If you're in San Fran at the weekend, try and do Alcatraz at night (only runs Fri and Sat I think?). Atmospheric when its dark, and you get a guided tour by previous wardens.
Off to California in Oct - what would you see?
Are there still a couple of ex inmates selling their books next to the ferry to Alcatraz?
We stayed in motels using a voucher scheme, might have been the the AAA if I remember. Meant we weren't tied to an itinerary, we could move on sooner if we didn't like a place, and it was a blessing given the Tahoe snow plan rewrite to not be prebooked anywhere. And of course eating out is a must - tonnes of roadside diners, seek out the independents if you can but the chains are also such great vfm. Big breakfast, snack at lunch, big dinners. Yum!
We ate at the Stinking Rose on our first night. Christ, the smell in our room would strip paint the next morning.
If you go surfing round Santa Cruz you will be in the wet stuff with the sea otters...amazing! There are plenty of hire places and people giving lessons.
Well.... I cant add much more than is already on this thread other than,
You will simply love it in san fran & monterey etc.. The aquarium is simply awesome mate!.. My mum lived in san jose for some years so visited ca a few times!!.. Driving is easy,... I recomend driving down to santa cruz too... Its like baywatch... Have a drink in "zelda's" beach bar too..
Have a fantastic time dude
If it were me? Oakley Headquarters
I went last yr.
SF is cold - take a wooly pulley.
everyone rides bikes in SF - rent a singlespeed fixie & drink coffee
Ride the wiggley road
Hire an MTB & ride in Marin County
Hire MTB in Santa Cruz, ride behind the UCSC = totally awesomes.
Play beach VolleyBall on Santa Cruz Beach
Go to the Mystery Spot @ Santa Cruz - real american kitsch.
Monterey go to the aquarium (we stayed in Pacific Grove, if you are in Monterey, swing by and take a look, it's real perdy.)
Visit Laguna Seca raceway - watch a race or do a trackday. The
Corkscrew is AMAZING! (we saw MotoGP - it was a privilege).
Solvang is nice to visit.
Swim in some of the lakes
Drive highway1 (plan to take your time, yanks drive soooo slow)
Try Taco Bell (it's an experience), you MUST eat at In&Out = best chain restaurant burgers!
Pismo Beach for kite surfing (we surfed while whales swam past - MIIIINDFUUUUUCK!!)
Hollywood tour! Go up Mulholland drive for to see the houses & the view of the valley.
Houns, my last Cali trip took me to Foothills Ranch, as it happens. Was a work trip, sadly, so couldn't go mental with the camera. In fact, no pics at all. Best meeting location ever, though!
Gonna be a little bit controversial but don't bother with Napa, the wine isn't as good as the yanks will make out and its bloody expensive. If you want to drink really great wine, go to France (Beaune)
Great tips, thanks!
We're just looking at accommodation - lots of choice. If you stayed somewhere weird or wonderful I'd love to hear about it, equally if it was somewhere nasty.
We stayed in the Groveland hotel near Yosemite. I didn't mention it in my previous post 'cos we wouldn't recommend it. We thought it would be cool staying in a Wild West setting and the saloon bar next door looked interesting. In actual fact it was like sleeping in your Grandmother's bedroom, there were about 15 teddy bears on the bed and then same number of cushions... The saloon bar was dead too..:-(
Crater Lake is a bit out of the way, but back to san fran via grants pass taking route 199 (check out the giant redwoods) to the coast then the pacific highway (route 101, remember to stop someplace for a quick dip) would be a cool couple of days.
Quickest route form san fran would be I5, dull, allow a day.
look for black bear diners for scoff, there's one just off the interstate in medford.
Stinson beach is beautiful, point Reyes station lovely little village, had a fantastic night in one of the bars there in 2011, very friendly locals
Personally, I'd check out the sky. Lots. Ohhhhh...California sky blue.
Very similar to how the sky is here today right now.
(If located in Aberystwyth )
Just got back home after 3 weeks in California. What a great place, I still feel i've only just scratched the surface. We stuck mainly to towns and cities this time around, already planning our next trip for more of the natural stuff.
I'll throw in a few ideas. But it does rather depend on your version of a good time
In Zion we did the narrows hike which was amazing. But wet and hard work
In October we only saw on other couple
Hike in and out of the grand Canyon
My geography isn't great but how far extra is Moab for Arches National Park and Biking. Biking can be easy and scenic (Hurrah pass). Doesn't have to be technical. Not sure is Misstobeisbiker
Day hikes in Yosemite were great as was the climbing and back packing...
One place to avoid is Eureka in NorCal, it's not called tweakerville for nothing. Arcata is only 10 miles north and is much nicer.
Thanks all, some great stuff in there!
And now for our next dilemma... An SUV or a minivan?
Hello we went to California a few months ago and started in san Francisco and wored our way down the route 1. Enjoyed SF and stayed in union square. Handy for getting about and take a ride on the tram to fishermans wharf. Some nice restaurants there and you can catch your ferry to Alcatraz. Try the clam chowder soup, lots of it about...served Ian bread bowl!
Further down the coast I'd recommend Monterey and Carmel. Santa Barbara was amazing, mellow way of life, nice people, fantastic views and mega food. Imay retire there...(yeah right) I'd recommend a place called Brougheys on the quay. Amazing seafood and inexpensive. Possibly best meal we had in Cali.
Didn't enjoy LA one bit. Full of homeless just loitering and in your face for money. Quite intimidating.
Sorry didn't have more time in San Diego , that was pretty awesome for a big city, nice atmosphere and buzz about it. As someone said above the sunsets on this coast are outstanding. I doubt I'd never see another like it.
We asked for a convertible but they had none left so had a Chevy impala. 3 litre v6, 300bhp. Went well in a straight line...to 60mph. Fuel didn't seem that expensive. We covered 1100 miles , finishing in Vegas and it cost approx £80 for the whole trip for fuel. So I'd say get the most comfortable car you can afford which will no doubt have the biggest engine as fuel isn't so bad.
As depending on when you go I October you might actually meet snow
We did in the Grand Canyon. We got back to the Cherokee and it was in 6 inches of snow...
+1 for avoiding LA. Absolutely the worst place in California IMO. I couldn't wait to get out of there, but I guess it is one of those places you've got to tick off the list.
If you're going to Zion, try the walk up Walters Wiggles. Bryce Canyon isn't too far from there so you could do both in a day if you wanted.
Highly recommend camping when you're out the cities. So many great places to stay just off the coastal roads & absolutely incredible when you're in the national parks like Redwood, Zion, Joshua tree & near the Grand Canyon.
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