11 days in California’s Central Coast, San Jose & San Francisco Itinerary

11 days in California’s Central Coast, San Jose & San Francisco Itinerary

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11 days in California’s Central Coast, San Jose & San Francisco Itinerary

Start: Los Angeles
1
Santa Barbara
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
2
Morro Bay
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
3
Monterey
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
4
San Jose
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h
5
San Francisco
— 2 nights
Fly:  3​h 45​min
End: Los Angeles

1
night
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 30th (Wed): savor the flavors at Food & Drink. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in the waterfront at Stearns Wharf, get to know the fascinating history of State Street Underpass, then steep yourself in history at Old Mission Santa Barbara, then take in panoramic vistas at Santa Barbara County Courthouse, and finally explore the world behind art at Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

For ratings, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, use the Santa Barbara road trip planning website .

Los Angeles to Santa Barbara is an approximately 2-hour car ride. You can also take a bus; or take a train. Traveling from Los Angeles in January, plan for slightly colder nights in Santa Barbara, with lows around 43°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Thu) early enough to drive to Morro Bay.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Tours Historic Sites Museums
Highlights from your plan
Wine Tours & Tastings
Old Mission Santa Barbara ©
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Museum of Art ©
Santa Barbara Museum of Art

2
nights
Morro Bay

Morro Bay ©
Morro Bay is a waterfront city in San Luis Obispo County, California located along California State Route 1 on California's Central Coast. Kick off your visit on the 1st (Fri): race across the water with a speed boat tour, take a leisurely stroll along Pismo Pier, then identify plant and animal life at Monarch Butterfly Grove, and finally look for gifts at Alapay Cellars. On the 2nd (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: explore the striking landscape at Morro Rock, then look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery, and then admire the architecture and history at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.

To see maps, more things to do, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our Morro Bay road trip planning site .

Traveling by car from Santa Barbara to Morro Bay takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. In January in Morro Bay, expect temperatures between 68°F during the day and 44°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Sat) early enough to drive to Monterey.

Things to do in Morro Bay

Parks Wildlife Nature

Side Trips

Avila Beach, Pismo Beach, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, Elephant Seal Rookery
Highlights from your plan
Monarch Butterfly Grove ©
Monarch Butterfly Grove
Speed Boats Tours
Elephant Seal Rookery ©
Elephant Seal Rookery

2
nights
Monterey

Monterey ©
Monterey is a city in the U.S. Kick off your visit on the 3rd (Sun): take in the history at San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission, immerse yourself in nature at Point Lobos, then explore the activities along Monterey Bay, and finally look for gifts at Monterey's Tasty Olive Bar. Here are some ideas for day two: meet the residents at Monterey Bay Aquarium, admire all the interesting features of 17-Mile Drive, and then take an in-depth tour of Casa Serrano, Historic Adobe.

To see other places to visit and more tourist information, read Monterey vacation planner.

Traveling by car from Morro Bay to Monterey takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of bus and train. Expect slightly colder weather when traveling from Morro Bay in February: highs in Monterey hover around 63°F, while lows dip to 45°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Mon) to allow time to drive to San Jose.

Things to do in Monterey

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Carmel
Highlights from your plan
Monterey Bay ©
Monterey Bay
Monterey Bay Aquarium ©
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey's Tasty Olive Bar ©
Monterey's Tasty Olive Bar

3
nights
San Jose

San Jose ©
The metropolitan center of Silicon Valley, San Jose considers itself a global city.
Start off your visit on the 5th (Tue): pause for some serene contemplation at Cathedral Basilica of St. Joseph, then see the interesting displays at The Tech Museum of Innovation, then take in the architecture and design of Stanford University, and finally take an unorthodox tour of Winchester Mystery House. On your second day here, explore and take pictures at Mystery Spot, take a memorable drive along West Cliff Drive, and then take in the waterfront at Santa Cruz Wharf.

For photos, reviews, ratings, and other tourist information, use the San Jose trip planner .

Drive from Monterey to San Jose in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 65°F in February, and nighttime lows around 45°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 7th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to San Francisco.

Things to do in San Jose

Historic Sites Scenic Drive Outdoors

Side Trips

Santa Cruz, Stanford University
Highlights from your plan
Winchester Mystery House ©
Winchester Mystery House
Stanford University ©
Stanford University
West Cliff Drive ©
West Cliff Drive

2
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
On the 7th (Thu), admire the natural beauty at Japanese Tea Garden and then take in the views from Golden Gate Bridge. On your second day here, make a trip to Ferry Building Marketplace, then explore and take pictures at Alcatraz Island, then take a leisurely stroll along Fisherman's Wharf, and finally don't miss a visit to Lombard Street.

To see other places to visit, more things to do, ratings, and more tourist information, use the San Francisco journey planner.

Traveling by car from San Jose to San Francisco takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of bus and subway. February in San Francisco sees daily highs of 62°F and lows of 48°F at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sat) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Museums Childrens Museums
Highlights from your plan
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Fisherman's Wharf ©
Fisherman's Wharf

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