California - HM question

My FI and I are not really beach people so we are planning to go on our honeymoon to California. I am leaning more toward San Fransisco and Wine Country. We were thinking of doing a few days in San Fran, going to the Sonoma area for 2-3 nights, then back to San Fran for a few days. However, now my fiance is saying he'd like to start in San Diego and make our way up to San Fransisco - about an 8-10 hour drive depending on the route you take.

Anyways, my question, as I am very unfamiliar with CA and it's cities - are there any places you would recommend we stop on our way from San Diego to San Fransisco? It would probably only be for a night and our itinerary would look like this: San Diego, 3 nights - City ?, 1 night - San Fransisco, 3 nights - Sonoma area, 2 nights.

Otherwise, I'd rather stay in the Northern CA area but my FI is worried there won't be as much to do - any opinions on this if you have been on a trip to the area?


Re: California - HM question

  • I don't know the San Diego are that well, but I was on tour performing in the San Francisco area for 7 months and loved it there.  There is of course a ton to do in SF... great restaurants, shows, Fisherman's Wharf, sports teams, Alcatraz, cable cars to ride, etc etc etc. If you like the outdoors, you should make a stop in Marin County to see Muir Woods on your way to Sonoma.  You can do everything from a short walk in the redwood forest to a 10 mile hike over the mountains to Stinson Beach.  It's really a sight to see the forest though.  Amazing.  I had never seen trees that big in my whole life.

    I also made a few trips to Sonoma while I was there because my instrument repair guy was out there.  The main square in Sonoma is nice to walk around.  There are lots of great shops and restaurants... cute little inns.

    If you do go to San Diego, I've only heard great things about the drive up the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway).  I've only been on a short part of it between Orange county and LA, but it's a beautiful drive.  Rent a convertible if you can to take advantage of the wonderful weather and views.  Or, you could start in the LA/ Long Beach/ Santa Monica area and drive north from there.  I love Santa Monica. :-)
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  • Unfortunately, I'm no help in this area.  I still have never been to CA.  But I just wanted to chime in and say that, that sounds like an AMAZING HM!!  The girls on here are great.  If you need more ideas, we always find AAA to be really helpful. 

    Good luck and I can't wait to hear more about your plans!
  • Thanks! That information is really helpful! I really, really want to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. We were planning on renting like a Jeep Wrangler or something to drive up in but I'm just not sure I want to go to all of those places in a short time. I'm worried I won't feel like I spent enough time in one place.

    I just ordered some San Fransisco & Napa travel books so hopefully we will make our decision soon!
  • I know you said neither of you are big beach people, but I took a family/ guided trip from San Diego to San Francisco many years ago and we stopped at Pebble Beach for a day or two.  That might give you a difference in scenery on your way north?  I'd also recommend asking people in the CA community as I'm sure they could give you some good ideas!
  • We did a week vacation travelling down the PCH.  We started in Sonoma (cheaper and less commercial than Napa), hit up San Fran, stayed in Carmel and visited Monterey and Pebble Beach, moved on to Santa Barbara then ended in San Diego.

    I highly suggest traveling South on PCH as you have much better views and it's easier to pull off to take pictures.  Santa Barbara was our favorite due to how laidback and relaxing the place was - we biked everywhere.

    If we had time, we definitely would've gone to Muir Woods to see the Red Woods.  Other places of interest in Northern California would be Point Reyes (beach but a really cool cliff landscape with lighthouse) and Big Sur.

    Good Luck!
  • Though I live in CT probably 1/2 my time at work is spent in CA.  :)  San Francisco is amazing, and there is a ton to do in the area.  If you like the outdoors there are some great parks to hike in with amazing views of the Golden Gate. 

    Most of my time is actually spent in San Diego.  (I've been home for a few months but will be out there probably late January - March or April).  Personally, I love San Diego.  My FI has come out a few times and the drive from San Diego to LA is only like 2.5 hours.  He's decided it was his mission to hit up every baseball stadium in CA when he travels with me - I'm not a huge baseball fan but it was kind of fun because there are the Padres, Dodgers, Angels, A's and Giants (all between San Diego - San Fran). 

    If you have the time, I would definitely do the drive up....however, if you are rushed at all, I would spend your time up in the bay area and sonoma/napa.  You can easily spend a week up there and you don't want to come home from your honeymoon exhausted from non-stop traveling!

    Also, my brother just moved back east after living in SF for 5 years.  If you have any questions or want suggestions, I'd be happy to get his opinion as an insider.  :) 

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  • Great HM :)
    We're doing something similar: 4 days in tahoe to ski and 4 in SF to sight see. Definitely drive up to Muir Woods if you can and do the night tour to alcatraz. it's touristy but awesome :)
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