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California Honeymooning

by Meghann on June 20, 2012

This is why I like coming home.

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My dad’s cooking! He makes the good stuff. ;)

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Tonight he went all out with homemade chicken parmesan, garlic bread, and dill summer squash.

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It was all delicious, of course, but I wouldn’t have expected it any other way. ;)

My favorite was the chicken parmesan. My dad added a little merlot to his tomato sauce, which really took the dish over the edge.

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I made an old favorite for dessert: vanilla ice cream with oreos crumbled on top.

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This was my go-to dessert when I was a kid. It still is a favorite. ;)

California Honeymooning

The bride-to-be (my gorgeous, amazing sister) has a question…

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Kelly and Anthony are leaving for their honeymoon twenty-four hours after they say “I Do”. They’re flying to San Francisco for a few days before casually road tripping their way down the west coast and flying out of Los Angeles two weeks later. They want a honeymoon full of adventures and know the state of California will give some to them.

Here’s where you guys come in. Somehow between planning their wedding, being teachers, taking care of their pups, and trying to breathe, they forgot about their honeymoon. Right now they have the basics (rental car and hotels), but aren’t sure what to fill-in in between.

Do you have tips for the newlyweds on what to see and do on their honeymoon road trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles? Cities to stop in? Places to eat at? Silly landmarks to have their pictures taken with?!

{ 125 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Theodora June 20, 2012 at 9:59 pm

I don’t know a *ton* about California, but I’d say: (from north to south…I think:)) Napa/Sonoma, Big Sur/Monterey (the aquarium is awesome)/Carmel, Hearst Castle, Disneyland…
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2 Beth @ 990 Square June 21, 2012 at 7:43 am

I second Monterey/Carmel and Disneyland! As you know, Disney makes a big deal out of newlyweds!
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3 Leanne @ The Skinny Architect June 21, 2012 at 11:04 am

Definitely Napa! Check out Max Napa Tours (a bit pricey, but absolutly worth the money!).
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4 Sana June 20, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Yumm, your dad makes the best looking food :)
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5 Elise June 20, 2012 at 10:02 pm

Since they’re starting in my neck of the woods, I have a few recommendations

San Francisco: Rent bikes, Sausalito, farmer’s market, museums, GG bridge, redwood forest north of SF, good food, good bars — oh, and in Oakland: Zachary’s pizza (sooo good, and they have vegan/gf options too) and Fenton’s Ice Creamery.
Santa Cruz: Lots of breweries, local wineries (Bonny Doon and Solis over the hill in Gilroy), beach, boardwalk, surfing, hiking. Penny Ice Creamery and Kelly’s Bakery on Ingalls Street for breakfast/lunch and coffee.
Monterey & Carmel: More wineries, breweries, aquarium, beautiful scenery along the coast!

Hope they have a great time!
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6 Megan S June 21, 2012 at 5:53 pm

I live in Santa Cruz and I’m going to second Penny Ice Creamery in Santa Cruz and the Bonny Doon Winery (in fact, the whole Swift St Courtyard of tasting rooms!).

I’m from San Francisco originally and if they are going to be driving south anyway, I firmly believe that there is no more beautiful stretch of road on earth than the stretch of highway one that connects San Francisco and Santa Cruz. Gorgeous.

Also, it takes you through Half Moon Bay which is pretty and past Ano Nuevo, where the elephant seals live (not sure if they’re there this time of year but it sure is cool when they are!).

If they do end up in Santa Cruz (and they should, it’s awesome). Feel free to check out my restaurants page at:

http://www.gourmetorgohome.com

Tell them to have so much fun!
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7 Lindsey June 20, 2012 at 10:05 pm

We did a road trip from up here in Canada down the west coast to California last August, it was a blast! Our favorites place to eat in San Fran were Patxis Chicago Pizza, and Planet Cafe. The Alcatraz tour is awesome too but you have to book tics ahead usually. We also spent a night in a adorable beach town called Carmel, it was awesome, we stayed in the Lamplighter Inn. Redwoods forest drive is another must. Here was my best of post from the trip – http://www.arunningtale.com/2011/09/cali-road-tripbest-of-recap.html
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8 Aimee June 20, 2012 at 10:09 pm

When they hit L.A., keep going–cocktails and massages at the Laguna Ritz-Carlton!

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9 ash bear June 20, 2012 at 10:09 pm

Lauren (from ski weekend) did the same thing for their honeymoon. I bet you can look at her pictures on Facebook from the honeymoon and figure out where they went/loved. I’ve emailed her too!!
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10 mi-an d. June 20, 2012 at 10:09 pm

I’m from California and went to college in central coast cali, San Luis Obispo…such a pretty place!!
I would recommend visiting San Luis Obispo, which is close to Pismo Beach, then to Santa Barbara (so beautiful there!), then to LA.

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11 Jacqueline June 20, 2012 at 10:27 pm

For sure hit up SLO & Pismo Beach. My 2 favorite places ever.
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12 Summer June 20, 2012 at 11:43 pm

SLO fo sho

Happiest town in America :)

Have her eat at Big sky- lots of local vegetarian options, she’ll die

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13 Lindsay June 21, 2012 at 2:46 am

I second eating at Big Sky, it’s the best!!

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14 liz June 21, 2012 at 9:33 am

Definitely SLO/Pismo! I went to college there – it’s amazing! Lots of hiking, wine tasting, and EATING in that area. Natural Cafe also has lots of veggie options and is amazing!
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15 Army Amy* June 20, 2012 at 10:12 pm

I was in SF for a wedding a few summers ago. We took an Alcatraz tour and really enjoyed it!*
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16 Sara June 20, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Day trip to Napa is an absolute must in San Fran.
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17 Silvia @skinny jeans food June 20, 2012 at 10:14 pm

Take a day trip north of SF and visit Napa Valley for day — unforgettable! (if they like wine).

On my list would be Carmel, hiking and seeing the redwoods, Yosemite, Mono Lake, Palo Alto, Big Sur, Highway 1 down to Southern California. LA? Meet Lynn from the Actor Diet for tips ;-)
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18 Silvia @ skinny jeans food June 20, 2012 at 10:15 pm

Take a day trip north of SF and visit Napa Valley for day — unforgettable! (if they like wine).

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19 Lizzie June 20, 2012 at 10:17 pm

If they’re looking for something more relaxing, really can’t go wrong with Cayucos/Cambria/San Luis Obispo or Los Olivos/Santa Barbara. I live in the area, so I’m biased, but lots of wine tasting, beaches and cute cities. There are also tons of places to camp/shop/eat etc. I hope they have a blast! :)

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20 Lorin June 20, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Stop in San Luis Obispo, great wine tasting and awesome Farmer’s Market on Thursday Night!

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21 Jacqueline June 20, 2012 at 10:24 pm

My husband & I recently moved to the bay area. We took advantage of a Groupon for the Go Car tour & loved it! There’s a deal I saw today.

http://www.livingsocial.com/cities/366-santa-cruz-monterey-bay/deals/372956-two-hour-twilight-gocar-sf-tour-for-two

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22 Karyn June 20, 2012 at 10:28 pm

Monterey Bay Sea Aquarium!

