12 days in California's Central Coast Itinerary

12 days in California's Central Coast Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California's Central Coast planner

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Route & dates

12 days in California's Central Coast Itinerary

Start: Buenos Aires
Fly + shuttle:  18​h 45​min
1
Monterey
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
2
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
3
Pismo Beach
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
4
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
+3
train + foot + bus + Fly:  18​h
End: Buenos Aires

3
nights
Monterey

Monterey ©
Monterey is a city in the U.S. Change things up with a short trip to Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz (about 54 minutes away). Spend the 26th (Sat) observing fascinating marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour. And it doesn't end there: contemplate the waterfront views at Monterey Bay, enjoy the sand and surf at Breakwater, take in the waterfront at Old Fisherman's Wharf, and take a memorable drive along 17-Mile Drive.

To see ratings, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, read our Monterey day trip planning app .

Buenos Aires, Argentina to Monterey is an approximately 19-hour combination of flight and shuttle. You can also fly; or do a combination of ferry and flight. The time zone difference moving from Argentine Time (ART) to Pacific Standard Time (PST) is minus 5 hours. Plan for colder temperatures traveling from Buenos Aires in January, with highs in Monterey at 19°C and lows at 7°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 28th (Mon) so you can go by car to San Simeon.

Things to do in Monterey

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trip

Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Highlights from your plan
17-Mile Drive ©
17-Mile Drive
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail ©

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 29th (Tue): step into the grandiose world of Hearst Castle, identify plant and animal life at Elephant Seal Rookery, and then enjoy the sea views from Piedras Blancas Light Station. On the 30th (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take a memorable drive along Moonstone Beach Dr, then enjoy the sand and surf at Moonstone Beach, and then hike along Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.

To find reviews, ratings, more things to do, and tourist information, read San Simeon online route builder .

Traveling by car from Monterey to San Simeon takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus, train, and taxi; or do a combination of bus and car. Traveling from Monterey in January, expect little chillier with lows of 3°C in San Simeon. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Wed) early enough to drive to Pismo Beach.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Outdoors Historic Sites

Side Trip

Cambria
Highlights from your plan
Friends of the Elephant Seal ©
Friends of the Elephant Seal
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve ©
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach

2
nights
Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach ©
Pismo Beach is a city in San Luis Obispo County, in the Central Coast area of California, United States. On the 31st (Thu), explore the landscape on two wheels at Bob Jones City to Sea Bike Trail, then race across the water with a speed boat tour, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Monarch Butterfly Grove. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in the dramatic natural features at Morro Rock, then immerse yourself in nature at Montana de Oro State Park, and then visit a coastal fixture at Point San Luis Lighthouse.

To find other places to visit, photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Pismo Beach attractions planner.

You can drive from San Simeon to Pismo Beach in 1.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Expect a bit warmer evenings in Pismo Beach when traveling from San Simeon in January, with lows around 7°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Fri) so you can drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Pismo Beach

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Avila Beach, Morro Rock, Montana de Oro State Park
Highlights from your plan
Morro Rock ©
Morro Rock
Montana de Oro State Park ©
Montana de Oro State Park
Speed Boats Tours

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.
On the 2nd (Sat), take in panoramic vistas at Santa Barbara County Courthouse, then steep yourself in history at Old Mission Santa Barbara, then admire nature's wide array of creatures at Santa Barbara Zoo, and finally take in the waterfront at Stearns Wharf. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 3rd (Sun): awaken your taste buds at some of the top wineries in the area.

To find traveler tips, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Santa Barbara vacation planner .

Getting from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a train. February in Santa Barbara sees daily highs of 22°C and lows of 7°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Sun) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

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

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