37 days in California Itinerary

37 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California route planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
San Diego
— 6 nights
Drive
2
Los Angeles
— 7 nights
Drive
3
Santa Barbara
— 5 nights
Drive
4
San Luis Obispo
— 5 nights
Drive
5
Carmel
— 6 nights
Drive
6
San Francisco
— 7 nights
Fly

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San Diego

— 6 nights

America's Finest City

Divided into neighborhoods with distinct characters and cultural heritages, San Diego sits just north of the Mexican border and offers visitors a blend of tourist attractions, including a lively nightlife, diverse cuisine, and a thriving musical scene.
Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and Point Loma. You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at La Jolla Shores Park and Coronado Beach. Change things up with these side-trips from San Diego: Lions, Tigers & Bears (in Alpine) and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (in Borrego Springs). The adventure continues: admire the majestic nature at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, shop like a local with Liberty Public Market, enjoy the sea views from Old Point Loma Lighthouse, and see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour.

For reviews, photos, ratings, and more tourist information, use the San Diego road trip site.

Dallas to San Diego is an approximately 5-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a bus. The time zone difference when traveling from Dallas to San Diego is minus 2 hours. Expect somewhat warmer temperatures when traveling from Dallas in January; daily highs in San Diego reach 67°F and lows reach 51°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Fri) so you can drive to Los Angeles.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Historic Sites

Side Trips

Los Angeles

— 7 nights

City of Angels

Surrounded by mountain ranges, forests, valleys, beaches, and deserts, the metropolitan area of Los Angeles is home to over 17 million people.
Do your shopping at LA Farmers' Market and Universal CityWalk Hollywood. Visit The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens and Hollywood Walk of Fame for their historical value. Venture out of the city with trips to Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum (in Simi Valley), Mission San Juan Capistrano (in San Juan Capistrano) and Crystal Cove (in Laguna Beach). The adventure continues: admire the masterpieces at Palm Springs Art Museum, take a stroll through Abbot Kinney Boulevard, shop like a local with Third Street Promenade, and get some fabulous bargains at Citadel Outlets.

To see photos, traveler tips, more things to do, and more tourist information, use the Los Angeles travel route planner.

You can drive from San Diego to Los Angeles in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or fly. In January in Los Angeles, expect temperatures between 70°F during the day and 49°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Shopping · Museums · Parks · Historic Sites

Side Trips

Santa Barbara

— 5 nights

The American Riviera

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.
Head to Camarillo Premium Outlets and Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurantsfor plenty of shopping. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Wine Tours & Tastings and Old Mission Santa Barbara. Explore Santa Barbara's surroundings by going to Ostrich Land (in Buellton), Wildling Museum of Art and Nature (in Solvang) and Human Arts Gallery (in Ojai). The adventure continues: admire the landmark architecture of Santa Barbara County Courthouse, identify plant and animal life at Douglas Family Preserve, explore the fascinating underground world of Salt Cave, and wander the streets of State Street Underpass.

For where to stay, maps, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the Santa Barbara online trip builder.

Traveling by car from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Traveling from Los Angeles in January, plan for little chillier nights in Santa Barbara, with lows around 43°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 29th (Wed) so you can go by car to San Luis Obispo.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Shopping · Wineries · Tours · Parks

Side Trips

San Luis Obispo

— 5 nights
San Luis Obispo, or SLO for short, is a city in the U.S. Escape the urban bustle at Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop and Monarch Butterfly Grove. Get some historical perspective at Hearst Castle and Santa Rosa Catholic Church. Venture out of the city with trips to Templeton (Jack Creek Celllars & Rotta Winery), Cambria (Ephraim Pottery West Gallery, Greenspace Creekside Reserve, &more) and Harmony Pottery Works (in Harmony). There's still lots to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Piedras Blancas, brush up on your military savvy at Central Coast Veterans Memorial Museum, take in the exciting artwork at Steynberg Gallery, and explore the striking landscape at Morro Rock.

To see ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our San Luis Obispo trip itinerary planning site.

Drive from Santa Barbara to San Luis Obispo in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Expect a daytime high around 68°F in January, and nighttime lows around 44°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Mon) early enough to drive to Carmel.

Things to do in San Luis Obispo

Parks · Museums · Wildlife · Outdoors

Side Trips

Carmel

— 6 nights
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. Your itinerary includes some good beach time at Pfeiffer State Beach and Natural Bridges State Beach. Give yourself a bit of retail therapy at Steven Whyte's Sculpture Studio and Gallery and AiX. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Carmel: Dolphin & Whale Watching (in Moss Landing), Big Sur (McWay Falls, Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, &more) and West Cliff Drive (in Santa Cruz). There's much more to do: admire the majestic nature at Point Lobos, learn about winemaking at De Tierra Vineyards Tasting Room, grab your bike and head to Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Asilomar State Beach.

To find other places to visit, more things to do, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Carmel trip planner.

Traveling by car from San Luis Obispo to Carmel takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. Traveling from San Luis Obispo in February, expect nights in Carmel to be about the same, around 45°F, while days are little chillier, around 63°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to San Francisco.

Things to do in Carmel

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Nature

Side Trips

San Francisco

— 7 nights

City by the Bay

San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Get outdoors at Alcatraz Island and Marin Headlands. Get some cultural insight at Golden Gate Bridge and City Lights Booksellers. Explore San Francisco's surroundings by going to Castello di Amorosa (in Calistoga), Sacramento (California State Railroad Museum & Crocker Art Museum) and Armstrong Redwood State Reserve (in Guerneville). There's much more to do: examine the collection at Walt Disney Family Museum, shop like a local with Union Square, trek along Lands End, and contemplate the long history of SS Jeremiah O'Brien.

To find more things to do, where to stay, and more tourist information, read our San Francisco trip planner.

Traveling by car from Carmel to San Francisco takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a bus. In February, daily temperatures in San Francisco can reach 62°F, while at night they dip to 48°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Sun) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks · Museums · Historic Sites · Shopping

Side Trips

California travel guide

4.1
Specialty Museums · Wineries & Vineyards · Beaches
The Golden State
The country's most populous state, California includes landscapes that range from the forested northern coast to harsh southern deserts. Sandwiched right in the middle of the state is a fertile valley, home to farms, vineyards, and orchards. California's cities offer diverse attractions, from amusement parks and upscale shops to award-winning restaurants and innovative art galleries. Outside the state's big urban centers, places to visit include some of the nation's most rugged national parks, ancient forests, towering mountain peaks, and ski resorts. More than just a surfing destination famous for its beaches and winding coastal roads, California also boasts one of the world's largest economies, bolstered by the booming tech industries.