I week in California, Road Trip Planning

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LiveSimple
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I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by LiveSimple » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:25 am

Planning to have a road trip covering California from San Diego to Sacramento, in March,we will have from Saturday to Sunday, a week.
Just the two of us, husband and wife.

Our goal is to experience the California, if we do want move in a few years.

So how best we can do, looking for some suggestion on which cities to stay, some suburbs as well as we want to experience the living and not just as a tourist

San Diego I day
Thousand Oaks, Venture, (LA Suburbs) 1 day
SFO 2 Days
Sacramento 1 day
What other cities to check out ?

Is AIRBNB worthwhile to check for stay ?

Any advise on car rental ?

Not to miss places to visit or eat out ?

N10sive
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by N10sive » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:38 am

What are your interests? Ages? What are you looking to do? etc.

Each of these cities have a lot to offer so I imagine you will get a lot of recommendations. Along with can't miss food places. Narrowing it down a little might give you more specific recommendations of what you like doing/seeing. If your only staying in each city a day, Airbnb maybe a hassle although if your looking to move to CA it might give you a sense of the culture. I wouldn't necessarily stay in a Airbnb in LA or Sac.

If you like bakery things Porto's in LA is amazing.

San Diego Balboa park is a nice place to visit or La Jolla if you like the beach. If you pick an air bnb here, North Park is a cool spot for new bars/restaurants for the 20's to mid 30's crowd.

Are you going up the coast I presume? San Luis Obispo would be a nice stop along the way. Monterrey and Santa Cruz as well and Santa Barbara.
Last edited by N10sive on Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

cadk
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by cadk » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:40 am

Santa Barbara is worth stopping at for either a few hours on the drive up from LA to SF or for an overnight stay.

We've used airbnb, vrbo & homeaway countless times with success. They often have 2-3 nights minimums which may not work for your itinerary.

Sounds like a busy trip. Hope you have fun.

N10sive
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by N10sive » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:47 am

I would also try to plan my driving opposite heavy traffic times. SD to LA could take 1 hr 45 min or 4 hours at the wrong time...

mega317
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by mega317 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:56 am

First of all you should know this has been asked several times recently so searching for those threads will give you lots of ideas.

Second I think your goal is too optimistic. California is a large place with huge variation. It's like saying I might move to the east coast, I'm going to spend a day each in New York, DC, Myrtle Beach, and Jacksonville--what should I do?

surfer949
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by surfer949 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 12:15 pm

I would say the ultimate "beach surf city" is Huntington Beach so check it out. Definitely try some Korean BBQ at Gen Korean BBQ House in Huntington Beach.
The griffith observatory in LA to get a one of the best view of L.A. day or night time.
Santa Monica 3rd street Promenade is a nice outdoor mall/restaurant area with the pier within walking distance. I wouldn't swim in that water though.

Have fun but try not to do too much at a time.

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LiveSimple
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by LiveSimple » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:23 pm

cadk wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:40 am
Santa Barbara is worth stopping at for either a few hours on the drive up from LA to SF or for an overnight stay.

We've used airbnb, vrbo & homeaway countless times with success. They often have 2-3 nights minimums which may not work for your itinerary.

Sounds like a busy trip. Hope you have fun.
Appreciate the input

Jermbo
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by Jermbo » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:41 pm

I highly recommend stopping in towns near San Luis Obispo. Just south of San Luis Obispo is Pismo Beach and Avila Beach. Great beach towns to either shop, eat, or walk the beach. As you drive north up 101, you will hit San Luis Obispo. A small college town with some fun hiking around outskirts of town, cool spots in downtown area which is small but nice. In addition there are some wineries outside of town as well.

At the north side of San Luis Obispo, you can continue on either up highway 101 to Paso Robles and check out more awesome wine country. The other direction is take a scenic route up highway 1 toward morro bay, a quant little beach town.

Continuing up highway 1 will take you near Hearst castle, some other small beach towns like cayucos. Highway 1 also winds around on a cliff so driving is a bit slower than highway 101. One side is mountains and rock, other is the Pacific ocean. It's amazing! Lastly, if you continue up this direction you will run into Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey, and Santa Cruz. Also very awesome places to check out. Lots to see, but hopefully some ideas to help.

pekkle
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by pekkle » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:43 pm

N10sive wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:47 am
I would also try to plan my driving opposite heavy traffic times. SD to LA could take 1 hr 45 min or 4 hours at the wrong time...
++ on this ... check out driving times in Google Maps and adjust departure time to get an estimate of how long driving between destinations may take on different days at different times of day, especially in the LA area.


Sights:

LA:

LA is a big sprawl so you may want to review what kind of neighborhoods you'd want to check out and you may want more than 1 day

LA Proper:

Rodeo Drive
Beverly Hills
The Grove (outdoor shopping mall)
UCLA campus
Mulholland Drive (if you like windy roads)
Santa Monica Pier (The Promenade is nice as someone else has suggested)
Venice Beach(?)


Pasadena:

Old Pasadena
CalTech campus


Eats:

In-N-Out Burger
Din Tai Fung (xiao long bao)

Depending on your interests, finding locales near college / university campuses might be one way to categorize / approach your trip planning ...

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5th_Dimension
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by 5th_Dimension » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:50 pm

Given the cities you have said you would like to see, here is what I would do.

