Page 1 of 11 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 103

Thread: San Francisco - Monterey 10 Days

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    1,238

    San Francisco - Monterey 10 Days

    I'll post a question which will make most of you Californians laugh hysterically because any answer involves writing a book! My wife and I (in NJ) are planning a 10-day California trip from the Wednesday after Labor Day to the Saturday a week later. While we have spent lots of time visiting, hiking, and camping in Washington State and Oregon, we've never been to California (!). Given the size of the state, we have narrowed our interest to San Francisco (direct flights from NJ) and south to Monterey and maybe as far south as San Luis Obispo. (Given a love of otters, both sea and river, the Monterey Aquarium is a must-visit.) Other points of interest which jump out are Point Lobos to pay homage to the Westons, some of the Spanish Missions simply because I like missions and hopefully they will allow tripods and view cameras, a visit to a Redwood Forest. I have a pile of travel books on the table, they get overwhelming really quickly.

    We are fit a 67 and 72, love to walk and hike, but also love art, museums, historic sites, food, etc. I plan on bringing my stripped-down travel kit of Canham DLC^2 (4x5), one lens (150mm), travel tripod and essentials. The biggest question is how to allot time (since we fly to SF, have to spend some time there but I get mixed signals from my books on how much), plan to rent a car when we leave SF (I gather a car in SF proper is something to avoid) and travel south as mentioned. So here's the hysterical part (in the sense that I would have trouble telling a first-timer what to see/do in NY/NJ, there is simply too much): what suggestions do you have for our vacation?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    12,380

    Re: San Francisco - Monterey 10 Days

    An interesting, and enjoyable, as well as educational way to see the bay is to book a day cruise on the SS Potomac out of Oakland. It was a Presidential yacht of FDR which has been fully restored. Lot of fun!

  3. #3
    Drew Wiley
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    SF Bay area, CA
    Posts
    13,280

    Re: San Francisco - Monterey 10 Days

    The fog often clears out in Sept, but the temps tend to mild along the coast. Traffic in downtown SF and any of the local freeways can be utter hell not only during rush hour, but much of the day. If you stay on the ocean side of SF it is less hectic. You can take a leisurely drive on Hwy 1 all the way down the coast to San Luis Obispo, where it merges with Fwy 101. Don't be in a hurry. Lots to see. Big Basin redwoods is along the San Mateo coast prior to Santa Cruz, hiking required. Monterey is about half way. Great aquarium if you want to see otters close up. Avoid Pt Lobos on weekend - really crowded in summer. Plan for weekday mornings. Further south you have the famous Big Sur coast, then Hearst Castle prior to Moro Bay. SF is a foodie paradise if you can afford it. You can get better Chinese food either north of Golden Gate Park in the Noriega St area, or southeast of it along Geary than in Chinatown. But nearly every other kind of cuisine you can think of too. Avoid Fisherman's Wharf - usual overpriced tourist fare and kitchy galleries. Carmel has long been known for excellent photo galleries and abominable painting galleries. But it's a fun little town to walk around. Pacific Grove is less tourist-trampled. Seaside is conspicuously the "economy" less scenic side of Monterey. The only Mission directly on that route is Mission Carmel, that is, in a semi-original form. Some have been rebuilt. The San Antonio de Padua mission is a lot more interesting, on a military reservation inland from Big Sur. But if you return to SF via Fwy 101, Mission San Juan Bautista is just off the Fwy roughly opposite Monterey. It's where a famous Hitchcock movie was made, and my sister had the landscaping contract there for many years. Like Carmel, it's an operating church, so you need to ask permission to photograph anything indoors. The famous arches are outdoors. The surrounding town is a fun place popular with wedding parties. Avoid everything north of there on 101 like the plague during rush hour - or should I say hour after hour after hour. Miserable through San Jose and well beyond.

  4. #4
    jp's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Maine
    Posts
    5,117

    Re: San Francisco - Monterey 10 Days

    I only got to visit Point Lobos for about half a day. I'd recommend two days if you are serious about photography there. I really enjoyed the farmland between Point Lobos and San Jose as well around Route 101; I must have found a day when there was not much traffic. If you are a big Weston fan, you can potentially stay at the Bodie House. I visited Carmel by the Sea and the gallery areas about five years ago and was not excited about the painting and the amount of photography was small. But it's a checklist item.. I am accustomed to the many galleries in my area which I think are better. If I had more time, I'd visit when there are good races happening at Laguna Seca race track.

    I did drive in SF briefly and it was not bad. I visited the Internet Archive as I was offered a complete tour there. If you like tech stuff, there are probably overwhelming opportunities in the silicon valley. Hotel was affordable in San Jose even if housing is not.

  5. #5
    Les
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    1,026

    Re: San Francisco - Monterey 10 Days

    Indeed, the Route 1 is a gem and it could easily take 2 days or longer to meander down to SLO. Besides Pfeiffer, I'd add S. Simeon beach + pier, particularly around the sunset. Hearst Castle is good to visit once in the lifetime, tho touristy (he he)....it's a mish mash of expensive art from all over the place....and some things are visually stunning.

