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10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

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10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

Old 04-20-13, 04:44 PM
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10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

Alright, my sis-in-law/niece/nephew bug me every year to go on vacation with them and I usually find some poor excuse not to go. Not this time however so I'm going to SF end of July (most likely 21 to 31st) for 10 days.
Little do they know that that's exactly when Cowboys training camp starts in Oxnard.

So... aside from going to Oxnard, what else to do?

Since we're only booking the flight part and not an "all included" trip, I'm trying to figure out how long we'll stay in SF, versus being on the road, i.e. how long to book a hotel in SF for, and how many days to book a car.

Here's what I figure so tell me if that makes sense:

- 5 days in SF. Buy City Pass with Alcatraz Tour included. That should be plenty for visiting the city and all the stuff that can be done on "day trips" without a car.

- 5 days doing stuff witch requires a car: Napa Valley, Yosemite, go down the coast (Oxnard! ), etc... I'm not sure how many of these trips can be done with SF as base, i.e. will require sleeping elsewhere.

Thoughts on this hotel:

http://www.sealrockinn.com/map.html

Or would we be better off trying to rent a house/condo for a week?

Any help/tips appreciated.


P.S. Did a search but the threads that turned up all seemed to be for 2-3 day trips.
Old 04-20-13, 04:49 PM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

There isn't really enough to do to fill ten days in Santa Fe.
Old 04-20-13, 05:00 PM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

I stayed at the Seal Rock Inn the first time I ever went to San Francisco, decades ago. I've been there since and it hasn't aged well (it wasn't so great the first time.) And other than the beach and good breakfasts at the hotel, there's nothing going on around it. I'd skip it.
Old 04-20-13, 05:35 PM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

Thanks X

Since we're gonna use the City Pass (public transport), what would be a good location? I checked around Fisherman's Wharf but it's expensive.
Old 04-20-13, 06:01 PM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

Seal Rock is right at the end of a major bus line, but it's all the way across the city from a lot of tourist attractions.

There's nothing inexpensive in SF. Some people I know like Hotel Majestic, I've never been there. There are a lot of boutique-type hotels such as Villa Florence that might work. I think you'll be lucky to find a decent place in the city for much under $200 per night unless you can get some deal. Once you get out of the city you'll find substantially lower prices.
Old 04-20-13, 06:58 PM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

I stayed at the Columbus Motor Inn last year. It was pretty reasonable from what I remember. It's walking distance to Fisherman's Wharf and a major bus line stopped right out front. We took a day trip up to Sonoma/Muir Woods/Muir Beach from there.
Old 04-20-13, 08:39 PM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

Was having a hard time finding rooms/suites with 3 beds so I switched to looking for apartment rentals. Already found a couple of places for $200/night which would be far better/more comfortable for 4 people than a hotel room/suite. Does "Hayes Valley" area ring a bell? Seems to be pretty central.
Old 04-20-13, 08:49 PM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

Oxnard is over 6 hours away from San Francisco and that is driving I5 which is a boring as hell drive. If you were thinking of driving Hwy1 (the coast) the trip would be much longer, maybe double the time. Really if Oxnard is a must I would stay in Southern Cal for a few days and drive into LA and hit some tourist places.

As for Alcatraz, buy the tour as soon as possible. It can sells out months in advance during that time of year.
Old 04-20-13, 08:51 PM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

Originally Posted by eXcentris View Post
Does "Hayes Valley" area ring a bell? Seems to be pretty central.
Not the greatest area...

http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/201...crime-problem/

It's one of those areas where the riff-raff are being pushed out by gentrification. I'm not sure how pushed out they are yet.
Old 04-20-13, 09:15 PM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

Had great fun in 'Frisco last year. Stayed at a 3star at Fishermans Wharf area (Sheraton on priceline bid to $150/night. Was able to walk to Chinatown/little Italy/embarcadero.

Bought that 2 day pass and was well worth it.

I say hit up Priceline/Hotwire and select the three star.

OR

Stick with the apartment, so long as it is legitimate

If you are driving up 101, eat at FatCats on Avila Beach pier, Wine taste in Paso Robles (better than Napa IMHO), stay a day in Monterrey and hang out by the pier.

If you want to go up to Napa/St. Helena/Calistoga, please do yourself a favor and spend your lunch at Sattui Winery. Taste some of their Madeira (and have some cheese/crackers). Send a bottle to Grip.




