11 days in California Itinerary

11 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

11 days in California Itinerary

Start: Minneapolis
Fly:  5​h 30​min
1
San Francisco
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
2
Mendocino
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 30​min
3
Garberville
— 1 day
Drive:  6​h 45​min
4
Cambria
— 1 day
Drive:  3​h 45​min
5
Big Sur
— 1 night
Bus:  30​min
6
Carmel
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h
7
Santa Cruz
— 2 nights
Fly:  7​h 30​min
End: Minneapolis

2
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Kick off your visit on the 8th (Mon): take a stroll through Union Square, then learn about all things military at USS Pampanito, then examine the collection at Musee Mecanique, and finally head off the coast to Alcatraz Island. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: admire the masterpieces at Asian Art Museum, then engage your brain at Exploratorium, and then steep yourself in history at SS Jeremiah O'Brien.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, maps, and other tourist information, read our San Francisco online trip planner .

Minneapolis to San Francisco is an approximately 5.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and subway; or drive. The time zone difference when traveling from Minneapolis to San Francisco is minus 2 hours. Expect somewhat warmer temperatures when traveling from Minneapolis in April; daily highs in San Francisco reach 67°F and lows reach 51°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Mendocino.

Things to do in San Francisco

Museums Childrens Museums Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Union Square ©
Union Square
SS Jeremiah O'Brien ©
SS Jeremiah O'Brien

1
night
Mendocino

Mendocino ©
Mendocino is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County, California, United States. Start off your visit on the 10th (Wed): look for gifts at Mendocino Jams & Preserves, contemplate the long history of Ford House Museum, then admire the masterpieces at Mendocino Art Center, and finally admire the majestic nature at Jug Handle State Reserve.

To find reviews, maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Mendocino road trip tool .

Getting from San Francisco to Mendocino by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight and bus; or take a bus. Plan for slightly colder nights when traveling from San Francisco in April since evenings lows in Mendocino dip to 44°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 10th (Wed) so you can travel to Garberville.

Things to do in Mendocino

Museums Nature Parks
Highlights from your plan
Ford House Visitor Center & Museum ©
Ford House Visitor Center & Museum
Jug Handle State Reserve ©
Jug Handle State Reserve
Mendocino Art Center ©
Mendocino Art Center

1
day
Garberville

Garberville ©
Garberville is a census-designated place in Humboldt County, California. On the 11th (Thu), cruise along Avenue of the Giants, then learn about winemaking at Briceland Vineyards, and then immerse yourself in nature at Richardson Grove State Park.

To see photos, reviews, maps, and other tourist information, read our Garberville trip planner .

You can drive from Mendocino to Garberville in 2 hours. Expect little chillier weather when traveling from Mendocino in April: highs in Garberville hover around 58°F, while lows dip to 44°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Thu) to allow time to travel to Cambria.

Things to do in Garberville

Scenic Drive Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Avenue of the Giants, Briceland Vineyards
Highlights from your plan
Avenue of the Giants ©
Avenue of the Giants
Briceland Vineyards ©
Briceland Vineyards
Richardson Grove State Park ©
Richardson Grove State Park

1
day
Cambria

Cambria ©
Cambria is a seaside village in San Luis Obispo County, California, United States midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles along California State Route 1 (Highway 1). On the 12th (Fri), take in nature's colorful creations at Cambria Nursery & Florist, then kick back and relax at Moonstone Beach, and then take in the exciting artwork at artifacts gallery.

To see maps, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Cambria online trip itinerary planner .

Getting from Garberville to Cambria by car takes about 7 hours. Other options: fly. While traveling from Garberville, expect a bit warmer days and about the same nights in Cambria, ranging from highs of 78°F to lows of 43°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Big Sur.

Things to do in Cambria

Parks Beaches Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach
Cambria Nursery and Florist ©
Cambria Nursery and Florist
Artifacts Gallery ©
Artifacts Gallery

1
night
Big Sur

Big Sur ©
A sparsely populated area with stunning views, Big Sur attracts artists and tourists traveling California’s scenic Highway 1.
Start off your visit on the 13th (Sat): trek along Partington Cove, then admire the majestic nature at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, then kick back and relax at Pfeiffer State Beach, and finally shop like a local with Coast Gallery Big Sur.

For reviews, traveler tips, photos, and other tourist information, read our Big Sur trip itinerary planner .

Traveling by car from Cambria to Big Sur takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a bit cooler weather when traveling from Cambria in April: highs in Big Sur hover around 64°F, while lows dip to 48°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Sat) early enough to take a bus to Carmel.

Things to do in Big Sur

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park ©
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach
Partington Cove ©
Partington Cove

1
night
Carmel

Carmel ©
Carmel-by-the-Sea, often simply called Carmel, is a city in Monterey County, California, United States, founded in 1902 and incorporated on October 31, 1916. Start off your visit on the 14th (Sun): hike along Scenic Road Walkway, then get a taste of the local shopping with Gallery by the Sea Carmel, and then play a few rounds at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

To find ratings, more things to do, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Carmel trip builder website .

Carmel is just a stone's throw from Big Sur. In April, daily temperatures in Carmel can reach 64°F, while at night they dip to 48°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Sun) early enough to go by car to Santa Cruz.

Things to do in Carmel

Outdoors Golf Trails

Side Trip

Pebble Beach Golf Links
Highlights from your plan
Scenic Road Walkway ©
Scenic Road Walkway
Pebble Beach Golf Links ©
Pebble Beach Golf Links
Gallery by the Sea Carmel ©
Gallery by the Sea Carmel

2
nights
Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz remains synonymous with surfing, but this counterculture bastion offers plenty even if you don't plan to catch any waves.
On the 15th (Mon), identify plant and animal life at Wildlife Areas, then stroll through Moss Landing State Beach, and then don't miss a visit to S.S. Palo Alto Concrete Ship. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: get curious at Seymour Marine Discovery Center and then enjoy the sand and surf at New Brighton State Beach.

For reviews, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Santa Cruz trip planning tool .

Traveling by car from Carmel to Santa Cruz takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In April in Santa Cruz, expect temperatures between 68°F during the day and 46°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Tue) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Santa Cruz

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Moss Landing, New Brighton State Beach, S.S. Palo Alto Concrete Ship
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
New Brighton State Beach ©
New Brighton State Beach
Moss Landing State Beach ©
Moss Landing State Beach

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