those as lively, party-town type of places. But hopefully others here on this forum will help with specific suggestions of places to have cocktails.

Typically we give a recommendation for one night at the south end of the Big Sur region, such as Cambria, San Simeon or Morro Bay, and another night at the north end of the Big Sur region such as Carmel, Monterey or Santa Cruz. However those might not be the right choices for you.

You should figure out what you want to see and do on those days, then pick a place to stay that is near them. Stay near what you want to see and do. Here is a travelogue posted by another member of this forum. It only goes as far south as Pismo Beach, but it gives you a good idea of the sights that are available along the central coast: https://picasaweb.google.com/Mjneenan/Califo…

When you pick the 2 locations, go to the local forum for each one and read the top questions, and start a new thread in that local forum. Members who read that forum including the destination experts will help you fine-tune your itinerary in that location with tips and suggestions that are appropriate for you and your interests.

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 15,122
reviews: 6
2. Re: Where is best to stay along California Coast in July

What bw92116 said.

The California coast is quite sleepy in comparison to LA & SF, so if you're looking for an exciting party atmosphere, you'll be hard pressed to find it.

So with that in mind, I would think Santa Monica would work well for you, since it's basically LA by the beach.

From there, you might want to consider San Luis Obispo, which is a college town where there are several "lively" options downtown including Bull's Tavern, The Library and Spikes.

From SLO, you would continue up Highway 101 for approx. 35 miles to Paso Robles and take Highway 46 toward Fresno/Bakersfield and connect with Highway 41 to Yosemite.

Edited: 9:06 am, January 30, 2013
Isle of Man, United...
posts: 18
reviews: 2
3. Re: Where is best to stay along California Coast in July

Thanks guys

By lively – I don’t mean nightclubs and staying out to 4am (we will have spent a week in Vegas and will of had more than enough of that I’d of thought), more plenty of nice beach bars and restaurants etc :-)

I’m thinking Santa Monica for 3 nights, where we can visit LA etc from and then Santa Cruz for 2 nights, taking in Hearst Castle/Carmel on the way and head to Yosemite from there.

Is it worth traveling up as far as Santa Cruz though? And if so are we better stopping for a night somewhere like San Luis Obispo/Cambria on the way? Or just stopping somewhere else and not bothering with Santa Cruz and heading to Yosemite from there?

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
posts: 40,386
reviews: 74
4. Re: Where is best to stay along California Coast in July

Hi Lynz1A

The Top Questions in the upper right has some great information about the Hwy 1 drive between L.A. and San Francisco. Much of the info is really about the section between Pismo Beach & Santa Cruz, especially the coast along Big Sur. Does any of that appeal to you? Read the descriptions of the towns as well.

With 5 nights, I'd think Santa Monica (3) - Cambria (1) - Monterey (1) would be a reasonable itinerary.

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 15,122
reviews: 6
5. Re: Where is best to stay along California Coast in July

Santa Monica to Santa Cruz via the coast route would make for a REALLY long day of driving. Like 8 1/2 hours WITHOUT stops. Too much to see/do en route.

IF you have your heart set on experiencing the Big Sur coast, I recommend 2 nights Santa Monica, 1 night Pismo Beach or Cambria and 1 night Monterey/Carmel.

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 15,122
reviews: 6
6. Re: Where is best to stay along California Coast in July

Just a thought......

If you want to enjoy an ocean view from the Pismo Beach area, then look at Sea Venture Resort or the Best Western Shore Cliff Lodge.

The Sea Venture has a restaurant/bar on the top floor overlooking the beach and pier.

The Shore Cliff has the Ventana Grill on site. A restaurant/bar that was completely remodeled a few years ago that sits on a rocky bluff overlooking the ocean. The food at Ventana Grill is quite good and those views.... to die for.

San Francisco Bay
posts: 2,899
reviews: 13
7. Re: Where is best to stay along California Coast in July

And expect fog on the coast in July.

Isle of Man, United...
posts: 18
reviews: 2
8. Re: Where is best to stay along California Coast in July

Thanks everyone - that is a big help. We are going to stop overnight at somewhere yet to be decided and Monterey.

One more question if you don't mind:

We will stay for 3 nights in Santa Monica/Venice Beach - which would you recommend? Or, I know they are only a few minutes away from each other so we can drive to the other but is it worth staying 1night in one and 2 nights in another for the different vibe?

Oh, and fog...really? x

Edited: 9:58 am, January 31, 2013
Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 15,122
reviews: 6
9. Re: Where is best to stay along California Coast in July

".....Oh, and fog...really? x"......

Yes, really. The interiors of California heat up significantly between May and September, which draws water up from the sea creating what we call a marine layer along the coastal areas. It usually "burns" off mid to late morning and rolls back in late afternoon/early evening.

Our fog is what keeps us nice and cool in the summer months and why so many people who live in the HOT interior of the state flock here in the summer.

BTW- Having been active in the forums for quite some time, I would give Venice Beach a miss. The locals don't give it high marks.

Edited: 10:53 am, January 31, 2013
10. Re: Where is best to stay along California Coast in July

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