Have a great time!
Old 04-20-13, 09:18 PM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

OOH and the reds and cubs are in town. I bleed Dodger Blue and god forbid I say anything nice about the GiAntz, but I do love their ballpark. Dodger stadium is still the best, but damn, what a great location and experience.

(gotta wash my mouth out now....get that bad taste outta there)
Old 04-20-13, 09:24 PM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

You mentioned Yosemite, which is pretty much my favorite place on Earth. (not kidding, I'll be backpacking out there for 20 days this summer.)

It's a bit of a drive from SF, but well worth it. If you've done any sort of research, I'm sure you're familiar with the scenery; if not, just google image search it. If you drive into Yosemite Valley, there's plenty to do for a day by just driving around, taking pictures, parking and walking/hiking for a bit. There's also a few visitor sites you can see such as the Ansel Adams museum.

The downside is that you're talking about a busy time of year. Crowds are at their peak, which usually makes the employees a little more grumpy. If you're there to see the waterfalls, bad news...they'll pretty much be dry. You'd get a better stream of water out of the faucet in your hotel room. Without actually looking, I'm guessing lodging is full. People sit on their computers the morning they become available in order to reserve their room/campgrounds. They fill up in minutes. Not a big deal for a day trip though. The other thing to consider is it's a 3-4 hour drive to the park, plus another hour from the entrance to the valley, plus your return trip.

If you're into outdoors activities at all (more strenuous hikes, overnight camping, etc) it would open up your options a bit. There's plenty of other areas of the park that don't get as many visitors. They're still plenty scenic, just not the classic vistas that make the brochure covers. You could visit one of these places, park the car, go on a 5-10 mile day hike, and return. Or rent some camping gear from an outfitter in the area and wilderness camp (still need a permit), but once again, that depends on what you want to do.

Beautiful place though, and definitely worth seeing.

Last edited by John Galt; 04-20-13 at 09:38 PM.
Old 04-20-13, 09:49 PM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

Maybe they've got a minimum security prison you can check into for a couple of weeks?
Old 04-20-13, 10:11 PM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

Thanks.

- I know Oxnard is far. We only want to book a hotel/apartment in SF for 5-6 days so we'll have 3-4 days left for a "road trip". We planned to drive down (or is it up?) the 101 anyway.

- 'X', crime rate would probably freak out my niece so I woudn't tell her. I've stayed in seedy parts of South American cities so I don't care. I'm just looking for a somewhat "central" location which is close to public transport. I saw nice apartment in areas like "Excelsior" but that seemed way too far from everything to me.

- grip, thanks for the restaurant and winery tips, but we'll pass on baseball.

- John, thanks for the info. Yeah, I know Yosemite is about a 3 1/2 hour drive. I guess it's doable in one day (leave early morning, return late afternoon/evening) but we'll see. A tour is also an option if we find that's too much driving.

http://www.viator.com/San-Francisco/d651-ttd
Old 04-20-13, 10:23 PM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

Highway 1 is the on the coast, it is the scenic route.

101, not so much.
Old 04-20-13, 10:30 PM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

Oops sorry then, I meant the scenic route, whatever highway/road number that is.
Old 04-20-13, 10:48 PM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

I would stay away from Yosemite at that time of year unless you like battling crowds. Also trying to do that in a day trip would be rough and you would not be able to see much.

Be prepared to pay a lot for wine tasting if you want to try many...otherwise try to get a package deal that takes you to a few wineries.

Honestly my favorite place in San Francisco is Golden Gate Park. My wife and I go there almost every weekend. We walk the park, have a picnic...maybe go to the Art Museum, or to the flower conservatory...sometimes do model sailboat sailing on Spreckels Lake...it's a really wonderful place.

Another great nature walk in San Francisco is Lands End. Really beautiful view of the ocean, Golden Gate bridge. If you keep going all the way you will end up at the Sutro Baths and the beach...awesome place.

Last edited by palebluedot; 04-20-13 at 10:56 PM.
Old 04-21-13, 02:16 AM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

Originally Posted by eXcentris View Post
Oops sorry then, I meant the scenic route, whatever highway/road number that is.
Oxnard sucks. A friend of mine from SF was house-sitting in a beach house there just a couple of weeks ago and I spent the weekend there with her. Ended up driving an hour south both days to Malibu and Santa Monica. The drive down, however, is quite beautiful (albeit really long as it's two lanes in places and curvy). If you can commit to a couple of nights there, however, you'll get some super cheap rooms and a base to explore the LA area.