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23 erin June 20, 2012 at 10:31 pm

They would have to drive inland but Lake Tahoe and Yosemite National Park are highly recommended!

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24 Katie June 20, 2012 at 10:32 pm

San Fran is awesome they should spend a few days exploring there, napa wine tasting, seal beach, Santa Barbara is an awesome town, Solvang is a neat Dutch town near Santa barbara that’s fun to visit , spend a few days doing the touristy LA/ Hollywood things, Venice beach, balboa island get a frozen banana, try every beach along the way! If there’s extra time visit Rosarito or another Mexico border town.

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25 Amanda June 20, 2012 at 10:35 pm

It depends if they are taking the 1 ( pacific coast highway) or the I-5 down to Los Angeles. I recommend the 1 because it is much more scenic and coastal. The 5 is just boring farm land,etc. Big Sur is beautiful as well as cambria. Cambria is right by San Luis obispo and Hearst castle which is awesome to go see. Beautiful area!!! They should also stop in Santa Barbara also a really nice town with cute downtown areas!!! Ventura is a nice town also.What a fun honeymoon!!

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26 Amanda June 20, 2012 at 10:40 pm

Ohhh they are gonna be there for two weeks I didn’t see that wow that’s awesome!! Catalina island is awesome- great snorkeling at the protected cove lovers beach.. If they have time head to palm springs and take the tram up San jacinto mtn- in a matter of minutes you are up about 5000 ft above sea level and in the snow!

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27 Sloane @ Life Food and Beer June 20, 2012 at 10:39 pm

Me and my fiance are planning a road trip to California too. I know you said they planned had their hotels planned but I found this also place in San Francisco. It is a hostel but it is in an old lighthouse on a cliff looking over the Pacific Ocean. Here is the link. http://norcalhostels.org/pigeon/ They have private rooms. It seemed nice.
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28 Emily L June 20, 2012 at 10:49 pm

I’m from California!
Rent bikes in SF and bike across GG Bridge to Saulsalito, take HWY 1 South. Stop in Half Moon Bay, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, lots of little beach towns on this beautiful highway. I’m from Monterey and BIG SUR is a MUST! Pfeiffer State Beach = WOW! They’ll never see anything like it! Big Sur is one of California’s gems! LA is overrated, enjoy the scenic coast! :)
Good luck!

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29 Amanda June 20, 2012 at 10:51 pm

While they’re in San Francisco, they MUST go to Muir Woods! If she wants to go to any wineries in Napa PLEASE e-mail me I can giver her the low down! I was just there 3 weeks ago and got engaged at a hill over looking the Golden Gate bridge :) If she wants good food she MUST go to Brenda’s! She can look up the menu online! We saw Olivia Wilde and that guy from Entourage there too! So much fresh produce and veg friendly options, she’ll love it! Hayes Valley is also a really cool place to just walk around. Oh, and she also needs to go to the Land’s End National Park place it’s absolutely gorgeous! Make SURE she brings good jackets for layers at night or even during the day!

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30 Heather June 20, 2012 at 10:58 pm

I have no tips, but Monday we’re leaving for twin trips: San Diego — > Seattle. We will pass on the road!

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31 Kelly June 21, 2012 at 7:43 am

I’ll wave from the car!! Have a fantastic time Heather! :)

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32 Jamie June 20, 2012 at 10:59 pm

Yes!

Have them look at Weekend Sherpa for suggestions on hikes around the Bay Area: http://www.weekendsherpa.com/

Hike to a German Beer Garden in Mill Valley: http://www.yelp.com/biz/tourist-club-mill-valley

Hang out in Dolores Park: http://www.yelp.com/biz/dolores-park-san-francisco and get an ice cream from the Bi-Rite Creamery while you’re there: http://biritecreamery.com/

Vegetarian places to eat:
Greens- http://www.greensrestaurant.com/
Beretta- http://berettasf.com/ (lots of veggie options)
Burritos/taquerias in the Mission. Taqueria El Buen Sabor has a marinated tofu burrito, it’s great! http://www.yelp.com/biz/taqueria-el-buen-sabor-san-francisco

If she’s there for it, check out Castro Theatre’s sing alongs. There are so fun! http://www.castrotheatre.com/singalongs.html

Basically- hiking, nature, walking, ocean and lots of food!

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33 liz June 21, 2012 at 9:35 am

I’ll second the hike to the German beer garden – it’s awesome. Dolores Park + Bi-rite is always a good life decision. Veg restaurants – Millenium (fancy veg), Gracias Madre (vegan Mexican – so good!), Chaya – (vegetarian Japanese), Plant Cafe (best veggie burger ever).
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34 Julie June 21, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Just went to Gracias Madre…I’m not even vegan but I loved it!

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35 Nicole June 21, 2012 at 2:06 pm

YES to Dolores Park (and of course Bi-rite) – the top of the park is one of my favorite views in the city, and the rest of the park is the perfect place to people watch, picnic, drink wine, etc.
Philz or Ritual coffee is the best
rent bikes and ride to Tiburon and brunch at Sam’s
I would NOT do a 2-day double decker tour like someone suggested. Just wander the neighborhoods and parks.
Other stops: Napa (of course!), Carmel & Yosemite!!

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36 Kalli June 20, 2012 at 10:59 pm

They must stop in Santa Barbara and tour state street and do some wine tasting in the Santa ynez valley! And they can always email us and we will buy them a glass of wine in our hometown of Ventura :) I used to be a teacher so we would have tons to talk about!

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37 Jane June 20, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Drive down the 1 from San Francisco through Monterey and then continue past Big Sur! Monterey is gorgeous and has an awesome aquarium! Also they HAVE to eat at Nepenthe in Big Sur! My favorite restaurant ever!
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38 Lily June 20, 2012 at 11:08 pm

They should check out Petaluma, a small wine village outside San Francisco. Also, stopping through Carmel and Pacific Grove would be so much fun–they ar small towns full of gorgeous beach views, rocks to climb on and look at otters and sea lions, and great restaurants.

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39 Dynamics June 20, 2012 at 11:26 pm

Winchester Mystery House, Montery Bay, Pea Soup Anderson, Solvang, Ojai, Wineries, Hollywood Sign, Griffith Park Observatory, Monica from Run Eat Repeat, Studio tours, lots of beautiful beaches along the way. Really depends on what you like to do. San Diego is amazing too. Lots of beautiful biking and hiking spots to incorporate into things. Is you like Bob Harper he teaches a spin class. The usual Knotts Berry Farm, Magic Mountain, Disneyland, Mystery dinners and Medieval Times. Santa Barbara Zoo is on the smaller side. And if you have AAA, gooooo, get a trip ticket and all the books which will list all the things along your path.

