San Luis Obispo
My boyfriend and I were going to take a romantic little staycation up to Monterey (we're from San Luis Obispo), but have decided to make a slightly bigger trip out of it by adding Napa. We've been to San Francisco several times before, so we wouldn't be stopping by this time around. We don't want to take too much time off, so this will be a weekend trip from Friday to Monday. Here are our plans at the moment. Would appreciate your critique and suggestions!
I live fairly close to everything that you have listed on Friday. I literally live in the middle of Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz and Monterey and it only takes me about 30-60 minutes to drive to each of them, but I would make entire day trips out of each city. Point being is, I don't think you'll fully get to experience those three places in just one day.
If you were coming from really far away, say, another country or across the country and were pressed for time, I would suggest you try to cram all those in, but since you live in SLO and can just drive a couple hours up, save it for another weekend where you can dedicate all of your time to the area.
If I had to choose for your current itinerary, I would stay the night in Monterey, skip Santa Cruz, and especially skip Half Moon Bay since it's so far off path to Napa.
When it comes to spa, my fiance scheduled us an appointment at Indian Springs and it was great. The massage was awesome and the mineral soak was kind of cool.
Mentioned in this answer:
Your plan actually looks pretty solid! The only thing that I'm questioning are your excursions to Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay because it's pretty out of the way of all of your other plans. It takes you pretty far off 101, which is the quickest way to get to Napa from SLO and Monterey. I would stick to spending your first night in either Monterey or Santa Cruz and skip Half Moon Bay this time around and maybe save that for another trip (it sounds like you come up north a lot anyway!).
I have one dinner suggestion in Monterey. The restaurant is actually in Pacific Grove, but it's really close to Monterey and I highly, highly recommend it. It's
Passionfish, a local and traveler's favorite. It's a local and sustainable seafood restaurant with an amazing wine list and they sell their wines at cost. So you can kick off your wining there!
As for spas, here are the three most popular and highest rated ones in Calistoga, and they all offer mineral soaks, mud baths, plus great massages:
And when it comes to the drive back, you'll be driving close to the Gilroy Premium Outlets, which is a very popular INSANE shopping destination if you're into that. Check out their website for all the outlets there. Another cool activity is horseback riding, but I'm sure you can do that in SLO, too :P
Mentioned in this answer: