23 days in California Itinerary

23 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

23 days in California Itinerary

Start: Palm Springs
Fly:  3​h 30​min
1
San Francisco
— 6 nights
Drive:  1​h
2
San Jose
— 1 night
Drive:  45​min
3
Santa Cruz
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h
4
Carmel
— 2 nights
Drive:  45​min
5
Salinas
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
6
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h
7
Solvang
— 2 nights
Drive:  45​min
8
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
9
Los Angeles
— 2 nights
Fly:  3​h 45​min
End: San Francisco

6
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Discover out-of-the-way places like VJB Cellars and Limantour Beach. Point Reyes Lighthouse and Grace Cathedral are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Change things up with these side-trips from San Francisco: John Muir National Historic Site (in Martinez), Lindsay Wildlife Museum (in Walnut Creek) and B. Wise Vineyards (in Kenwood). The adventure continues: expand your understanding of the military at Fort Point, kick back and relax at Miramar Beach, take in the spiritual surroundings of Holy Virgin Cathedral, and stroll the grounds of Presidio Pet Cemetery.

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

Palm Springs to San Francisco is an approximately 3.5-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a bus. Prepare for colder weather when traveling from Palm Springs in August: high temperatures in San Francisco hover around 73°F and lows are around 59°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Sun) to allow time to drive to San Jose.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trips

Half Moon Bay, Point Reyes National Seashore, Kenwood, Battery Spencer, Sonoma Valley
Highlights from your plan
John Muir National Historic Site ©
John Muir National Historic Site
Point Reyes Lighthouse ©
Point Reyes Lighthouse
Fort Point ©
Fort Point

1
night
San Jose

San Jose ©
The metropolitan center of Silicon Valley, San Jose considers itself a global city.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Sun): pause for some serene contemplation at Our Lady of Peace Church, learn about winemaking at J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, then examine the collection at Japanese American Resource Center/Museum, and finally admire the landmark architecture of San Jose Betsuin Buddhist Church. Here are some ideas for day two: take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Mount Umunhum, take in the architecture and atmosphere at Stanford Memorial Church, and then admire the masterpieces at Rodin Sculpture Garden.

To find where to stay, traveler tips, ratings, and more tourist information, read San Jose trip itinerary builder tool .

Traveling by car from San Francisco to San Jose takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of subway and bus. Expect a bit warmer weather when traveling from San Francisco in August: highs in San Jose hover around 80°F, while lows dip to 60°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Santa Cruz.

Things to do in San Jose

Museums Parks Nature

Side Trips

Stanford Memorial Church, Rodin Sculpture Garden, Our Lady of Peace Church
Highlights from your plan
San Jose Betsuin Buddhist Church ©
San Jose Betsuin Buddhist Church
Our Lady of Peace Church ©
Our Lady of Peace Church

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.
Start off your visit on the 13th (Tue): observe the fascinating underwater world at Seymour Marine Discovery Center, then visit a coastal fixture at Mark Abbot Memorial Lighthouse, and then kick back and relax at Twin Lakes State Beach. Here are some ideas for day two: immerse yourself in nature at Mission State Park, take in the waterfront at Boardwalk's Cocoanut Grove, then take in the pleasant sights at Shark Fin Cove, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Waddell Beach.

To find maps, photos, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the Santa Cruz online trip maker .

You can drive from San Jose to Santa Cruz in an hour. Another option is to take a bus. When traveling from San Jose in August, plan for slightly colder days and about the same nights in Santa Cruz: temperatures range from 74°F by day to 57°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 14th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Carmel.

Things to do in Santa Cruz

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Shark Fin Cove
Highlights from your plan
Seymour Marine Discovery Center ©
Seymour Marine Discovery Center
Twin Lakes State Beach ©
Twin Lakes State Beach
Shark Fin Cove ©
Shark Fin Cove

2
nights
Carmel

Carmel ©
Carmel-by-the-Sea, often simply called Carmel, is a city in Monterey County, California, United States, founded in 1902 and incorporated on October 31, 1916. Kick off your visit on the 15th (Thu): enjoy the sand and surf at Pfeiffer State Beach, then admire the striking features of San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission, and then admire the majestic nature at Asilomar State Beach. Here are some ideas for day two: browse the exhibits of Carmel Mission, grab your bike and head to Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail, and then appreciate the extensive heritage of Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard.

For photos, maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read Carmel trip planner .

You can drive from Santa Cruz to Carmel in an hour. Another option is to take a bus. In August, daily temperatures in Carmel can reach 70°F, while at night they dip to 57°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Salinas.

