Hello Insiders! We are thinking of taking a drive up PCH after our stay at Newport Coast Villas next month. Any suggestions to enjoy the coast? Marriotts? Lodging? Itineraries? Insider tips? We are not familiar with this part of CA, so specific towns and info would be great. We would like to make it up to Napa eventually. But have a few weeks to take our time. Any suggestions would be great! And, we will be traveling with our 3 children(ages 4, 10, and 12).
Thanks you so much!
p.s. We love the ocean!
A few years ago we drove from San Diego to San Francisco. Unfortunately highway 1 was partly closed when we were there.
Here are some of the places that we enjoyed on the trip:
Santa Barbara. http://www.santabarbaraca.com/
Nice place to walk around and enjoy the buildings and the beach.
From there we took a detour a bit inland to the Santa Ynez valley area which was also nice.
Solvang Solvang, CA is worth a visit, it is something different.
We visited the other little places in the region for some wine tasting also.
We also visited Hearst castle which was very good. Home - Hearst Castle book tickets online in advance.
Carmel is another nice spot close by http://www.carmelcalifornia.com/
17 mile drive: Pebble Beach Resorts – 17-Mile Drive, Pebble Beach, CA
You have so many choices this is just a taste. It is a beautiful area and we would love to head back there again.
The drive along the coast is phenomenal and http://bigsurcalifornia.org/ is so beautiful along with Carmel and Pebble Beach as sg1974 has already provided. Should you decide to stay in Monterey the https://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/mryca-monterey-marriott/ is wonderful and a nice location in the city.
Huntington Beach Pier Ruby’s Diner - Surf City Pier, while you're visiting Newport is fun way to spend an afternoon.
As far as moving up the coastline, a stop in Long Beach would be time well spent. Naples is a nice place to take a stroll. Shoreline Village Drive is also a nice place to spend time www.shorelinevillage.com, and you could also visit two places in particular in Long Beach, the Queen Mary The Queen Mary | One-Of-A-Kind Long Beach Experience, Tours, Events, Dining & more... and the Aquarium of the Pacific www.aquariumofpacific.org.
Have you ever been to Catalina Island? It's a great place. You can ferry there and back as a day trip, or spend a night there. You can catch a high speed ferry from San Pedro Harbor or Long Beach. Catalina Chamber of Commerce
Have you done any of the Los Angeles Museums? There are so many good ones there, it's hard to know where to start, and in fact, you could plan an entire vacation around them. The top ones that I would recommend are: Getty Museum is a really great art museum Visit the Getty, but so is the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Los Angeles County Museum of Art | LACMA and right next door and a can't miss for kids is the La Brea Tar Pits La Brea Tar Pits | Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits. I guarantee they will be fascinated by it. Also, the California Science Center, where you can view the space shuttle Endeavor California Science Center. There is also the Griffith Park Observatory Official Site: Griffith Observatory Los Angeles, CA., and we can't forget the American Museum of Natural History www.amnh.org also awesome for kids. If you are not thinking of detouring off the PCH path, The Getty Villa is off of PCH in Pacific Palisades Visit the Getty.
The kids might also like the Santa Monica Pier Things to Do in Santa Monica, CA. Nearby is the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library | Home and further up the coast near Santa Barbara, The Reagan Ranch www.yaf.org/TheReaganRanch.aspx.
Heading north is Solvang, a lovely little Danish village as Sg suggests, and I concur.
The Central Coastal region offers a number of little oceanside villages, including Avila Beach Avila Beach Official Visitor Guide, Avila Beach, CA, Pismo Beach Pismo Beach Visitor Information Guide - Pismo Beach, California, Morro Bay (and it's ancient monolith Morro Rock) Morro Bay, California - Official Home of Morro Rock, Cayucos Cayucos, CA - California beach resort town visitor information, Cambria and Moonstone Beach www.cambriachamber.org (great place to dine and shop), and of course there's Hearst Castle in San Simeon, another great suggestion by our British travel expert, sg1974. As you progress towards Monterey, be sure to stop at Julia Pfeiffer State Beach and see Mc Way Falls. Also while visiting the Monterey Peninsula, I highly recommend taking a walk at Point Lobos State Reserve Point Lobos SNR, it's beautiful and worthwhile for the whole family. As IAHFLYR mentioned, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must, and if you would like your kids to learn about the history of the California missions founded by Father Junipero Serra California Missions Resource Center | History of the California Missions and the people who founded California, don't miss the Carmel Mission. There's also the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk which the kids will love, further up the bay. And while in Santa Cruz, don't miss an opportunity to see some California Coastal Redwood trees Wilder Ranch SP, and/or Henry Cowell Redwoods SP.
This pretty much brings you up to the SF Bay. If you are interested in more specifics regarding some of these areas, let us know. As far as the Monterey area, we've stayed at the Monterey Marriott and the CY and Residence Inn in Salinas. We are just as happy to either stay in Salinas for about half the price and drive the 20 minutes, or else when staying in Monterey or Carmel, there are other more desirable options than the Monterey Marriott (no CL, expensive valet parking). I like staying in Carmel, personally.
THanks so much sg1974, IAHFLYR, and Pluto! Fantastic information! Now I am getting excited! I will now start putting a game plan into action! Your detailed info and links are just what I needed...it all looks so beautiful! I am sure I will have more questions as we narrow things down.
And Pluto, we actually used to live in Orange County and North San Diego Co, so your wonderfully detailed Huntington Beach up to LA intinerary was very familiar...I used to take our visitors to those same places! Lol! Your post is awesome, and I hope people traveling to the LA area use the detailed info you shared. Thank you!
Now my husband wants to continue on to Yosemite for a day or two, and Lake Tahoe...any other good advice about these places? It is funny, when we lived in So. CA, we never had extra money to explore past LA... rollerblading up and down Balboa Penninsula was how we spent our free time! So, I have always been hesitant to go north, because I am unfamiliar with the areas. I am so grateful for Insiders, and all of your help. The information from everyone is priceless, so I want to thank all of you!
Here's to great travels,
You're very welcome. As I'm sure you know, Yosemite and Tahoe are about 3 (or more) hours inland from the coast.
Yosemite has some really wonderful lodges; as far as national park lodges, some of the best. The Yosemite Lodge, Ahwahnee and Wawona Hotel are upscale and have nice views. They are special. (I love the Ahwahnee). If you are considering it, I would check right away, as availability can be difficult. Oh, another nice lodge that you might want to check out, but just outside of the park's southern entrance is Tenaya Lodge.The trails and scenery in Yosemite are spectacular. My only concern would be that by September, both Yosemite and Bridalveil Falls can be dried up, in fact I just checked the webcam Webcams - Yosemite National Park and they are dry . We have had a shortage of precipitation this past year. At full force in the Spring and Summer, they are spectacular (Yosemite Falls is something like 2500 feet tall). Vernal Falls flows late in the season though, but I'm not sure about this year. The waterfalls are a real highlight, for me anyway, but the entire park is incredible. The view from a top Sentinel Dome is unparalleled (a short, fairly level 1.2 mile hike, except for the end where you'll clime the granite rock. When you get to the top, keep a real eye on the kids. It's not dangerous, just don't let them wander, and I'm just a worrier).
I haven't been to Tahoe in a long time. I'm sure many here can provide you with some info, though. Another special place to visit in the Sierra Nevadas are the "Big Trees", the Giant Sequoias at Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. You can lodge down in the valley cheaply at any number of Marriott properties, or you might check out lodging up at Hume Lake in the NP, which is really beautiful (you might be able to rent canoes, row boats, etc. too).
If you need any restaurant recommends, of course speak up, as there's no shortage of "foodies" on this site, that's for sure! Where in North County were you? My folks live in Carlsbad. It's a wonderful place. My sister lived right up the hill from the MVCI Newport Coast with a spectacular ocean view from her patio, but they moved back to Sydney the beginning of this year. So. Cal. beach cities are heaven. Matter of fact, we'll be at Newport the 2nd week of August.
When you and hubby drive up the coast, once you get north of San Simeon, you'll have to take turns driving so that you both can enjoy the scenery. The scenery is magnificent, but the driving requires the driver's full attention on the windy, rocky cliff highway.