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Rearranging Cal trip without Yosemite next week? Help pls!

London, United...
8 posts
Rearranging Cal trip without Yosemite next week? Help pls!

Hi

We are a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children (9&11)) travelling to California next week (we arrive on Tuesday 7 at 5pm). We have not been to any part of the US before and are struggling to work out what to do with the 3 days we would have spent at Yosemite.

Our trip looked like this:

7,8,9 Aug - San Fransisco (sightsee and Alcatraz booked)

10,11,12 Aug- Yosemite (I have cancelled this as we have 2 asthmatics)

13 Aug - Monterey

14-15 Aug - Santa Barbara

16,17,18,19 Aug - Santa Monica (day at beach, explore Venice area, maybe go to Universal)

20,21,22 Aug - San Diego (beach, US Midway, Seaworld, zoo, old town)

With the 3 nights from Yosemite we thought we would definitely add one to Monterey as we felt a bit short changed here, but we would also really like to see some big trees and nature as our trip now feels very city and beach heavy. I have made provisonal bookings in Healdsburg on 10-11 as a base so that we could visit Armstrong Woods but am concerned that it will be too hot in Sonoma to enjoy our time there. An alternative would be a night in Santa Cruz and visiting Henry Cowell woods, but that would leave us with one extra night to fill. Is there somewhere between Monterey and SAntaB that would make a perfect pitstop? Or are we better off changing something later in our trip?

Any advice gratefully received

16 replies to this topic
Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
71,855 posts
132 reviews
1. Re: Rearranging Cal trip without Yosemite next week? Help pls!

If you don't get many replies here, try the state forum. This one is just about Yosemite.

You can spend more time on the Monterey peninsula.

London, United...
8 posts
2. Re: Rearranging Cal trip without Yosemite next week? Help pls!

Thanks, had meant to. Will try there.

Franklin, Tennessee
Level Contributor
42 posts
5 reviews
3. Re: Rearranging Cal trip without Yosemite next week? Help pls!

When you are in the Santa Cruz try Big Basin Redwood Park. It is about 40 min drive and has some great trails with large Redwoods. Also you may want to consider Pinnacles National Park. It is about an hour from Monterey and has some nice trails and caves to explore. Go early since it gets hot in the afternoon. I am also planning on a Yosemite trip next week 8/13 & 8/14. This is part of my back up plan. You will have fun regardless what you do. Safe travels!!

Carmel, California
Level Contributor
4,773 posts
11 reviews
4. Re: Rearranging Cal trip without Yosemite next week? Help pls!

Pinnacles is likely to be hotter than Sonoma and the trails there have little shade. You can add a night anywhere from Cambria to Pismo Beach after Monterey especially if you're planning to drive Hwy 1 south from Monterey. That would give you more time to stop at the parks and beaches along Big Sur where you can also see coastal redwoods.

Long Beach...
Level Contributor
7,815 posts
5. Re: Rearranging Cal trip without Yosemite next week? Help pls!

Big Basin is an excellent option. You can rent tent cabins in the park, as well as bedding and other supplies. Or Quality Inn in Ben Lomand.

Or just head to Santa Cruz for a night or two. Rent bikes, SC Boardwalk, lovely beaches, Roaring Camp and Big Trees Railroad.

San Francisco, Ca
Level Contributor
21,913 posts
79 reviews
6. Re: Rearranging Cal trip without Yosemite next week? Help pls!

One more night SF, one more night Monterey, one night Pismo Beach (or even Big Sur to stay among the redwoods).

Los Angeles...
Destination Expert
for Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
Level Contributor
14,398 posts
120 reviews
7. Re: Rearranging Cal trip without Yosemite next week? Help pls!

There are plenty of wonderful trees in Big Sur (google Big Sur Redwood hikes - there are several, of varying duration).

Santa Cruz is wonderful for viewing trees too (check out Aptos in addition to what Lemoncurls has already suggested - I'd definitely take the kids to Big Trees Railroad).

Big Basin is amazing, if you can get the tent cabin, it would be a really memorable trip. One night would be fine, you can grab a cooler and some food somewhere on the way in (there will be various things you can buy at the park to eat or cook...sandwiches and such). Check out their webpage for details.

http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=540

8. Re: Rearranging Cal trip without Yosemite next week? Help pls!

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Chapel Hill, North...
Level Contributor
9,880 posts
39 reviews
9. Re: Rearranging Cal trip without Yosemite next week? Help pls!

We loved Monterey, well we actually stayed in Pacific Grove down near Lover’s Point but it was walking distance to Monterey proper. Didn’t really love Cannery Row (super touristy) but the aquarium was nice if crowded.

If you want to see sea otters I highly recommend stopping in Morro Bay. We stayed there and I really liked it. Very small town but there are restaurants and shops and easily viewable sea otters in the bay. They were really close to the shore. We saw them in Monterey too but they were much easier to see in Morro Bay. There are some nice walks in Montanas de Oro State Park just south of Morro Bay too. We spent one night in a Morro Bay and two nights in Pacific Grove/Monterey.

We stopped in Santa Barbara and had lunch but it wasn’t really our kinda place. Very nice but pretty touristy and we preferred the less pretentious Morro Bay.

Edited: 06 August 2018, 05:25
Morpeth, United...
Level Contributor
5 posts
27 reviews
10. Re: Rearranging Cal trip without Yosemite next week? Help pls!

Hi we were in the same predicament - flew from U.K. on Saturday, had a night in Livermore as our original plan was Yosemite for 4n (the smoke from the fires as we flew over the Sierra was unbelievable) so opted for 3 nights in S Cruz - we drive down Highway 1 from Halfmoon Bay - lively town for window shopping and coffee) and then down the coast, pulling over to see the views (bring a jumper it’s chilly) - lighthouse at a Pigeon Point, kite surfers. Staying in Pasamiento In which is lovely. SCruz mooching today (there was a good vibe there last night when we went to eat) and then to Big Basin to see the Redwoods tomorrow. Think we’re going to tag another night into Monterey. But Yosemite but it can’t be helped.

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