Day 1 - San Diego
Day 2 - Drive to Thousand Oaks/Ventura. This will take 3 or 4 hours depending on traffic and will probably be the worst as far as traffic. If you have some time Beverly Hills/Rodeo Drive is a short detour and is fun to drive through, and you might see someone famous :D . Once you get into the San Fernando Valley you will be going against traffic and it should be clear sailing to TO. Spend some time in Thousand Oaks/Ventura, but not too much time, you still have a lot of driving to do. When you leave Ventura, drive to Ojai. Ojai is a very pretty spot and is just a bit out of the way, but IMO much nicer to spend time in from a visitor standpoint. When done in Ojai head inland to either the 5 freeway or the 99 and head north to Sacramento. The 5 is a bit faster but more desolate, the 99 will really give you a sense of California's Central Valley. Drive to Sacramento or as far as you can get. If you can't make it all the way there are plenty of places to stay along the way.
Day 3 - Sacramento
Day 4 & 5 - San Francisco

You can reverse the order for Sacramento and San Francisco, it really is about the same. You will be tempted to drive up the coast past Ventura through Santa Barbara and North to San Francisco. That is a very pretty drive most of the way with lots to see, but time wise it is brutal, and you may have to adjust your schedule to do that.

Have fun and drive safely! :happy
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adamthesmythe
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:58 pm

> LA is a big sprawl

No, LA is a great big freeway. Not pleasant unless you really enjoy traffic. If the midwest is flyover country in my opinion LA is drivearound country.

Do what you gotta do in LA and then go somewhere else. At least part of the coast on Route 1 is well worth it unless you are immune to scenery. San Francisco is much better, park the car and walk.

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CABob
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by CABob » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:51 pm

Continuing up highway 1 will take you near Hearst castle, some other small beach towns like cayucos. Highway 1 also winds around on a cliff so driving is a bit slower than highway 101. One side is mountains and rock, other is the Pacific ocean. It's amazing!
I believe that a portion of Highway 1 is still closed because of mudslides. If this is still correct it means you would have to go inland to Highway 101 for a while.
Bob

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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by Teague » Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:54 pm

In San Diego the Wild Animal Park and SD Zoo are both awesome. La Jolla Shores is beautiful and reliably has world class sunsets. The Cabrillo National monument, particularly at low tide, is wonderful. Tour the USS Midway. Check out Old Town for Mexican food. The Torrey Pines Glider port is amazing, especially if they are flying when you visit. Balboa Park is wonderful, but be careful, you could spend the entire week there.
On your way to L.A. pass the stunning Carlsbad flower fields, which will be blooming in March-May. Try to avoid stopping if possible, since your time is limited.

In Los Angeles visit Griffith Observatory, one of the local beaches, and the La Brea Tar Pits. Maybe Rodeo Drive and Hollywood too. Watch the movie “Stepford Wives” before visiting Thousand Oaks. Marvel knowing there are remains of several small nuclear reactors and rocket engine test sites up in the otherwise largely unspoiled hills between Ventura County and the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Sus ... Laboratory

Take the coast route past Ventura and stop in Solvang/Buellton for Andersen’s pea soup and a dose of touristy faux-Danish culture. Buy plenty of trinkets and savor the impressive state sales tax.

Continue up the coast toward San Francisco, stopping about halfway at the amazing Hearst Castle. Don’t forget to visit the beach scene at AÑo Nuevo State Park – the remarkable elephant seal breeding rituals should still be going on. About this point be sure to call the folks back home to apologize that you are running two weeks behind schedule, and explain that you will return just as soon as possible.
Semper Augustus

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LiveSimple
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by LiveSimple » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:22 pm

Teague wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:54 pm
In San Diego the Wild Animal Park and SD Zoo are both awesome. La Jolla Shores is beautiful and reliably has world class sunsets. The Cabrillo National monument, particularly at low tide, is wonderful. Tour the USS Midway. Check out Old Town for Mexican food. The Torrey Pines Glider port is amazing, especially if they are flying when you visit. Balboa Park is wonderful, but be careful, you could spend the entire week there.
On your way to L.A. pass the stunning Carlsbad flower fields, which will be blooming in March-May. Try to avoid stopping if possible, since your time is limited.

In Los Angeles visit Griffith Observatory, one of the local beaches, and the La Brea Tar Pits. Maybe Rodeo Drive and Hollywood too. Watch the movie “Stepford Wives” before visiting Thousand Oaks. Marvel knowing there are remains of several small nuclear reactors and rocket engine test sites up in the otherwise largely unspoiled hills between Ventura County and the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Sus ... Laboratory

Take the coast route past Ventura and stop in Solvang/Buellton for Andersen’s pea soup and a dose of touristy faux-Danish culture. Buy plenty of trinkets and savor the impressive state sales tax.

Continue up the coast toward San Francisco, stopping about halfway at the amazing Hearst Castle. Don’t forget to visit the beach scene at AÑo Nuevo State Park – the remarkable elephant seal breeding rituals should still be going on. About this point be sure to call the folks back home to apologize that you are running two weeks behind schedule, and explain that you will return just as soon as possible.
Wonderful itenary. Thanks

Will call Home as you have suggested.

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LiveSimple
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by LiveSimple » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:22 pm

Teague wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 2:54 pm
In San Diego the Wild Animal Park and SD Zoo are both awesome. La Jolla Shores is beautiful and reliably has world class sunsets. The Cabrillo National monument, particularly at low tide, is wonderful. Tour the USS Midway. Check out Old Town for Mexican food. The Torrey Pines Glider port is amazing, especially if they are flying when you visit. Balboa Park is wonderful, but be careful, you could spend the entire week there.
On your way to L.A. pass the stunning Carlsbad flower fields, which will be blooming in March-May. Try to avoid stopping if possible, since your time is limited.

In Los Angeles visit Griffith Observatory, one of the local beaches, and the La Brea Tar Pits. Maybe Rodeo Drive and Hollywood too. Watch the movie “Stepford Wives” before visiting Thousand Oaks. Marvel knowing there are remains of several small nuclear reactors and rocket engine test sites up in the otherwise largely unspoiled hills between Ventura County and the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santa_Sus ... Laboratory

Take the coast route past Ventura and stop in Solvang/Buellton for Andersen’s pea soup and a dose of touristy faux-Danish culture. Buy plenty of trinkets and savor the impressive state sales tax.

