Taking a Trip to California - Advice appreciated

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by bigjnyc, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. bigjnyc macrumors 601

    bigjnyc

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    #1
    Hey guys me and the GF are taking our first trip ever to CA at the end of March for my Birthday. We already booked the flights flying in to SF on 3/24 and flying out of SD on 4/1

    Our plan is to drive down the Pacific coast highway stopping in L.A. and sightseeing the whole way down.

    Where I need advice is does anyone know a place in SF where I can rent a nice convertible car for a decent price? The usual car rental companies are charging upwards of $200/day at the airport.

    Also any ideas for sightseeing along the way would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. dmr727 macrumors G3

    dmr727

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #2
    Trouble is, only the usual suspects will allow you to drop the car at a different location, and even then the drop fee can be hefty. I see Thrifty is offering a Mustang Convertible for about $130/day with a $300 drop fee.

    Are you really sure you want a convertible? It seems you're gonna pay quite a premium for one. I know having all the windows rolled down as you drive PCH isn't quite the same, but for $100+ less a day, it might be good enough. ;)
     
  3. bigjnyc thread starter macrumors 601

    bigjnyc

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    Apr 10, 2008
    #3
    I might have to consider a regular car. I just think the experience wont be the same... but it looks like I'll have to settle for windows rolled down.
     
  4. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    #4
    May not be warm enough for a convertible.

    Try www.rentawreck.com for cheap convertibles.
     
  5. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #5
    It's usually not chilly in California in March, especially along the coast; you'll probably do fine with a convertible if it's within your budget.

    When we take long road trips and need a car with more space than our little 2-door, we've had good luck with Fox Rent-A-Car. They have the best rates for renting Honda Civic Hybrids, which is our preferred long road trip ride. Looks like the convertible model they have at SFO is the Ford Mustang, but they may have others.

    Have fun driving through Monterey, Carmel, Big Sur, Cambria, &c. &c. Do stop by Hearst Castle; I thought I read you have to buy tickets in advance now so check into that before you leave.
     
  6. smithrh macrumors 68020

    smithrh

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    Feb 28, 2009
    #6
    I've done exactly what the OP is planning to do, it was great. Since then I've visited both Norcal and SoCal about... jeez, 50+ times?

    A few points:

    * Radio reception is poor to nil on much of the route. Hope you have a source of tunes, I did not and while it didn't detract from the experience, it would have been better with tunage.

    * I agree it won't be really good convertible weather - for the northern section, but by the time you get down to Santa Barbara/LA/SD it should be plenty warm to drop the top and enjoy it.

    * Car rental companies are getting to be jerks about rates and one-way rentals. Since almost all of my travels have been with work this doesn't tend to bother me, but effective rates have more than tripled since, say 2007. They've also reduced their fleets so there are a lot more high-mileage cars out there. Buyer beware.

    Heck, drop me a PM, especially if you're not that familiar with CA. I may know more places to drive to than most locals do, as I love to drive and have done a boatload of it in CA.
     
  7. bigjnyc thread starter macrumors 601

    bigjnyc

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    #7
    Cool thanks for all the suggestions guys. rentawreck is definitely much cheaper I have to find out what their policy is on dropping off in a different location. Will also take a look at fox rent a car.

    Thanks for the advice smithrh will definitely keep that in mind.
     
  8. leomac08 macrumors 68020

    leomac08

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2009
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #8
    When you reach Los Angeles don't expect Vegas or NYC lights....:eek:

    it's mostly ghetto... lots and lots of streets and crazy people...

    I recommend going to the usual LA hotspots

    Santa Monica Pier, LA Live (Staples Center and downtown LA/ Chinatown), Venice Beach, Newport Beach (if you have money cause all you will see is $100K cars in parking lots), the Griffith Observatory, Hollywood walk of fame..

    Yeah wish u the best!:)

    March weather btw is usually mild (roughly high 60, low 70) with slight rain possibilities..
     
  9. plinden macrumors 68040

    plinden

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    Apr 8, 2004
    #9
    Do you live in the same San Francisco I do? I've watched the St Pat's day parade on Van Ness for the past eight years, and didn't freeze on only one of them. It can be nice (like last week it was 18-20˚C) but it's almost certain to be too cold for convertibles. Why do you think you see so many people with San Francisco sweatshirts? None of them are locals, they're tourists who thought "California will be nice and warm" and didn't dress warmly enough.

    The OP is unlikely to have the roof down for long, at least till he gets to the Paso Robles/San Luis Obispo area.
     
  10. Catonow macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2007
    Location:
    Cali
    #10
    Got to agree. That time of year can be really dicey. You might get lucky and hit a heat wave. But more likely it will be cooler than you hope for.

    Had parents-in-law visit me in L.A. from Scandinavia one late March/early April. They were really looking forward to hot, sunny weather. What they got was coastal fog and chill. (They did luck out for a few days, however.) My father-in-law, whose hometown was snowed in and freezing, wouldn't stop complaining about how cold it was here.

    Have you ever driven in a convertible for a long distance before? It's one of those things that looks and sounds much more enticing than it really is (for most people, anyway). After an hour I bet you'll put the top back up for good. How about going for a sun roof?

    All that said, I don't want to discourage you in the slightest from taking the trip. I envy anybody taking his or her first drive down the Cali coast. It's definitely worth it, top up or down, any time of year!
     
  11. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

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    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #11
    Because I'm a warm-blooded guy, and the really cold months in the Bay Area tend to be December-January. This week, meanwhile, it's been an absurd 65-70°F out. Not that it's guaranteed to last through next month, but it is a La Niña year so I expect the mild temperatures will continue through the rest of winter.

