CAROLINE’S TRIP TO CALIFORNIA
8 NIGHTS/5 STOPS
The Pacific Coast from San Diego to San Francisco
After having lived 4 years on the East Coast in NY, Caroline and her family didn’t want to leave the US without visiting the iconic cities of the US Pacific coast. They organized a 10 days family road trip from San Diego to San Francisco. They were amazed by the beautiful coastline, its cliffs that blend into the sea, the small creeks and the amazing sunsets along their way. They were more impressed by the beautiful coastline drive than by the cities itself. They loved the variety of landscapes, from the coastline to the dunes and to the very green in lands and hilly vineyards. They stayed mainly in Marriot hotels as they wanted to use their loyalty points. They would have chosen more charming hotels otherwise.
Caroline’s Travel Profile
The family of 4 lives in New York and are moving back to France this summer (2017)
Happy mum of Louis 11 years and Lucie 9 years.
She likes to find new adresses by herself and to discover restaurants spontaneously during her travel. She loves interior design and photography.
Arrival airport: San Diego
Departure airport: San Francisco
5h30 hours direct flight from all NY airports.
More than 10 direct flights/day
Wide choice of best fare & timing.
Total/person: 1660 $ for 8 nights
Lodging: 1000 $/pp for 8 nights,
Flights : 460 $/pp
Rental SUV 8 days: 200 $/pp
Los angeles/Santa Monica
950 km in 8 days
10 hours on the road/5 stops
Stop 1 to 2: 220 km /3h
Stop 2 to 3: 280 km/3h
Stop 3 to 4: 260 km/3h
Stop 4 to 5: 200 km/2h
10 km/20 min
We stayed at Marriot hotel San Diego.We stayed mainly in Marriot hotels as we wanted to use their loyalty points.
We went to La Jolla Cove shore. A wild coastline where you can see whales and lion seals. This is the pacific coast as you would imagine it in your dreams.
We had lunch in a lovely restaurant with a terrace on the bay: Brokcton villa.
We went to Balboa Park early morning (Japanese gardens, botanical gardens etc…).
We spend an afternoon in Gaslamp Quarter. Very animated during the evening. We ate at Monkey king, a Thai restaurant with a lovely decoration and an outside terrace on the sidewalk,
Visit of Playa Coronado beach and it mythical hotel.
We finished the day with the sunset on the Crystal pier at Pacific beach.
SANTA MONICA TO
We stayed at the Cottage Inn by the sea. Friendly family hotel with a very nice view on the Pismo creek and a cosy outdoor fireplace.
We went to Pismo beach for a ride in the dunes. We tried both Quad and Buggy. We preferred the quad. Great family experience.
We ate at the Ventana Grill Diner. Very good.
We stayed at the Marriott Hotel in Union Square Marriott. We were very centrally located. Perfect to visit the city.
We visited Fisherman Wharf and walked up to Lombard street to admire the beautiful view on the bay of San Francisco.
We spent a day bicycling from San Francisco to the Golden Gate Bridge and down to Sausalito. It’s a very nice ride and kids loved it.
We ate at the Spinmaker in Sausalito. We had a great diner in a chic 50’s ambience. Recommending it for its fish and glass window overlooking the San Francisco bay.
We took the ferry back to San Francisco. We catched the one at 3h55 that stops in Tiburon and Angels Island. It was worth the stops, 1 hour in total. Angel island is a beautiful small creek.
We visited Alcatraz with a 45 minutes audio guide featuring stories of prisoners who lived there
Chinatown and Dragon gate. Very typical. We really recommend the detour.
GOOD TO KNOW
Hollywood, Rodeo Drive and Beverly hills are a myth. It’s nice to see but there is nothing particular to visit. One hour is sufficient
Venice beach: very awkward atmosphere. Nice beaches with families on one side and murky crowd on the beach walkway on the other side.
With kids and teenagers, a one day trip to Universal Studio is a must. It’s really worth the budget. Front of the line ticket for Universal studio is highly recommended. Don’t spend your day in lines.
Maximun 3/4 nights in LA is enough.
We would have stayed 2 nights in Carmel by the sea to enjoy the beach instead of staying in Monterey.
Fisherman wharf is a real tourist trap, similar to Disneyland Paris. It is totally fake. Very disappointing.
We would have headed towards Tiburon instead of Sausalito for lunch when the crossed the Golden gate bridge.
Don’t forget to make a reservation for a good restaurant in SF a Friday evening.
Alcatraz: take your tickets on internet before hand.
It’s better to use Uber in San Francisco, rather than keeping your rental car.
We were happy to visit LA and SF but we were a little bit disappointed by both cities. For LA: very wide, no real city atmosphere. San Fransisco: we preferred the surroundings than the city itself that was dirty and touristy.