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40 Lindsay June 21, 2012 at 10:30 am

Yes, stop in Petaluma! Also, if they are beer buffs (like my boyfriend), stop at the Russian River Brewery in Santa Rosa. Apparently it’s the “holy grail” of breweries for beer lovers nationwide, and you can’t get their beers anywhere outside of the area. It was pretty cool!
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41 Bethany June 20, 2012 at 11:18 pm

There is no way they cant stop in Santa Barbara, but on the way from SF, stop at the Madonna Inn for coffee/treats. In Santa Barbara walk down State st, to the wharf. Can rent bikes or surreys. Go to Hendrys or Butterfly beach if you want to enjoy a nice beach, do not go to the main ones by the wharf. Running the stadium stairs at SBCC is a great place for a workout with a gorgeous view, anyone can walk in. The SB mission is beautiful, and has rose garden across the st. Hikes are also great with views of the ocean. Food: Mexican: Rose Cafe on the Mesa for a traditional, heavier meal, good margs; Los Arroyos downtown for more of a fresher meal, and downtown, so location is good, but don’t order margs; Carlitos on State St, higher end but so worth it, delicious drinks. Italian: Petrinis, local family owned traditional Italian; Pascuccis on State St, best bread ever. Sandwiches: Panini, so so good. Vietnamese: Saigon on State St. Breakfast at Cajun Kitchen, Sambos, Mesa Cafe, Esaus. Goooooood Vegetarian: the Natural Cafe or Sojournor, both really great and mostly vegetarian options. I’m vegetarian so all of these places have good options, but the last two specifically appeal to vegetarians.

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42 Sarah June 20, 2012 at 11:20 pm

San Francisco is amazing – I recommend the 2 day double decker tour. U ride around city and get off and on all day at your pace. Much cheaper than taking cabs everYwhere.

Def do Alcatraz!!!!!! Clam chowder bread bowls at fishermans wharf or dungeness crab. We had a fab dinner at Stinking Rose. It’s a cheesy touristy place, but garlicky and delicious!!!

2 full days in San Francisco is PLENTY. Spend some extra time exploring napa/sonoma

Hit up Sonoma/Napa. The wineries are amazing. Sonoma square is so cute. Girl and the fig restaurant in Sonoma is amazing. Napa is awesome. Mustards Grill in napa is amaze balls. Go splurge at Opus One Winery. Take a tour at some other winery. Mumm napa was my fav – sparkling wine!

Dunno about LA. Haven’t been :-p

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43 Ellen June 20, 2012 at 11:22 pm

I did this last spring break, from Seattle to San Diego. Absolutely, I would recommend taking 101 instead of I5. You will have better scenery, better stops, but a longer drive. It is worth it.

Napa is a must, a bit out of the way but also worth it. Monterey is beautiful. San Luis Obispo and Santa Monica are worthy stops. I recommend spas, wineries, beaches, and good food. California will definitely deliver. :)

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44 Jennie June 20, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Carpinteria, south of Santa Barbara, is an adorable, low key beach town. Breakfast at the Worker Bee is the BEST in Southern California. A little farther down the coast is San Clemente, north of San Diego. It has an awesome running path along the Pacific and breakfast at the Beach Garden Cafe is the second best breakfast in SoCal. Between those two towns is Balboa Island, adjacent to Newport Beach. A small ferry takes you to the island and eating a Balboa Bar is a must if you go.

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45 JessicaE June 21, 2012 at 12:02 am

That Chicken Parmesan looks like something my husband would LOVE… any chance of getting the recipe? Please? :) <3

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46 Christine @ BookishlyB June 21, 2012 at 12:11 am

Carmel, Big Sur, Santa Barbara!
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47 Lauren June 21, 2012 at 12:12 am

Live in SF – one thing I love is to have drinks at the Top of the Mark (at the Mark Hopkins InterContinental. The nighttime views are gorgeous.

They have to drive from San Francisco along Highway 1 to Monterey (my hometown!) and stop along the way at Phil’s Fish Market, http://www.philsfishmarket.com/, along the way!

Hands down my favorite restaurant – it’s easy to miss the turnoff but it IS SO GOOD!

Also they should go to the Monterey Aquarium.

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48 Julie June 21, 2012 at 12:20 am

I live in SF…such an awesome place if I do say so myself :) Here are some suggestions:

–Hike in Muir Woods (north of Golden Gate Bridge). Lunch & drinks at Sam’s in Tiburon after (beautiful view)
–Day trip to Napa or Sonoma.
-Recommended wineries in Sonoma: Gloria Ferrer, Ravenswood, Buena Visa, Gundlach Bundschu, Jacuzzi, Roessler (also should have lunch in the square)
-Recommended wineries in Napa: Mumm, Domaine Chandon, Domaine Carneros, Robert Mondavi, Rubicon Estate, Peju, Raymond
–In SF: Irish coffees at The Buena Vista, Ice cream sundaes at Ghiradelli Square, Giants game at AT&T Park, Segway tour throughout Golden Gate Park (sounds dorky but so so fun and you see so much of the park), Dinner or drinks at the Cliff House, Alcatraz for a really cool touristy experience, Ferry over to Angel Island for hiking, biking across Golden Gate Bridge, brunch at the Ferry Building (I would skip Fisherman’s Wharf/Pier 39, super touristy and not exciting)
–I would recommend that when they leave SF that they drive down Highway 1. Northern California has such a gorgeous coastline–it would be a shame to miss it!

Hope they have a fabulous time!

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49 Liz June 21, 2012 at 12:25 am

Born and raised in Santa Barbara…love it here. Napa is great for wine but we have some good wine up here in Santa Ynez/Solvang area with gorgeous views. Mountains on one side ocean on the other..cant get any better than that.
It’ll be gorgeous next week too!

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50 Jessica June 21, 2012 at 12:27 am

When we went we did a lot of the same things people have already mentioned… Highway 1 is a must do. SO PRETTY.

Also, we made it out to Palm Springs and took a gondola ride up into the mountains. It was pretty awesome. http://www.pstramway.com/
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51 e June 21, 2012 at 12:29 am

I did this trip down PCH and it was the most romantic thing EVER! I would hit: wine country (I prefer sonoma to napa), SF/Sausalito, stop in Carmel (skip Monterey in favor of carmel if you must, I prefer carmel), take the coast, keep going til you get to santa barbara, san louis obispo and/or pismo beach (I would pass on the hearst castle, take some photos but dont spend a ton of time there), LA really isn’t that much fun to visit, in my opinion, I’d hit some spots in Malibu and Santa Monica and keep going down to Laguna Beach (I think it’s more romantic). How many days to they have?

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52 e June 21, 2012 at 12:33 am

also DO NOT TAKE THE 5, take the 101 (pacific coast highway). highway 5 is loaded with cow farms and smells like manure. it’s also hot as HELL and there’s nothing to look at. if you take the 101 it’s 100% ocean views all the way south. absolutely breathtaking. (can you tell i have made this voyage a number of times??)

