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 Post subject: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 9:16 am 
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Smuggling Raisins
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We've booked our honeymoon (!) in August and we're doing:

San Diego -> Greyhound to LA (to stay with friends) -> hire a car to Yosemite-> drive to San Francisco.

Too excited for words.Anyway, I think Happycow will sort us out for top eats, but I don't even know where to start with booking hotels/motels.

Can anyone recommend areas, or even hotels/motels, to stay in?

We're on a tight budget but wouldn't mind treating ourselves to an unusual/independent/boutiquey ones every so often! Would rather avoid the stereotypical chain ones if possible, Brighton is packed full of independent accomodation, so I'd like to think the rest of the world is pretty similar, right?

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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 10:13 am 
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In regards to Yosemite you only have a few choices in the park, which you can easily find on their website. I have heard positive things about all of them, especially camping, though I don't know that you want to bring camping gear. :) I suggest you make reservations as soon as possible if you want to stay in the park.

Oakhurst is beautiful; maybe you could find a nice b&b there. I'm sorry I don't have any to recommend.

Yosemite is about a 2 hour drive from Fresno if you'd rather stay in a more metropolitan area hotel (cheaper) & save your money for SF.

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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 12:39 pm 
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Yosemite is great, but most of the place in the park, or even right outside of the park can be really expensive, and get booked up literally a year in advance (camping too).

I would also advise staying outside the park somewhere and driving in for day trips like Kelvia said, or trying for camping (if you are into that). I dont have any specific reccomendations since I have only been once and it was for a company retreat.

Yosemite is AMAZING. you will love it! I really liked the Vernon Halls hike..it only took a couple of hours. You could do that one, then another one to maximize what you do if you only have a day or 2.


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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 12:40 pm 
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Yosemite is great, but most of the place in the park, or even right outside of the park can be really expensive, and get booked up literally a year in advance (camping too).

I would also advise staying outside the park somewhere and driving in for day trips like Kelvia said, or trying for camping (if you are into that). I dont have any specific reccomendations since I have only been once and it was for a company retreat.

Yosemite is AMAZING. you will love it! I really liked the Vernon Halls hike..it only took a couple of hours. You could do that one, then another one to maximize what you do if you only have a day or 2.


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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 12:43 pm 
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what's your price range for hotels? I know san diego has some pretty good hostels, but there are also cheapish motels like Motel 6 around.

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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 6:48 pm 
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I've stayed outside and within Yosemite. Honestly, I'd recommend staying inside the park if you can, just because it takes so long to drive in and because staying in the valley is a cool experience. Except, it's expensive and might already be booked up. Fresno will be cheaper and have more availabilities (in fact I just stayed there last weekend when we went to Sequoia) but will take 3 hours to get to the park and Fresno is kind of smoggy and gross in the summer.

If you want to stay in Yosemite, I can recommend the Yosemite Lodge (it's in the middle of the valley, so everything's really accessible plus you can see the falls!). The rooms are pretty standard but expensive. I've also stayed at the wood cabins and tent cabins in Curry Village. Nothing special but they are cheaper than Yosemite Lodge. I've also camped with my own tent and the car camping sites are ok. But book soon!! It will be packed in August.

I am from north San Diego county so I have never stayed in a motel but I have always liked Mission Bay and Coronado areas esp if you want to be near the beach. Not sure if you will be able to find a cheap place to stay there since it is so touristy. I bet you could find some cute places to stay around Hillcrest, plus it's near Balboa Park which is one of my favorite places ever. How are you getting around? If you have a car I would suggest staying in north county, which has more of a relaxed beach town feel. You could check out Carlsbad, Leucadia, Encinitas, etc., but they are about 30 min drive from SD proper.

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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 7:03 pm 
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The Lafayette Hotel in San Diego is pretty cool and its close to some good restaurants and cool parts of town.

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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 7:07 pm 
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Location: In some dumb hotel in an equally dumb town...or in San Diego
and as Couroupita mentioed, The Hillcrest area will have some cool little hotels that are not dumb chain ones

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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 8:58 pm 
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Adam Crisis wrote:
The Lafayette Hotel


+1, but it can be quite a scene in the summer with the pool bar packed and a bit noisy.

