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B & B trip San Francisco to San Diego

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  • B & B trip San Francisco to San Diego

    We're planning a trip around the end of October. We'll drive from San Francisco to San Diego on Pacific Coast Highway 1. We'll have about 7-8 days and we want to stay in Bed and Breakfast Inns along the way.

    We have no specific schedule in mind. We just want to see some of the highlights and take in as much of the splendor as we can. This is a first time for both of us along the coast.

    I'm 62, my wife is 55, and we're not interested in great adventure. Just a pleasant vacation trip.

    We'll rent a car in San Francisco. Would you recommend a convertible - is the weather appropriate?

    We don't need luxurious accommodations, but we DO prefer private bathrooms. We want to do this very casually - no jacket and/or tie requirement for me and no dressy/semi-dressy stuff for my wife.

    Any and all recommedations for accommodations, places to eat, things to see, guidebooks to buy, etc. will be most appreciated.

    Thank you!

  • #2
    Re: B & B trip San Francisco to San Diego

    HI there -- my husband and I did the same trip last May and it was just perfect! We rented a convertible and it was worth every penny -- sometimes when it got chilly we turned up the heat and we were fine. On of my favorite towns was Newport Beach and I also loved Carmel. Make sure to do the seven-mile drive on the Monterey Peninsula and to check out Big Sur. Santa Monica is also a fun place to spend an afternoon. I would allot more time to San Fran and less to San Diego -- I wish we had. San Fran is a far more interesting city in my opinion.
    The Independent Traveler


    • #3
      Re: B & B trip San Francisco to San Diego

      Sounds great, Ive done the trip twice now. The first time I tried it using B&Bs, but found the selection to be a bit lacking or outrageously expensive. Ill break my suggestions down by the town.

      San Francisco- Spend at least 2-3 days here. This is a place that I would recommend not staying in an Inn, but rather a full service hotel. They tend to be in better locations and easier to get to the main attractions. I would recommend The Chancellor Hotel (budget), the Fairmont Hotel (moderate), or the St. Regis Hotel (expensive). All of these are great choices for the price ranges they are in, as well as in some of the best locations in the city (the cable car actually stops right outside the Fairmont's door).

      Monterey- Drive south for a few hours on Highway 1 to here. 1 night is all you need. I would highly recommend the Spindrift Inn (great B&B option). Its located right on Cannery Row within walking distance to restaurants. Breakfast comes in the price and is served in your room. All of the rooms have hardwood floors and large picture windows, and all of them have woodburning fireplaces. Its also one of the best values as its priced considerably less than alot of the hotels/inns in and around Pebble Beach. Definitely do the 17-miles drive while youre there.

      Santa Barbara- This is going to be the biggest driving day of the trip, but I recommend doing it as there are so many things to see and do between Monterey and San Diego. I would get up early and be out of the hotel by 9am. Drive down the Coast on Highway 1-- this is by far the most scenic parts of the trip with twists and turns and jagged cliffs. Its really spectacular. Make sure to stop at Hearst Castle in San Simeon and take tour #1 (the others arnt really worth it unless you have alot of time there). Get back on the road and stop in Cambria at the Cambria Winery for a tasting. Since you didnt go north enough from SF for Sonoma/Napa, this will be a fun way to see california winemaking. Keep going south and stop for dinner at the Madonna Inn-- the food is good, but the atmosphere is wild. Finish your marathon day in Santa Barbara. I would recommend the Inn at East Beach (budget), Inn of the Spanish Garden (moderate), Four Seasons Biltmore (expensive), or San Ysidro Ranch (outrageously expensive).

      Los Angeles- Since you drove so much yesterday, you have only a short little jaunt to get to LA. I would spend at least 2-3 days here. This is also a place that its more advisable to stay in a full service hotel. Spend 1 night in the Beverly Hills area and splurge for something fun. Very Inn-like is the Hotel Bel Air. Yes its expensive, but you can find a good deal here midweek. Alternativly, the Beverly Hills Hotel is nice, but doesnt have that park-like atmosphere the Bel Air does. After a romantic night at either of those hotels, transfer across town to Santa Monica for 2 nights. Its right on the beach and central enough to explore the rest of LA from. I recommend The Ambrose Hotel (budget), the Fairmont Miramar Hotel (moderate), and Shutters on the Beach (very expensive).

      San Diego- After LA hop on the 5 south along the coast (highway 1 ends in Laguna Beach) and drive 2 hours south to San Diego. There is very little along the way to see, as most of it is a military base. La Jolla is worth a look-- alot of art galleries and a few good restaurants for lunch (i forget the name of it, but theres a great hole in the wall mexican restaurant right on main street). San Diego only needs 1 day to explore, but spend 2 and relax one of them. I recommend going to Old Town to look around (you dont need very much time here, its not nearly as nice as it used to be). Spend half a day at the SD Zoo (yes its touristy, but alot of fun and one of the better zoos in America). There are a number of hotel choices in downtown San Diego, but I am very partial to Coronado Island. Its a short drive from downtown over a small bridge. The obvious choice is the grand dame Hotel Del Coronado (I recommend spending at least one night here, its part of the experience of being in San Diego). The Glorietta Bay Inn is very nice for the other night, and is not too expensive.

      Well hope this helps, let me know if you have any questions.


      • #4
        Re: B & B trip San Francisco to San Diego

        I can't help you from experience since it is probably 30 years since I did this trip. However, I did a Google search for B & B's California Coast, and found a couple of sites that might help. There was one site--I think the second one listed--that should work. I tried to copy the web address, but it didn't work when I did. So I would suggest trying a search using the words as I used them above. Or you might go to and click your way through. You should come to a map of California to search. The direct address for this was so long I didn't try to copy it.
        I hope you can find some ideas here.
        Host Schmelz
        U.S. Board Moderator


        • #5
          Re: B & B trip San Francisco to San Diego

          Don't miss Hearst Castle at San Simeon about 90 miles south of Monterey. 7.7 miles north of San Simeon is the very interesting Elephant Seal rookery at Peidras Blancas. Look for Friends of the Elephant Seal docents in their blue jackets to answer your questions.


          • #6
            Re: B & B trip San Francisco to San Diego

            As far as B&Bs are concerned, California's Association of B&B website is is a good reference to look at and compare B&B pricing in areas. At least it's a start. I have stayed in several B&Bs above San Francisco but not below.

            It is a wonderful trip going up the coast. The landscape is unbelievable.

            Happy Travels...


            • #7
              Re: B & B trip San Francisco to San Diego

              Thanks to everyone for the great advice!

              We did get the map from California Bed & Breakfast and it will be very helpful.

              We've spent considerable time in both LA and San Francisco before, so they're not an important part of our itinerary.

              Actually, it's not important to us to have a specific itinerary. We're kind of laid-back about just stopping and seeing anything that looks interesting without thinking about time constraints. We just feel if we allow 7 or 8 days, we can really limit driving to no more than 2 or so hours per day. We also tend to be morning people, so it's no problem for us to be on the road by 8AM.

              I'm still looking for ideas for a good travel guide book for the area, one that includes destinations, eating and lodging ideas. I'll have to check out Border's or Barnes & Noble and see what I can find.