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53 Casey June 21, 2012 at 12:35 am

Ojai Valley is a gorgeous place to bike and run! And I second everyone else on Napa. It’s a must do. They need to take a limo tour of the wineries–one of my favorite days ever!

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54 Catherineine @ Jig and Jog June 21, 2012 at 12:54 am

San Francisco:
Land’s End
The Ferry Building
North Beach

LA:
Venice Beach/Santa Monica – C&O Trattoria
Runyon Canyon for a hike
Temescal Canyon for a hike
Joan’s on 3rd
Toast
Griffith Park Observatory
LACMA
Getty
Getty Villa (in Malibu)
Duke’s of Malibu
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55 Allison June 21, 2012 at 12:59 am

They should stay a night at Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo if they can – try to get one of the rooms with a rock waterfall shower. And DEFINITELY get a slice of cake from their bakery.

Also, wine tasting in Paso Robles (30 mins north of SLO). My favorite wineries are Peachy Canyon, Croad, Jada, Grey Wolf, Castoro Cellars…but there’s so many! There’s good ones in Edna Valley (just outside SLO) too; favorites are Edna Valley Vineyard and Baileyana/Tangent (they have a bocce ball court too).

Pepe Delgados has awesome Mexican food and margaritas, and Splash Cafe (in SLO and Pismo Beach) has the BEST clam chowder ever. Oh, and they should definitely hike up Bishop’s Peak! Gorgeous, gorgeous views at the top!

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56 Angie June 21, 2012 at 12:59 am

If they have time to drive down hwy 1 do it! It’s breathtaking! They can stop at Hearst Castle. There are definitley great wineries in Paso Robles and Solvang. Definitely need to stop in Santa Barbara which is such a beautiful, charming town. Those are some of my favorite places in central/southern CA!

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57 Cass June 21, 2012 at 1:01 am

Walnut Creek has the beat ice cream place! It’s called San Francisco Ice creamery (man vs food went there and did the kitchen sink challenge), they seriously have the best desserts and good food! Walnut Creek also has a lot of cute restaurants as well.

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58 Elizabeth June 21, 2012 at 1:05 am

Sounds like a fabulous honeymoon! Here are a few things to try…
- Check out Alcatraz – the audio tour is pretty good and the views to the city are amazing.
- There is a great farmer’s market at the ferry building on Saturday mornings and definitely get some blue bottle coffee while there.
- Walk across the golden gate instead of driving!
- There are wonderful hikes at the Marin headlands and Tennessee valley which is near Mill Valley.
- Take the ferry to Angel Island from Tiburon and bike or walk around the island. I think it’s about 5 – 6 miles. While in Tiburon, have some drinks on the patio of Sam’s Cafe.
- Check out Sonoma and Napa for wineries
- Downtown Sonoma also has a great square to walk around in with a tasty Irish Pub
- Drive down to the scenic coast and do the 17 mile drive which will take you on the coast to see Pebble beach, seals, and gorgeous ocean views.
- Drive to Pacifica and watch the surfers while enjoying taco bell at the walk up (not drive up) window
- Have lunch at the Moss beach distillery which is supposedly haunted and has a gorgeous view and an interesting history.
- There is a great aquarium in Monterey
- Got to Pismo beach for some clam chowder
- Check out San Diego and take a bus tour. They let you on and off every hour or so which gives you time to explore on your own as well.

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59 gin June 21, 2012 at 1:05 am

YOSEMITE!! my favorite place in the whole world. So many opportunities it’s ridiculous. Napa, Big sur…they should drive down PCH if possible, the 5 is a whollllle lotta nothing. Just straight 6 hours of nothing. It’s definitely the faster route down south, but where is the fun in that?

Bay area – sausalito, golden gate park (they should find the buffalo! actually the buffalo mostly just stand around) ,blue bottle coffee
I second duke’s in malibu – go for happy hour. You can hike in the palisades and then head to dukes for drinks!
If they stay in venice gjelina’s has really good food and i’ve always loved mao’s cafe for quick lunch, cabo cantina is fun for margaritas! it’s right across the street from C & Os.

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60 alex June 21, 2012 at 1:05 am

I was born and raised in LA. Hike in runyon canyon is a MUST! The view from the top is amazing, and it is right by the hollywood sign. Sawtelle boulevard for great japanese food, sunday farmets market on main st. in venice, universal studios, matador beach malibu.

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61 Lindsay June 21, 2012 at 2:48 am

Los Olivos for wine tasting and the BEST cupcakes ever at Enjoy Cupcakes, seriously, they are live changing.

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62 cat k June 21, 2012 at 3:04 am

don’t forget bi-rite creamery, tartine bakery, and dynamo donuts in SF!

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63 Katy June 21, 2012 at 4:11 am

Definitely take highway 101 down the coast through San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. I would recommend stopping in Santa Cruz! There are a ton of fun places to eat and hike!
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64 Stephanie June 21, 2012 at 6:25 am

YOSEMITE!!!! We had almost the same honeymoon and spent 2.5 days in Yosemite and it was AMazing!!!! It’s about a 3 hour drive
From San Fran and so many amazing things to see, we loved it so much we are going back to Yosemite for our 1st anniversary this fall. Tons of waterfalls, hiking trails, giant sequoia forest, seriously so many amazing things.

-Muir woods just outside SF to see the redwoods, it was so cool, and you can walk the trails out to the beach, amazing views.

If you drive south down PCH, stop in half moon bay, about 30 minutes south of San Fran, there is an awesome brewery and restaurant: Half Moon Bay Brewing Co., it would be a great place to stop as you head south.

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65 Kristen @ notsodomesticated June 21, 2012 at 6:49 am

I did a hot air ballon ride over Napa Valley before and that was pretty awesome. I think it would a romantic thing to do as newlyweds. ;)
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66 Lauren June 21, 2012 at 7:49 am

I know this would be going the opposite direction, but I HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend taking a short hour drive up north to Napa. It’s UNBELIEVABLE! A day of wine tasting in the valley is essential on a CA honeymoon. :)

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67 Claire June 21, 2012 at 8:03 am

Tell her to do the napa valley wine train in Napa, especially for the views of CA! (the wine part is fun too!) also, Alcatraz in SFrancisco and touring Gromans Chinese theater in LA! Congrats to her, she’ll have an amazing time!

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68 Ebernst June 21, 2012 at 8:05 am

YOSEMITE!!!! They seriously must go there! It is probably one of the most beautiful places in the States with incredible waterfalls and mountains. Even for the non-hiker there are still tons of beautiful short hikes and just enjoying of the amazing natural beauty! I was out in California for work last year and during our free weekend we hit up both Yosemite and San Fran and loved them both, although I think I loved Yosemite a little more!!! :)

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69 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope June 21, 2012 at 8:08 am

All of that food that your dad made looks amazing! I want that chicken parm! Haha :)

Your sister should definitely going to Disneyland! I’m a huge Disney fanatic and I’ve never been to Disneyland. It looks like such a fun place!
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70 Sara J June 21, 2012 at 8:11 am

While in San Fran – Do the Alcatraz tour… very interesting and nice boat ride to the island. Ghiradelli Square – chocolate, ice cream, cupcakes (need I say more?). Napa Valley – Beautiful and there’s wine :-)
The Redwoods, Monterey Bay Aquarium

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71 Cait June 21, 2012 at 8:20 am

if they want to see a fun sporting event, go see the Golden State Warriors play in Oakland! They can then head to Zachary’s pizza!!

Of course, the usual SF toursty things too..cable car, gg bridge, full house home (which isn’t the one on the opening credits!), Alcatraz, Fshermans Wharf, Boudin Bakery…

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72 Laura June 21, 2012 at 12:30 pm

I have to put in a plug for my hometown, Santa Cruz! Saturn Cafe, Malabar, Cafe Gratitude, and Dharmas are all veggie restaurants. The boardwalk is fun and it’s a great stop on the way to Monterey/Carmel/Big Sur. The Penny Ice Creamery (which was mentioned somewhere above) is also great and uses organic and local ingredients for their ice creams. But you really can’t go wrong along the California coast. Pismo, Avila Beach, Paso Robles (for wine tasting), Santa Barbara, Cambria (For Hearst Castle), Cayucos, Morro Bay (taco temple is amazing), San Luis Obispo are all great stops. She should be sure to take Hwy 1 down the coast! I-5 is horrible and Hwy 101 is a little boring.

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73 sweeter salt June 21, 2012 at 8:27 am

This requires traveling north, but I definitely recommend hitting up the wine country! Benziger Family Winery is an eco-friendly vineyard in Sonoma County that I loved (benziger.com). The town of Healdsburg is also a great town to hit up.

Sausalito, just north of SF is a gorgeous little town too.
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74 Sara @my less serious life June 21, 2012 at 8:31 am

hey ask your dad if he will share his recipe for that dill summer squash! i would love to have it…

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75 Alli June 21, 2012 at 8:44 am

I happen to currently know that the campgrounds in Yosemite are currently 100% booked for the summer, however, I would still put it on the list to see… you just won’t be able to stay there (I’m sure the lodges are booked up too.) I can’t believe no one mentioned Sequoia!?! It’s the best place in the world! How about the Channel Islands?! Let’s think of some of the natural wonders, not just commercial!

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76 Mackenzie @SusieFreakingHomemaker June 21, 2012 at 8:50 am

Danza Del Sol Winery in Temecula! I got married there about four months ago – it’s absolutely gorgeous.

http://danzadelsolwinery.com/

San diego zoo is also a must!!

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77 Em June 21, 2012 at 9:01 am
78 Kat June 21, 2012 at 9:04 am

I’m from about an hour north of LA…they should DEFINITELY go to Santa Barbara, it’s charming and full of fun restaurants and a cute pier. From there drive down Pacific Coast Highway (onto the 101 and then back to PCH) to reach Malibu. Right off the Highway before you hit Malibu is the classic roadside-beach-shack restaurant, Neptune’s Net. It’s really a classic and I still try to go every time I’m home. Then continue on the drive through Malibu down the coast, stopping at viewpoints and beaches along the way. It really doesn’t get any better than that!

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79 Michelle June 21, 2012 at 9:20 am

Sooooo jealous of Kelly’s trip! I wish I was back there right now. Truthfully, I wish we had spent more time in Sonoma. Oh man, I am just SO in love with that place!

I definitely recommend a bike ride from SF to Sausalito. Would have done it if we didn’t have the kids (we drove there instead – still worth it!). If you want to do a museum or something in SF, I recommend the California Academy of Sciences (http://www.calacademy.org/) We spent about 4-5 hours there and it was awesome. There’s an aquarium, a planetarium, and a rainforest/biosphere. Oh, and the Muir Woods was recommended to us – but there wasn’t enough time.

Hope she has SO much fun!
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80 Lindsay June 21, 2012 at 10:20 am

Oh, we did the bike trip from San Fran to Sausalito. SO awesome! Definitely do that. And they can take the ferry back if they don’t feel like biking it :)
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81 Cait's Plate June 21, 2012 at 9:33 am

That meal looks DIVINE.
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82 liz June 21, 2012 at 9:38 am

I could probably respond to every single one of these comments, but I’ve already responded to two, so I’ll just give the rest of my two cents: Big Sur is a must – Nepenthe and Big Sur Bakery alone are worth the drive. Plus the hiking is beautiful and everything about it is pretty much amazing. I’ll also second Cambria/Hearst Castle!
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83 Sara Scarlet June 21, 2012 at 9:39 am

Hi Meghann,
I think that Big Sur, CA is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. When I was there I stayed at Glen Oaks Big Sur – a little inn along Highway 1 – it was gorgeous. There’s also an amazing bakery there called the Big Sur Bakery. Make sure to check out Andrew Molera state park and Pfeiffer Beach State Park for mountains and coastal views.

-Sara

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84 Ali June 21, 2012 at 9:42 am

I’d recommend “Greens” restaurant in SF, it’s vegetarian and great. I’m not vegetarian, but go there every time I’m in SF.

I agree w/others, take the 1, but take your time & make sure you have a full tank of gas.

Santa Ynez is great & low key. The channel islands is a great trip, or Catalina.

In LA, stick to the shore. Gladstones in Malibu has a great fresh lobster roll! I really like to stay in Manhattan Beach, nice place to walk around.

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85 Wendy June 21, 2012 at 9:46 am

I love La Jolla, such a beautiful town with beautiful beaches!
When we were in southern California, we rode the train along the pacific coast highway. I recommend it!

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86 Ashley V June 21, 2012 at 9:47 am

They should definitely look into platypus wine tours in Sonoma! They pick you up early (around 10) and take you to several private vineyards. They drop you off around 5 or 6 and also provide lunch. It was amazing and very reasonably priced.

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87 Sarah June 21, 2012 at 9:47 am

We did that exact trip last March.

Tell Kelly not to worry about planning anything when driving down route 1. The best part of the drive is stopping when you want and taking in the amazing scenery! The only definite stops are Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and the Elephant Seals (but honestly they would be hard to miss).

In San Francisco, tell her to stop by the Bourbon and Branch. Its a speakeasy which is awesome! here is a short post about our stay in SF http://www.goingongoals.com/2011/03/sweetie-spaghetti-and-san-francisco.html

Lastly, tell her to visit Muir Woods. My husband and I agree it was our favoritest (yes it deserves to be a word) stop throughout the entire trip.

ps: I hope (know) you will do a full recap of the wedding. My friend is starting to look at venues in Central FL and I would love to hear your insight.

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88 Katherine June 21, 2012 at 9:59 am

The science museum at Golden Gate Park is awesome. Well All of the park was lovely, but the museum was great.

I did SF to Santa Cruz with my kids a few years ago. As others have mentioned, Santa Cruz has a great vibe, a cool boardwalk, and a cute small town feel. We saw a whole mess of giant sea lions when we walked out on the pier. Zacharys restaurant has a great breakfast!

