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California in August

Hello,

My FH and I are Canadians, and are looking at going to California in mid-August for our honeymoon. We don't know the area well at all, and I was wondering, if I said where all we wanted to go/what all we wanted to see, if someone could tell me if this is do-able? We're not sure how far of a drive it is from San Francisco to the non-San Fran destinations.

1. Alcatraz
2. Fisherman's Wharf
3. Napa Wine Valley
4. Redwood Forest (camping for a couple days)
5. Yosemite National Park (camping for a couple days)

We will be in California from August 5-14, possibly even until the 16th, depending on whether or not I can get that much time off work,

Thanks!
Alesha
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Re: California in August

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    You can easily find driving directions and times on mapquest. You can just place in the names of landmarks and directions should pop up.

     







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    Napa is like an our or so drive from San Francisco. Redwood National Park is a little over 5 hours north of San Fran and Yosemite is 4 hours to the east of San Fran.

    Ditto Jells, you can pop in the place you want to go on google maps or mapquest and get the approximate driving time.

     

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    You can't drive to Alcatraz.  You take a boat as it's an island.  Fisherman's wharf is part of San Fran.  Dh and I were going to go in July so I did some research, but now unfortunately we're not going.  Have a great time.  There's so much to see and do.  
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    In Response to California in August:
    [QUOTE]Hello, My FH and I are Canadians, and are looking at going to California in mid-August for our honeymoon. We don't know the area well at all, and I was wondering, if I said where all we wanted to go/what all we wanted to see, if someone could tell me if this is do-able? We're not sure how far of a drive it is from San Francisco to the non-San Fran destinations. 1. Alcatraz 2. Fisherman's Wharf 3. Napa Wine Valley 4. Redwood Forest (camping for a couple days) 5. Yosemite National Park (camping for a couple days) We will be in California from August 5-14, possibly even until the 16th, depending on whether or not I can get that much time off work, Thanks! Alesha
    Posted by Alesha1978[/QUOTE]

    I did all of those (minus the redwoods) in 3 days.  It's definitely doable.

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    San Francisco is a great city with a lot to do! Definitely go to a Giants game if they are in town. You can certainly do some vineyards while there-I would suggest arranging a tour so that you don't have to worry about driving. Yosemite will be tough in August. It's one of the busiest times of the year(well summer in general) because kids are off school. It's also heavy tourist season for tourists from around the world. You will need a permit to camp, so I would suggest looking into that immediately, since they often get reserved quickly. Are you planning to bring full camping gear with you? Backpacking gear? Staying in Yosemite Valley, you can basically drive up to a camp site, but any of the other areas in the park often require backpacking all your gear in. You could also consider staying in the Curry Village canvas tent cabins, but even those are hard to get reservations at. You may want to also consider Southern California if you're not set in NorCal. San Diego and LA are great too!
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    SF is an awesome place! H and I went last July for our first anniversary, as well as down to Carmel and Big Sur (I would highly recommend those two locations also if you were interested). As PPs have stated, Fisherman's Wharf is in SF and you can usually get there by cable car or public transit, if not walking (depending where you are staying). Alcatraz books up fast (sells out a couple months in advance) and you can purchase tickets 90 days in advance, so I would get on that as soon as they are available (should be any day now for those dates).

    Napa is about an hour but I would highly recommend doing a tour, if just for the fact that you don't have to worry about driving while imbibing. If you want a rec, we absolutely LOVED Max Napa Tours. He picked up from our SF hotel and only allows a max of 6 people per tour. He tailors the wineries to your likes and takes you to private tastings at small vineyards that you couldn't otherwise go to.


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    My husband and I went to California for 14 days in September 2011 for our honeymoon. I planned everything online using google maps and www.tripadvisor.com (great website for reviews of hotels and restaurants by actual guests) Our plans, however, were more of a "road trip" type HM, where we spent a day or so in one area, then drove south to the next. We flew into San Fran, then worked our way down the Pacific Coast Hwy all way down to the San Diego area in a convertible with GPS. It was an amazing trip! 

    Things you need to know:

    If you don't expect to drive every day while in the San Fran area, don't have a car for the entire trip. Hotels charge anywhere from $25 to $50 a night to simply hold your car in their garage. This is common in the US in larger downtown cities. I'd say map out your events in a reasonable timeframe and only have the car for days you will drive. You can get around San Francisco by walking and using the cable cars. 

    If you want to see more of CA, consider driving south from San Fran, at the very least to the Carmel & Monterey areas. They are gorgeous and don't have a "big city vibe", plus great seaside venues versus San Fran which is a bay area. We stayed at Clint Eastwood's Mission Ranch in Carmel (http://missionranchcarmel.com/) which is just a lovely area. The rooms are like mini-cabins, the restaurant there is to die for; pricey, but well worth it. We had a meadow view room and there were sheep grazing outside our deck every morning, LOL. Monterey area has the Monterey Aquarium, which is amazing and one of the highlights of our trip. I think driving south from San Fran to these areas was about 2-3 hrs, maybe less. 

    We did the entire drive from San Fran to San Diego over 14 days, but you could cut your overnight stays to shorter times and still make that drive. If we had driven straight through, on the Pacific Coast Hwy, it probably would have been about a 12 hr drive with stops. California is a huge state, but the coast drive is everything you'd imagine. 


    Some pics we took just pulling over in the car on the drive





    If you decide you do want to make a longer trip, we found that flying into and out of different cities (ie flew into San Fran, drove down to San Diego, flew home from there) only added about $20 to the trip cost over a standard round trip into and out of the same city. If you want to consider driving down to LA, there's a lot to see and do there.

    We went after school had started, so our trip was when families were less likely to be around, but don't let that disuade you. 

    In addition to using google maps and tripadvisor, go to the state of California website. My husband is "old school" and likes paper books and maps, so we ordered a bunch of those for him to flip through and plan things. 

    Good luck. You will love your trip no matter what you see.




     
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    Thanks a bunch, everyone, for your great tips and advice! Definitely things worth looking into. After talking last night, Hawaii is now on the table, so we'll have to look into both now...exciting decisions! :)
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    In Response to Re: California in August:
    [QUOTE]Thanks a bunch, everyone, for your great tips and advice! Definitely things worth looking into. After talking last night, Hawaii is now on the table, so we'll have to look into both now...exciting decisions! :)
    Posted by Alesha1978[/QUOTE]

    Yes, the Big Island is definitely on the list of possibilities. Smile We can update our possibility list/expense table tomorrow, eh?
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    Said the newbie to the future wife on theknot.com: "my what a big number of posts you have!" Wink
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    Hey future hubby, fancy meeting you here! :)

    In Response to Re: California in August:
    [QUOTE]Said the newbie to the future wife on theknot.com: "my what a big number of posts you have!"
    Posted by scartled[/QUOTE]
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    staar987staar987 member
    First Anniversary 5 Love Its First Answer Name Dropper
    edited May 2013
    We went to the BigIsland and loved it. I highly recommend doing a dinner and stargazing tour at Mauna Kea if you end up going there!

     

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    I'm from San Francisco, so I find Alcatraz incredibly boring, but FI is from NYC and loves it.

    I think the Palace of Fine arts is beautiful, and I love Chestnut Street and Union Street in the Marina/Cow Hollow. 

    Napa is defintely worth it, but depending on traffic it's likely more than an hour's drive. 
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