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Santa Cruz-Monterey

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If you have kids with you, visit the Monterey aquarium. Make sure you see the otters.

If anyone likes to play golf, you're in nirvana. Lots of good courses at a variety of prices.

There's an outlet mall in Gilroy, Plus It's the home of the annual garlic festival. Everyone should try garlic ice cream at least once. I think the festival happens sometime in June.

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Carmel and Monterey are two of the most beautiful cities in California. The odd part about them is you can walk from 80 degree splendor into a 55 degree fog bank even in August so the dress code is usually short sleeves, shorts and a warm windbreaker.


If you go avoid the third weekend in August, there will be no available hotels unless you want to spend your vacation in Salinas. You don't want to spend your vacation in Salinas. The Monterey car show is that week and was already booked solid back in January. Traffic during that time rivals a Governor's temper tantrum in New Jersey.


The Aquarium, 17 mile drive (which takes two hours) Big Sir, Pebble Beach and other world class golf courses are all within minutes of each other. Access to the shoreline is limited and the water is never warm, it alternates between cold and colder even in the summer.

Edited by notti
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From Monterey you could make a day trip to San Jose for the Winchester Mystery House or the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum. Maybe even run up to Oakland to see what a shithole the A's play in and catch a game. San Francisco is always worth a side trip and MrWicked can hook you up with some night life since he is the King of the Castro district. Just ask any tranny ho.

Edited by notti
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Are you bringing kids? Aquarium in Monterey. Boardwalk in Santa Cruz. Various places in San Fran; GG bridge (You can park and walk across it.), the park, Fisherman's wharf, the crooked street, and isn't there also a Six Flags up there?


Oh, you could also put your cussing face on and drive around the streets of San Fran yelling back at the cab drivers (very educational for the young ones).

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Monterey is amazing. Cannery Row is one of my favorite places. The aquarium is top notch. If you are up to spending the $, stay at the Monterey Bay Inn with a room facing the bay. You won't regret it.

He's spot on. The Inter-Continental on Cannery Row is a great hotel too. The Fishopper is a really good place to eat some fresh seafood

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marriott's great america in san jose is an amusement park your kids might enjoy. used to have a big emphasis on bugs bunny as their major character.


there's also a place in vallejo that is part zoo part sea world. can't think of the name right now, but it's worth a visit.

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We did the San Francisco thing last year on the way to Hawaii, so I want to try out a new area. We are starting in Lake Tahoe for 5 days then have 5 more days. Other than SF and Napa, I have not seen much else in Nor Cal.

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Stayed in a VRBO in Carmel last fall which came with passes to the Monterey Aquarium. Be sure to buy your passes in advance (online) because the line for admission gets really backed up.

Loved 17 mile drive and Point Lobos. Eat at Dametra Cafe while in town. Great Mediterranean food.

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Yeah, 17 mile drive is great.  It is a must.  Also, consider driving down 1 to Hearst Castle.  The drive along the coast is really awesome and Hearst Castle is pretty cool too.


The restaurants on/around Cannery Row are amazing if you like seafood.

Edited by nate
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I'd say that's better for the summer. Lake is still accessible and you can gamble, etc. I usually would recommend north Lake Tahoe for the winter.

That's what I was thinking too. I have stayed at the base of Squaw Valley once, and rented a house in Incline Village for the winter. The south looks better in the summer

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Big Sur / Monterey / Carmel is the sh*t!

We spend a lot of time down there. 


How much time do you have?


We are in Tahoe a bunch too. I think north side is prettier, and has better snow, but south side is fun as well. 

I did my bachelor party for a weekend this house on the lake, it was awesome. You should stay there with the family if it's available. It might be too big for just four people but you can talk to the owners they are super cool.



For towns south of the city, I like Big Sur the best.

One of my favorite drives on the planet (tied with SF to Tahoe).

I have stayed at this little place at least once a year since forever, it's awesome.

The big sur river inn. 

It's on the little river, has a great restaurant/bar, a general store, a pub, little cottages, etc. So fun.



There are great hikes down there, good for kids too.

McWay falls is a great easy hike, goes along the coast and ends across the waterfall.

The Ewoldsen one is badass, its longer but ends up at a gorgeous overlook.



If you do Big Sur you have to do lunch/cocktails at Nepenthe: http://www.nepenthebigsur.com/


We also love the Big Sur Taphouse, they have fun old wooden boards games and great food/beer: http://www.yelp.com/biz/big-sur-taphouse-big-sur


For Carmel, hit up downtown and walk around. It's all fantastic. Lots of good wine tasting here and lunch spots, too many to name.


For Monterey, the aquarium of course if you've never been.

We like Schooner's for lunch, its on the water: http://www.schoonersmonterey.com/


Last time we were down there my cuter half got us a charter boat and we sailed around for an afternoon with this dude and another couple. It was awesome! We brought wine on board, he gave us all fresh crab he just caught that morning, let us drive (while he kicked back and had a cool one with us), etc. It was so chill. I can get you his name if you want. The kids would love it.


We also love the ritz in half moon bay, just stop by for a drink or appetizers. They have fire places inside, and fire pits outside. It's gorgeous. There is a fun place nearby where you can do glass blowing and make pumpkins (half moon bay is like pumpkin capital of the world).

The owner guy is so nice: http://www.hmbartglass.com/

And after that walk over to the winery next door (la nebbia, http://www.lanebbiawinery.com/) and have some wine while the kids play bocce ball or chase the owner's cat named Noodles.


I have plenty more ideas. You will love it. How long are you there?

Edited by mrwicked
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