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89 Abbey June 21, 2012 at 10:09 am

It has been years since I have been out to the west coast but I could never forget the drive down Highway 1. The drive is gorgeous!!! We didn’t get to go to far (we stayed in Monterey and went as far south as Big Sur and north as San Fran) but Big Sur is probably my favorite. Just your typical beachy town with restuarants and beaches at every turn. I think they have made the right move by booking hotels and flights and then winging it. That is my dream trip!

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90 tara June 21, 2012 at 10:13 am

I live in this area and there is so much to do. If you are looking for nice scenery along the coast, do your trip part ways on highway 1, the coastal highway. It is beautiful and you will want to stop and taking pictures the entire time. I would recommend doing the stretch of highway 1 south of Monterey/Carmel area (also great places to visit). From San Fran to Monterey would also be a nice drive. It is a bit of a slower drive than the major highways, but so worth it!

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91 Lindsay June 21, 2012 at 10:17 am

If they make it to wine country, eat at Mustard’s in Napa Valley. They’d need to make a reservation, which I recommend doing ASAP. But it’s amazing food and not expensive at all. Very casual, which is nice after spending the day drinking wine :) And if you need winery recommendations in the area, I was just there a few months ago. Check out Cakebread (my fave!) and Del Dotto (a little pricey at $60/person, but totally worth it!).
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92 Angela June 21, 2012 at 10:22 am

I have only been to LA, so for LA I would recommend:
Runyon Canyon in Hollywood for a hike
Porto’s- Cuban-style family bakery and cafe
Leo Carrillo State Park- they have awesome tide pools
If you like the office, you can see the “office” in Van Nuys
The Groundlings Theatre- improv
Flower Market
Olvera Street
Greystone Manor
Venice Beach
The Prop House near Warner Brother’s Studios- they get all the clothes from movies & t.v. shows to resale. They even mark them from what movie/show they come from!

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93 Missy June 21, 2012 at 10:51 am

I second many of the Bay Area recommendations. My favorites are:
- San Francisco: Golden Gate Park, seeing Beach Blanket Babylon, eating Italian in North Beach, shopping in Union Square, Embarcadero
- Sausalito
- Carmel: strolls on the beach, wine tasting, shopping, tons of cute bed & breakfasts, eat at Casanova for their spinach gnocchi – to die for, also Carmel Belle for breakfast/lunch
- Half Moon Bay: there’s a beautiful Ritz Carlton here. It has a fabulous brunch buffet on the weekends ($$$ but worth it!) and a great trail for running
- Monterey: Point Lobos has a ton of great trails for hiking

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94 Gillian @ That's G June 21, 2012 at 10:56 am

Hard to go wrong in CA!

They could easily spend two weeks in just SF/LA – but here are some other options:
SF: Ghirardelli Square/Boudin bakery (clam chowder in a bread bowl = quintessential SF), Lombard street, walk across the golden gate bridge, eat/poke around the Ferry Building, dueling piano bars at Jonny Foley’s in the Finanical District

Hop across the Bay Bridge to Oakland/Berkeley – College Ave. in Berkeley has some great shops/eateries, and Telegraph Ave. in Berkeley has the stereotypical tie-dye/stoner culture which is fun to marvel at. Maybe catch an A’s game (or Giants!) depending on who is in town.

Other places to stop on the way: Santa Cruz/Half Moon Bay for northern beach cities, San Luis Obispo is a quaint college town (with nearby Pismo Beach adjacent to it).

fun, kitschy photos can be taken at any Pea Soup Anderson’s restaurant as well as the small town of Solvang (everything is Danish!)
Southern CA:

Santa Barbara – walk around State Street (my fav restaurant is next to the Art Museum – surprisingly good – called Arts and Letters Cafe. Santa Barbara is gorgeous and worth a stop, and probably also where you’ll find some decent mexican food.
Ventura might be worth a small pitstop, maybe lunch at Ventura harbor.
Before arriving in LA, I’d break off from the freeway and trek down to Malibu – gorgeous weather/food (I like the seafood stand called Malibu Seafood off PCH, and fro-yo at “Malibu Yogurt.” and the greek place in the Country Mart, Taverna Tony). If you linger around at the Starbucks enough, you’ll see a celebrity.

There is SO MUCH to do in LA you can’t go wrong – Getty museum, Santa Monica pier/boardwalk, Downtown, Beverly Hills/West Hollywood, etc.

Hope that helps!
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95 Michele Williams June 21, 2012 at 10:57 am

Take a tour in SF, then they will know what they want to go back to spend more time at, Muir Woods, Carmel by the Sea, Big Sur…..they won’t be disappointed there is a TON to see and do.

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96 Conni June 21, 2012 at 11:04 am

In San Francisco, tell them to go to Cafe Gratitude. It has some of the most amazing vegan food ever. Also, the Alcatraz Prison Tour is awesome!!

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97 Kristina June 21, 2012 at 11:19 am

Lots of people have mentioned Big Sur, and I’d definitely second or third that. They should make reservations or try to figure it out before leaving. Some of the places, if they plan to stay there, are crazy expensive! But tons of great state parks!
Also, for wine tasting, I really like Paso Robles and Santa Barbara wineries – a bit more low-key than Napa.
They’ll have great trip!

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98 TC June 21, 2012 at 11:32 am

I live in SF. I recommend renting bikes to ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, walking around Golden Gate Park, the Ferry Market Building, and Valencia Street in the Mission for lots of good eating/people watching.

They must check out Julian Pfeiffer Burns State Park in Big Sur. It’s incredible.
http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=578

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99 Melissa @TryingtoHeal June 21, 2012 at 11:35 am

They have to check out the small towns all over the coast. San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, Morro Bay, Carmel, Sequoia National Park, The Sierras, The Mojave, Santa Cruz, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Ventura, Pasadena…there are so many great places to go! If she has time to go to San Diego I highly suggest that, but if they can’t make it all the way down there Encinitas, Carlsbad and Solana Beach are great places to visit!! Yay for your sister!
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100 Rebecca @ Blueberry Smiles June 21, 2012 at 11:45 am

In SF, visit the ferry bldg, take a cable car, walk across the gg bridge to Sausalito, take a day trip to Sonoma if they have time, and hike in Marin. It’s an easy city, so in sure they’ll have fun and cover the basics even if they don’t plan it all out!
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101 Jenna June 21, 2012 at 11:54 am

It’s funny, I actually just did this same trip last month. We flew into San Fran and from there went to Muir Woods, Sonoma, Napa, Monterey, Big Sur, Hearst Castle, San Luis Obispo and Orange County. It was so awesome! I have posts on my Travel page… http://lifeinthesunnyspot.blogspot.com/p/travel.html

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102 theresa @ a spoonful of sunshine June 21, 2012 at 11:55 am

I definitely recommend stop in
Monterey- 17 mile drive (prepare to see some of the most gorgeous houses & sights ever
Big Sur-Go camping!
Paso Robles-wine tasting
Hearst Castle-gorgeous
Pismo
Santa Barbara-super cute town & their is a place just north where you can pick your own blueberries
Santa Ynez- Low key wine tasting + Lake Cachuma
Carpinteria-some cute little beaches
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103 Jennifer T. June 21, 2012 at 12:07 pm

What a fun honeymoon! Drive down Highway 1 for sure! Make sure to stop in Big Sur and San Luis Obispo. They have to have there picture taken at the all pink world famous Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo. It’s the perfect honeymoon spot!

