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2 extra days - which direction to head?

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Saint Louis...
posts: 46
reviews: 2
2 extra days - which direction to head?

I have 5 full days at my disposal in June for a San Francisco trip. Thinking about spending the first full 3 days in the city, then getting out of town. Initially I was thinking about hitting Yosemite because I've never been and I would love to see it, but I worried that I would feel rushed.

I know I'm going to run around seeing as much as possible in the city, so spending my last 2 days at a leisurely pace is appealing. That being said, should I head north or south? By heading north, I don't mean to Napa wineries. I'm land-locked in the midwest most days of the year and seeing the coast makes me giddy! If I spent 2 nights either north or south would it be too much? Which direction is better and why? I've been reading nonstop all over the interwebs and I've managed to spin myself in circles with possibilities. I'm getting anxious because I know I need to book something.

I can post this on other boards, too, I just thought I would start with San Francisco since that's where I'll be heading. :) Thanks all!

Washington DC...
posts: 107
1. Re: 2 extra days - which direction to head?

We're doing the same in April and chose to head SOUTH. On our last day in SF, we're picking up a car at Union Square and doing the SF things that are easier with a car (Muir Woods, Lands End Trail, Twin Peaks), then heading south to Half Moon Bay to crash for the night. Next day is Monterey (aquarium), Pacific Grove (beach trails), 17 Mile Drive, and Carmel (staying in Carmel). Then next day is Point Lobos Park and possibly Elkhorn Slough Reserve and San Juan Batista Mission on our way back up.

Grover Beach, Ca
Destination Expert
for Pismo Beach, Cambria, Big Sur
posts: 14,586
reviews: 3
2. Re: 2 extra days - which direction to head?

I'm going to say south, too. While the coast north of SF is lovely, wild and serene, I feel there's much more to see/do in the Monterey/Carmel area. From the easy, short hikes through highly scenic Point Lobos State Reserve to lovely beach walks on cypress tree lined Carmel Beach to visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium and/or Cannery Row. And Carmel by the Sea is charming, quaint and just too cute to miss.

On the drive down (Get an early start from SF), you can make stops in Santa Cruz and/or do the Elkhorn Slough Safari tour to see LOTS of wildlife such as otters, seals and sea birds.


Edited: 10:29 am, February 13, 2013
San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Borrego Springs, San Francisco, Solana Beach
posts: 29,131
reviews: 26
3. Re: 2 extra days - which direction to head?

If you want a little more wilderness then head north. If you like your trails a bit tamer and with more choices of accomodations and restaurants, then head south.

But either way you'll see some great coastline so I don't think you can make a "bad" decision.

Saint Louis...
posts: 46
reviews: 2
4. Re: 2 extra days - which direction to head?

Thanks for your thoughts on this! Sometimes it helps just to talk things through... :) I'm leaning towards heading south, just because there are so many things to see/do and it makes it easier to plan for places to stay. Appreciate the suggestions!

Bloomington, Indiana
Destination Expert
for Bloomington
posts: 5,997
reviews: 20
5. Re: 2 extra days - which direction to head?

I'm another vote for south. Monterey, Carmel, Santa Cruz are pretty close to one another (say an hours drive), so you could base yourself at one of them and see the other two easily. They'll give you plenty to see/do and will certainly get you your "coast fix."


Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
posts: 5,085
reviews: 22
6. Re: 2 extra days - which direction to head?

Just remember that in June, the coast can be foggy and gloomy. If you go to Yosemite or Lake Tahoe, you will almost be guaranteed good weather.

Another option for the coast if you only have one night and don't want to travel too far is Point Reyes. There is a hostel out there that is in an absolutely beautiful setting.


Monterey will have more to do but there's also close to 100,000 people living in that area. At Pt. Reyes, it will be pretty much just you and the deer.

Los Angeles...
posts: 3
reviews: 7
7. Re: 2 extra days - which direction to head?

June is considered winter in san francisco area. be prepared for very foggy chilly weather!

San Clemente...
posts: 47
reviews: 32
8. Re: 2 extra days - which direction to head?

I also vote for south for the same places Bob suggested. It's very relaxing and soothing. Easy to walk along the scenic coast as well. The aquarium is also very nice. Go early to avoid the crowd.

Point Reyes up north is nice, but it is often very foggy. When I went there, it was so cold and foggy I couldn't see much but a thick layer of "white fog" after a fraction of a mile. It is the second foggiest place after Nantucket in the US, I hear.

I haven't been caught in fog in Monterey/Carmel etc. area the few times I went. The Roaring Camp train (you can google) in Santa Cruz is also nice. You can see the insanely huge redwood/sequoia trees.

Edited: 7:06 pm, February 13, 2013
San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 4,226
reviews: 111
9. Re: 2 extra days - which direction to head?

If I were foxy and 23 - I'd be heading to Santa Cruz for the closest thing we have to a good beach experience.

San Francisco, Ca
posts: 5,729
reviews: 45
10. Re: 2 extra days - which direction to head?

While I love the coast north of SF, the most beautiful parts of that coast are much further than the most beautiful parts of the coast to the south.