    Sometimes it's really invigorating to put the top down on the convertible and drive in some cool weather. If you've got heated seats, it's fantastic. We've taken numerous short road trips from San Francisco along the coast to Bodega Bay or Jenner in February, March, and April and seen plenty of good convertible weather during those months. But as always with weather, it's down to timing and luck.
     
  12. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020

    Liquorpuki

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    Location:
    City of Angels
    #12
    Might be some late winter storms in March/April too so the whole driving with the top down in the sun thing is hit or miss. Then again you New Yorkers are way better at handling the cold than we are.

    Have fun mapping out your route. Might as well stop at Disneyland too while you're here.
     
  13. EazyWeazy3 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    #13
    Been 70's here in San Jose. Cold weather is creeping in this week with rain. Ver chilly at night. I can only assume SF will be colder.

    LA and SD will be fine. Cold at night also but very nice and sunny during the day.

    Windows rolled down with music playing >>>>> convertible.
     
  14. MovieCutter macrumors 68040

    MovieCutter

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    May 3, 2005
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    #14
    Stay away from LA, it's a sh*thole...aside from Santa Monica

    San Francisco and San Diego on the other hand....goooooorgeous
     
  15. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    Jul 11, 2003
    #15

    I agree. I've been to California 6 times but never returned to LA after the first.
     
  16. latergator116, Feb 12, 2011
    Last edited: Feb 12, 2011

    latergator116 macrumors 68000

    latergator116

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    Location:
    Providence, RI
    #16
    I just got back from Morro Bay on central coast and I loved it. There are some great campgrounds in Big Sur where you can also hike down the beach. Pfeiffer state park and Kirk creek come to mind. I had a really good breakfast at this little place called Deetjen's somewhere in Big Sur... worth checking out if you can find it.

    San Juan Bautista is a cool little town with and old mission and roosters running around the streets. It didn't feel as touristy as a lot of other places I went. the Feels like a California version of an old New England small town.

    Check out the Ed Ricket's memorial in Monterey if you're a Steinbeck fan.

    Spend time outside and you can't go wrong. Have fun.
     
  17. bigjnyc thread starter macrumors 601

    bigjnyc

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2008
    #17
    Alot of great advice in this thread. Thanks so much guys! What i may do is rent a regular small car from SF to about long beach... and then from there depending on the weather I may switch to a convertible for the rest of the trip down to SD.

    Will definitely plan to spend much more time in SF & SD and less time in LA based on the feedback. and definitely going to Disney my GF is a big child lol must take her.
     
  18. Tailpike1153 macrumors 6502a

    Tailpike1153

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    Bellevue, WA
    #18
    If I'm not too late to the thread. I liked Carlsbad was pretty when I went there 3 years ago. The beach and the pier are good. If you are little on the goofy side kid side, Legoland is in Carlsbad. :p
     
  19. Eldiablojoe macrumors 6502a

    Eldiablojoe

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    Dec 4, 2009
    Location:
    West Koast
    #19
    It's like Hawaii. The first time, everyone should stay on Oahu. Check out Waikiki, the North Shore, Pearl Harbor, etc.

    Then you never go back and go straight through HNL airport enroute to Maui or Kauai, or the Big Island.
     
  20. JulesNYC macrumors regular

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    Nov 26, 2006
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    #20
    Wow, what's with all the LA bashing? Can someone elaborate why it's so bad nowadays?
     
  21. dmr727 macrumors G3

    dmr727

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #21
    ^^^ there are a lot of cool areas of LA, and lots of bad areas. Some people treat it like one big city, but in reality it's a huge collection of smaller communities. Topanga Canyon isn't the same as Torrance, which isn't the same as Sherman Oaks, which isn't the same as Venice, etc etc...

    It can be a great place to live, or a terrible one. It just depends on how you play it.
     
  22. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

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    Location:
    NYC
    #22
    I've always taken non-stops from SFO or OAK to LIH, so don't even need to go through HNL. Then again, I am going to Waikiki for the first time in 30+ years for a friend's wedding this summer.

    I wouldn't hate on LA. It's a worthy visit and there are some great places there, no matter what your interests are. There are certainly crappy parts of San Francisco and Northern California, as well.
     
  23. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020

    Liquorpuki

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    #23
    I live and work in Bunker Hill in the heart of downtown LA and all I can say is, unless you guys took the wrong 110 exit and ended up in South LA, it's hard for me to believe you didn't find anything memorable here. What the hell did you guys do when you were down here? lol
     
  24. Liquorpuki macrumors 68020

    Liquorpuki

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    Jun 18, 2009
    Location:
    City of Angels
    #24
    It's not dude. Take it from someone who lives here

    IE if you love movies, you'll love exploring downtown LA. Within walking distance of my apartment, I can pass by the building from Inception (1st and Hope), the street where they filmed the shootout from Heat (Figueroa), the Chinese Restaurant where they filmed Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker arguing over takeout (in Chinatown), the parkbench from 500 Days of Summer (Angel's Knoll), the building that was blown up in Independence Day (US Bank Building), Orochon Ramen from Man vs Food (in Little Tokyo), etc etc etc.

    And this isn't even near Hollywood
     
  25. bigjnyc thread starter macrumors 601

    bigjnyc

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    Apr 10, 2008
    #25
    Sounds like a lot of cool stuff. I'll definitely be checking out L.A. & Hollywood Can't go to Cali and skip that.
     

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