11 days in California’s Central Coast & San Diego Itinerary

11 days in California’s Central Coast & San Diego Itinerary

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Route & dates

11 days in California’s Central Coast & San Diego Itinerary

Start: Newark
Fly:  12​h 45​min
1
Monterey
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h
2
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
3
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
4
San Diego
— 3 nights
Fly:  6​h 15​min
End: Newark

2
nights
Monterey

Monterey ©
Monterey is a city in the U.S. Bring the kids along to Point Lobos and Monterey Bay Aquarium. Spend the 4th (Sun) observing fascinating marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour. And it doesn't end there: contemplate the waterfront views at Monterey Bay, take a memorable drive along 17-Mile Drive, enjoy the sand and surf at Breakwater, and make a trip to Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard.

To find traveler tips, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Monterey visit planning tool .

Newark to Monterey is an approximately 13-hour flight. You can also drive. The time zone difference when traveling from Newark to Monterey is minus 3 hours. Plan for little chillier temperatures traveling from Newark in August, with highs in Monterey at 70°F and lows at 57°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 5th (Mon) early enough to go by car to San Simeon.

Things to do in Monterey

Outdoors Wildlife Parks

Side Trips

Point Lobos, Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard
Highlights from your plan
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
Monterey Bay Aquarium ©
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Dolphin & Whale Watching

2
nights
San Simeon

San Simeon ©
When you arrive in tiny San Simeon, which lies halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, you can see why William Randolph Hearst chose this coastal locale for his famous hilltop castle.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Tue): explore the historical opulence of Hearst Castle, get in on the excitement at Shamel Park, and then stroll through Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. Keep things going the next day: take a memorable drive along Moonstone Beach Dr, then kick back and relax at Moonstone Beach, and then identify plant and animal life at Elephant Seal Rookery.

For maps, where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, go to the San Simeon trip planner .

You can drive from Monterey to San Simeon in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or do a combination of bus and car. While traveling from Monterey, expect warmer days and about the same nights in San Simeon, ranging from highs of 94°F to lows of 55°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Outdoors Scenic Drive

Side Trip

Cambria
Highlights from your plan
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve ©
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve
Shamel Park ©
Shamel Park

2
nights
Santa Barbara

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara is a solid vacation destination with its wide beaches, renowned wineries, and some of California's finest shopping and dining options.
Kick off your visit on the 8th (Thu): enjoy breathtaking views from Santa Barbara County Courthouse, contemplate the long history of Old Mission Santa Barbara, then admire nature's wide array of creatures at Santa Barbara Zoo, and finally take a leisurely stroll along Stearns Wharf. On the 9th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: indulge your taste buds at Food & Drink.

For ratings, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, read Santa Barbara sightseeing website .

You can drive from San Simeon to Santa Barbara in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of bus and train. Traveling from San Simeon in August, expect nights in Santa Barbara to be about the same, around 60°F, while days are little chillier, around 76°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Fri) early enough to drive to San Diego.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Tours Outdoors Parks
Highlights from your plan
Wine Tours & Tastings
Santa Barbara Zoo ©
Santa Barbara Zoo
Old Mission Santa Barbara ©
Old Mission Santa Barbara

3
nights
San Diego

San Diego ©
Divided into neighborhoods with distinct characters and cultural heritages, San Diego sits just north of the Mexican border and offers visitors a blend of tourist attractions, including a lively nightlife, diverse cuisine, and a thriving musical scene.
Kick off your visit on the 10th (Sat): see the interesting displays at Maritime Museum of San Diego and then stroll through San Diego Zoo. Here are some ideas for day two: take in nature's colorful creations at Botanical Building and Lily Pond and then get in on the family fun at SeaWorld San Diego.

For photos, other places to visit, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the San Diego online vacation planner .

Traveling by car from Santa Barbara to San Diego takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or fly. Expect somewhat warmer evenings in San Diego when traveling from Santa Barbara in August, with lows around 68°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 12th (Mon) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks Zoos & Aquariums Theme Parks
Highlights from your plan
San Diego Zoo ©
San Diego Zoo
SeaWorld San Diego ©
SeaWorld San Diego
Maritime Museum of San Diego ©
Maritime Museum of San Diego

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