Continue up the coast toward San Francisco, stopping about halfway at the amazing Hearst Castle. Don’t forget to visit the beach scene at AÑo Nuevo State Park – the remarkable elephant seal breeding rituals should still be going on. About this point be sure to call the folks back home to apologize that you are running two weeks behind schedule, and explain that you will return just as soon as possible.
Wonderful itenary. Thanks

Will call Home as you have suggested.

denovo
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by denovo » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:26 pm

LiveSimple wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:25 am




San Diego I day
Thousand Oaks, Venture, (LA Suburbs) 1 day
SFO 2 Days
Sacramento 1 day
What other cities to check out ?

Is AIRBNB worthwhile to check for stay ?

Any advise on car rental ?

Not to miss places to visit or eat out ?
Way too many cities for 7 days, you'll spend most your time driving. Delete Sacramento and San Diego. Split your days between LA and SF. Then check the threads on LA and SF. Really nothing interesting to see in Sac. Most Californians just drive past Sac on the way to Tahoe.
"Don't trust everything you read on the Internet"- Abraham Lincoln

Teague
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by Teague » Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:47 pm

Really nothing interesting to see in Sac. Most Californians just drive past Sac on the way to Tahoe.
Which is pretty much the premise of the recent (very good BTW) movie Lady Bird. But if you do wind up in Sacramento, visit the California State Railway Museum.
Semper Augustus

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Watty
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by Watty » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:16 pm

LiveSimple wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:25 am
Any advise on car rental ?
Price the rental car in both directions. Depending on where they need cars the prices may be dramatically different and it may be much less expensive to go the other way.

For a one way rental you may want to price that directly with each rental car company on their web site instead of some place like Expedia.

If you rent it at some place other than an airport you will likely save lots of extra fees and taxes they add to airport rentals. To save money I have gotten a rental car at the airport for one day then dropped it off at a suburban location at the same time I picked up a week long rental I had reserved. A rental of exactly seven days will usually get the best rate so plan the second rental for seven or more days. Be sure to check the hours and days that the offsite rentals are open and get good directions to it since it might be in a hotel or the back of a strip mall.

decapod10
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by decapod10 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:28 pm

denovo wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:26 pm
LiveSimple wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:25 am




San Diego I day
Thousand Oaks, Venture, (LA Suburbs) 1 day
SFO 2 Days
Sacramento 1 day
What other cities to check out ?

Is AIRBNB worthwhile to check for stay ?

Any advise on car rental ?

Not to miss places to visit or eat out ?
Way too many cities for 7 days, you'll spend most your time driving. Delete Sacramento and San Diego. Split your days between LA and SF. Then check the threads on LA and SF. Really nothing interesting to see in Sac. Most Californians just drive past Sac on the way to Tahoe.
For sure delete Sacramento. I personally would actually delete LA over San Diego, but that of course is personal preference. I personally never found LA to be that interesting.
LiveSimple wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:25 am
Planning to have a road trip covering California from San Diego to Sacramento, in March,we will have from Saturday to Sunday, a week.
Just the two of us, husband and wife.

Our goal is to experience the California, if we do want move in a few years.

So how best we can do, looking for some suggestion on which cities to stay, some suburbs as well as we want to experience the living and not just as a tourist

San Diego I day
Thousand Oaks, Venture, (LA Suburbs) 1 day
SFO 2 Days
Sacramento 1 day
What other cities to check out ?

Is AIRBNB worthwhile to check for stay ?

Any advise on car rental ?

Not to miss places to visit or eat out ?
OP, we took a trip up the coast of California for a week and it was amazing. One of my favorite vacations ever. I personally would focus on the coastal cities myself, but it depends on your tastes. LA is not a great tourist city in my opinion. Unfortunately, Highway 1 is closed just south of Big Sur, so it's difficult to drive up the coast. It's such a beautiful drive.

I think I would do something like this:

Saturday - Arrive San Diego. explore San Diego, spend the night in San Diego

Sunday - explore San Diego, leave Sunday evening and arrive at Santa Barbara (4 hour drive).

Monday - explore Santa Barbara, leave Monday evening and arrive at Morro Bay (2 hour drive). You could leave a bit earlier in the day and have time to see Solvang and/or San Luis Obispo if desired. Spend night at Morro Bay

Tuesday - Leave Morro Bay in the late morning. Drive to San Simeon/Hearst Castle (30 minutes) Unfortunately here is where you trip gets sort of screwed up by Highway 1 closure. Normally, you could continue north on Highway 1 and drive along the Big Sur coast, which is the best part of the coast (at least south of SF), but you can't due to the highway closure. So from San Simeon, you have to backtrack slightly, get on the 101N. Drive to Monterey (3 hours). Spend the night in Monterey.

Wednesday - Explore Monterey/Carmel. Spend the night in Monterey

Thursday - Drive south on highway 1 to visit the parks at Big Sur. There are lots of parks there, but Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is probably the most famous. It has a waterfall that falls onto the beach, you may have seen pictures of it. Go back to Monterey and spend the night there.

Friday - Leave Monterey and drive to San Francisco (2 hours). Stay the night in San Francisco

Saturday - Explore San Francisco. Stay the night in San Francisco.

Sunday - Fly out of SFO.