Check out the Parc55 Hotel in SF. Great rates and great location. You can get a discount if you "like" them on FB.

Must-dos in SF: Alcatraz, Chinatown, Golden Gate park and Bridge, Little Italy, and a slew of great and cheap ethnic restaurants. It's a GREAT city to walk around all day and get lost in (unless you get lost in the Tenderloin District...then be prepared to get accosted by the homeless every three feet).

Trying to Yosemite in a day is insane. Seven hours on the road for just a glimpse of some if the most beautiful terrain on Earth? Crazy.
Old 04-21-13, 04:23 AM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

I'll let you crash on my couch for a few nights, $200/night sounds very fair. I'll even cook ya breakfast.

As for the touristy stuff...

Fisherman's Wharf is a joke. Haight-Ashbury is a hoot if just to see aging hippies contest with tourists and a Ben & Jerry's for attention. Chinatown is very cool if you like chinese food or cool little shops filled with weird foreign stuff. Alcatraz is very cool, especially if you can get on the night tour. Berkeley is full of excellent little restaurants, neat little shops, and smelly hippies. Lombard Street is always crowded, but still cool to drive down at least once. And, one block down from the windy part of Lombard is Jimmy Stewart's apartment from Vertigo.

Forget the wharf in Monterey, but definitely hit the Monterey Aquarium. By far one of my favorite places in the greater bay area. If you're lucky, the big tank occasionally holds great white sharks.

Drive down 1 from Pacifica to Santa Cruz. Lots of beautiful ocean scenery, and Santa Cruz is a hoot.

If you can spare the day, definitely drive down 1 to Big Sur. One of my favorite parts of my home state.

As for interesting and cool dining, look up places either mentioned in Anthony Bourdain shows or (and I really hate mentioning this), Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Guy Fieri is a douchebag, but I've found some great places to eat in the area because of his show.

Forget Yosemite, it's a traffic jam that time of year. But Tahoe is within reach and very pretty. Also, casinos!

Oxnard?? Really?? Gonna come to California and you're going to Oxnard?? Jeez, was San Bernardino booked up?

Napa is cool, but can be crowded that time of year, avoid weekends. At least no aging hippies, but the smug wine snobs are about as bad.

There are some neat tours in SF. My friends sometimes hit the Segway tour and always have fun.
Old 04-21-13, 04:26 AM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

Originally Posted by WCChiCubsFan View Post
Highway 1 is the on the coast, it is the scenic route.

101, not so much.
101 is scenic if you like office buildings and views of SFO.

Used to spend my lunch breaks parked on the top deck of the Millbrae BART parking garage, watching the planes take off and land at SFO. Worth the investment of a cheap pair of binoculars, and surprised I never got questioned by anybody.
Old 04-21-13, 10:02 AM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

I would say if you want to hit wineries, the Sonoma County ones (on the road from Windsor to the Coast are nice and less touristy than the Napa ones). If you head up there, the drive to Fort Ross and the fort itself is pretty cool ... it marked the southern most Russian settlement .. also the entire Russian River area is nice. There are a fair amount of houses for rent around Forestville that are reasonably inexpensive.

For staying in San Francisco, staying down by the airport can be less expensive on weekends (especially via priceline) .. there is nothing to do down there, but you could take BART into the city.
Old 04-21-13, 10:34 AM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

Whenever I would visit San Francisco, I would get a cheap hotel in the east bay area, like Fremont, and take BART into the city.
Old 04-21-13, 10:43 AM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

Oxnard is one of the shittiest cities in California/the world.
Old 04-21-13, 11:48 AM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

The brand new Exploratorium museum just opened up - you might want to check it out.
Old 04-21-13, 11:56 AM
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Re: 10 days vacation in SF (end of July), any tips?

Hey, thanks for the tips and info!

Ok, so looks like we'll give Yosemite a miss. For the first 5-6 days or so, we don't really want to get a car so we'll use public transport, walk, rent bicycles and do stuff in SF itself. And if we want to do something outside of the city within those days, we might just take a tour or two. Then we'll drive down 1 towards L.A. (and back '*') for the last 3-4 days. Driving down 1, what's a good midway point to stop/sleep?

'*' Hmmm... No need for "back" really. Gotta check if I can get the return flight from LAX instead of SFO.

And I don't care if Oxnard is the shittiest town in North America, I just want to get to a Cowboys afternoon practice. Actually, anyone know how that works? Do you just show up and sit in the stands?

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