Are you just making the one stop between SF and LA? Carmel is a lot closer to SF than to LA.
Are you planning on driving Highway 1 (the coast route)? If so trying to start in Carmel and make it to LA will be a very long day.
I'd suggest looking at Cambria or Pismo Beach as alternatives if you are only making one night's stop. But, to be honest, two nights in between the two cities would be better.
Hi. We are planning to travel along the coast and have four nights. We are looking at staying at Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara. Thanks
What type of accommodations are you interested in? Carmel's variety of lodgings includes several above-average motels, cozy cabins, charming inns, small luxury hotels, one large hotel, and one rustic resort owned by a famous movie star who talks to empty chairs.
Just FYI, none of these are on the shoreline, and less than 10% have ocean views of any kind. Some are in forested residential neighborhoods, and the rest are located somewhere around the perimeter of the business district.
A good place to start is with a search on Expedia or something and see what appeals to your interests and budget. Then you can ask about specific properties.
It makes no sense to stay at Santa Cruz and Carmel. The two are an hour apart. And then Carmel to Santa Barbara -- via Highway 1 -- is a much longer day with so much to see along the way.
SF to Santa Cruz is 90 minutes.
Santa Cruz to Carmel is 1 hour
Carmel to Santa Barbara via Route1 is 5 hours and that is without any stops.
There is a lot of information about this area if you check out the California forum. Or check Kibblesmom's profile. She is a wealth of information about driving the central coast.
You need to do more research and consult a map.
What RamblinSal said.
You can easily visit Santa Cruz on the drive down to Carmel from SF. With 4 nights to make the drive, I suggest the following itinerary:
Cambria: 1 night (Enjoy the drive down to Cambria through Big Sur taking in the sights: Bixby Bridge, Nepenthe/Phoenix Shop, McWay Falls @ Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Ragged Point, elephant seal rookery near the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, Hearst Castle)
Santa Barbara: 1 night (Leave Cambria early. Cambria to Santa Barbara is approx. a 2 1/2 hour drive. You'll have most of a day to enjoy the sights, as well as a few hours in the morning (Don't leave until 10 am to 12 pm to avoid commute traffic) before heading off to LA.
The Normandy Inn is a great place to stay right in the heart of downtown Carmel. We have stayed twice there. The rooms are pretty, the staff is very accomodating, there is a small heated pool there and breakfast is included with your room.
www.carmelcalifornia.com is a nice website for this area. :)
A second for syrahgirl's suggestion...The Normandy Inn is a lovely spot. You will love Carmel afther dark.....no illuminated signs on stores, so just lamp-lit streets.
I'm at the Normandy Inn right now, and can highly recommend. We are in a premium fireplace room and have really enjoyed our cozy fires in the eve and mornings. Rm 102 is a corner room facing Ocean Ave. next to the breakfast area. Very spacious. I feel like I'm in a quaint cottage. It's been very quiet believe it or not. Haven't heard a peep from our neighbors in rm 104 either. Our friends are in rm 318-basic king. I don't recommend this room. Small, with large bathroom. The grout could use some freshening up. Definitely splurge for a nicer room.
I may be overly cautious here, but just as you wouldn't post your home street address, it's probably not a good idea to post your hotel room number online while you're still occupying it. You never know who is reading these posts.