Some tweaks you could do:
Remove SD and include LA instead.
Add an extra day in San Diego. Skip Santa Barbara go directly from SD to Morro Bay on Monday (or skip Morro Bay and go SD -> SB -> Monterey)

hookemhorns
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by hookemhorns » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:57 pm

As mentioned earlier your schedule is too open ended with many possibilities. You're talking about a huge area (500+ miles) with a tremendous variety of landscapes, activities, and even climate. I think if you try to spend one day at each of the places you mentioned it would be overwhelming and not very fun, you would not get a sense of the area.

Personally I would spend 2-3 days in San Diego, 2-3 in either Santa Barbara or San Luis Obispo, and 2-3 in San Francisco. I would fly into SD and out of SFO. Keep in mind you will spend at least half a day driving between each of these. There is no reason to dedicate a day to visiting Sacramento or the "suburbs of LA", they just aren't that interesting. There have been many previous threads on each of the cities mentioned above so recommend reading those.

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LiveSimple
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by LiveSimple » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:00 pm

decapod10 wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:28 pm

OP, we took a trip up the coast of California for a week and it was amazing. One of my favorite vacations ever. I personally would focus on the coastal cities myself, but it depends on your tastes. LA is not a great tourist city in my opinion. Unfortunately, Highway 1 is closed just south of Big Sur, so it's difficult to drive up the coast. It's such a beautiful drive.

I think I would do something like this:

Saturday - Arrive San Diego. explore San Diego, spend the night in San Diego

Sunday - explore San Diego, leave Sunday evening and arrive at Santa Barbara (4 hour drive).

Monday - explore Santa Barbara, leave Monday evening and arrive at Morro Bay (2 hour drive). You could leave a bit earlier in the day and have time to see Solvang and/or San Luis Obispo if desired. Spend night at Morro Bay

Tuesday - Leave Morro Bay in the late morning. Drive to San Simeon/Hearst Castle (30 minutes) Unfortunately here is where you trip gets sort of screwed up by Highway 1 closure. Normally, you could continue north on Highway 1 and drive along the Big Sur coast, which is the best part of the coast (at least south of SF), but you can't due to the highway closure. So from San Simeon, you have to backtrack slightly, get on the 101N. Drive to Monterey (3 hours). Spend the night in Monterey.

Wednesday - Explore Monterey/Carmel. Spend the night in Monterey

Thursday - Drive south on highway 1 to visit the parks at Big Sur. There are lots of parks there, but Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park is probably the most famous. It has a waterfall that falls onto the beach, you may have seen pictures of it. Go back to Monterey and spend the night there.

Friday - Leave Monterey and drive to San Francisco (2 hours). Stay the night in San Francisco

Saturday - Explore San Francisco. Stay the night in San Francisco.

Sunday - Fly out of SFO.

Some tweaks you could do:
Remove SD and include LA instead.
Add an extra day in San Diego. Skip Santa Barbara go directly from SD to Morro Bay on Monday (or skip Morro Bay and go SD -> SB -> Monterey)
Very practical suggestions, thanks.

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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by raisinsaregrapes » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:08 pm

Jermbo wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:41 pm
I highly recommend stopping in towns near San Luis Obispo. Just south of San Luis Obispo is Pismo Beach and Avila Beach. Great beach towns to either shop, eat, or walk the beach. As you drive north up 101, you will hit San Luis Obispo. A small college town with some fun hiking around outskirts of town, cool spots in downtown area which is small but nice. In addition there are some wineries outside of town as well.

At the north side of San Luis Obispo, you can continue on either up highway 101 to Paso Robles and check out more awesome wine country. The other direction is take a scenic route up highway 1 toward morro bay, a quant little beach town.

Continuing up highway 1 will take you near Hearst castle, some other small beach towns like cayucos. Highway 1 also winds around on a cliff so driving is a bit slower than highway 101. One side is mountains and rock, other is the Pacific ocean. It's amazing! Lastly, if you continue up this direction you will run into Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey, and Santa Cruz. Also very awesome places to check out. Lots to see, but hopefully some ideas to help.
THIS! San Luis Obispo is a hidden gem in California. Be careful though, you just might fall in love.

Point
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by Point » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:11 pm

What do you like to do for leisure? Do you want a city experience (events, opera, food, etc.) or more suburban? Do you want easy access to the ocean or do you want a more inland life? Are you planning on moving to the area and working or retiring? Would your work be local to where you live or would you be commuting? There are huge issues with traffic in CA. And, interestingly, traffic can be considerably different depending on which way you travel in the AM and PM - i.e., commuting. I've lived and worked here for decades, and have had a territory covering most of So Cal. There are ways to beat the traffic if you a) start out in the right location and b) travel at times when others don't.

BBQ Nut
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by BBQ Nut » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:18 pm

Point wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:11 pm
What do you like to do for leisure? Do you want a city experience (events, opera, food, etc.) or more suburban? Do you want easy access to the ocean or do you want a more inland life? Are you planning on moving to the area and working or retiring? Would your work be local to where you live or would you be commuting? There are huge issues with traffic in CA. And, interestingly, traffic can be considerably different depending on which way you travel in the AM and PM - i.e., commuting. I've lived and worked here for decades, and have had a territory covering most of So Cal. There are ways to beat the traffic if you a) start out in the right location and b) travel at times when others don't.
Kinda what I was wondering, too.

"Explore San Diego" is kinda vague as a plan for only 1 day. As a semi-resident of SD since the 70's - there's quite a variety to do/see.

If you like museums and animals, then Balboa Park and the zoo would be an efficient use of time as the Wild Animal Park is a good drive from the downtown area with not much else to see in the area, unless you'd like to visit some wineries in that locale.

I think the OP needs to help specify what the family likes to do and what they don't, imho.

sbaywriter
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by sbaywriter » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:21 pm

Visiting as a tourist on vacation requires planning a different trip than visiting to find out nice suburbs you might want to live. I think I remember from earlier you were interested in exploring places to live.

