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Old 11-02-2018, 10:31 AM   #15
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added info on PCH1

A few additional ideas .....

The Skunk Train runs in and out of Fort Bragg. Interesting trip, but you likely don't have time for it.

The small berg of Mendocino is a great stop for shopping and a bite to eat, but it's the small town vibe that is it's best attribute.

Sea Ranch is a place that offers solitude for those that desire the North Coast life. Something like an hour drive to get groceries. Worth a look. You might find you retirement home.

The Point Reyes National Seashore is an interesting stop for a bit different view.

The Seventeen Mile Drive in Monterey/Carmel is worth the time to explore. You can stay at the Monterey Fairgrounds in their RV sites. Tight or dusty, take your pick, but close to the action. The Monterey Aquarium is a don't miss if you are up for learning about sea life.

Pismo Beach is an experience all should have at least once. The best and the worst of the RV life.

Given the short time available, I would turn North after a night in San Simeon State Park. It's a lot of travel time, traffic and trouble to roll through LA and down to SD.

Santa Barbara is a very nice stop and is a good example of an affluent beach city. A side trip to one of the channel islands can be an education.

The Queen Mary is a visit that can make Long Beach worth a look.

San Diego has a great zoo, an interesting shore line and the great seafood at Anthony's.

All makes for an adventure. Good Luck!

Travel Safe and with a Smile! Pat
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Old 11-02-2018, 10:47 AM   #16
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If you like beachside state parks, I recommend Mackerricher SP just north of Fort Bragg rather than staying in Fort Bragg itself. It's close enough to drive into Fort Bragg for dinner, etc:


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Old 11-02-2018, 12:07 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by pc500 View Post

I have one week's time and I'd like to drive from the state line with Oregon all the way down California Highway 1, skipping over the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles. I am a single mid-30s guy, and prefer attractions, sights, museums, landmarks, and general adventure.

I have searched far online and I'm surprised this problem hasn't been solved before. There's a lack of preplanned itineraries. I am also trying to limit the amount of backtracking; which I've noticed going down the Oregon coast was a by product of RVing. I'd drop "house" for a couple days and end up driving back north and south for 1-2 hours to explore all the little towns along the way. It looks like California has more central points with less inbetween, so this may be less of a problem.

I am travelling with a pickup truck and a small (17') travel trailer.

Without further ado, can anyone recommend where to stop and how many days to spend in each location?

The ideal information would be a list of towns to stay at and attractions to see, just like an itinerary! As for time-frame, I'm travelling next week

Day 1-3: Stay at town XYZ, see attraction 1,2,3,4,5

Day 4-6, Stay at town ABC, see attractions 6,7,8,9.

Thanks for all your help!
A week isn't enough to do a decent job of the California coast... A decade ago an acquaintance of mine got married and their honeymoon involved a motor home trip from Santa Monica (near Los Angeles) to Brookings Oregon and back... they spent three months on the road and said that they could have spent nine months and not seen it all...

AAA has a California Coastline tour guide that you might want to pick up... free if you are a member...

Random thoughts:

Jocko's in Nipomo is the best steak house in the central coast area. There's only one offramp for Nipomo so it's not hard to find. For me if I'm in the area in the evening it's a must-stop for dinner.

The Seventeen Mile Drive in the Carmel/Monterey area is a bit expensive but a beautiful drive.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium has gone up in price since I last visited it but if you are an aquarium nut it's worth it.

McConnell’s Ice Cream on State Street in Santa Barbara is worth a visit if you have a sweet tooth... I always stop there for an ice cream cone..

The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California is a memorable stop... 110 rooms, all different... the wikipedia entry is worth reading...
You've seen the automatic faucets that turn on the water when you put your hands under them? The owner invented that feature in 1958... my dad knew Alex Madonna (his real name) from the Army Air Forces in WW2...

Watch the stretch between Santa Maria and Santa Barbara - years ago that's where newbie CHP officers got their field training.... a great place to pick up a speeding ticket... For 6 months back in the 1990s I was making the Los Angeles to Santa Maria round trip weekly run... I picked up two in two months...
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Old 11-02-2018, 12:48 PM   #18
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AnotherMike - you are from LA area .... what is best way to travel that area, coast wise? ? a good place to stay without reservations, what to see, what to skip and why? We just skip it all and that sounds wrong, but ......
Travel Safe and with a Smile! Pat
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Old 11-02-2018, 05:38 PM   #19
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Old 11-02-2018, 11:48 PM   #20
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Excellent post. I think I will skip everything south of Los Angeles to gain a couple days, from what I gather there's not that much of value between there and San Diego compared to the other sites. That should also allow a stop in Monterey for the acquariam.

Originally Posted by PKI View Post
So, we make this trip in two sections, so to do it in a week will require you to move along.

Day 1 - Oregon border - take 101 to the start of the avenue of the Giants. There are RV Campgrounds above AoG and a KOA in Benbow below the drive. Plan on stopping several times along the drive and have lunch among the Redwoods.

