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San Luis Obispo

Beverly from San Luis Obispo asked

Road trip from Monterey to Napa

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!


  • Drive from SLO to Monterey in the morning
  • Visit Monterey Bay Aquarium
  • Walk around downtown
  • Dinner in Monterey (any suggestions to somewhere nice?)
  • Drive to Santa Cruz and walk along boardwalk at night
  • Drive to Half Moon Bay and stay the night


  • Explore Half Moon Bay
  • Drive to Napa at noon
  • Wine tasting till dinner time, we have a list of places in Napa
  • Dinner at Ad Hoc in Yountville at 6
  • Spend the night in Napa


  • After a two day road trip, we plan on sleeping in.  Should we wake up early enough, we may go to a winery before lunch
  • Lunch at Rutherford Grill
  • Shopping in St. Helena
  • Visit the Geyser in Calistoga
  • Spa -- we hear that Calistoga is good for hot spring soaking and mud baths.  Any suggestions?
  • Dinner at Brix in Yountville
  • Stay the night in Napa


  • Drive back to SLO directly from Napa
  • We'll likely be taking 680 and 101.  Anything noteworthy to stop by along the way?

Napa   Monterey   Half Moon Bay   Santa Cruz

2 Answers
answered by
Sunil from Mountain View

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.

Comments (1)

Thank you for the suggestions, Sunil! We'll definitely be back around, so I guess we'll save HMB for another time!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Indian Springs (hotel)
comments (1)
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answered first by
Debbie from San Francisco

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

Comments (1)

Thank you thank you thank you! You're probably right about skipping Half Moon Bay. We were probably a little too ambitious in planning. The restaurant and spas sound fab, and SHOPPING!!! Will try to talk the BF into that on the way back!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Passionfish (restaurant)
  2. Solage Calistoga (hotel)
  3. Indian Springs (hotel)
  4. Lavender Hill Spa (attraction)
  5. Gilroy Premium Outlets (attraction)
comments (1)
likes (2) thanks

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