If you need to live close to a major airport or place with jobs, places like Ventura, Ojai, Santa Barbara, Morro Bay etc - all gorgeous vacation spots - are too far away from jobs/airports. I love all those places and lived in Oxnard just south of Ventura for 3 years, and in Thousand Oaks area - but it was a major expedition to drive down to LA - and that was 30 years ago.

So if focusing on places to live and work, you may possibly want to fly into LAX and explore San Diego and a few places around LA - along coast if you prefer temperate climate, then fly up to SF and explore around there for a few days?

Ok, yeah, I think this is impossible in 7 days - it would be different if you just wanted to have some nice vacation sightseeing. Think of California as at least 2 separate states. I suggest 2 separate trips, one for N Calif one for southern.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:25 pm

I would skip Thousand Oaks and Sacramento. They are very hot areas in the summer. You might not want to live there. Maybe add in some beach places in Orange County, it is known for beaches.

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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by LadyGeek » Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:29 pm

This thread is now in the Personal Consumer Issues forum (travel).
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by Raybo » Fri Feb 23, 2018 8:18 pm

Should you want to go to Alcatraz when you are in SF, you need to get your tickets well in advance. The website is Alcatraz cruises.com.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

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LiveSimple
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by LiveSimple » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:45 pm

DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:25 pm
I would skip Thousand Oaks and Sacramento. They are very hot areas in the summer. You might not want to live there. Maybe add in some beach places in Orange County, it is known for beaches.
Doing the research, please can you help list a few cities.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:51 pm

LiveSimple wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:45 pm
DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:25 pm
I would skip Thousand Oaks and Sacramento. They are very hot areas in the summer. You might not want to live there. Maybe add in some beach places in Orange County, it is known for beaches.
Doing the research, please can you help list a few cities.
Beach cities: Dana point, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Huntington Beach.
Nearby cities that you may be able to find affordable condo or town home: Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Aliso Viejo, Fountain Valley, Costa Mesa, etc..
Last edited by DrGoogle2017 on Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:27 am, edited 3 times in total.

RetiredCSProf
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by RetiredCSProf » Fri Feb 23, 2018 10:40 pm

denovo wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 3:26 pm

Way too many cities for 7 days, you'll spend most your time driving. Delete Sacramento and San Diego. Split your days between LA and SF. Then check the threads on LA and SF. Really nothing interesting to see in Sac. Most Californians just drive past Sac on the way to Tahoe.
Totally agree with this. I live in the LA area. I would spend first day or two near LAX, in Manhattan Beach or Marina del Rey. Then drive north toward Santa Barbara (if the roads are open). Spend a day or two in that area and then continue along the coast (Route 101, if open) to San Luis Obispo. Route 5 (inland) is a faster route than the 101 to San Francisco, but sometimes requires putting chains on tires.

Or ... choose two cities that you really want to see and fly between them, such as San Diego and SF or LA and Sacramento.

decapod10
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by decapod10 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:12 pm

LiveSimple wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 9:45 pm
DrGoogle2017 wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:25 pm
I would skip Thousand Oaks and Sacramento. They are very hot areas in the summer. You might not want to live there. Maybe add in some beach places in Orange County, it is known for beaches.
Doing the research, please can you help list a few cities.
California is such a diverse state. It has pretty much every climate and type of city/town you can think of. It may help if you can let us know what you are looking for, such as:

1. Weather?

Cities along the coast have less variation in temperature between summer and winter. In Southern California coastal cities, summer is usually 70's-80's, winter is 60's-70's. The best weather anywhere IMO. The farther inland you go, the bigger the difference is between summer and winter. The Inland Empire (San Bernadino County), highs will get in the 90's in the summers and winters will be colder in the 50's maybe high 40's. In the Bay Area, coastal cities (SF, Monterey, Santa Cruz, etc) also have less variation between summer and winter, but overall colder. It can be in the 60's much of the year. Central California (Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto) will have highs in the upper 90's to low 100's in the summer and 40's-50's in the winter.

The Foothills and Sierras get snow in the winter. Truckee, Tahoe, etc.

2. Urban/Suburban/rural?

3. Beach / desert / mountains?

4. Upscale vs. down to earth? Hip or boring?

5. Budget? Unfortunately it's pretty expensive to live here. Buying a 1 bedroom condo in much of SF will cost close to $1M.

6. Are schools at all important?


Based on my personal tastes, some places I would like to live are (in no particular order):

1. Long Beach - lived there for 4 years or so. Love the weather in Long Beach, it's ideal in my opinion. 70's much of the year. It's got some stuff going on. Not like LA or SF, but enough for me. Pretty laid back and down to earth there. Just make sure you stick to the nicer parts of the city. Despite the name, the beaches here are not very nice, but easy to get to Huntington Beach or some other nearby beach city.

2. Laguna Beach/Newport Beach - Also nice weather, more upscale than Long Beach. Beaches are beautiful here. Also quite pricey here.

3. Costa Mesa - Sort of like Newport Beach, but maybe a notch down in terms of price and uppity-ness.

4. Irvine - Super safe, nice, not quite as expensive as Laguna and Newport. Also pretty boring, but not a bad place to live overall.

5. Anaheim Hills - A little bit more removed compared to the others mentioned. Also not super exciting, but I liked the area.

6. Santa Cruz - I've been there several times but never lived there. Was actually ranked #2 happiest city in the country by National Geographic https://www.nationalgeographic.com/trav ... ates-2017/ Pretty laid back. The area near the boardwalk is not as nice, if I remember correctly it's a bit nicer in Capitola.

7. San Francisco - If I was a multi-millionaire and didn't have to commute, SF would be at the top of my list. Alas, I don't have $2M to spend on a 2 bedroom condo.

8. Walnut Creek/Danville/Alamo - About 45 minutes east of San Francisco. Popular area for raising families due to the excellent school districts. Safe, not super exciting but close enough to get to SF if needed, also a 45 minute drive to the Napa Valley. Walnut Creek has a decent shopping areas and restaurants, but nothing super noteworthy.

9. The SF Peninsula - Millbrae, San Mateo, Palo Alto - It's a nice area. I tend to like the food around the peninsula. I'm not sure if it's worth the price to live here though.

Places that seem nice but I'm not as familiar with:

Monterey
San Diego
Santa Barbara
San Luis Obispo

squirm
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by squirm » Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:20 am

N10sive wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 11:47 am
I would also try to plan my driving opposite heavy traffic times. SD to LA could take 1 hr 45 min or 4 hours at the wrong time...
Bingo! Definitely take this advice, unless you enjoy being stuck in traffic, going nowhere.

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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by mrsbetsy » Sat Feb 24, 2018 2:51 pm

+1 for the Danville/Alamo/Walnut Creek suburb area. Danville has a cute downtown and some delicious restaurants, which are not chains. Walnut Creek has nice outside downtown shopping and dining. If you choose to live in this area, you are about 3 hours to the Yosemite gate. We go there for the day sometimes because...well #beautiful. Leave at 7am, at the gate before 11, 6 - 7 hrs hiking, and back home around 10pm. It's good for the soul.

You will be about 90 minutes away from the beaches of Santa Cruz and Capitola -- a nice way to spend the weekend day. But our beaches are often foggy and cold in the summer but pleasant in the spring and fall.

You are about 3 hours from Monterey/Carmel -- a lovely beach town with shopping.

Mt Diablo will practically be in your backyard and it offers many hiking trails and conservation opportunities.

San Francisco is about 45 minutes away and an easy trip for a date night, theater, and sports.

Berkley is fun. Oakland has good eats and is going through some gentrification and is not all bad. Easy to BART to the A's games! All about 30 minutes away.

San Jose has theater and hockey and Santana Row, which is fun. Not a bad 45 minute drive.

Less than 4 hours from Tahoe, which offers great skiing (when we have snow!!), but it's also beautiful in the summer. Or you can catch Amtrak up to Reno for some gambling.

If you like the outdoors, it's great here because there are relatively few bugs - at least much less than the humid south.

The weather in March is iffy. We've had almost no rain this year and it's been sunny but chilly. But the hills are still green.

If you like to hike, I'd recommend doing Lands End. You can go as far as you'd like and turn around. You'll have wonderful views of the Golden Gate almost the entire time. We usually park, hike Lands End to Bakers Beach, cross the Golden Gate Bridge and then Uber back to our car. Have some appetizers and cocktails at the Cliff House and you've had a wonderful day.

If you enjoy history, plan to go to Alcatraz and Angel Island. Hike to the top of Mt. Livermore on Angel Island and take a tram around to hear it's history. (Hint: It was not the Ellis Island of the west.)

I echo skipping Sacramento - really nothing there unless you want to tour the capitol building or you like trains.

It's expensive as I'm sure you already know. Taxes are high in every category. It's still very much a sellers market with houses getting multiple offers and bidding higher than the asking price.

Enjoy!!

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LiveSimple
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by LiveSimple » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:02 pm

mrsbetsy wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 2:51 pm
+1 for the Danville/Alamo/Walnut Creek suburb area. Danville has a cute downtown and some delicious restaurants, which are not chains. Walnut Creek has nice outside downtown shopping and dining. If you choose to live in this area, you are about 3 hours to the Yosemite gate. We go there for the day sometimes because...well #beautiful. Leave at 7am, at the gate before 11, 6 - 7 hrs hiking, and back home around 10pm. It's good for the soul.

You will be about 90 minutes away from the beaches of Santa Cruz and Capitola -- a nice way to spend the weekend day. But our beaches are often foggy and cold in the summer but pleasant in the spring and fall.

You are about 3 hours from Monterey/Carmel -- a lovely beach town with shopping.

Mt Diablo will practically be in your backyard and it offers many hiking trails and conservation opportunities.

San Francisco is about 45 minutes away and an easy trip for a date night, theater, and sports.

Berkley is fun. Oakland has good eats and is going through some gentrification and is not all bad. Easy to BART to the A's games! All about 30 minutes away.

San Jose has theater and hockey and Santana Row, which is fun. Not a bad 45 minute drive.

Less than 4 hours from Tahoe, which offers great skiing (when we have snow!!), but it's also beautiful in the summer. Or you can catch Amtrak up to Reno for some gambling.

If you like the outdoors, it's great here because there are relatively few bugs - at least much less than the humid south.

The weather in March is iffy. We've had almost no rain this year and it's been sunny but chilly. But the hills are still green.

If you like to hike, I'd recommend doing Lands End. You can go as far as you'd like and turn around. You'll have wonderful views of the Golden Gate almost the entire time. We usually park, hike Lands End to Bakers Beach, cross the Golden Gate Bridge and then Uber back to our car. Have some appetizers and cocktails at the Cliff House and you've had a wonderful day.

If you enjoy history, plan to go to Alcatraz and Angel Island. Hike to the top of Mt. Livermore on Angel Island and take a tram around to hear it's history. (Hint: It was not the Ellis Island of the west.)

I echo skipping Sacramento - really nothing there unless you want to tour the capitol building or you like trains.

It's expensive as I'm sure you already know. Taxes are high in every category. It's still very much a sellers market with houses getting multiple offers and bidding higher than the asking price.

