21 days in United States Itinerary

21 days in United States Itinerary

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Route & dates

21 days in United States Itinerary

Start: Santa Monica
bus + Fly:  3​h 45​min
1
San Francisco
— 4 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
2
Santa Cruz
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h
3
Monterey
— 3 nights
bus:  45​min
4
Big Sur
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 30​min
5
Pismo Beach
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
6
Santa Barbara
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 45​min
7
Los Angeles
— 6 nights
Fly:  8​h 45​min
End: New York City

4
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Give yourself a bit of retail therapy at Union Square and City Lights Booksellers & Publishers. We've included these beaches for you: Fort Funston National Park and Baker Beach. There's still lots to do: take in the waterfront at Fisherman's Wharf, examine the collection at de Young Museum, get a new perspective on nature at California Academy of Sciences, and head off the coast to Alcatraz Island.

For maps, photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the San Francisco trip builder.

Santa Monica to San Francisco is an approximately 4-hour combination of bus, flight, and subway. You can also drive; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Traveling from Santa Monica in August, San Francisco is little chillier at night with lows of 58°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Fri) so you can go by car to Santa Cruz.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Fisherman's Wharf ©
Fisherman's Wharf

2
nights
Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz ©
Santa Cruz remains synonymous with surfing, but this counterculture bastion offers plenty even if you don't plan to catch any waves.
Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: visit a coastal fixture at Pigeon Point Light Station, look for gifts at ARCANGELI GROCERY CO/NORMS MARKET, and then admire the majestic nature at Big Basin Redwoods State Park.

For ratings, other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, refer to the Santa Cruz vacation trip planner.

Traveling by car from San Francisco to Santa Cruz takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. In August, daytime highs in Santa Cruz are 73°F, while nighttime lows are 54°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Sun) early enough to drive to Monterey.

Things to do in Santa Cruz

Parks Shopping Outdoors

Side Trips

Pescadero, Gilroy Premium Outlets, Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Highlights from your plan
Big Basin Redwoods State Park ©
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Pigeon Point Light Station ©
Pigeon Point Light Station
Natural Bridges State Beach ©
Natural Bridges State Beach

3
nights
Monterey

Monterey ©
Monterey is a city in the U.S. Get a sense of the local culture at Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard and Pacific Biological Laboratories. Cannery Row and San Carlos Cathedral will appeal to history buffs. Change things up with a short trip to National Steinbeck Center in Salinas (about 30 minutes away). There's much more to do: enjoy the sand and surf at Point Lobos State Reserve, stop by The Cheese Shop, tour the pleasant surroundings at Carmel City Beach/Carmel River Beach, and take a stroll through Old Fisherman's Wharf.

To find reviews, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, read our Monterey travel itinerary creator.

Traveling by car from Santa Cruz to Monterey takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 69°F in August, and nighttime lows around 56°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Wed) to allow time to drive to Big Sur.

Things to do in Monterey

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trips

Carmel, Pacific Grove, National Steinbeck Center
Highlights from your plan
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard ©
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard
Asilomar State Beach ©
Asilomar State Beach

1
night
Big Sur

Big Sur ©
A sparsely populated area with stunning views, Big Sur attracts artists and tourists traveling California’s scenic Highway 1.
On the 24th (Thu), stroll through Pfeiffer State Beach, visit a coastal fixture at Point Sur State Historic Park, and then snap pictures at Bixby Bridge.

For traveler tips, maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Big Sur custom trip planner.

Drive from Monterey to Big Sur in an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In August, daily temperatures in Big Sur can reach 68°F, while at night they dip to 55°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Thu) so you can go by car to Pismo Beach.

Things to do in Big Sur

Parks Historic Sites Nature
Highlights from your plan
Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach
Point Sur State Historic Park ©
Point Sur State Historic Park
Bixby Bridge ©
Bixby Bridge

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. Kick off your visit on the 25th (Fri): do a tasting at Rancho Sisquoc Winery, then do a tasting at Foxen Vineyard & Winery, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Pismo State Beach. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: do a tasting at Derby Wine Estates: Tasting Room, do a tasting at J Dusi Winery, and then identify plant and animal life at Monarch Butterfly Grove.

For maps, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Pismo Beach vacation planner.

Drive from Big Sur to Pismo Beach in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. When traveling from Big Sur in August, plan for a bit warmer days in Pismo Beach, with highs around 78°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 55°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 27th (Sun) so you can go by car to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Pismo Beach

Wineries Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Santa Maria, Paso Robles, Pismo State Beach
Highlights from your plan
Monarch Butterfly Grove ©
Monarch Butterfly Grove
Foxen Vineyard & Winery ©
Foxen Vineyard & Winery
Rancho Sisquoc Winery ©
Rancho Sisquoc Winery

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 27th (Sun): admire the striking features of Old Mission Santa Barbara, then take a stroll through State Street, and then take a leisurely stroll along Stearns Wharf.

To find other places to visit, more things to do, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Santa Barbara vacation builder.

Traveling by car from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. In August, daytime highs in Santa Barbara are 74°F, while nighttime lows are 57°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Mon) so you can drive to Los Angeles.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Historic Sites Shopping Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Old Mission Santa Barbara ©
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Stearns Wharf ©
Stearns Wharf

6
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.
Visit La Brea Tar Pits & Museum and Venice Canals Walkway for their historical value. Give yourself a bit of retail therapy at Santa Monica Farmers Market and The Grove. Get out of town with these interesting Los Angeles side-trips: Santa Monica (Bergamot Station & Montana Avenue) and Disneyland Park (in Anaheim). Pack the 2nd (Sat) with family-friendly diversions at Universal Studios Hollywood. There's lots more to do: examine the collection at Getty Center The Publications, look for all kinds of wild species at Santa Monica Beach, look for gifts at Studio City Farmers Market, and see the sky in a new way at Griffith Observatory.

To find reviews, more things to do, maps, and tourist information, you can read our Los Angeles trip planner.

Getting from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a train; or take a bus. Traveling from Santa Barbara in August, expect Los Angeles to be a bit warmer, temps between 84°F and 65°F. You'll have a few hours on the 3rd (Sun) to wrap things up before traveling home.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Theme Parks Shopping Museums

Side Trips

Santa Monica, Disneyland Park
Highlights from your plan
The Getty Center ©
The Getty Center
Griffith Observatory ©
Griffith Observatory
Santa Monica Pier ©
Santa Monica Pier

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