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Carmel or Sonoma?

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Saint Louis...
posts: 4
Carmel or Sonoma?

My husband and I are planning a trip to San Francisco this summer for 5 nights. We will stay 2 nights in San Francisco. We've never been here before. We cannot decide on whether to stay the remaining 3 nights in Carmel or in Sonoma. We definitely want to drive along the coast and see some beautiful scenery, but we also want to visit some vineyards too. Unfortunately, we don't have time to do both. Which area do you think is better to visit? If we stayed in Sonoma would the drive along the HWY 1 north of San Francisco be as beautiful as driving south near Big Sur?

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 13,170
reviews: 3
1. Re: Carmel or Sonoma?

There are vineyard/wine tasting rooms in Carmel Valley, most notably Chateau Julian and Bernardus. So you could visit a few wineries and still be able to fit in the scenic drive down to Big Sur, taking in beautiful Point Lobos on the way.

Dublin, California
posts: 9,549
reviews: 30
2. Re: Carmel or Sonoma?

Only 2 nights in SF? I'd stay more nights in SF and maybe just overnight in either Sonoma or Carmel.

San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 18,709
reviews: 109
3. Re: Carmel or Sonoma?

Agree with TSS SF need at least 3-4 full days. If you want to go to the wine country check the itineraries adventure for a day trip along the coast which is quite lovely and you can extend it to stay in Sonoma or Napa

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Borrego Springs, San Francisco, Solana Beach
posts: 26,058
reviews: 26
4. Re: Carmel or Sonoma?

<<If we stayed in Sonoma would the drive along the HWY 1 north of San Francisco be as beautiful as driving south near Big Sur?>>

No. However, it is closer and still breathtakingly beautiful. It's 2 hours (minimum) to get from SF to Carmel. Then Big Sur is south of that. Conversely, it's only an hour or so from SF to Sonoma.

Five nights is only 4 full days ... which really means you should only consider doing a day trip out of San Francisco. Which you can do. Check out this "Day Trip North:" tripadvisor.com/Travel-g60713-c139373/San-Fr…

With the time you have I don't think you can't do both SF and Big Sur and do justice to both.

Edited: 7:59 pm, January 31, 2013
Santa Cruz...
Destination Expert
for Santa Cruz
posts: 24,157
reviews: 5
5. Re: Carmel or Sonoma?

The day trip north to Sonoma County that Sal referred you to does both of what you want, Coast and wine country, plus redwoods. I agree with her that you should not shortchange San Francisco. You will regret it if you do.

6. Re: Carmel or Sonoma?

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