15 days in California's Central Coast, South Lake Tahoe & Santa Clara Itinerary

15 days in California's Central Coast, South Lake Tahoe & Santa Clara Itinerary

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Route & dates

15 days in California's Central Coast, South Lake Tahoe & Santa Clara Itinerary

Start: Melbourne
Fly:  20​h 15​min
1
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
2
Paso Robles
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
3
Monterey
— 3 nights
Drive:  5​h 15​min
4
South Lake Tahoe
— 3 nights
bus + Fly:  3​h 45​min
5
Santa Clara
— 1 night
Drive + Fly:  20​h
End: Melbourne

2
nights
Santa Barbara

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.
Explore hidden gems such as Cabrillo Bike Path and Arroyo Burro County Beach Park. Visit East Beach and Thousand Steps Beach for some beach relaxation. And it doesn't end there: explore and take pictures at Santa Barbara Scenic Drive, do a tasting at Margerum Wine Company, make a trip to Moreton Bay Fig Tree, and look for all kinds of wild species at Douglas Family Preserve.

To find photos, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Santa Barbara trip itinerary planner.

Melbourne, Australia to Santa Barbara is an approximately 20.5-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also fly; or do a combination of train, flight, and bus. The time zone difference when traveling from Melbourne to Santa Barbara is minus 18 hours. Prepare for somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Melbourne in September: high temperatures in Santa Barbara hover around 30°C and lows are around 17°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Paso Robles.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Arroyo Burro County Beach Park ©
Arroyo Burro County Beach Park
East Beach ©
East Beach
Santa Barbara Maritime Museum ©
Santa Barbara Maritime Museum

3
nights
Paso Robles

Paso Robles ©
A town of hot springs and wine, Paso Robles (or "Pass of the Oaks") feels like a desert paradise to those who travel here.
Get in touch with nature at Bob Jones City to Sea Bike Trail and Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. You'll get in some beach time at Morro Strand State Beach and William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Paso Robles: Avila Main Beach (in Avila Beach), Morro Bay National Estuary (in Morro Bay) and Ancient Peaks Winery (in Santa Margarita). Next up on the itinerary: learn about winemaking at Niner Wine Estates.

To see ratings, more things to do, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Paso Robles online trip maker .

You can drive from Santa Barbara to Paso Robles in 2.5 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or take a train. Expect a bit warmer weather when traveling from Santa Barbara in September: highs in Paso Robles hover around 38°C, while lows dip to 13°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) early enough to drive to Monterey.

Things to do in Paso Robles

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Morro Bay, Avila Beach, William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach, Peachy Canyon Winery, Ancient Peaks Winery
Highlights from your plan
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve ©
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve
Morro Strand State Beach ©
Morro Strand State Beach

3
nights
Monterey

Monterey ©
Monterey is a city in the U.S. Start off your visit on the 1st (Tue): enjoy the sand and surf at Breakwater, then enjoy the sand and surf at McAbee Beach, then enjoy the sand and surf at Del Monte Beach, and finally stroll around Dennis the Menace Park. Here are some ideas for day two: appreciate the history behind The Cannery Row Monument, explore the landscape on two wheels at Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail, then do a tasting at Silvestri Vineyards, then do a tasting at Dawn's Dream Winery, and finally trek along Scenic Road Walkway.

For ratings, maps, photos, and other tourist information, read our Monterey road trip planning tool .

Drive from Paso Robles to Monterey in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. Traveling from Paso Robles in September, you will find days in Monterey are a bit cooler (26°C), and nights are about the same (15°C). Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Thu) early enough to go by car to South Lake Tahoe.

Things to do in Monterey

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trip

Carmel
Highlights from your plan
Breakwater ©
Breakwater
Scenic Road Walkway ©
Scenic Road Walkway
Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail ©

3
nights
South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe ©
High in the Sierra Nevada mountains on the shore of one of America’s most scenic lakes, South Lake Tahoe captures the spirit of the outdoors and serves as a hub for tourism activities surrounding the lake.
Family-friendly places like El Dorado Beach and Baldwin Beach will thrill your kids. Get outdoors at Kiva Beach and Glen Alpine Falls. There's much more to do: hike along Fallen Leaf Lake Trail, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Jobs Peak, sample the tasty concoctions at South Lake Brewing Co, and head outdoors with Carson Pass.

To see traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, read our South Lake Tahoe tour itinerary planner.

Drive from Monterey to South Lake Tahoe in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle, flight, and bus; or do a combination of flight and bus. When traveling from Monterey in October, plan for slightly colder days and cooler nights in South Lake Tahoe: temperatures range from 20°C by day to 0°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Sun) early enough to travel to Santa Clara.

Things to do in South Lake Tahoe

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Kiva Beach ©
Kiva Beach
El Dorado Beach ©
El Dorado Beach
Fallen Leaf Lake Trail ©
Fallen Leaf Lake Trail

1
night
Santa Clara

Santa Clara ©
Santa Clara is a city in Santa Clara County, California. On the 6th (Sun), stroll around Central Park, browse the collection at Central Park Library, then take in the architecture and atmosphere at Our Lady of Peace Church, and finally examine the collection at 49ers Museum. On the 7th (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: identify plant and animal life at Ulistac Natural Area and then join the crowd at K1 Speed Santa Clara.

Start your trip to Santa Clara by creating a personalized itinerary on Inspirock.

You can do a combination of bus and flight from South Lake Tahoe to Santa Clara in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus, flight, and train. While traveling from South Lake Tahoe, expect somewhat warmer days and much hotter nights in Santa Clara, ranging from highs of 29°C to lows of 14°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 7th (Mon) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Santa Clara

Parks Wildlife Museums
Highlights from your plan
Ulistac Natural Area ©
Ulistac Natural Area
Central Park ©
Central Park
Our Lady of Peace Church ©
Our Lady of Peace Church

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