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Cali Monkeys suggest things to do for a tourist!

klunky

Turbo Monkey
Oct 17, 2003
1,079
6
Scotland
So I am going to be visiting California in October.
I have never been to the states before other than N.Y. for a week.
I am going with my Mrs and will spend some time mooching about Calistoga, Healdsburg (got accomodation sorted for this) on a road bike.
I would like to spend a few days at the coast chilling out at some beaches - Can anyone suggest a nice area to head?
Can anyone suggest nice places/areas to stay or places to avoid?

Any help appreciated!
 

rockofullr

confused
Jun 11, 2009
7,359
907
East Bay, Cali
Santa Barbara is my favorite beach city in CA.

It's got lots going on but it's not a big city. Also it's far enough from LA to avoid being overrun on the weekends. You can go hiking, climbing, riding or surfing (don't expect epic swells though) all within a few miles.
 

klunky

Turbo Monkey
Oct 17, 2003
1,079
6
Scotland
Great thanks. Thats the sort of thing Im looking for. Only problem is I just looked at how big California is and apparantly its rather large! I will check it out though.
 

rockofullr

confused
Jun 11, 2009
7,359
907
East Bay, Cali
Great thanks. Thats the sort of thing Im looking for. Only problem is I just looked at how big California is and apparantly its rather large! I will check it out though.
haha

Yup it takes about 13hr to drive top to bottom!

How far are you willing to drive? There are lots of beaches in northern California but the problem is that they can be pretty chilly/foggy even during the hottest part of the summer.

Santa Cruz is a great beach town but it's about 3hr from Calistoga.
 

rockofullr

confused
Jun 11, 2009
7,359
907
East Bay, Cali
Not in the Heidelberg area.

The only place that public transportation can be considered "good" compared to the UK is in the bay area (SF, Oakland, Berkeley). Unfortunately Healdsberg and Santa Cruz are not within that network.

I just googled Healdsberg to SC by public transit and it says it will take 6hr 40min :eek:. You're gonna need a good book!
 

PatBranch

Turbo Monkey
Sep 24, 2004
10,461
7
wine country
Public transportation is here, but it's not the most thought out overall. Amtrak is a pretty simple way to travel the state. The Capitol Corridor train in the bay area and the Pacific Surfliner (San Luis Obispo to San Diego) have bike racks. For other trains, you need to put bikes in a box (which they have) and check it.
 

rockofullr

confused
Jun 11, 2009
7,359
907
East Bay, Cali
Public transportation is here, but it's not the most thought out overall. Amtrak is a pretty simple way to travel the state. The Capitol Corridor train in the bay area and the Pacific Surfliner (San Luis Obispo to San Diego) have bike racks. For other trains, you need to put bikes in a box (which they have) and check it.
There's nothing wrong with the train if you have time but it takes more than twice as long as getting around in a car. For example, when I used Amtrak to get from San Jose to Santa Barbara it took ~9hrs. It wasn't a bad ride plenty of empty seats to stretch out in and a place to buy food/beer but it was long. The other problem is that it cost almost as much as renting a car. So if you are traveling with your wife and bikes it is probably cheaper and easier to rent a car.

hmmm or hire a car
That would be my advice.