a VirtualTourist member
I need some advice on stopping points and places to see, I have done some research into my trip that I will be doing in June. Currently I plan on the following overnight stops;
Monterey, Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo (2 nights), Solvang, Santa Barbara
I used to live in northern California, and am spending a week in Sonoma prior to the road trip, I will have a car and i am traveling alone so not looking for romantic B&B's but more to be in the center of things. Looking for views, wine, good food and some laughs - fyi i am 34!:) (tips on great wineries and restaurants appreciated - oh and I am in the restaurant business) I planned to use SLO as a base for 2 days as it seem central to a lot, is that good? Solvang seems very touristy, is there anywhere else people would recommend staying? I fly out of LA late on the last day so dont want to have a night there, been there often enough. any recommendations for a place to stay in santa barbara? not looking for super expensive and my backpacking days are behind me:) although also been looking into 'couch surfing' - any one done this? Also not too fussed about the beach - I live in the Cayman Islands:)
Thanks for all advice!!
All of those places are on Hwy 101 and/or Hwy 1. However, they split into different routes around San Francisco and don't join up again until SLO. I would do Hwy 101 to San Jose and take Hwy 17 to Santa Cruz. Then take Hwy 1 to Monterey. After you leave Monterey you want to take Hwy 1 along the coast. I would spend two nigths in Monterey, one night in Cambria, two nights in San Luis Obispo, and one night in Santa Barbara. In Monterey try to stay within a couple blocks of Cannery Row. In Cambria try to stay downtown vs on the beach. After SLO stay on 101 to Oxnard and then cut over to Hwy 1 and take it down through Malibu and along the coast. Hwy 1 will take you all the way to LAX via some surface streets.
If you've never been there you absolutely HAVE to stop in Big Sur on your way south out of Monterey. If not overnight at Deetjen's Big Sur Inn, at least stop for a meal at Nepenthe where you can see an amazing 50 miles of coastline.
Skip Paso Robles,for spending a night, absolutely nothing there of real interest, use Hwy 1 from Monterey to SLO
normally, i like to get up early to head out on road trips so i can relax at my destination at the end of the day. however, on the coast route between san fran and la in may and june, the mornings can be quite foggy so on that stretch, exploring where you are in the morning and doing the very scenic drive in the afternoon, might be a wise plan.
Good point, I forgot to add about the fog. Depending on the time of the year the fog might not lift until 1100 and come back by 3:00. So I always try to drive the route south of Big Sur to Cambria between those times.
What nothing to do in Paso? You do know they have the largest Sizzler in the USA?
Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Skip Solvang unless there are some wineries or restaurants nearby that you want to visit. You're right: touristy kitsch; nothing of interest there.
- On your way from SLO to Paso Robles, visit Ancient Peaks Tasting Room (http://www.ancientpeaks.com/) in the little town of Santa Margarita. They have some great local wines. Also, the restaurant across the street, The Range, is highly recommended: great gourmet food and a long wine list of mostly local stuff.
- Many tasting rooms in and around SLO. Lots of good wines in Paso Robles, even if the town itself isn't that much to see.