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one or two nights in Monteray???

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Limerick, Ireland
posts: 186
reviews: 77
one or two nights in Monteray???

I have looked nearly on every forum from Santa Monica to San Franciso and I don't know what to do or where to stop on our 3 nights so I have a few questions for you??? Leaving Santa Monica on Friday 14th of Sept and driving to San Francisco...will not be staying in Santa Barbara but only have breakfast/lunch there..What is there to see between Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo/Cambria/Pismo Beach?? (going to Napa so don't need to go to any wineries). Is the sceinic route on hwy 1 only between Cambria and Monteray or is it all the way to San Francisco.? Maybe a stupid question but we are from Ireland and am much confused by some of the posts!!!! Thinking of staying in San Luis Obispo for 1 night/Cambria for 1 night/ and Monteray for the 3rd night, my question here is if I don't book a hotel do you think our chances of getting a hotel on the day by walking in is risky????

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 22,882
reviews: 114
1. Re: one or two nights in Monteray???

when you say what is there to do ? That is a hard question to answer? People shop in SB, they hang out on the Beach there and relax by the pool in hotels, go for a hike, A few visit Solvang a toursity city enroute. Moro Bay, Pismo Beach -- Sand dunes and buggy rides . Hearst Castle at San Simeon, hike in the state parks,

The coastal route is from SLO to SF and beyond along hwy 1 so that is the scenic route. Before that from SB to SLO one goes along Hwy 101.

here are two reference sites A blog from Scott H, the Central Coast DE


and a photoblog from Mike Neenan


Sept may have more last minute availability for motels but I would suggest booking in advance to get the best rates and read reviews online.

Plenty to do in the Monterey and Carmel area for a couple of nights. Unless you want to visit the Cal Poly at SLO and hang out with the college crowd, you may want to spend 1 night in Cambria and 2 in Monterey Carmel or Pacific Grove

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 14,879
reviews: 3
2. Re: one or two nights in Monteray???

I would do 1 night in Cambria and 2 in the Monterey/Carmel/Pacific grove area.

This will give you most of the first day for stops in Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach & Morro Bay, the Big Sur coast on the second day and a full day for exploring the beautiful sights of the Monterey Peninsula.

Sights between Cambria and Monterey worth a stop:

Hearst Castle

Elephant Seal Rookery

Ragged Point

McWay Falls @ Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Nepenthe/Phoenix Shop as you enter the "Village" area of Big Sur

Pfeiffer Beach

Bixby Bridge

Point Lobos State Reserve (Can be visited on the next day if you run out of time on the drive up)

While in Monterey: Carmel by the Sea, Carmel Beach, the historical California Carmel mission, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row, 17 Mile Drive, Fisherman's Wharf.

Santa Monica to Cambria is approx. a 4 1/2 hour drive WITHOUT stops

Cambria to Monterey is approx. a 3 hour drive WITHOUT stops, but needs at least 6-8 to do it justice.

Keep in mind that Highway 1 narrows a bit and rises dramatically 14 miles north of Hearst Castle and there are several tight hairpin turns with the coastal mountains hugging the northbound lane as you drive up the coast. Expect to average 20-40 MPH (32-64KPH) along this 90 mile stretch of fabulous coastline.

Edited: 6:29 pm, August 11, 2012
Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
posts: 26,201
reviews: 6
3. Re: one or two nights in Monteray???

The *most* scenic route on Hwy 1 is between Cambria and Monterey, but you can take Hwy 1 all the way to San Francisxo if you like. It is all scenic, just relatively more dramatic between those two cities.

San Luis Obispo is not on the coast. Since it is only 36 miles from Cambria, there is no real reason to spend a night there unless you have something in mind to do or see.

I would stay in Cambria instead for one night and then two nights in Monterey. You don't say how long you will be in San Francisco. If you have an extra night after Monterey I would definitely add it to your stay in San Francisco.

Definitely book your hotels. This is a very popular route any time of the year.

San Jose
Destination Expert
for California
posts: 9,571
reviews: 77
4. Re: one or two nights in Monteray???

I agree, 1 night Cambria and 2 nights Monterey.

Definitely book your rooms ahead of time - otherwise you risk spending a lot of time looking for a room and overpaying for a crappy room in some inland town miles from where you want to be.

Merced, California
Destination Expert
for Killarney
posts: 3,332
reviews: 44
5. Re: one or two nights in Monteray???

Yes, definitely book ahead for accommodation. Pricing in Monterey might be more than you would expect to pay for what you get. If you can afford it, one of TA top rated ones on the beach would be nice but if you are looking for something more reasonable, perhaps Casa Munras or Colton Inn which are a quaint short walk past the historic adobes into old downtown and the wharf.

Limerick, Ireland
posts: 186
reviews: 77
6. Re: one or two nights in Monteray???

Brilliant replies from everybody...thanks so much, the head is a lot clearer now as to what to see and what to do along the coast...We are staying in Napa Valley for 3 nights and then 2 nights in San Francisco and I have these hotels booked. Will look at hotels in Cambria and Monteray there is only 2 of us which will make it easier.

Thanks again


Limerick, Ireland
posts: 186
reviews: 77
7. Re: one or two nights in Monteray???

BRILLIANT links Belomiser

8. Re: one or two nights in Monteray???

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