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Monterey - SF then around Sacramento, Lake Tahoe & Yosemite

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posts: 40
reviews: 12
Monterey - SF then around Sacramento, Lake Tahoe & Yosemite

hello there,

After some advice please on putting a two week trip together. Thinking of flying into LA then Coast Starlight Train to head to SF and fly home from SF.

1.Any suggestions for where to stop off from the train for a day or two's rest at the start of the holidays on that journey - Looking at possitbly Monterey ?

2. Thinking then of picking up a car at Monterey and driving to Sanfrancisco or is there another way someone can recommend around the coast...Didn't really want to get back on the train.

3. From San Franciso our plans are to check out wine country but wonder is it best to jump on a trip to make the most of the tasting?

4. then looking to see Redwoods State Park, Sacramento, Lake Tahoe and Yosemite - is it best to hire a car from SF and make up our trip - if so can anyone recommend where its worth spending a night or two or really good spots to stop and make sure we take in along the way ?

All help appreciated ! Gill

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Borrego Springs, San Francisco, Solana Beach
posts: 31,234
reviews: 26
1. Re: Monterey - SF then around Sacramento, Lake Tahoe & Yosemite

How long are you planning for this trip?

1. The train up from LA does not hug the coast the entire way. You do get some coastal views between LA and a bit north of Santa Barbara but then it turns inland and completely misses Big Sur.

To get to Monterey, you will get off the train at Salinas and get the AmTrak bus to Monterey. So be sure to book LA to Monterey as your train ride to insure the timed connection from train to bus.

However, if you are willing to drive between Monterey and SF, I'd suggest considering driving the entire way and spending a night in Cambria and then another in Monterey or Carmel.

3. There are wine country areas around Santa Barbara and Paso Robles as well which you could blend into your trip up the coast. Perhaps add a nght near SB or in Paso for wine tasting. (I also don't know time of year of this trip -- it gets pretty warm in Paso in the summer.)

4. Redwoods National Park is 4 hours or so NORTH of SF. Tahoe is 4 hours EAST. So one is not "on the way" to the other. There are however other redwood groves near Santa Cruz, SF and Sonoma.

Sacramento is the state capitol, and Old Sacramento is interesting for an hour or so but I would not call it a major tourist destination. Is there a reason you have it on the itinerary? (It's hot there in the summer too.)

Edited: 11:04 am, February 10, 2013
posts: 40
reviews: 12
2. Re: Monterey - SF then around Sacramento, Lake Tahoe & Yosemite

Hello there, Thanks for all this info.

We're looking to come for around 2 weeks mid / end of September. The driving tip is great for the LA to Monterey - might turn the trip around then and fly into SF and have a few days to rest and finish the trip by driving down to LA

No real reason for Sacramento other than a destination on the way...What about places like Sausalito and Calistoga - are they worth a few days or overnight there ?

Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
posts: 5,452
reviews: 22
3. Re: Monterey - SF then around Sacramento, Lake Tahoe & Yosemite

It might be cheaper for flights and car rental to just fly in and out of SFO. With two weeks, you can get to most of the destinations you are interested in - Monterey, Big Sur, Yosemite, Tahoe, Sonoma/Napa and SF.

Calistoga is a neat town to stay in if you want to visit the Napa Valley. Yountville is also a great choice if you want high end hotels and great restaurants.

Sausalito is just a ferry ride from SF but there are nice hotels there too.

4. Re: Monterey - SF then around Sacramento, Lake Tahoe & Yosemite

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