Hillcrest is great and with a Whole Foods for stocking up.

On the way up the coast from LA to SF there is a little town called Cambria where we have stayed; it is quaint and reasonable and with vegan dining options. If you lunch in Santa Barbara (recommended!) you'll make Cambria for dinner and then can arrive fresh to Monterey / SF.

Yosemite is definitely beyond awesome but there are so many incredible parks off the beaten path. Death Valley in August is an adventure for sure, and the Ancient Bristlecone forest up near Mammoth is amazing. Also, Sequoia National Park / King's Canyon. All this to say; if Yosemite is full, there are options. (I prefer Yosemite in the off-season; also, I'm a sucker for big trees and old trees. And hot desert.)


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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 10:21 pm 
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~Sz wrote:
Death Valley in August is an adventure for sure, and the Ancient Bristlecone forest up near Mammoth is amazing. Also, Sequoia National Park / King's Canyon.


Yikes! You are one gutsy person to brave Death Valley in August. Yosemite in August is almost too hot for me! :-/

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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 2:24 am 
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Oh cripes, I was hoping it would be a bit cooler in Yosemite. August was the only time we could both get holiday, but I'm a little wilty flower in anything about 24 degrees (75f?)!

couroupita wrote:
I've stayed outside and within Yosemite. Honestly, I'd recommend staying inside the park if you can, just because it takes so long to drive in and because staying in the valley is a cool experience. Except, it's expensive and might already be booked up. Fresno will be cheaper and have more availabilities (in fact I just stayed there last weekend when we went to Sequoia) but will take 3 hours to get to the park and Fresno is kind of smoggy and gross in the summer.

I am from north San Diego county so I have never stayed in a motel but I have always liked Mission Bay and Coronado areas esp if you want to be near the beach. Not sure if you will be able to find a cheap place to stay there since it is so touristy. I bet you could find some cute places to stay around Hillcrest, plus it's near Balboa Park which is one of my favorite places ever. How are you getting around? If you have a car I would suggest staying in north county, which has more of a relaxed beach town feel. You could check out Carlsbad, Leucadia, Encinitas, etc., but they are about 30 min drive from SD proper.


Thing outside of Yosemite is the top recommendation. Found Yosemite Bug about 35 miles outside of the park, which seems to have a few vegan friendly options for dinner/breakfast. It's not too expensive, although I'll need to double check what we need to bring. I'm not carting my sleeping bag all the way over from the UK!

We'll be on foot in San Diego, so will have a look at Mission Bay/Coronado/Hillcrest. Thank you!


ijustdiedinside wrote:
what's your price range for hotels? I know san diego has some pretty good hostels, but there are also cheapish motels like Motel 6 around.


On the cheaper end of the scale, although willing to splash out once on our honeymoon for somewhere a little more special!

Thank you for all your advice, this is just what I was after!!

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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 5:38 am 
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And on another note, we're going going to LA to see some friends, and they might be on tour when we're over. If that falls through, we have no other real reason to go to LA.

So, where else would you go between San Diego/Yosemite/San Fran Frisco?

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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 10:22 am 
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Location: In some dumb hotel in an equally dumb town...or in San Diego
i wouldnt recommend mission bay or coronado really if youre on foot, hillcrest/north park area is way better for walking around and seeing a bunch of shops and such, ocean beach would be fun too if you want a more beachy experience

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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 11:44 am 
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I'd probably recommend Ocean Beach in SD but being near the beach will probably cost more than Hillcrest/North Park.

And expect warm temps and a fair amount of humidity in August. Coastal areas will be slightly cooler but unless it is an abnormal year, mid 70s to mid 90s should be expected for August in southern California.

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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 11:38 pm 
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couroupita wrote:
Yikes! You are one gutsy person to brave Death Valley in August.


We were camping and our candles melted into puddles. 114 degrees. Refreshing! (I am reptilian.)

Rachwins: Since it is August you will want to head toward elevation for cooler temps. Again: Sequoia, Bristlecone, etc. The drive north from San Diego up the 395 is much more interesting than 1-5 if you aren't stopping in LA.


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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 1:57 am 
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Brilliant info, thank you!