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104 Kris June 21, 2012 at 12:25 pm

One of a kind dinner in San Fran : Boulevard. Classy, eccletic, unforgettable

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105 Dani June 21, 2012 at 1:13 pm

In LA definitely go walk on the beach path between Manhattan and Hermosa beach! Its so gorgeous and like ten minutes from the airport. Eat at Martha’s 22nd street grill, very veggie friendly with amazing tofu scrambles! In San Fran House of Nanking is THE place to go for amazing Chinese food. I like LA way better than SF.

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106 Justine June 21, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Monterey/Big Sur/Pacific Grove are all great and worth a few days. We don’t really get summer here until October (the high today is 66), so bring a sweater! The aquarium is in Cannery Row, which is EXTEMELY touristy, but I thought it was neat to see where the events in the book took place. Pacific Grove has Lover’s Point and 17-mile drive. The Monterey bike path is right along the coast and accessible from almost anywhere – great for a morning run/stroll of any length and their all bike rental places all along it as well.

Vegetarian musts: Saturn Cafe (diner style) in Santa Cruz and Pokez in San Diego – honestly, the burritos here are #2 in the top 5 things I miss about home. The World’s Largest Artichoke in Castroville is a fun stop – disappointing if you expect a real one, terrific if you want a fried one.

Keeping with the ‘world’s largest’ theme is the Cabazon Dinosaurs.

Solvang and the Madonna Inn are both on my California Bucket List (or totally would be if I really had one).

More San Diego stuff (it’s the place I know best, and only 2 hours south of LA, depending on the time of day): Belmont Park in Mission Beach to ride one of the two original beachfront coasters on the west coast, anywhere in Balboa Park really, The Whaley House in Old Town is the most haunted house in the US according to the Travel Channel’s “Most Haunted”. La Jolla and Coronado have the best beaches, Mt. Soledad has the views.
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107 Eva June 21, 2012 at 1:30 pm

they must must must stop (and stay?) in big sur!

eat at nepenthe: http://www.nepenthebigsur.com/

and big sur bakery: http://www.bigsurbakery.com/

consider staying in a yurt or camp here: http://www.treebonesresort.com/

the most beautiful place on earth!

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108 amina June 21, 2012 at 1:47 pm

Tell your sister to check out the Go Car tour while in SF. It’s a little mini car, looks like a bumper car, that you drive on regular streets. The car allows you to tour SF on your own terms…all the while having an automated voice point out all of the sights of the city. You can stop at any point for lunch/snacks/ drinks/shopping. It’s so fun!

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109 Betsy June 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm

Wow. This weekend happens to be pride in san francisco; that should be a lot of fun. The presidio has a ton of stuff (for example a disney family museum and a statute of yoda, plus killer views), and you can run across the golden gate bridge. Ghirardelli Square is a must (the cupcakes aren’t thrilling there, feel free to skip those, not worth the money or calories). There are bikes you can rent, tootle all over. Definitely check out the buena vista for breakfast if you can.

Driving down to LA can be a little challenging. Prepare for traffic. Consider taking scenic hwy 1 along the coast. Monterey is amazing, Cambria has the most amazing cute place to eat, with really great food, too: fresh fish (wait, nix that for the vegetarian, right?)! Pismo Beach is popular, so if you want to fight crowds, go there. Otherwise, there are aton of other beach options.

In LA, there is so much to do, I dont even know where to begin. Graumann’s chinese theater? Walk of game with the stars on the sidewalk? Paying $20 for a burger? Or $4+ for gas? So many california experiences!

Oh! Santa cruz. Beach boardwalk is there, and pebble beach. And three most amazing artichoke soup EVER.

I’m excited to hear how it goes!
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110 Melissa June 21, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Having lived in Southern California my whole life, hopefully I can recommend some good stuff even if it’s already covered in everyone else’s comments.

Wine country is a must (if they’re into that kind of thing). I absolutely love the little Danish town of Solvang, which is about 45 minutes inland from Santa Barbara. There are tons of wine tasting rooms in town and you can also drive out to wineries to do tastings and see the gorgeous vineyards. Solvang also has amazing pastries and pancakes (Paula’s Pancake House). Downtown Santa Barbara itself is a great beach area.

If they’re driving down the coast they’ll see the ocean a good part of the time where they can stop at Hearst Castle for a tour. Disneyland is a given, as are stopping at some of the beaches (Corona Del Mar/Newport and Laguna are good choices).

Since Southern California is unique in that you can visit the beach and the mountains in the same day, I’d also recommend going toward Lake Arrowhead and stopping at some apple orchards. Riley’s Farm is a favorite of mine and depending on the day they have dinner events that are super fun.

In LA there’s the Getty Museum, and in Thousand Oaks there’s the Ronald Reagan library/museum. I’ve also heard about a farmer’s market near the Museum of Tolerance, also in LA. Hollywood has Rodeo Drive with lots of shopping.

They’ll definitely have adventures out here! There’s SO much to do!
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111 Shauna June 21, 2012 at 3:27 pm

As someone who went to school in/currently lives in the Bay Area, my one piece of advice is: skip Fisherman’s Wharf. Seriously. I was so disappointed the first time I went there. There were just some tourist-type stores and that was about it. I’d suggest Alcatraz instead. Also, there’s a great Northern California sandwich shop called Mr. Pickle’s, which I’m obsessed with. Try it!

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112 Jessica June 21, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Tell her to try and visit Solvang. It’s a quaint little Danish town. It’s not very big so she could probably see it all in one day. But you could also stick around and stay in one of their cute hotels and have some good food. It has some AMAZING views of the mountains. Check it out here: http://www.solvangusa.com/

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113 Lesley Zinn June 21, 2012 at 4:45 pm

There us a great hotel in Carmel called the Tickle Pink Inn… highly suggest.
http://www.ticklepinkinn.com/

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114 Lesley Zinn June 21, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Oh, and Half Moon Bay is right outside San Francisco – maybe 45 minutes south on Hwy 1. Very quaint little town but really pretty. And lunch at Sam’s Chowder House cant be beat. They get really crowded on the weekends but a weekday lunch should be easy. Sit outside if the weather permits. Delicious and scenic.
http://www.samschowderhouse.com/

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115 Gretchen June 21, 2012 at 5:21 pm

We JUST got back from our honeymoon in San Fran/Napa/Sonoma!! Ditto making a trip to either Napa or Sonoma for some wine tasting – honestly, it doesn’t matter where you go. Everyone has a thousand recommendations of the best wineries, but we had some of our favorite experiences at some of the smaller ones we ‘stumbled’ upon. Yountville (outside Napa) has incredible restaurants, but I also second Girl and the Fig in Sonoma. Another favorite was renting bikes and riding from San Fran to Sausalito (over the Golden Gate Bridge), grabbing brunch or sandwiches overlooking the bay in Sausalito, walking around a bit, and then taking the ferry back to San Fran. We also rode down Route 1 along the coast and stopped in Santa Rosa to eat at one of Guy Fieri’s restaurants (we’re Food Network junkies). Such a fun trip – congratulations and enjoy!!