    Nearby Cambria has some good places to munch (Lynn's and Robin's)....the latter is better and I can recommend them if they are as they used to be (?). If you are into interesting and unusual glass, Seekers Gallery is really good. If you don't mind taking slow, you can check out tide pools nearby or drive little down the road @Montana de Oro St PK. Further down is Morro Bay where you can
    eat or hike the beach or bump around the port...or the dunes. If you spot a fisherman cleaning fish, most likely pelicans will be there within 3-5 feet away. Oh, there is a shell shop in Morro Bay....they have many unusual shells from around the world. If you do go to San Luis Obispo (SLO)....there is a mission in the middle of town....the whole downtown is set in cosmopolitan fashion....one of the best known farmers markets is on Thursday, where several thousand folk come for....from all around Calif.

    I'm just scratching the surface. Point Reyes might be worth your visit and perhaps the 3 biggie natl parks Yos, Sequoia and Kings....it will be too hot to venture into Joshua or D. Valley. If you prefer lesser known park, Lassen is superb (6500ft +elev)....and you might want to check out Vaughn's neighborhood: Redwoods + several state parks.

    It's hard to determine your motivation, but you just might return up the road via Route 1 (it's visually packed). Alrightie, take some wonderful images and stay safe.

    Les

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Posts
    8,844

    Re: San Francisco - Monterey 10 Days

    You'll have fun!
    Some suggestions:
    John's Grill in SF, where Dash Hammett wrote The Maltese Falcon
    Do a street hike and get most of touristy SF done in one fell swoop.
    From Union Square walk up Grant St through China Town and up to Coit Tower. Take the elevator to the top for the view and then descend the municipal stair case through people's back yards all the way down to the Embarcadero and follow the waterfront through Fisherman's Wharf and take the obligatory Cable Car back to Union Square. If it's a week end and the wait for Cable Cars are hours long there are historic trollies that will get you to Market Street.
    The Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park has interesting exhibits if you dig Art and if you didn't get enough exercise on the Municipal staircase then give a walk across Golden Gate Bridge a try.
    The Popovers at the Cliff House are worth a stop. The Rangers at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area ranger station up the street can tell you how to find Ansel Adam's old house.
    Heading South and speaking of Ansel Adams, check out the little town of Pescadero. There is ollalieberry picking at Coastways farms----a beautiful hillside overlooking the pacific ocean.
    If you can find a parking spot, Santa Cruz has a genuine old timey beach board walk and pier.
    Steamer's Cove has good food truck-oid fare the last time I was there.
    The prawn burritos at El Palomare are the stuff of legends.
    Salt water taffy and carmel coated apples rolled in nuts at Marini's are tempting,
    If you want to $plurge, $tay at the Dream Inn. If not more reasonable accomodations can be found in Monterey.
    On the way to Monterey there is the 10' tall cement Artichoke in Castroville, where an undiscovered Marilyn Monroe was elected Artrichoke Queen, and Phil's Fish Shack in Moss Landing with truly great seafood plus a beach out back where we've spotted whales close to shore.
    Monterey has the whole Steinbeck Cannery Row thing going on while neighboring Pacific Grove is quieter. The Centrailia is a romantic B&B and the Fishwife is a very good restaurant in Pacific Grove.
    Carmel has the 49 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach and the Mission, but I've heard that the Mission charges admission to tourists! South on 1 is Big Sur and should be a visual treat as the fog will be gone that time of year. A stop at Napenthe should be on your itinerary----get a seat on the outdoor deck.
    Ragged Point, San Simeon (and Hearst Castle) Cambria, Moonstone Beach, Cayucos, Morro Bay and Pismo Beach are all waiting to be explored. Giuseppe's in Pismo Beach just reopend after a devastating fire (if you like Italian food it's worth checking out) 101 will take you back up to SF by way of several welcoming Missions and Wineries.

    Any more details would indeed require a book!
    There are forum members who live in the area who can give you more up to date info.

    Did I mention the Light Houses? There are Light Houses and some are Hostels if you want unique overnight accommodations,
    Jardine's in San Juan Bautista has epic Mexican food, btw.
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  7. #7
    Louie Powell's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    Saratoga Springs, NY
    Posts
    826

    Re: San Francisco - Monterey 10 Days

    Our son lived in the area for many years, so we had lots of opportunity to explore.

    Don't forget to wander north into Wine Country. We prefer Sonoma rather than Napa - far less crowded.

    If you are interested in sea mammals, I suggest going to the Marine Wildlife Center in Marin Headlands. This is a facility that provides medical care for seals, sea lions, otters and other large marine mammals. It's not normally listed on tourist itineraries, but they do offer tours (there is a small charge) and it's well worth a visit. An advantage over the Monterrey Aquarium is that the crowds are far smaller, so you can take more time and actually interact with the people who care for those majestic animals.

    Of course, Marin Highlands is also a great place to be a photographer. The classic view of the Golden Gate Bridge is at Battery Spencer.