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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 6:34 am 
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Rachwins wrote:
So, where else would you go between San Diego/Yosemite/San Fran Frisco Frisco?

have you considered Big Sur? it's on the coast maybe about 2/3 of the way from LA to SF - a bunch of state parks, lots of redwoods, and some really cool coastline. Wikipedia says there isn't much lodging in the immediate area, so maybe you could stay in San Luis Obispo the night before, and maybe in Monterey the next night? just a suggestion, because it's a bit less out of the way and i figure it'll be cooler on the coast - if you don't like the heat, the Central Valley in August will probably not be too pleasant for you.

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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 6:44 am 
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This thread is helpful since I'm planning on a trip to Yosemite this summer, too. I'm wondering if I need proper hiking boots. I've always gotten by with trail running shoes, which worked fine for me for hiking in Zion. My friend is saying that won't cut it. Really?


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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 6:52 am 
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I'm intending on just sucking it up. We're packing light, and so proper hiking boots are being swapped for thick socks, plasters, my normal pumps and a whole bunch of 'man up'. It's worked for me mooching up Cairngorm for the last 27 years! How hardcore a hike are you planning?

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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 8:36 am 
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I'm not super hardcore, but I like to hike. I'm going to be there for several days and we plan to do as many hikes as we can fit in. Probably moderate.


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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 9:00 am 
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I'm sure if they were good enough for hiking in Zion, they'll be good enough for Yosemite!

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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Tue May 08, 2012 10:25 pm 
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Ankle support is wonderful, though, and if in your everyday life you hike here and there or just on weekends, that is one thing. But, if you're doing a trip where you'll be hiking daily, you may really want more support. Depends on what sort of adventure you are looking for.


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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 2:00 pm 
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Pretty much anywhere on the coast between Los Angeles and San Francisco will be a fabulous stop. Santa Barbara is nice. Cambria, which Sz recommended, is a nice option too. Taking the Pacific Coast Highway up from LA (lovely drive), it will take you about 5 hours to get there. There is an elephant seal colony there -- I really enjoyed those guys. Driving up PCH the whole way from SD to SF will add a full day of driving time to your trip, so I would cut inland at some point. Be warned that the inland driving route from LA to SF is boring, has tons of poor cows standing in their own poop and next to nothing vegan friendly to eat.

If you like wine, there are also some great wine tasting regions between LA and SF (Paso Robles, Santa Barbara area, etc). Not sure if you are into history. If so, I've really enjoyed some of the old missions. There's one in San Juan Capistrano (between SD and LA) and one in Santa Barbara.

On Yosemite, I think you're going to be out of luck staying in the park. I am going there for my summer vacation this year. I booked 2 months ago. At that time, there were only 1 night stays available in July and August at most of the lodging and even those dates were limited. I wound up booking a place outside the park (and had to move my vacation to late June to get the accomodations I wanted there).

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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Sun Jun 24, 2012 12:05 pm 
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How's the trip planning going Rachwins?

It's looking like me & Nick might be doing a similar trip in October so this thread's super helpful. We're looking at flying out to San Francisco for ~14 days and taking a couple of side trips, one to Yosemite or Big Sur and probably one to San Diego.

I really want to try to time the trip so that we can go to SF Veg Fest and Nick wants to time the whole trip around the 49ers football schedule! Hopefully we'll be able to save enough money to go this year, if not it'll have to wait until 2013 because of the whole football season thing.

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 Post subject: Re: California - where do I stay?! SD/Yosemite/SF.
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2012 6:22 pm 
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I'm super late here, but I stayed at Lucky D's when I was in San Diego and I totally recommend it as a budget option. Good location, free breakfast, possibly private rooms (we had a dorm so I can't really remember), but more importantly- the staff are super awesome and still managed to find us a room during Comic Con even though I forked up and booked for the wrong month. Also it was around the corner from some pub that had AstroTurf, a local beer sampler thing and a secret bar in the back behind a fake wall (I would have thought that drunk me made that part up if I hadn't found a card with the entry code on it the next morning). And it's close to Pokez.

Jojo- we're looking at doing a football trip in October-ish next year, too. But Boyfriend is a Redskins fan so we'll be heading east. The compromise seems to be a VVC trip for me and a football trip for him. Lots of saving to be done to make it happen!

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