Planning a trip to CA, what should I see?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by drewsof07, Apr 1, 2009.

  1. drewsof07 macrumors 68000


    Oct 30, 2006
    I'm looking to head to the west coast this year for about a week. I definitely want to hit SF and Cupertino one day just to say I've been there :p. Anyone have any "must-see" destinations in the vicinity? I'll also be taking my camera to work on my portfolio, so if there are any good spots (gardens etc), I would be most obliged if you post them as well ;)
    Also, is the apple company store for employees only, or is it open to the public?
    Thanks! :)
  2. Boneoh macrumors 6502


    Feb 27, 2009
    So. Cal.
    S.F. is a great place to see. Stay near Fishermans Wharf. Plan on seeing Alcatraz, great views of the entire bay area. You can catch cable cars or trolleys from their to anywhere in the city. I usually stay at the Best Western Tuscan Inn.

    From there you can easily grab a tour bus or drive north to Sonoma and the wine country.

    Head south from SF to check out Big Sur, stop in Carmel for a quick look around and grab lunch. If you have time, drive down to Hearst Castle and take the tour. Hearst Castle is in San Simeon, and Cambria is next door. The coast from Big Sur to Hearst Castle is amazing. Plan on staying at least one night in Cambria/San Simeon, it's a slow,winding drive between Big Sur and San Simeon. We usually stay at San Simeon Pines motel in Cambria, call and get a room with a fireplace, very reasonable.

    These hotels offer AARP and AAA rates. Summer rates are higher, and lots more crowded attractions and highways once the kids get out of school.

    Have fun :)
  3. Boneoh macrumors 6502


    Feb 27, 2009
    So. Cal.
    My memory is coming back. Between Big Sur and San Simeon there is a beautiful park, something Burns State Park on coast highway. Bring a picnic and check out the waterfall into the ocean, very nice. Many great photo ops along the coast, too many to stop at all of them.

    I can't remember which one, but there is a tall building in the financial area that has a revolving restaurant at the top. Go at night after the dinner crowd for a drink or two, skip the dinner, kinda $$$. It's on the nice side, don't go in sandals and T shirt. Beautiful views from there.

    Golden Gate park is fun for an afternoon. Lands End also has beautiful views.
  4. YMark macrumors 6502a


    Nov 7, 2008
    See your way out is what I'd do. That is one wacky state.
  5. drewsof07 thread starter macrumors 68000


    Oct 30, 2006
    I was thinking of going in the fall or spring, which would be best to catch the best views, not be terribly hot, but more importantly NOT be so crowded?
  6. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    If your looking for scenic take the I-1 north (coastal highway). You travel along a wildly winding road. Along the cliffline of the coast and through forests. It looks really neat.

    I had to make a delivery to a little town along the I-1 called Gualala (yes that is a real name). Anyways it is several hours north but there is a quaint little hotel there at the North end of the town. The town is literally about one and a half miles long and only exists along the I-1, the side roads just go

    I think it was the Surf Motel. But just looking at Google for hotels their it looks like the town has been found out:eek:. As there are multiple hotels there now. It is probably ruined from tourists now.

    It definitely will not be hot as it is further up the coast. Most of the waters there come down from the Arctic dropping temperatures.
  7. djjclark macrumors regular

    Feb 17, 2008
    Hot doesn't really exist for San Francisco or along the NorCal coast.
  8. Boneoh macrumors 6502


    Feb 27, 2009
    So. Cal.
    Avoid summer vacation and spring break week and you are good to go. You'll avoid the crowds that way.

    Heat is usually only a problem in So. Cal or inland from the coast quite a ways. Sacramento, etc. can get really warm. Central and No. CA is very nice along the coastal areas.
  9. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    That's where we always stay for weekends in Cambria!

    Keep in mind, the drive from San Francisco to Cambria, though well worth it, takes a full day at least with little stopping.
  10. Legolamb macrumors 6502a


    Nov 27, 2006
    North of where I'd like to be
    Definitely the mother ship in Cupertino. Take a camera trip through Muir woods. Check out the San Fran Museum of Modern Art and the Gallery of Comic Arts (not sure that's the right term). Dress really warm if you've got to see Alcatraz (I was bored). If you're into such things, visit Berkely U
  11. szark macrumors 68030


    May 14, 2002
    Yes, The Company Store is open to the public. (Hours provided in link.)

    I also recommend the drive down to San Simeon and a visit to Hearst Castle.
  12. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    If you're coming to San Francisco, I suggest you wait until well after July (late August or early September is probably best) so that you don't get as much fog and actually get some warm weather (this doesn't apply uniformly for the Bay Area, really more for SF and a few surrounding areas).

    It's open to the public, but just so you don't get your hopes up, I have to say that it's not really something special. There are some cute baby clothes and other things (a certain forum member couldn't help himself when it came to a tan hat-you know who you are! :D), but it's not really something I would imagine is a focal point of any trip.

    If I was in your position, I would spend more time in SF; there are a lot of beautiful shots you can take there, from natural scenery to unique architecture, it's all there.
  13. lostfan916 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 23, 2007
    Definitely SF and the coastal places (like Monterey, etc.) Also Lake Tahoe, that place is beautiful. And on your way up there don't bother to stop by in Sacramento, it sucks here. :D
  14. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    The northern California places are all pretty well trodden paths and may have areas that are pricey to stay in. This is where we really get your money.

    Starting at the south end, in San Luis Obispo, avoid motels on main drag.

    In the Monterey Peninsula, next county north, you can find reasonable lodging in Marina/Seaside. Salinas is historic and they have the Steinbeck Museum but avoid main streets there, too for lodging. In the southern end of Monterey County on the coast, Big Sur, expect to find expensive lodging if you go up the coast from San Luis Obispo.

    Going further north, Santa Cruz and Capitola are great places and is worth comparing motel prices first.

    San Jose area, near Cupertino, is nice and smaller motels are reasonable and large high rise hotels are very expensive.

    Then proceeding further north, San Francisco's Lombard street has some great deals on lodging in smaller places if you make it to the city.

    North of San Francisco is where the prices come down again beyond Marin County (Sausalito, San Rafael).

    Santa Rosa is the biggest city in wine country in one of the main wine regions of Sonoma County. Sacramento to the east is the state capital and there are some high priced downtown places that catch unwary tourists.

    Beyond that, going further north, don't worry about lodging costs so much. There are a lot of hidden gems of cities in the far north in and beyond wine country on the coast.

    As for safety, when in San Jose, stay away from numbered streets in downtown; Mission/Hunter's Point/Tenderloin while in SF; and parts of Oakland. If near Oakland, Berkeley is a fun place to visit and Telegraph Avenue is always fun.

    Remember California is a very long state and it takes longer to get around in the northern half than the southern half even though the southern half is far more congested. The southern half, or southern California, is really just less than the southern 1/3 of the state and where most of its residents live. Some of the roads in the far north in California are not up to par with the superhighways of southern California.

    I hope this helps.

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