Subject: Re: Pacific Coast Highway Trip Planning
Hi KS,

You will be in my neighborhood!

1. Getting out of Anaheim is an ordeal! We traveled there in June and it took us 3 hours or so to get across metro LA (we traveled via 101). I would stay in Santa Barbara. Our local newspaper did an article on SB in the travel section yesterday and it sounded so enticing I was ready to hop in the car. Check and

2. Drive over to Hearst the next day. (You may want to get tickets in advance to ensure you get the tour you want, but this should not be a problem in early December.) Cambria is a cute town--you can roam around there for a while before getting back on 1 and driving up to Monterey.

3. Saturday night: Monterey. Oh, you can stay in Carmel if you prefer, but my experience is that Monterey is much friendlier to families. We (four kids) prefer it. Carmel proper has lots of b&b type places, perfect for couples, but not so hot for kids. Monterey has a terrific (free) park, the aquarium, interesting areas. We've stayed at a number of hotels there and like the Doubletree, but it's not on the beach, so if that's a requirement, there are a couple of other choices. Pacific Grove is beautiful and relatively untouristy. Pacific Grove, Monterey, and Carmel are all very close to one another.

4. Sunday--drive to Sunnyvale. Shouldn't take more than 2 hours. Stop at the Gilroy outlets on the way if you like. A better route: take 1 up to Santa Cruz and explore the town for a few hours, then drive 17 over to the peninsula. I would stay in Mountain View rather than Sunnyvale--it's next door, has a few suite-type hotels, and would be more interesting for your family.

5. I would always leave from SJC rather than SFO if I had the choice. SFO has two runways, and a little drizzle or fog closes one of them. You can imagine what that does to air traffic.

6. Day trip: depends on what you want/how far you're willing to drive. Yosemite is 3 hours away, and relatively deserted in early December. That would be my top recommendation. Otherwise, there's wine country (Napa, Sonoma, the latter being more interesting for families). Or the coastline north of Marin County (if you like beautiful scenery and hiking).

As for activities--lots to do around here. If you let me know the kids' ages, I (and others) can make suggestions.

JoAnne, 10 miles north of Sunnyvale