Things to do in Carmel

Parks Outdoors Historic Sites

Side Trips

Pacific Grove, Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail, Pfeiffer State Beach
Highlights from your plan
Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach
Asilomar State Beach ©
Asilomar State Beach
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard ©
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard

2
nights
Salinas

Salinas ©
Salinas is the county seat and largest municipality of Monterey County, California. Kick off your visit on the 17th (Sat): stop by Pezzini Farms, then contemplate the long history of The Steinbeck House / Best Cellar Gift Shop, then appreciate the extensive heritage of Oldtown, and finally look and learn at Fremont Peak Observatory. Keep things going the next day: don't miss a visit to The Shakespeare Society of America, then enjoy the sand and surf at Salinas River State Beach, and then take in nature's colorful creations at Tatum's Garden.

For ratings, photos, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Salinas trip itinerary app .

Drive from Carmel to Salinas in an hour. In August, daily temperatures in Salinas can reach 73°F, while at night they dip to 58°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 18th (Sun) early enough to travel to San Simeon.

Things to do in Salinas

Parks Museums Historic Sites

Side Trips

Moss Landing, Fremont Peak Observatory, Pezzini Farms
Highlights from your plan
Salinas River State Beach ©
Salinas River State Beach
Fremont Peak Observatory ©
Fremont Peak Observatory

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.
Kick off your visit on the 19th (Mon): take in the waterfront at San Simeon Pier, enjoy the sand and surf at William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach, and then admire the majestic nature at San Simeon State Park. On the 20th (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in the spiritual surroundings of New Camaldoli Hermitage, kick back and relax at Sand Dollar Beach, then stop by Sebastian General Store, and finally do a tasting at Hearst Ranch Winery.

To find where to stay, reviews, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the San Simeon road trip tool .

You can drive from Salinas to San Simeon in 2.5 hours. Traveling from Salinas in August, you will find days in San Simeon are much hotter (94°F), and nights are about the same (55°F). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 21st (Wed) to allow time to drive to Solvang.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

New Camaldoli Hermitage, Sand Dollar Beach
Highlights from your plan
William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach ©
Sand Dollar Beach ©
Sand Dollar Beach
New Camaldoli Hermitage ©
New Camaldoli Hermitage

2
nights
Solvang

Solvang ©
Solvang is a city in Santa Barbara County, California. On the 21st (Wed), take in the architecture and atmosphere at Bethania Lutheran Church, do a tasting at Sevtap Winery Tasting Room, do a tasting at Lincourt Vineyards, then do a tasting at Barbieri Wines, and finally pause for some serene contemplation at Labyrinth at St. Mark's-in-the-Valley Episcopal Church. On the 22nd (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: learn about winemaking at Shoestring Winery, then learn about winemaking at Casa Dumetz Wines, then hike along Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, and finally do a tasting at Artiste Winery & Tasting Studio.

For more things to do, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Solvang trip website .

Drive from San Simeon to Solvang in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Traveling from San Simeon in August, you will find days in Solvang are slightly colder (86°F), and nights are about the same (54°F). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Fri) early enough to drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Solvang

Wineries Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Los Olivos, Casa Dumetz Wines, Foxen Canyon Wine Trail
Highlights from your plan
Lincourt Vineyards ©
Lincourt Vineyards
Bethania Lutheran Church ©
Bethania Lutheran Church

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.
Start off your visit on the 23rd (Fri): kick back and relax at Silver Strand Beach, stroll around Serra Cross Park, and then stroll through Butterfly Beach. Here are some ideas for day two: tour the pleasant surroundings at East Beach, enjoy the sand and surf at Thousand Steps Beach, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Douglas Family Preserve.

For where to stay, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the Santa Barbara trip planning tool .

Traveling by car from Solvang to Santa Barbara takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. When traveling from Solvang in August, plan for a bit cooler days and somewhat warmer nights in Santa Barbara: temperatures range from 76°F by day to 60°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Los Angeles.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Silver Strand Beach, Butterfly Beach, Serra Cross Park
Highlights from your plan
East Beach ©
East Beach
Butterfly Beach ©
Butterfly Beach
Silver Strand Beach ©
Silver Strand Beach

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.
Get some cultural insight at Glass Church / Wayfarers Chapel and Greystone Mansion and Park. Ocean Avenue and Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels will appeal to history buffs. Step out of Los Angeles to go to Redondo Beach and see Redondo Beach, which is approximately 38 minutes away. There's still lots to do: stroll the grounds of Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park, deepen your understanding at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), browse the collection at Los Angeles Central Library, and take an in-depth tour of Autry Museum of the American West.

To see more things to do, where to stay, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Los Angeles trip itinerary maker app .

You can drive from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Expect a bit warmer temperatures when traveling from Santa Barbara in August; daily highs in Los Angeles reach 84°F and lows reach 66°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 27th (Tue) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Historic Sites Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Glass Church / Wayfarers Chapel, Greystone Mansion and Park, Ocean Avenue, Redondo Beach
Highlights from your plan
Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels ©
Glass Church / Wayfarers Chapel ©
Glass Church / Wayfarers Chapel
Greystone Mansion and Park ©
Greystone Mansion and Park

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