View Full Version : California coast travel
Greetings to all. I am flying to Oakland Ca. in late october and then taking a couple of days driving down to Pasadena. I will be in Pasadena a few days. I was interested in photo suggestions. I am not familiar with this area, I will be coming from N.C. Any help will be glady appreciated. Regards........Emerald
Coming out of the airport, take a look at Alameda - Victorian houses, boats, etc. Take the Coast Route, AKA Hwy. 101, alias El Camino Real. When Hwy. 1, which hugs the coast, appears, take it. (Look for signs to the Monterey Peninsula.) Great scenics. Near 101 you'll find several of the California missions. One is at San Luis Obispo which is a logical halfway stop. Two other missions are near Buellton and Solvang. Solvang is super-touristy, but the food is great. Santa Barbara is worth taking a look at and has the best mission of all. At Oxnard, head back to Hwy 1 again - Malibu, beaches, surfers. You'll end up in Santa Monica and from there through L.A. to Pasadena. Pasadena has an interesting City Hall, and lots of old mansions south of Colorado Street and on and East of Orange Grove. There are several mountain drives close to Pasadena.
Try to hit HWY 1 at Half Moon Bay. The necropolis at Colma is interesting in a morbid way. At the very least, explore Elk Slough, Moss Landing, Point Lobos(as homage to E.W.,) Pfeiffer Beach, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Lime Kiln State Park, Ragged Point Trail and Overlook, the tide pools at Moonstone Beach, the second street pier in Baywood Park, The sand dunes at Los Osos and Oceano, and possibly the Pecho Coast Trail at the Port of San Luis.
Inland, theres the Redwoods in Felton, the Missions in Carmel and Santa Ynez.
The Prawn Burrito at El Palomar and the caramel apple dipped in nuts at Marini's in Santa Cruz. Cole's BBQ in Soquel. Anything from the Smokehouse or Schooner's Cove in Cayucos. The Onion Rings at the Custom's House in Avila Beach. The split pea soup at Anderson's in Solvang. The baked potato at Clearman's Northwoods Inn(the only building in Long Beach with fake snow on the roof!) All great places to chow down.
Places to spend the night if you're not into camping: The Holiday Inn Express in Half Moon Bay, The Seaway in Santa Cruz, and The Shoreline in Cayucos.
Theres lots more---too much to mention.
Come back when the Monarch Butterflies, California Grey Whales, and Elephant Seals are in town.
I've driven this many times and there are countless places to go along the way. Since this is your first time, the two classic EW haunts would certainly be ideal: Point Lobos and the Oceano Dunes. You will literally drive right by both of them on the way south. Point Lobos is just south of Carmel on 101. Although I've never managed to be there during low tide, this is clearly the best time to visit (you can find the tables online). Oceano Dunes are also on the way. I've been to most of the large dune fields in the US (Great Sand Dunes, Mesquite, Eureka, etc..) and this is by far my favorite. Have a good time - this is an amazing stretch of road!
A small beach just north of Pescadero called Bean Hollow State Beach is worth exploring.
One shot from there. (http://www.painted-with-light.com/html/bean_hollow.html)
Nacio Jan Brown
The replies above are right on the money for nature stuff. If you have an interest in architecture, do a bit of online research about the architects Greene & Greene. I think that there is one of their houses in the Carmel area. There is at least one in Santa Barbara (or in nearby Montecito). In Pasadena there is the Gamble (of Proctor &...) House which is open to the public: an amazing place. At the other architectural extremes, there is the Madonna Inn near San Luis Obispo, and Hearst Castle near Morro Bay. You would have to check out the various locations' policy regarding making photographs. njb
Emerald - adjust your travel plans. It takes at least two months for a large-format photographer to drive from Oakland to Pasadena. ;-)
In addition to the suggestions made by others, consider the California Missions, mostly along Hwy 101 (this might conflict to a degree with the Hwy 1 suggestion). If you do a Google on "California Missions", you get several sites that will help you to assess whether you are interested. Or, poke around in the Missions directory (http://www.rbarkerphoto.com/missions/) on my site for some that I've photographed. There's a bunch of them along El Camino Real (The King's Highway), typically a day's donkey ride in between. Carmel is among the prettiest, and Santa Barbara the most elegant. If you go to Carmel, go early. The sun is on the face of the chapel for only a short time after sunrise, but the rest of the grounds are fantastic.
I'd suggest taking Hwy 880 South from Oakland, then take the Hwy 101 South in San Jose. If you stop in San Jose, I'll buy you a coffee (see www.rbarkerphoto.com for a phone number).
Then, take the side trip to Monterey and Carmel. Both are lovely and picturesque little towns, and well worth the effort to see them. Then, do Point Lobos if you are into seaside landscapes, and get back on Hwy 101, and continue south, stopping at whichever Missions strike your fancy. San Miguel is a good one to stop at, just north of Paso Robles. You might also find Solvang, a Scandanavian town south of Paso Robles, an interesting side trip. There's also a Mission (Santa Ines) just outside of town on the right (watch for the sign, or you'll miss it). Santa Barabara is, of course, the quintessential Spanish/Mexican-American town. Lots to see within a fairly small area. Beautiful Mission, and a nice horticultural garden close to the Mission if you are into plants. Make your decision for heading straight to Pasadena at Ventura, south of Santa Barbara.
Thanks everyone. It seems Ralph is right, it would take at least 2 months to do it right. Oh well I will give it a quick go and plan on coming back :)
FWIW, I'd travel South on HWY 1(you'll be driving on the ocean side of the road) and make the return trip North on 101 to catch the missions and wineries. Just a thought. Did I mention the Onion Rings at the Customs House in Avila Beach?
Great advice so far...if you want some more specific info on the Oceano Dunes feel free to email me(I can see them from my house), the way in can be confusing due to closings because of the snowy plover vs. ATV war...once you're there it is a wonderful place, though.
And John K., are these pre- or post-Unocal cleanup Custom House onion rings you're talking about?
Jim, I've never had the pre-cleanup onion rings---were they more oily?
Yeah, they had 63% improved viscosity over the new ones...
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