I am planning a 10 day trip in June from San Francisco to San Diego, traveling on the Coastal Starlight/Pacific Surfliner. It will be myself, my husband and our 2 daughters ages 12 & 15. I was trying to decide between stopping for a couple of nights in Santa Barbara; or staying near San Luis Obispo and renting a car to explore the area (Avila Beach, Pismo, Hearst Castle, etc.). However, in doing my research I discovered that our dates (June 11 - 13; Monday - Wednesday) abut The Classic at Pismo Beach weekend (June 15 - 17; Friday - Sunday). Our dates are somewhat flexible but we have to wait for the girls to get out of school on May 23rd. I was trying to schedule the trip for early June since I know schools in some other states don't let out for the summer till the end of June, therefore thought the crowds might be smaller; If I move the dates back a week they would abut Memorial Day weekend.
My questions are:
Should we avoid the SLO area all together?
Will good accommodations be hard to come by?
Will everything be ridiculously crowded, even more so than one would expect in the summer?
Would you recommend Santa Barbara over SLO anyway?
I haven't made any reservations or checked availability since I am still in the planning stages, however I am guessing our reservations on the Coastal Starlight will need to be made first but am not sure how far out they need to be booked.