Day 2 - As suggested, below Leggett take PCH 1. It is twisty and tight, but just slow down and take it as it comes. As you emerge onto the coast, stop for pictures. Take your drive South and stay in Fort Bragg. Nice park on the South side of town to the East.

Day 3 - Roll South and stay at the Manchester KOA. Stop in at Mendocino.

Day 4 - Then stay at the Bodega Bay RV Park on the right as you enter town. Dinner at one of the fine food establishments, but there is a Mexican place just outside the park.

Day 5 - Follow PCH1 through SF and down the coast. It will be a lot of traffic, but you will get a sense of the charm and lifestyle.

Day 6 - Keep rolling and spend the night at the Laguna Seca Recreation area. If it's race day, you can't get in, but if not, it's worth the stop and not a bad price.

Day 7 - Then South on PCH1 ... reported to be open now. A night at Big Sir is scenic. However there is the San Simeon State Park south of Hurst Castle. A day at the Castle is a good stop. Cambria has some nice places to eat.

Day 8 - Now head South and stop in Moro Bay.

Day 9 - A day through LA and find a stop South in one of the State parks on the Beach.

Day 10 - Then on to San Diego for a day.

Now time to head home. But that is too many days. Skip Manchester KOA. Skip Hurst Castle and the stop in Big Sir. Skip the stop on the coast and roll straight through LA and down to SD. You can make the trip down to Bodega Bay from Benbow in a day. That should get you through the trip. Lots of driving. Good Luck!
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Old 11-03-2018, 12:05 AM   #21
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Full hookups at the fairgrounds and about two miles from the Aquarium. We stayed there a week back in July.
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Old 11-03-2018, 12:27 AM   #22
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For the most part HWY 101 is not a coastal route. It does have places it skirts the ocean, but it stays inland most of its length. As has been said before, with your time frame, HWY 1 will not be doable for you, it is very slow and too long.

However, there are two places that HWY 1 is perfect for any RV and avoiding some freeway traffic. After crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, take HWY 1 south , also called Veterans Blvd., Park Presidio, and 19th Ave., through San Francisco and Golden Gate Park. Just south of the city, this turns into the 280 freeway toward San Jose. After a few miles, take HWY 1 towards Pacifica. This part of 1 is a beautiful , very easy drive and takes you along the coast through Pacifica, Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz, and into Monterey. An amazing drive an very good, mostly straight roads that highlight the northern California coastline.

A great campground, which you might fit into with a 17' trailer is Monterey Veteran's Memorial Park. We stayed there once in a 14' tent trailer and my mom in a 16' Casita trailer. Call to see if this is still possible. I don't remember if it had any hook ups, but it was very centrally located in Monterey.

The other section of HWY 1 that's easy in an RV and right along the coast is from Ventura through Malibu and into Santa Monica, it's quintessential southern California coastline, minus most of the L.A. traffic. I know you've decided against going all the way to San Diego (which is good call for this trip) but this stretch of 1 would be worth it.

Good.luck and have great trip! Sounds wonderful, if not too quick.
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Old 11-03-2018, 08:51 AM   #23
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I think you need to shorten your trip! You got a lot of great advice about where to go, so I won't make anymore suggestions. Our house is 25 minutes from HWY 1, I pretty much know the entire route north of San Francisco. My advice SHORTEN your trip or give yourself more time. You can never fully enjoy the beauty of a place if you have to race through it. One week to do what you want (sightseeing, museums) Like others have said you can't even get to HWY. 1 until Leggett that will bring you to Fort Bragg in Mendocino county. Heading south from there you enter Sonoma County. Those 2 counties are major destinations for travelers. Sorry but your going to many miles with to little time. Some of our best vacations were traveling less miles and spending more time sightseeing. Just my 2 cents.
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Old 11-03-2018, 04:49 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by pc500 View Post
Excellent post. I think I will skip everything south of Los Angeles to gain a couple days, from what I gather there's not that much of value between there and San Diego compared to the other sites. That should also allow a stop in Monterey for the acquariam.
Good plan - now go to the next level and fill in the details. Where to stay, how far to travel each day and what to see on the way.

Monterey fairgrounds - watch the driveway into the park. Take it very slow. It's not a grade, but a significant transition in a short distance. Also, unless you park on the dirt, you may need to park your tow vehicle separate from the trailer. You may have to cross connect your utilities under your coach. The hookups are shared between two sites. It is also next to the airport. Flights are limited so not bad, but you will hear them early and late in the day. Price was about $50, but everything in the area is mostly that expensive. The value is that it is in the middle of where you want to be. It's a give to get deal. Note, there are blackout days.

The pull outs on the PCH1 can have significant pavement drop offs. Look before you pull off and also look out for deep holes.

Also, HW101 can have tight turns. Take care with blind corners. We had a road crew use the inside of a very tight turn as a parking lot. Had to stop very quickly with no notice. Same could take place with a car pulling off to stop. Take care.

The PCH1 is not to be missed. You will enjoy the trip.

Travel Safe and with a Smile! Pat
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