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California road trip

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Southampton, United...
posts: 4
reviews: 5
California road trip

My boyfriend and I are doing a road trip from San Francisco to San Diego at the height of the summer season in August this year. We have flights booked and our first 5 days organised (3 nights SF and 2 nights Yosemite) and are then planning on driving down the coastline stopping at Carmel, San Simeon, Carpinteria, LA and finally ending in San Diego.

We are wondering how much money to budget for accommodation over the next 12 nights before flying home, any ideas? Bearing in mind we are not looking for ultimate luxury, just somewhere that's clean and comfortable.

If anyone has done this trip before and can advise on a realistic daily spending budget minus any trips that's would be great.


9 replies to this topic
San Diego
Destination Expert
for San Diego
posts: 44,062
reviews: 60
1. Re: California road trip

My suggestion would be to book the hotels/motels now that you plan to use!

You are traveling in the high summer season to a very popular coastal area! You may not easily find lodging while you are on the road. Some of the hotels may also have 2 night minimum stays on the weekends. We have driven part of your route in August and finding one night's lodging without a reservation was quite difficult!

Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
posts: 26,174
reviews: 6
2. Re: California road trip

Definitely book now for the coastal trip. If you need suggestions for the places where you want to stop, go to that forum for advice.

Edited: 10:32 am, July 05, 2014
San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 22,870
reviews: 114
3. Re: California road trip

Carpenteria? Why. Check the californaj forum top questions on the highway 1 drive. SF needs 3-4 full days and Yosemite 2-3 full days Most stay one night in Monterey and another in Cambria or Pismo beach but San Simeon has a motel 6 which is a good budget motel per the experts

Carlsbad, California
posts: 77
reviews: 13
4. Re: California road trip

We just made the trip from San Simeon to SD.

San Simeon is pricey so stay in Morro Bay or Cayucos.

Carpenteria is cute but poor on lodging. Santa Barbara is very expensive so pass through.

Lots of excellent choices in LA, OC. and SD.

Once you get to Ventura, you'll have a million options and wont need reservations.

Average nightly lodging we spent was $115 and that included breakfast.

Also, be on the lookout for parking fees as well.

Southampton, United...
posts: 4
reviews: 5
5. Re: California road trip

Thanks for all of your advice so far, really helpful. We have accommodation sorted for either end of our trip now so that's encouraging. We just need to sort the middle section now. We are visiting our friends beach house in Carpenteria so that's the rationale for that stop. We have visited a Santa Barbara before so also thinking of giving that a miss. Where would be best to stop stay after SF: Santa Cruz, Monterey or Carmel? Are any of these options ok just for a drive through as opposed to staying there?

San Francisco Bay
posts: 2,887
reviews: 13
6. Re: California road trip

I would definitely stop at Monterey/Carmel/Pacific Grove (all towns in the Monterey Peninsula) one or two nights. That might be the first accommodation I would look into, as the area is extremely popular, for good reason. It is only about two hours from SF, unless you stop along the route. You may have to allot more $ for lodging. Check the Monterey Peninsula forum for info and your questions after reading Trip Advisor Top Questions on a non mobile device.

Corona del Mar, CA
Destination Expert
for San Diego, Orange County, California
posts: 35,090
reviews: 343
7. Re: California road trip

>>>Carpenteria? Why.<<<

Oh man, get off my cute little Carp! :)

As to where to stay after SF, Monterey or Pacific Grove would be my pick. Carmel is so cute it irritates me.

The second night, are you saying you are staying at your friends house in Carpenteria? That is a longish, but not too bad drive from Monterey. If you are not staying with them, then I'd stay further up the coast like Cambria or Pismo Beach and you definitely need to book now. Check Cayucos and SLO too if you find the other cities have 2 night stay minimums.

Southampton, United...
posts: 4
reviews: 5
8. Re: California road trip

Yes we'd have time to stay in either Pismo Beach or Cambria before Carpenteria. It will ultimately depend where we can get booked but which has more going on Pismo Beach or Cambria?

Also in relation to Monterey (where we'll be staying for two nights) - would it be possible to drive to Carmel easily for the day? Is it possible to experience Carmel in a day?

Also any recommendations for accommodation in Santa Monica/San Diego?

Thanks for all your help in advance.

San Francisco, Ca
posts: 6,312
reviews: 46
9. Re: California road trip

Yes, easy to drive from Monterey to Carmel (the 17-mile-drive is a scenic toll road between the two, but not a "must see" on my list). Depending on your interest in art galleries, jewelry stores and expensive boutiques, you can spend an hour or a day in Carmel. My favorite part of Carmel is Scenic Drive along the ocean (find it on Google maps; it runs one-way, from north to south), and it comes out at Carmel Beach State Reserve, which is a lovely spot for a picnic or beach walk.

Allow time for Point Lobos, south of Carmel.

As you drive south to Cambria, stop for lunch at Nepenthe... really good hamburgers and a breath-taking view of the coast.

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