Enjoy!!
Appreciate your thoughts

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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by Jade A.B. » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:09 pm

Jermbo wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:41 pm
I highly recommend stopping in towns near San Luis Obispo. . .
Continuing up highway 1 will take you near Hearst castle, some other small beach towns like cayucos. Highway 1 also winds around on a cliff so driving is a bit slower than highway 101. One side is mountains and rock, other is the Pacific ocean. It's amazing! Lastly, if you continue up this direction you will run into Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey, and Santa Cruz. Also very awesome places to check out. Lots to see, but hopefully some ideas to help.
Freeway 101, the California freeway that closely follows the coast and goes through Big Sur ( an area of countryside, not really a town, is one of the prettiest places in California, arguably in the U.S. Unfortunately there were fires -- maybe you heard 😀 -- and some damaged its bridge so it doesn't go straight through this year You should definitely still do part of it, from the south from San Luis Obispo or from the north from Monterey and Carmel.

While in San Francisco go to the John Muir Woods nearby for real California redwoods and that amazing giant tree experience, albeit done small (and without the long drive.)

https://www.nps.gov/muwo/index.htm
Last edited by Jade A.B. on Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

decapod10
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by decapod10 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:16 pm

Jade A.B. wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:09 pm
Jermbo wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:41 pm
I highly recommend stopping in towns near San Luis Obispo. . .
Continuing up highway 1 will take you near Hearst castle, some other small beach towns like cayucos. Highway 1 also winds around on a cliff so driving is a bit slower than highway 101. One side is mountains and rock, other is the Pacific ocean. It's amazing! Lastly, if you continue up this direction you will run into Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey, and Santa Cruz. Also very awesome places to check out. Lots to see, but hopefully some ideas to help.
Freeway 101, the California freeway that closely follows the coast, goes through Big Sur, is one of the prettiest places in California, arguably in the U.S. Unfortunately there were fires -- maybe you heard 😀 -- and some damaged its bridge so it doesn't go straight through this year You should definitely still do part of it, from the south from San Luis Obispo or from the north from Monterey and Carmel.

While in San Francisco go to the John Muir Woods nearby for real California redwoods and that amazing giant tree experience, albeit done small (and without the long drive.)

https://www.nps.gov/muwo/index.htm
I think you meant Highway 1 follows the coast, rather than 101. Highway 101 runs inland east of Big Sur. But yes Highway 1 is beautiful, especially along the Big Sur coast.

Jade A.B.
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by Jade A.B. » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:20 pm

decapod10 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:16 pm
Jade A.B. wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:09 pm
Jermbo wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 1:41 pm
I highly recommend stopping in towns near San Luis Obispo. . .
Continuing up highway 1 will take you near Hearst castle, some other small beach towns like cayucos. Highway 1 also winds around on a cliff so driving is a bit slower than highway 101. One side is mountains and rock, other is the Pacific ocean. It's amazing! Lastly, if you continue up this direction you will run into Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey, and Santa Cruz. Also very awesome places to check out. Lots to see, but hopefully some ideas to help.
Freeway 101, the California freeway that closely follows the coast, goes through Big Sur, is one of the prettiest places in California, arguably in the U.S. Unfortunately there were fires -- maybe you heard 😀 -- and some damaged its bridge so it doesn't go straight through this year You should definitely still do part of it, from the south from San Luis Obispo or from the north from Monterey and Carmel.

While in San Francisco go to the John Muir Woods nearby for real California redwoods and that amazing giant tree experience, albeit done small (and without the long drive.)

https://www.nps.gov/muwo/index.htm
I think you meant Highway 1 follows the coast, rather than 101. Highway 101 runs inland east of Big Sur. But yes Highway 1 is beautiful, especially along the Big Sur coast.


Too true :oops: highway 1

NorCalDad
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by NorCalDad » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:31 pm

I knew there would be several people saying to skip Sacramento, so let me chime in as a native - it all depends on what you're looking for. There aren't beaches, but there's plenty to do, and if you're looking for a place to live on a reasonable amount of money, it would be well worth your time to spend one day here as research.

There are restaurants, breweries and wineries in the region that would rival many of those elsewhere in California, without the headaches of parking and traffic. You could stay near the Capitol or in midtown and have a lovely day walking between restaurants, breweries and museums. There are hiking trails in the foothills, and I personally would visit the Crocker Art Museum, State Capitol or California Museum ahead of the Railroad Museum since you don't have kids. Can point you to other suggestions if desired. Could be the most relaxing day you have on your trip, and the weather should be perfect in March.

123
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by 123 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:33 pm

Some visitors to California go to Disneyland and/or Universal Studios.
The closest helping hand is at the end of your own arm.

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LiveSimple
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by LiveSimple » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:59 pm

NorCalDad wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:31 pm
if you're looking for a place to live on a reasonable amount of money, it would be well worth your time to spend one day here as research.
Yes, that is the reason.

reisner
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by reisner » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:05 pm

Jermbo wrote:

Continuing up highway 1 will take you near Hearst castle, some other small beach towns like cayucos. Highway 1 also winds around on a cliff so driving is a bit slower than highway 101. One side is mountains and rock, other is the Pacific ocean. It's amazing! Lastly, if you continue up this direction you will run into Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey, and Santa Cruz.

In fact you cannot continue this way; a mudlside has blocked the Big Sur through-route for over a year. Near the town of Gorda you can take the Nacimiento-Ferguson road through Fort Hunter Liggett to the 101 and continue on to Monterey (not Monterrey, which is in Mexico). South of Carmel Point Lobos State Reserve has the most beautiful coastline in the whole state.

decapod10
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by decapod10 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:02 pm

NorCalDad wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:31 pm
I knew there would be several people saying to skip Sacramento, so let me chime in as a native - it all depends on what you're looking for. There aren't beaches, but there's plenty to do, and if you're looking for a place to live on a reasonable amount of money, it would be well worth your time to spend one day here as research.

