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Starting to doubt my itinerary for August...

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Columbia
posts: 35
reviews: 52
Starting to doubt my itinerary for August...

My mother, my son (11) and daughter (7) and I are taking a trip to California in August.

The plan is to fly into LA.

Stay 3 nights (Beverly Garland Holiday Inn).

Things we want to do include: hike Runyon Canyon, Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier. No other set things.

Then 2 nights at Pismo Beach (Lighthouse Suites) with no specific plans for that time.

Then drive to Monterey Aquarium and stay over night in Monterey 1 night.

Last drive to SF and stay 2 nights. We want to visit the Muir Woods and Alcatraz. Then fly home.

Is this too much? Will the driving be incredibly tiresome? Sounds good originally but i'm just second guessing myself and my planning.

Any other suggestions of must see's. ?

Thank you!

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 22,018
reviews: 114
1. Re: Starting to doubt my itinerary for August...

you want to spend the same time in Pismo beach as you want to spend in SF ? Why is that ? What about PB makes you stay there for 2 days. Not knowing your likes dislikes it is hard to suggest things. Everyone has a different idea of what is a must see but there are plenty of TOP QUESTIONS on the right side which list the things to stop and see on Hwy 1.

But what you are planning to do is done by many people so I don't think it is too much but as mentioned I don't think you have much time to see SF -- 2 nights is one day and add the driving time to it gives you very little time in SF.

But can it be done? yes. Do people do it ?yes

Columbia
posts: 35
reviews: 52
2. Re: Starting to doubt my itinerary for August...

I guess I thought it'd be too much driving without much downtime if we just spent one night in Pismo and moved on right away. I thought it would be relaxing for the kids if they could settle for 2 days before moving on again. ideally, yes, I would've preferred 3 nights in SF.

Columbia
posts: 35
reviews: 52
3. Re: Starting to doubt my itinerary for August...

I figured we'd leave Monterey 8/8 by 9am, arrive SF by 11am (is this correct?) and just do whatever that first day. 8/9 I figured we could do the Alcatraz tour in the morning and drive to the Muir woods in the afternoon. Is this reasonable?

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 22,018
reviews: 114
4. Re: Starting to doubt my itinerary for August...

It is your vacation and there is nothing wrong in spending a couple of days anywhere enroute. Frankly with kids I would have stayed two days in Monterey than in Pismo Beach as the Monterey Peninsula from Point Lobos to Santa Cruz has a lot more to do and see than Pismo beach

As far as SF goes check the SF forum for things to do and see and Trip Reports. There is much more to see in SF than just Alcatraz and Muir Woods is not even in SF but 30 minutes away. You can see Henry Cowell Redwoods between Monterey and SF enroute. A car is not needed in SF.

Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
posts: 5,077
reviews: 22
5. Re: Starting to doubt my itinerary for August...

You should go to the Pismo Beach forum if you have questions about what to do in that area. Lighthouse Suites is an excellent choice for staying a couple of nights. There's really nothing that compares in Monterey in the same price range and the Lighthouse Suites are exceptionally family friendly. It's too bad you have to be subjected to a cross-examination about your itinerary choices.

In Pismo Beach, you have access to a wonderful state beach, there's dune buggying, and several excellent choices for dining. Nearby is Avila Beach and San Luis Obispo. There's even a couple of wine regions close by although that may not be of interest.

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 22,018
reviews: 114
6. Re: Starting to doubt my itinerary for August...

Err Super - are we reading the same post ?

I did not question the OPs choice of itinerary. I asked her why she was planning 2 days in a place without knowing what to do there ? The OP is doubting her itinerary and I am not. I am asking her questions to help her plan her route. Time to re-read my replies perhaps.

I also said -- " It is your vacation and there is nothing wrong in spending a couple of days anywhere enroute"

I also think if someone wants to spend more time along the coast, Monterey would be better with kids as there is more to do

But just as I have my opinion, you are entitled to your own about my reply.

Edited: 1:20 pm, June 26, 2013
Dublin, California
posts: 11,184
reviews: 29
7. Re: Starting to doubt my itinerary for August...

Whether the driving will be tiring depends on whether you are used to driving 3-5 hrs per day. For SF my suggestion is to visit Muir Woods first thing in the morning (to avoid crowds and tough parking). For Alcatraz you should try to book a tour now.

San Jose
Destination Expert
for California
posts: 9,087
reviews: 74
8. Re: Starting to doubt my itinerary for August...

If this was my trip, I would spend 2 nights in the Monterey area instead of in Pismo Beach - I like them both, but I think Monterey has more to do. I would also skip Muir Woods and instead stop at Henry Cowell state park enroute from Monterey to SF. This is only a short detour if you go through Santa Cruz and it is a very nice park. It has the same type of redwood trees, but is much less crowded.

pasadena, ca
posts: 4,851
reviews: 22
9. Re: Starting to doubt my itinerary for August...

The drive from LA to Pismo is not particularly difficult. Easy freeway drive with lots of nice scenery on the way, too. And you could (SHOULD, in my opinion) stop for a few hours in Santa Barbara, one of the most gorgeous small cities in California. So it is just 1.5- 2 hrs, LA to Santa Barbara; and maybe another 2 hours to Pismo. Easy, even with kids.

I'd give up a night in Pismo and add it to Monterey or San Francisco.

Columbia
posts: 35
reviews: 52
10. Re: Starting to doubt my itinerary for August...

That seems like a great tip to skip Muir woods and do Henry Cowell State Park instead. This would free up time in SF. Thanks everyone for the feedback. All very helpful!