    As to Point Lobos, in addition to what others have said, be aware that entrance is metered, and when a maximum number of cars has entered, no one else is allowed in. So be there when the gates open to assure access. Weekdays in September should not be a problem, but you still want to be there early.

    One other thing to be aware of - there is a toll on the Golden Gate Bridge southbound, but there are no toll collectors. Instead, there is an automatic toll collection scheme that either reads a transponder (EZPass, etc), or reads the license plate and issues an invoice. In the case of rental cars, the invoice goes to a collection company. Unless you intervene to pay the toll manually, you will be charge by that collection company for the toll, plus a service charge for each day you rent the car - which will add up to far more than the toll. You can go on-line to record you license plate number and enter a credit card to pay that toll directly and avoid the service charge from the collection company.

    Driving in San Francisco is not nearly as scary as driving on the New Jersey Turnpike. Route 101 can be an adventure - rush hour is almost continuous. But the alternate I-280 is fast and has very little traffic.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    12,380

    Re: San Francisco - Monterey 10 Days

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    You'll have fun!
    Some suggestions:
    John's Grill in SF, where Dash Hammett wrote The Maltese Falcon
    Do a street hike and get most of touristy SF done in one fell swoop.
    From Union Square walk up Grant St through China Town and up to Coit Tower. Take the elevator to the top for the view and then descend the municipal stair case through people's back yards all the way down to the Embarcadero and follow the waterfront through Fisherman's Wharf and take the obligatory Cable Car back to Union Square. If it's a week end and the wait for Cable Cars are hours long there are historic trollies that will get you to Market Street.
    The Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park has interesting exhibits if you dig Art and if you didn't get enough exercise on the Municipal staircase then give a walk across Golden Gate Bridge a try.
    The Popovers at the Cliff House are worth a stop. The Rangers at the Golden Gate National Recreation Area ranger station up the street can tell you how to find Ansel Adam's old house.
    Heading South and speaking of Ansel Adams, check out the little town of Pescadero. There is ollalieberry picking at Coastways farms----a beautiful hillside overlooking the pacific ocean.
    If you can find a parking spot, Santa Cruz has a genuine old timey beach board walk and pier.
    Steamer's Cove has good food truck-oid fare the last time I was there.
    The prawn burritos at El Palomare are the stuff of legends.
    Salt water taffy and carmel coated apples rolled in nuts at Marini's are tempting,
    If you want to $plurge, $tay at the Dream Inn. If not more reasonable accomodations can be found in Monterey.
    On the way to Monterey there is the 10' tall cement Artichoke in Castroville, where an undiscovered Marilyn Monroe was elected Artrichoke Queen, and Phil's Fish Shack in Moss Landing with truly great seafood plus a beach out back where we've spotted whales close to shore.
    Monterey has the whole Steinbeck Cannery Row thing going on while neighboring Pacific Grove is quieter. The Centrailia is a romantic B&B and the Fishwife is a very good restaurant in Pacific Grove.
    Carmel has the 49 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach and the Mission, but I've heard that the Mission charges admission to tourists! South on 1 is Big Sur and should be a visual treat as the fog will be gone that time of year. A stop at Napenthe should be on your itinerary----get a seat on the outdoor deck.
    Ragged Point, San Simeon (and Hearst Castle) Cambria, Moonstone Beach, Cayucos, Morro Bay and Pismo Beach are all waiting to be explored. Giuseppe's in Pismo Beach just reopend after a devastating fire (if you like Italian food it's worth checking out) 101 will take you back up to SF by way of several welcoming Missions and Wineries.

    Any more details would indeed require a book!
    There are forum members who live in the area who can give you more up to date info.

    Did I mention the Light Houses? There are Light Houses and some are Hostels if you want unique overnight accommodations,
    Jardine's in San Juan Bautista has epic Mexican food, btw.
    You left out the restaurant in Chinatown where Chaing Kai Shek plotted his return to China.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    San Joaquin Valley, California
    Posts
    8,844

    Re: San Francisco - Monterey 10 Days

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Salomon View Post
    You left out the restaurant in Chinatown where Chaing Kai Shek plotted his return to China.
    I give up----by any chance was it Johnny Kans or Sam Wo?
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
    I'm not OCD. I'm CDO which is alphabetically correct.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    GA
    Posts
    12,380

    Re: San Francisco - Monterey 10 Days

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    I give up----by any chance was it Johnny Kans or Sam Wo?
    Donít know, I was wondering around the back streets there and came upon the plaque on one of the buildings.

    Same thing happened in DC walking to the convention center and passed an old building with a plaque on it that it was Mary Surattís boarding house.

Similar Threads

  1. Monterey Cypress groves
    By John Kasaian in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 22-Dec-2017, 18:18
  2. Edward Weston Exhibition/Monterey, CA
    By Merg Ross in forum Announcements
    Replies: 27
    Last Post: 10-Aug-2011, 06:53
  3. Monterey Photo Locations
    By DanJones in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 8-Mar-2006, 14:25
  4. Monterey area in late Feb
    By Tom Westbrook in forum Location & Travel
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 7-Jan-2004, 09:11

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •