15 days in California's Central Coast Itinerary

15 days in California's Central Coast Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California's Central Coast trip itinerary planner

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Route & dates

15 days in California's Central Coast Itinerary

Start: London
Fly:  14​h
1
Santa Cruz
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
2
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
3
Pismo Beach
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
4
Santa Barbara
— 5 nights
Fly:  16​h 30​min
End: London

3
nights
Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz remains synonymous with surfing, but this counterculture bastion offers plenty even if you don't plan to catch any waves.
Museum-lovers will appreciate Seymour Marine Discovery Center and Casa Serrano, Historic Adobe. Take a break from the city and head to Dolphin & Whale Watching and 17-Mile Drive. Explore Santa Cruz's surroundings by going to Monterey (Cannery Row, Dali17 Museum, & more). The adventure continues: enjoy the sand and surf at Natural Bridges State Beach, play a few rounds at Pasatiempo Golf Club, and examine the collection at Santa Cruz Surfing Museum.

Discover how to plan a Santa Cruz trip in just a few steps with Inspirock's itinerary builder.

London, UK to Santa Cruz is an approximately 14-hour combination of flight and shuttle. You can also do a combination of flight, subway, train, and bus; or do a combination of train, flight, and shuttle. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 8 hours traveling from London to Santa Cruz. Expect a daytime high around 26°C in July, and nighttime lows around 15°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Santa Cruz

Outdoors Parks Museums

Side Trip

Monterey
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
17-Mile Drive ©
17-Mile Drive
Cannery Row ©
Cannery Row

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 2nd (Fri): kick back and relax at Moonstone Beach, then view the masterpieces at artifacts gallery, then learn about winemaking at Moonstone Cellars, and finally kick back and relax at Piedras Blancas. Here are some ideas for day two: steep yourself in history at Hearst Castle, then see the interesting displays at Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon Bay (Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary), and then look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery.

For other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our San Simeon attractions planner .

You can drive from Santa Cruz to San Simeon in 3.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus, train, and taxi; or do a combination of bus and car. Traveling from Santa Cruz in August, you will find days in San Simeon are somewhat warmer (40°C), and nights are about the same (15°C). Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Sat) early enough to go by car to Pismo Beach.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trip

Cambria
Highlights from your plan
Hearst Castle ©
Hearst Castle
Friends of the Elephant Seal ©
Friends of the Elephant Seal
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach

3
nights
Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach ©
Pismo Beach is a city in San Luis Obispo County, in the Central Coast area of California, United States. Appreciate the collections at Morro Bay Skateboard Museum and Estrella Warbird Air Museum. Get in touch with nature at Morro Rock and Eldwaylen Ocean Park. Get out of town with these interesting Pismo Beach side-trips: Paso Robles (Woodland Auto Display, Paso Robles Pioneer Museum, & more) and Morro Bay (Museum of Natural History, Morro Bay State Park, & more). Next up on the itinerary: brush up on your military savvy at Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum and get engrossed in the history at Heritage House Museum.

For where to stay, traveler tips, maps, and more tourist information, use the Pismo Beach driving holiday website .

Traveling by car from San Simeon to Pismo Beach takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. When traveling from San Simeon in August, plan for little chillier days in Pismo Beach, with highs around 30°C, while nights are about the same with lows around 17°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 6th (Tue) so you can go by car to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Pismo Beach

Museums Parks Shopping

Side Trips

Morro Bay, Paso Robles, Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum, Heritage House Museum
Highlights from your plan
Morro Bay Skateboard Museum ©
Morro Bay Skateboard Museum
Morro Rock ©
Morro Rock
Estrella Warbird Air Museum ©
Estrella Warbird Air Museum

5
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.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Old Mission Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara Historical Museum. Museum-lovers will get to explore Santa Barbara Museum of Art and Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History Sea Center. Explore Santa Barbara's surroundings by going to Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts (in Ojai) and Santa Paula (California Oil Museum, Santa Paula Art Museum, & more). Dedicate the 8th (Thu) to wine at some of the top wineries in the area. There's lots more to do: take a stroll through State Street Underpass, get a new perspective on nature at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, stroll through Thousand Steps Beach, and have fun and explore at Santa Barbara Maritime Museum.

To see more things to do, ratings, reviews, and other tourist information, read our Santa Barbara road trip planner .

Traveling by car from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Expect a daytime high around 28°C in August, and nighttime lows around 18°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Sun) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Museums Tours Parks

Side Trips

Santa Paula, Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts
Highlights from your plan
Old Mission Santa Barbara ©
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Stearns Wharf ©
Stearns Wharf
Santa Barbara Museum of Art ©
Santa Barbara Museum of Art

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