11 days in California’s Central Coast Itinerary

11 days in California’s Central Coast Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California’s Central Coast journey planner

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Route & dates

11 days in California’s Central Coast Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
Fly:  4​h 30​min
1
Santa Barbara
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
2
Santa Maria
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
3
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h
4
Monterey
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
End: San Francisco

3
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.
Visit Carpinteria State Beach and Arroyo Burro County Beach Park for some beach relaxation. Get outdoors at State Street Underpass and Douglas Family Preserve. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Santa Barbara: Carpenteria Bluffs Nature Preserve (in Carpinteria) and Sunstone Vineyards & Winery (in Santa Ynez). Dedicate the 27th (Thu) to wine at some of the top wineries in the area. There's still lots to do: contemplate the long history of Old Mission Santa Barbara, do a tasting at Grassini Family Vineyards, and take in panoramic vistas at Santa Barbara County Courthouse.

To see reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, read Santa Barbara travel route planner.

Fort Lauderdale to Santa Barbara is an approximately 10-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. Traveling from Fort Lauderdale to Santa Barbara, you'll gain 3 hours due to the time zone difference. When traveling from Fort Lauderdale in June, plan for a bit cooler days and cooler nights in Santa Barbara: temperatures range from 72°F by day to 56°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Sat) early enough to drive to Santa Maria.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Tours Outdoors Parks

Side Trips

Carpinteria, Sunstone Vineyards & Winery
Highlights from your plan
Wine Tours & Tastings
Sunstone Vineyards & Winery ©
Sunstone Vineyards & Winery
Carpinteria State Beach ©
Carpinteria State Beach

2
nights
Santa Maria

Santa Maria ©
Santa Maria is a city near the Southern California coast in Santa Barbara County. Start off your visit on the 30th (Sun): do a tasting at Rusack Vineyards, then do a tasting at Sanford Winery & Vineyards, and then get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour. On the 1st (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: learn about winemaking at Rancho Sisquoc Winery, do a tasting at Foxen Vineyard & Winery, and then grab your bike and head to Bob Jones City to Sea Bike Trail.

To see reviews, photos, and tourist information, use the Santa Maria online attractions planner .

Getting from Santa Barbara to Santa Maria by car takes about 1.5 hours. June in Santa Maria sees daily highs of 73°F and lows of 53°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 1st (Mon) early enough to go by car to San Simeon.

Things to do in Santa Maria

Wineries Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Avila Beach, Rusack Vineyards, Sanford Winery & Vineyards
Highlights from your plan
Rusack Vineyards ©
Rusack Vineyards
Foxen Vineyard & Winery ©
Foxen Vineyard & Winery
Rancho Sisquoc Winery ©
Rancho Sisquoc Winery

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.
On the 2nd (Tue), explore and take pictures at Moonstone Beach Dr, tour the pleasant surroundings at Moonstone Beach, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery. On the 3rd (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: explore the historical opulence of Hearst Castle, then do a tasting at Hearst Ranch Winery, then do a tasting at Moonstone Cellars, and finally stroll through Piedras Blancas.

For traveler tips, photos, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our San Simeon trip planner .

Traveling by car from Santa Maria to San Simeon takes 1.5 hours. Traveling from Santa Maria in July, expect nights in San Simeon to be about the same, around 56°F, while days are a bit warmer, around 94°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Wed) early enough to drive to Monterey.

Things to do in San Simeon

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trip

Cambria
Highlights from your plan
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach
Hearst Castle ©
Hearst Castle
Piedras Blancas ©
Piedras Blancas

3
nights
Monterey

Monterey ©
Monterey is a city in the U.S. On the 4th (Thu), see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the activities along Monterey Bay, then appreciate the extensive heritage of Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard, and then hike along Point Lobos.

To see more things to do, maps, photos, and tourist information, use the Monterey trip maker website .

Traveling by car from San Simeon to Monterey takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or do a combination of car and bus. Traveling from San Simeon in July, expect nights in Monterey to be about the same, around 55°F, while days are cooler, around 69°F. You will have some time to spend on the 6th (Sat) before leaving for home.

Things to do in Monterey

Outdoors Wildlife Tours

Side Trips

Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard, Bixby Bridge, Point Lobos
Highlights from your plan
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard ©

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