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Travelling to San Francisco from Carmel

by topgunn Online Now Mar 25, 2008 at 2:43 PM

We have a week in Carmel. We were hoping to play tourist in San Francisco for a day or two. While we have a hire car, are we best to leave it in Carmel and get a bus or train to SF, or should we drive and pay for parking?

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  • risse73's Profile Photo

    Re: Travelling to San Francisco from Carmel

    by risse73 Online Now Mar 25, 2008 at 2:54 PM

    It depends upon your travel itinerary. If you're only concentrating on sights around the city of SF, then you won't need a car there as it is a compact city where you can easily walk, take the trolley, etc.; however, if you intend to include sights outside of the city, then you'll definitely need a car. It is certainly a wonderful trip if you have the time to include charming Sausalito, the wine country (either Napa or Sonoma, I prefer Sonoma/Sonoma County), Bodega Bay, etc.

    Goodluck & do enjoy your trip!

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  • topgunn's Profile Photo

    Re: Travelling to San Francisco from Carmel

    by topgunn Online Now Mar 25, 2008 at 3:04 PM

    Thanks, just going to stick to tourist sites in SF itself so no need for a car when we are there. Really wanting to know how to get to SF from Carmel or Monterey. Is there regular bus or train services and how long do they take. Cheers

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  • risse73's Profile Photo

    Re: Travelling to San Francisco from Carmel

    by risse73 Online Now Mar 25, 2008 at 3:31 PM

    Okay...Here is what I recommend:

    1.) Take the bus transit to Monterey proper via the MST. Here's their website:
    http://www.mst.org/

    2.) From there, you can take the Monterey air bus enroute to SF. Here's their website:
    http://www.montereyairbus.com/

    Or better yet, why don't you contact Monterey Air Bus to see if they can pick you up from your accommodation in Carmel?

    Goodluck & enjoy!

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  • lostsooner55's Profile Photo

    Re: Travelling to San Francisco from Carmel

    by lostsooner55 Online Now Mar 25, 2008 at 3:43 PM

    If "touristy place" means the Wharf, I honestly would just travel up the coast to Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay, and leave The City for another trip. Gary

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  • NorCal08's Profile Photo

    Re: Travelling to San Francisco from Carmel

    by NorCal08 Online Now Mar 25, 2008 at 4:09 PM

    And now for something completely different. I recommend driving. Why waste time using public transport and the expense of a rental sitting in Carmel. You may not use the vehicle in SF, however, I suspect you might. SF isn't like driving in Rome or even London. You can bounce from Golden Gate Bridge to downtown effortlessly, and do it in less time than if you use public transit (which ain't that great in SF, especially buses). A car also gives you the ability to be spontaneous and switch up your plans at the last minute. Who wants to be stuck riding Muni or the dog (Greyhound Bus Lines)? I can't think of a worse way to start a visit to SF than arriving at the Transbay Bus Terminal and then having to side step the homeless while you stroll to your Hotel. Drive.

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  • topgunn's Profile Photo

    Re: Travelling to San Francisco from Carmel

    by topgunn Online Now Mar 25, 2008 at 4:11 PM

    We have a week in the Carmel/Monterey area and plan to see lots of places (like Santa Cruz etc), however, playing the tourist with the wife in SF (which I have done before)isn't such a bad thing.

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  • topgunn's Profile Photo

    Re: Travelling to San Francisco from Carmel

    by topgunn Online Now Mar 25, 2008 at 4:18 PM

    Driving is still an option I haven't ruled out. It was more just a case of having a place in Carmel for a week and thinking it might be as simple as walking down the road to a train station which has a direct route into the heart of downtown SF within an hour or two. That way we could do a day trip, or at the most, stay overnight and return the following day.

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  • Re: Travelling to San Francisco from Carmel

    by starduster Online Now Mar 25, 2008 at 4:29 PM

    I agree with NorCal. Normally I'm a fan of public transport, but there's just not a convenient connection between Carmel and SF. If I were you I'd drive, trying to time your trip to avoid commute hours so you don't have to deal with much traffic. Once you're in the city you might choose to park your car and take transit around town, as it can be difficult to find parking in many places.

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  • risse73's Profile Photo

    Re: Travelling to San Francisco from Carmel

    by risse73 Online Now Mar 25, 2008 at 5:27 PM

    I've actually done many trips in SF on different transportation modes, but I wanted to give the inquirer options just in case he opts not to bring his car into the city from Carmel. I agree it's not such a straightforward case from Carmel to SF via public transport, but the Air Bus is a shuttle service that gives him direct/easier access to SF compared to taking other tranportation options (e.g., train, etc.) from the Carmel/Monterey area.

    If you do decide to bring a car into SF, I suggest to find a hotel that offers a parking space. One time, we stayed in the Omni San Francisco and we had no problem there with parking. Another time, we opted to stay in a boutique hotel somewhere in downtown SF and spent two days just going on foot/taking the trolley around to see the touristy sites and decided to rent a car on the 3rd day to go see the outskirts (e.g., Marin county, wine country, Bodega Bay, etc.). At other times, we just take a car to go up north and visit SF. So, clearly there are many ways to do this and it depends on what suits you best.

    Goodluck & enjoy beautiful SF!!!

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  • topgunn's Profile Photo

    Re: Travelling to San Francisco from Carmel

    by topgunn Online Now Mar 25, 2008 at 5:45 PM

    thanks all! Will probably end up making it an overnight stay and select a hotel which offers free parking, or at least reasonably priced parking.
    Given there is no "direct" link to SF from Carmel, apart from the hire bus option, I think this is the best plan of attack. Cheers

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  • trvlrtom's Profile Photo

    Re: Travelling to San Francisco from Carmel

    by trvlrtom Online Now Mar 25, 2008 at 8:11 PM

    I think your decision to drive is a good one. Like others, I'm an advocate of public transit, but it really isn't worth it for the trip you're planning. And since you have a car, I'll offer a suggestion for a cool old motel we've stayed at once, the Ocean Park. It's not downtown, but located near the Pacific Ocean. It's an Art Deco building with a throwback, retro feel. Parking is as easy as it gets in the City. Unfortunately I didn't have a camera the time we stayed, so I haven't written a VT tip on it.

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  • acloud's Profile Photo

    Re: Travelling to San Francisco from Carmel

    by acloud Online Now Mar 26, 2008 at 6:56 PM

    Just returned from a trip to SF and stayed in a great, inexpensive hotel that had parking. The Baldwin Hotel had off premises parking, although I did not make use of it since I didn't rent my car until we left. It is located at the gates of Chinatown and was within a block of bus stops and walking distance to everything we wanted to see. It was recently updated, clean and quiet and less than80/night on travelocity. We made the drive down to Carmel and it was beautiful. There are times when driving yourself at your own pace is worth it.

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