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road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

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Southampton, New...
13 posts
road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

We arrive by train in Santa Barbara in mid May at 6pm. Before we go straight back to Northern CA by train, we want to stay 1 or 2 nights in a coastal town in a hotel with a gorgeous ocean view. Not interested in shops or shopping; Where should we stay for 1 or 2 nights: Santa Barbara, Pismo Beach or Carmel? looking for clean beach with clean water and great views.

any hotel recommendations also appreciated. Thank you!

Pasadena, California
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for Pasadena
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27 reviews
1. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

Stay in Santa Barbara, a gorgeous town with wonderful beaches, great shopping and dining and more. There are a number of hotels that fit your requirements within a few blocks of the train station. The view rooms at the Harborview, at Cabrillo and State, will suit you. But they aren't cheap; you can probably find someplace less expensive with a nice view.

Pasadena, California
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2. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

Your subject title is misleading, too: A road trip implies you are driving. But you are taking the train the whole way, right? If so, some of the towns you mention are not on the train route.

Pasadena, California
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3. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

And there is lots to do in Santa Barbara without shopping. Museum, Mission, gorgeous old Courthouse, water activities, bike riding, etc.

Grover Beach, Ca
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for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
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16,511 posts
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4. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

Santa Barbara fits what you're looking for the best. Especially without a car. There are lodging, dining & shopping options near the train station.

There are only a few Pismo Beach hotels with good views, but those are on cliffs above the ocean with little to no beach access. The few hotels that are "on" the beach are not in the best area. Those are in downtown Pismo, which is kinda on the cheesy side. The train also doesn't stop directly in Pismo Beach. It stops in Grover Beach and there is nothing there. You would have to hire a cab to pick you up and take you back when you're ready to leave. Not really very convenient, IMO. The Cliffs Hotel or Dolphin Bay Resort come the closest to what you would want in this area.

Carmel by the Sea is a beautiful town with storybook cottages, cute shops, great dining and one of the prettiest beaches in California. However, there are no hotels overlooking the beach there. You would have to look at Monterey or Pacific Grove for ocean view lodging. Plus, there is no train to Monterey. You would have to disembark in Salinas and take the local bus over to the Monterey Peninsula. And without a car, your sightseeing options are quite limited. Tickle Pink Inn or the Highlands Inn 4 miles south of Carmel by the Sea both offer amazing coastal views, but from on high and no beach access. And without a car, you would virtually be stuck there, as there really isn't anything you can walk to, save for the 2 restaurants on the Highlands Inn property. In Monterey your ocean front options include the Monterey Plaza Hotel, Monterey Bay Inn, Spindrift Inn, Intercontinental Clement. Pacific Grove options are 1880's Victorian B&B's: The Seven Gables Inn, Green Gables Inn or Martine Inn.

Edited: 9:07 pm, March 27, 2013
Southampton, New...
13 posts
5. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

Thanks very much, but is Santa Barbara on the ocean..? that is, are there ocean waves, it looks calm in photos like a bay; I looked into staying at Blue Sands motel, just inexpensive across from beach, but if

we stay will look into a hotel with better views, as you suggested.

in regards to your second post, sorry about that, this was my first post ever and will try to be more accurate.

I know the towns I stated , Carmel and Pismo Beach are not directly on train route, and planned to take a bus or taxi to the destination town, for eg. Grover beach is suppose to be only 2 miles to Pismo Beach; at

Pismo I looked into staying at Sea Crest hotel or Kon Tiki

As long as Santa Barbara has a real ocean , sounds like a good choice.

Thank you

Southampton, New...
13 posts
6. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

Thanks very much, but is Carmel and Monterrey on the ocean, that is real ocean waves? , From photos , it appears they are on Bay or quiet water, not a real ocean beach, but I maybe wrong.

If so staying in Monterrey and, then walking or taking cab to Carmel beach to walk on beach in Carmel.

Do people swim in the water at Carmel?

Monterrey looked very touristy with the Cannery row and aquarium and I think there was boardwalk

the photos I saw of Pismo looked like real ocean beach and looked into staying at SeaCrest hotel on cliff but they said you could walk down steps to the beach.

Yes I know I would depart in Salinas for Carmel and take a bus or cab to Carmel.

So maybe my choice is Santa Barbara or Carmel, if both have a real ocean beach.

Napa, CA
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7. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

If you want to see and hear crashing ocean waves, Pismo Beach or Carmel are better options than Santa Barbara. Santa Barbara is on a channel with the Channel Islands offshore blocking the big rollers from the southwest.

In Pismo Beach, there are hotels on the cliffs overlooking the ocean and you can hear the surf from your room. There's no hotels like that in Carmel. We stayed in one last week (Hotel La Playa) that had ocean views but it was several blocks from the beach. There were surfers catching waves but they were wearing wetsuits. The water is too cold for most people to swim for any length of time even in the summer. Santa Barbara would have warmer water but maybe not in May.

Grover Beach, Ca
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8. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

If you want loud ocean waves, then the Best Western Beach Resort in Monterey is for you! Seriously. The ocean facing rooms enjoy the sound of pounding surf day and night. The B&B's in Pacific Grove overlook rocky shoreline, so the sound of waves crashing is quite likely. Yes, Monterey is on a bay, but the BW is on a real beach with real wave activity.

http://www.montereybeachresort.com/

Sounds of waves in Pismo Beach is hit or miss. It really depends on the tides and if any off shore storms are occurring out at sea. If the sea is calm, the ocean will be, too.

Edited: 11:06 pm, March 27, 2013
Santa Barbara...
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1 review
9. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

Santa Barbara, Pismo Bch, and Carmel are all next to a real ocean, the Pacific Ocean and there is lots of sand, waves and calm water. Is the ocean warm enough for swimming in Southampton? Stay in each of these cities, if you can. Actually, aren't you going to stop overnight in at least 2 of these three destinations? Seems like a hard train trip to have to pick only one place to stay overnight. If you can, rent a car to drive Highway 1 through Big Sur to Monterey. Pismo through Big Sur to Monterey is one of the prettiest coastal routes in the U.S.

Otherwise, adding to the great advice already given.... Santa Barbara's Cabrillo Inn has clean, no-frills ocean view rooms for a good price. There is a good selection of ocean view hotels along Moonstone Beach Rd in Cambria. I like the San Simeon Seaside Pines Resort. The 3 par golf course, there, is fun. Monterey's Cannery Row is touristy, but that's half the charm and Cannery Row does have history. The MBAquarium has a beautiful kelp forest display. Monterey has a biking/walking path along the beach, (but it's not quite a boardwalk?)

Avila Beach...
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936 posts
8 reviews
10. Re: road trip help:stay in Santa Barbara? Pismo Bch? or Carmel?

Sea Gypsy is a less expensive hotel in Pismo Beach (if you're not looking for luxury) right on the sand at the beach. Just another option, seems to meet your requirements.

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