12 days in Santa Monica, Los Angeles & San Francisco Itinerary

12 days in Santa Monica, Los Angeles & San Francisco Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in Santa Monica, Los Angeles & San Francisco Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
Fly + bus:  4​h
1
Santa Monica
— 2 nights
Drive:  30​min
2
Los Angeles
— 2 nights
Fly:  3​h 30​min
3
San Francisco
— 7 nights
End: San Francisco

2
nights
Santa Monica

Santa Monica ©
A famed resort town since the early 20th century, Santa Monica sits on the picturesque Santa Monica Bay, bordered on three sides by the city of Los Angeles.
Start off your visit on the 4th (Tue): get to know the fascinating history of Ocean Avenue, get a taste of the local shopping with Montana Avenue, and then admire the majestic nature at Santa Monica Beach. Here are some ideas for day two: buy something for everyone on your list at Rodeo Drive, then steep yourself in history at Greystone Mansion, and then take in the awesome beauty at Santa Monica Mountains.

To see ratings, more things to do, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the Santa Monica trip itinerary builder tool .

San Francisco to Santa Monica is an approximately 4-hour combination of subway, flight, and bus. You can also drive; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Traveling from San Francisco in September, expect somewhat warmer with lows of 20°C in Santa Monica. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Thu) to allow time to drive to Los Angeles.

Things to do in Santa Monica

Parks Nature Shopping

Side Trip

Beverly Hills
Highlights from your plan
Santa Monica State Beach ©
Santa Monica State Beach
Santa Monica Mountains ©
Santa Monica Mountains
Ocean Avenue ©
Ocean Avenue

2
nights
Los Angeles

Los Angeles ©
Surrounded by mountain ranges, forests, valleys, beaches, and deserts, the metropolitan area of Los Angeles is home to over 17 million people.
On the 6th (Thu), don't miss a visit to Hollywood Walk of Fame, pause for some photo ops at Guitar Center, then kick back and relax at Venice Beach and Boardwalk, then take a stroll through Abbot Kinney Boulevard, and finally browse the different shops at The Grove. On the 7th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: look for gifts at Hollywood & Highland, then stop by Amoeba Music, then see the interesting displays at Getty Center The Publications, and finally look for all kinds of wild species at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area.

For traveler tips, where to stay, and other tourist information, refer to the Los Angeles road trip planning tool .

Los Angeles is just a short distance from Santa Monica. When traveling from Santa Monica in September, plan for somewhat warmer days and about the same nights in Los Angeles: temperatures range from 35°C by day to 22°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Sat) to allow time to travel to San Francisco.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Shopping Parks Wildlife
Highlights from your plan
The Getty Center ©
The Getty Center
Venice Beach and Boardwalk ©
Venice Beach and Boardwalk
Abbot Kinney Boulevard ©
Abbot Kinney Boulevard

7
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Head to Union Square and City Lights Booksellers & Publishersfor some retail therapy. Let the collections at Exploratorium and Cable Car Museum capture your imagination. Explore San Francisco's surroundings by going to Armstrong Redwood State Reserve (in Guerneville), Fitzgerald J V Marine Reserve (in Moss Beach) and Pride Mountain Vineyards (in St. Helena). Spend the 11th (Tue) exploring nature at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. There's lots more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Alcatraz Island, enjoy the sand and surf at Point Isabel, take in the views from Golden Gate Bridge, and browse the different shops at Ferry Building Marketplace.

To find maps, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the San Francisco travel planner.

You can do a combination of train and flight from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 3.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of train and flight; or drive. Expect a bit cooler temperatures when traveling from Los Angeles in September; daily highs in San Francisco reach 27°C and lows reach 16°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Museums Nature

Side Trips

Armstrong Redwood State Reserve, Fitzgerald J V Marine Reserve, Pride Mountain Vineyards, Safari West, Point Isabel
Highlights from your plan
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge
Fisherman's Wharf ©
Fisherman's Wharf

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