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116 Kim June 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm

Used to live in California – some recommendations:
-BIG SUR – most breathtaking scenery anywhere along the coast
-a little further south of LA, the beaches in San Diego are nicer (and the air is cleaner – don’t underestimate the impact of air pollution on a Florida girl, we were coughing with itchy eyes after a few hours in the LA basin) – Imperial Beach is beautiful & casual, wide beaches, very relaxing
-Big Bear Lake – fun campy style in the mountains outside of LA (where the air is clear)

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117 Amanda (modernation) June 21, 2012 at 9:48 pm

In SF – take the ferry over to Sausalito for a couple hours. Or rent bikes and bike across the Golden Gate.

If they are up for going inland before heading south, they should drive from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe. It’s about 3.5-4 hours East of San Francisco and one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Monterey, Carmel, Cambria (go to Hearst Castle). Cambria has really cute B&Bs and beautiful coastal views. 17 mile drive in Carmel. Take a picture with the single cyprese tree on the coast – a CA landmark.

Santa Barbara – see or stay at the Madonna Inn close by. Every room has a crazy theme.
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118 Cate June 21, 2012 at 10:19 pm

I say drive down Hwy 1, and do Carmel, Santa Cruz, Monterey Bay, Big Sur… etc. I would also say, since they’re spending two weeks in CA, go past LA into Orange County… Dana Point is really pretty, and then even take a visit to San Diego/La Jolla.

If they do go inland, I highly recommend Lake Tahoe. It’s BEAUTIFUL this time of year.

And pack a lot of layers and bring a fleece! The coast is on the cooler side this time of year. I was just in Monterey and it was warmish for them this time of year in the 70s. The farther way you get from the coast, the warmer it gets. It’s in the mid-upper 90s in the valley.

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119 Bonnie June 21, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Highway 1 down to Big Sur – stay @ Glen Oaks (Little Sur cabins) or Treebones Resort Yurts! Pretty cool experience either way and tons of hiking! Muir Woods and the Overlook north of SF are awesome too!

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120 Allison June 22, 2012 at 2:05 am

They must go to CAMBRIA, CA on the coast!!! It is amazing! Stay at the cambria pines lodge, east ollaieberries (the official berry of cambria), go wine tasting in paso robles, and go to Hearst Castle in San Simeon!!!! :)
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121 Annie June 22, 2012 at 3:01 am

I highly recommend staying a couple nights in Big Sur to do some hiking. The drive down Highway 1 is stunningly beautiful! If staying in Big Sur, I also recommend going to the Esalen Institute and using their natural hot springs when they’re open to the public from 1-3am (http://www.esalen.org/place/hot_springs.html) OR they could just stay there.I stayed at the Big Sur lodge and then drove down to Esalen for the hot springs, and it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

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122 Victoria Runs June 22, 2012 at 10:20 am

We went to San Fran for our honeymoon and then spent 3 days in Half Moon Bay! LOVED IT in Half Moon! So relaxing and gorgeous. Take in some tide pools, hiking and just quality time together!
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123 Sarah June 22, 2012 at 5:44 pm

I am not sure you will ever be able to wade through all these suggestions, but they are all really good ones!
Several people suggested renting bikes and riding across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco to Sausalito and then into Tiburon to eat at Sam’s. This is an awesome suggestion, here’s my one tip:
TOURISTS rent bikes from Blazing Saddles (because they advertise like crazy), but it’s $32+ per day for each bike.
LOCALS rent bikes from Sports Basement (an incredible local sporting goods warehouse), where they are only $20/day, and the bikes are in better condition. They also rent excellent road bikes (which I know Kelly would appreciate!). Go the locals route!

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124 Anne June 25, 2012 at 7:42 am

Stop in San Luis Obispo on the Central Coast! I go to college there and it is absolutely beautiful! There’s a fun downtown the explore, the beach is 10 minutes away, and there are a million wineries if you want to go wine tasting!

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125 Danielle June 29, 2012 at 4:07 pm

I wish I saw this earlier! I just got back from doing that trip in reverse order (LA –> San Francisco) along the PCH with my boyfriend this past week. It was AMAZING and I’m sure Kelly will have a great time (and I usually HATE road trips so thats saying a lot!). My recommendations… my favorite little town was Cambria, which is exactly the half way point between the 2 cities. We stayed at a cute (and cheap!) little place called Cambria Pine Lodges and I had the BEST food of the trip at the Moonstone Beach Bar and Grill. We ate 2 meals there… one night I had a salad that was delicious, and the next day I had the fish tacos (BEST i’ve ever had, highly recommended if she is a fish-eating vegetarian) for lunch. I also stole a few bites of the clam chowder from my bf and that was excellent, too. The whole restaurant is overlooking the ocean, so esp. if she can eat outside, its a beautiful view! Otherwise, the food is really good and not too pricey, either.

Santa Barbara was gorgeous too. We stayed at the Oceana, which was right across the street from the ocean and again, not too pricey. The room was decent. We had a great dinner at Bucatini… bf raved that my spinach & ricotta ravioli was the best he’d ever had. LOL. The Oceana also has bicycles for guests to take out in the town & on the beach, which I thought was a nice touch.

Big Sur was truly breathtaking. Make sure to take advantage of all the spots to pull over/take photos/etc. Just FYI, my cell service was 100% up there.

LA has plenty to do, but if she wants to get away from the feel of the city, I’d highly recommend heading to Runyon Canyon for some hiking on a weekday. we did that and it was a highlight of the trip. You can see all of LA, get a great hike in and just have a little bit of “me” time. I’d told it gets really busy on weekends though.

Napa was a bit of a miss for us… We went on a Friday afternoon and the wineries were packed. Then, we went to Celadon (in Napa) for dinner. They weren’t veggie friendly and the food was so-so, esp. for the price.

Things I wish I’d stopped for: the 17 mile drive in Carmel. Maybe the Hearst Castle (everyone said to check it out, but it’s just a house to me), which was closed when we drove by.

I’m so excited for Kelly! We’re already talking about going back and doing the drive in the opposite direction. Such a beautiful area! I actually had the concierge from my CC send me a 52 page PDF guide to PCH if she’s interested. I know it’s sorta late, but if she’s interested just let me know and I’d be more than happy to pass it along via email.

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