Saturday, October 6, 2012

San Francisco Vacation: Days 5 & 6

Finally, at long's the last of my recap of our trip to San Francisco in early September. In case you missed them, for a full recap see Days 1 & 2 and Days 3 & 4. This final post is primarily all about our Saturday excursion down the Pacific Coast Highway to Monterey and Carmel. We rented a car so that we could take the day at our own pace and we were up and out by 8am. A slight little detour at a Denny's in Pacifica (I know, of all places, we ended up in a Denny's, but the options were few and far between once we got outside of the city) for breakfast and we were on our way.

Let me just tell you this...if a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway is a dream item on your bucket list (like it was mine), then book yourself a vacation to the California coast. Right. Now. It was everything that I dreamed it would be...and we only saw a small portion of it. On the way to Monterey, we went through Half Moon Bay and then through the community of Santa Cruz. We stopped at several overlooks, but stayed the course so that we could fit as much as possible into the day. It took us nearly three hours to get from downtown San Francisco to Monterey, where we bailed out of the car to walk around at Cannery Row. There were tons of little shops to walk through and dining options galore, but we opted to do a light lunch with a smoothie at Pinkberry and some cookies at the Nestle Toll House Cafe (my husband thought he'd gone to Heaven, as this boy loves Toll House cookies like no other). We heard that Monterey's aquarium is one of the best in the US, but we kept it moving.

We jumped back in the car and took the scenic route (aka: we got lost a little) to find 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach. Worth the $9.75 entry at the gate and then some, this community of mega mansions, turbulent coastline and amazing views at every turn, made me feel like I'd stepped into a movie. Along 17 Mile Drive, the major highlight is seeing the Lone Cypress Tree (top right pic below), which is the official symbol of Pebble Beach. The other golf courses that you pass along 17 Mile Drive include Spyglass Hill and Cypress Point. Wildlife was wasn't unusual for us to round a bend in the road to see a group of deer passing or lounging on a golf green. I mean, who can blame them?!? If I were a deer, I think I'd want to live in Pebble Beach too!

We made our exit from Pebble Beach to explore the picturesque town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Walking the cottage lined streets and perusing through many of the stores along Ocean Avenue was how we spent the remainder of our afternoon. We stopped in a restaurant called A.W. Shucks Cocktail & Oyster Bar for dinner where I had Beer Battered Jumbo Prawns. We bought a few souvenirs and got back on the road to return to San Francisco. I wish we'd had more time in Carmel. If you're making a trip similar to this one, consider getting a room at a quaint B&B in Carmel for a night or two. And I also wish that we'd had time to drive just a little further south to see Big Sur.

Sunday morning we decided to keep things low key and simple before our car would pick us up at 11:45 for the airport, so we walked a couple of blocks down Union Street to a Starbucks and then climbed back up the street to sit in a park diagonal from our hotel (that's our hotel in the photo below with the flag on top). There were a few dogs out playing in the park and some folks were doing tai other words, great people watching. It was a gorgeous morning, so we just enjoyed being outside and taking in some of the sights around our hotel, like Grace Cathedral. We'd return to our hotel to grab our bags and off to the airport we'd go, ready to return home after an amazing six days spent in the city by the bay.

It's true what they say about leaving your heart in San Francisco. We look forward to returning there again one day.



  1. you visited my fave part of Carmel!!!
    gorgeous photos!


  2. San Francisco's so a beautiful city.

  3. Beautiful place indeed! Thanks for making us come to your trip through these vacation posts :)

  4. Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of the best around! I'm so glad you enjoyed CA, I enjoyed growing up there, but I'm a WA girl at heart I guess. :) What an awesome experience!


  5. Great pics!

    Carmel-by-the-Sea has adorable fairy tale like cotttage's on the coast line, did you get to see them? They are so cute!



  6. There is an in called "carmel-by-the-sea" that my husband and I used to stay in every year after the holidays (before we started our family). My Aunt lives here .. can you believe that??! Anyway, the 17 mile drive is breath taking as is the food and galleries in the Carmel area.

    So glad you had fun :)


  7. Wow, I've been is SF last summer and I totally adore it!
    Come back soon to visit my blog: Cosa mi metto???
    Win your favorite iphone case!!!

  8. The drive is so scenic, I would also add that to my travel wish list. Carmel-by the-Sea looks so quaint and charming. I had no idea that San Francisco had so much to offer!

  9. Such beautiful photos :) Looks like you had an amazing time!

  10. Gorgeous pictures! Looks like you had a good time :D


  11. Can you believe I've lived in California my whole life and never been all the way up the coast?! I've only been up as far as Santa Barbara. I should drive up to SF sometime instead of flying. It's def something I want to experience.

    Glad you had a blast!

  12. looks like wonderful holiday :)

  13. Beautiful photos! I have never been but sure looks lovely!


  14. There's nothing like the PCH. Absolutely nothing!

  15. your pictures are gorgeous!!!!!



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