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San Fran Monterey Sonoma (advice)

zerap

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Just booked San Fran for July for 9 nights. I was thinking 4 nights at the JW Marriott 2 nights at the Monterey and 3 night at the Renaissance in Sonomo using up my points. A few questions.

1. to far from lake Tahoe?
2. Should I head down to Southern California?
3. Anywhere to relax on a Beach?
4. Any other advice would be appreciated.

Thanks

Barry
 

Luanne

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Just booked San Fran for July for 9 nights. I was thinking 4 nights at the JW Marriott 2 nights at the Monterey and 3 night at the Renaissance in Sonomo using up my points. A few questions.

1. to far from lake Tahoe?
From San Francisco to Lake Tahoe it's between 3 to 4 hours, without traffic.

2. Should I head down to Southern California?
Only if you have enough time to spend several days down there. From San Francisco it's a 6 to 8 hour drive (if you don't stop) to the "southern California" area. Personally I'd choose the coastal area or San Diego if I was heading south.

3. Anywhere to relax on a Beach?
Sure. But do you want to swim?
 

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Just booked San Fran for July for 9 nights. I was thinking 4 nights at the JW Marriott 2 nights at the Monterey and 3 night at the Renaissance in Sonomo using up my points. A few questions.

1. to far from lake Tahoe?
We go for the weekend all the time, and it's about a 3 hr. drive for us, but there is so much to see in the SF area, that I'd concentrate on that area. For lots of ideas, click on the link below my signature and then click on my SF Travel Page.

2. Should I head down to Southern California?
That's a whole nother trip in itself - no.

3. Anywhere to relax on a Beach?
San Francisco is cool and foggy - it does not have beach weather and the water is cold. Southern CA has beach weather.

4. Any other advice would be appreciated.
California is a huge State - impossible to see it all, in 9 days - focus on the SF Bay Area. (Impossible to see it all in 9 days as well!)
 

zerap

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Thank you for the info. Is there a specific order you would recommend. I was thinking SF then Sonoma the Monterey. Do you think the breakdown of days in each city is correct?
 

Luanne

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One more suggestion. I'd split the nights up between San Francisco and Carmel/Monterey and then do Napa/Sonoma as a day trip.
 

zerap

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Thank you for the info. Is there a specific order you would recommend. I was thinking SF then Sonoma the Monterey. Do you think the breakdown of days in each city is correct?
 

Luanne

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Thank you for the info. Is there a specific order you would recommend. I was thinking SF then Sonoma the Monterey. Do you think the breakdown of days in each city is correct?
If you go north to south it would be:
Sonoma
San Francisco
Monterey

If you go in the order you're suggesting you'll do a lot more driving than necessary. But again, my suggestion is to just stay in San Francisco and Monterey and do a day trip to Sonoma.
 

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Ok, I am going to pipe in here. Luanne is a San Francisco girl and so partial to that area. I am a Sonoma County girl so I guess I have some partials here. I am going to say depending on what you want to do in Sonoma County depends on how much time you want to spend here. Do you want to do a Hot Air Balloon Ride over the vineyards? Do you want to go wine tasteing? You could spend a day on the Dry Creek wineries alone. Then there is Alexander Valley and other areas. Do you want to take a drive out toThe Cheese Factory and then on to Pt. Reys? Or, go out to Glen Ellen to the Jack London State Park? What about a Bike or River Tour?So you see there is no right answer it really is up to you and what you want to do with your time.
 
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sandesurf

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Hi,
Thought I'd give my 2cents too...
I agree, there's a lot to do and love about Sonoma so I would do at least 2 nights there, 4 in S.F. and 3 in Monterey. (In that order).
I'm a So. CA girl, and LOVE the beach, but I wouldn't want to drive a long way just for a beach. If your lucky, and I have been several times, you'll get some nice weather in July and the beach in the Pacific Beach area (just south of S.F.) is absolutely beautiful!! Even if it's not warm, it's still a sight to see. Drive along the coast to Monterey and you'll find some gorgeous spots! Santa Cruz is another beautiful beach area, before you hit Monterey.
Sounds like a great trip! Have fun! :)
 

zerap

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Thanks all the information i think we will stay in the SF area spend a couple days in Sonoma and finish off in Monterey. We are coming from Toronto without the kids almost a 2nd honeymoon. we will be in Hilton Head at the Marriott Barony Beach for the real heat in August.

Barry
 

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My 2 cents here. I'm from Monterey County, so I'm biased. But Monterey has so much to offer. I'd definitely do at least 3 nights here, rather than in Sonoma. I like Sonoma, but...

While here, you need to go to our world-class aquarium. Visit Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck and home of the early oceanographer Doc Ricketts. Drive the 17 mile drive in Pebble Beach, a beautiful drive. But for a truly breathtaking drive, you can't miss driving down California Highway 1 through Big Sur, which is only about 25 miles south of us. It's a world class drive.