There are restaurants, breweries and wineries in the region that would rival many of those elsewhere in California, without the headaches of parking and traffic. You could stay near the Capitol or in midtown and have a lovely day walking between restaurants, breweries and museums. There are hiking trails in the foothills, and I personally would visit the Crocker Art Museum, State Capitol or California Museum ahead of the Railroad Museum since you don't have kids. Can point you to other suggestions if desired. Could be the most relaxing day you have on your trip, and the weather should be perfect in March.
Well, I think the main reason why I skipped Sacramento the first time around was viewing the question from a lens of a tourist. But if the main focus is finding someplace to live that is "inexpensive" (being a relative term here in California, lol), then you basically have to stay away from the coast and look more inland. Sacramento is a perfectly fine place to live. I grew up in the Central Valley, so to me Sacramento is the "big city", haha. Anyway, we considered a job in Roseville at one point so spend a good amount of time around there, and it seems like a nice area to live.

Budget is a huge consideration when looking for places to live around here. Sacramento is great, and I suppose that's why Ventura County was on the initial list, though I'm not as familiar with Ventura County other than they have pretty good golf courses for the price. But if OP has a healthy housing budget, then I personally would look more towards East Bay in the SF Bay Area, coastal cities in Southern California, or Orange County.

sedna273
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by sedna273 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:28 pm

Hi there,
A +1 on taking Highway 1, absolutely beautiful scenery!

If you stop in Santa Cruz I'd check out Natural Bridges for beaches, and UC Santa Cruz for the forest and funky 60's college vibe. Downtown Santa Cruz has a lot of neat little shops.

If you go to San Jose and want to visit the arena, I'd recommend looking at their minor league team the Barracudas. The Sharks are fantastic, but tickets can be pricey. Minors are just as fun and will run you $10.

Echoing NorCalDad, I would say consider giving Sacramento a shot: I'm a fan for gastronomical and nature reasons. Sacramento has re-branded itself as the Farm-to-Fork City, and the food here is pretty good - we have a number of chefs from the SF Bay Area who came here to start up restaurants, so you get SF quality without the price. The farmer's markets are great for getting fresh produce, and we have a number of wineries nearby (Amador County) and farm-fresh products (Apple Hill). Nature wise as well we're really close to a number of great hiking spots, and while the river will be too cold in March to go into, it can be nice to hike next to it in places such as Auburn.

hale2
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by hale2 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:28 am

I think you mentioned in your earlier post that you don't like temps higher than 80 degrees. If you are still holding to that then Sacramento is not for you. I lived there for several years and there was a lot I liked about it. But the summer heat was not one of those things.

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digarei
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by digarei » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:39 am

Delete dup
Last edited by digarei on Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:42 am, edited 1 time in total.
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digarei
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by digarei » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:42 am

.
Pay no attention to the posters above who are promoting Sacramento. It’s a dismal place with nothing to see. Rats everywhere. Venomous snakes. High crime. Chicken pox, scurvy, malaria.

Plus, you’ll be bored. And cold... cuz it’s bitter cold in the winter, which lasts all year. And then it’s miserably hot. The worst month by far is March, followed by January, June and July, September, February, April...

Listen to hale2... frostbite or heat stroke! Who needs it?

Drive around the perimeter if you absolutely must.

Thanks for understanding.
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decapod10
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by decapod10 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:50 am

digarei wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:42 am
.
Pay no attention to the posters above who are promoting Sacramento. It’s a dismal place with nothing to see. Rats everywhere. Venomous snakes. High crime. Chicken pox, scurvy, malaria.

Plus, you’ll be bored. And cold... cuz it’s bitter cold in the winter, which lasts all year. And then it’s miserably hot. The worst month by far is March, followed by January, June and July, September, February, April...

Listen to hale2... frostbite or heat stroke! Who needs it?

Drive around the perimeter if you absolutely must.

Thanks for understanding.
What areas of California would you recommend in the same price range as Sacramento? Just curious, it wasn’t an easy exercise for me honestly.

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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by digarei » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:48 pm

decapod10 wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:50 am
digarei wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:42 am
.
Pay no attention to the posters above who are promoting Sacramento. It’s a dismal place with nothing to see. Rats everywhere. Venomous snakes. High crime. Chicken pox, scurvy, malaria.

Plus, you’ll be bored. And cold... cuz it’s bitter cold in the winter, which lasts all year. And then it’s miserably hot. The worst month by far is March, followed by January, June and July, September, February, April...

Listen to hale2... frostbite or heat stroke! Who needs it?

Drive around the perimeter if you absolutely must.

Thanks for understanding.
What areas of California would you recommend in the same price range as Sacramento? Just curious, it wasn’t an easy exercise for me honestly.
I’d recommend anywhere outside of and far from Sacramento! :twisted:

My post was meant to be fatuous and satirical—the area and its traffic are growing too quickly for me.

There are a number areas to live in California that are either less expensive or comparable. Start here:

The 5 Most Affordable Cities in California

7 Affordable Cities in California (Where You’d Actually Want to Live)

8 Surprisingly Affordable Places to Live in California
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Re: I week in California, Road Trip Planning

Post by NorCalDad » Sun Feb 25, 2018 6:18 pm

I saw where you were going, digarei. :D

Sacramento isn't as exciting as San Francisco, sure. But it is immensely livable. It's probably one of the few places left in California where someone with our income can plan on retiring in our 50s and raise our kids in a family-friendly neighborhood with commutes of 12 minutes or less. And have enough money left over to hit the coast several times a year and rent a house with a view of the ocean.

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