I agree with the others that the ocean off northern & central California is only swimmable by children, teenagers, and seals. Still, hanging out on the beach is a great thing to do on a nice day. Too bad you're coming in July, our cold season (fog). The weather is much better in Sept/Oct.

If you want to go to the beach, your best choice is to hit the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk on your way down (or, it's about 45 minutes from Monterey). The URL above shows the amusement park section, but it's also a great, long stretch of beautiful beach. But if you're already in Monterey, I'd go instead to Carmel beach, which is about a mile of beautiful white sandy beach. The waterfront at Monterey is also a good beach. If you have little ones, the best protected beach is Lovers Point in Pacific Grove. You'll frequently see parents with small toddlers there.

HTH,
Bob
 

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Thats great information Bob. I booked the Monterey Marriott for 2 nights but am now thinking of a nice bed and breakfast or Inn. Any suggestions on which area of Monterey or specific places to stay.It will be just me and my wife.

Thanks Again


Barry
 

Blues

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The nice thing about the Monterey Peninsula is that it's so compact. You can get to just about anywhere in 10-15 minutes. So from that perspective, location doesn't matter much.

The Monterey Marriott, though, is in an ideal location. You'll be within walking distance of downtown Monterey, the historic Custom House Plaza area, and Fisherman's Wharf. A bit longer walk to the beach, Cannery Row, and the Aquarium. Actually, the Aquarium is just far enough that you may instead want to take the (free, I think) tourist trolley.

Carmel has some really nice, quaint B&B's and small inns. But Carmel is pricey -- even more so than the rest of the Monterey Peninsula. Pacific Grove has some very nice-looking B&B's in Victorian houses on the water; e.g. 7 Gables, Green Gables, and Centrella (not on the water, but close).
 

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Don't try to do more than the cities you already listed. I'd do SF then Sonoma then Monterey and I wouldn't do Sonoma for a day trip. You could spend days and days in that area and you will want to once you get there and see how beautiful it is!!!

Janna
 

zerap

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San Fran Monterey Sonoma Newport Beach Advice

2 years ago I attempted a california trip with my wife but medical issues delayed the trip.

11 days and looking for advice.

July 1 to July 12

SF 3 days (Marriott)
Sonoma 2 days (Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance)
Monterey 2 day (Marriott Monterey)

Down the Coast

Santa Barb 1 day
Newport Beach or Luguna Beach 3 days

Leave from LAX

Any suggestion would be great

Thank you

Barry
 

Liz Wolf-Spada

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You really don't say what you are looking forward to doing or seeing. You could spend the whole time in San Francisco and be fine. The Monterey area is great, do a drive to Asilomar in Pacific Grove where the deer wander around unafraid and the sand dunes are so peaceful. I spent many years in Sonoma County. I like the Russian River area and the beach out by Bodega Bay and the pastoral drive by Tomales from San Francisco. I think you need to know what you want, city, country, ocean, vineyards etc. Sonoma County will be warm in July, though still possibly coolish in the mornings and at the beach. San Francisco and Monterey can be very cool at that time of year (or it could surprise you and be warm!)
Liz
 

bigrick

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Zerap, how about a few more details from you so we can give you some tips?

Otherwise do a few searches here in the Western section for similar previous tips.
 

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I live in Southern California but also lived in the San Francisco Bay area for many years. I love both areas for different reasons. I would never try to do both unless I had at least a month. Any trip to Southern California has to include lots of time in San Diego. In fact I would make San Diego my base. The San Francisco Bay area is great and I would make San Francisco my base for that area.

You have to be specific as to what your preferences are. We have made many trips to Sonoma/Napa Valley but for us they were day trips from our home which was plenty of time for us. We are not wine drinkers so the wineries weren't that important. We also did many day trips to Monterey/Carmel from our home. You could easily spend a lot more time in either area depending on what you like to do. I wouldn't spend much time with beaches other than looking at them. The water is very cold and the weather can be pretty chilly at the beach. Save your beach trips for Southern California.
 

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A gentle suggestion - do not say "San Fran" or "Frisco" in San Francisco - it irritates the natives! I kid you not!
 

Luanne

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A gentle suggestion - do not say "San Fran" or "Frisco" in San Francisco - it irritates the natives! I kid you not!
Ooops, I live in the area (but not in the city) and have called it "San Fran". But never Frisco! :eek:
 

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When we lived in the San Francisco Bay area we called it either San Francisco or "the City" like we are going to the City tomorrow.
 

Liz Wolf-Spada

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I usually call it SF or if I am up there, "The City". I've noticed the newest expressions seem to be, I'm going up to the Bay. Or glad I'm back in the Bay.
My son lives in Oakland and I see this from young facebook friends also.
Liz
 
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