5 days in California's Central Coast Itinerary

5 days in California's Central Coast Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California's Central Coast vacation planner

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Route & dates

5 days in California's Central Coast Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
Drive:  1​h 30​min
1
Santa Cruz
— 1 day
Drive:  3​h
2
San Luis Obispo
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
3
Santa Barbara
— 3 nights
Fly:  3​h 45​min
End: San Francisco

1
day
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 2nd (Thu): take a memorable tour with Tours and then enjoy the sand and surf at Natural Bridges State Beach.

To see reviews, where to stay, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Santa Cruz trip itinerary planner .

San Francisco to Santa Cruz is an approximately 1.5-hour car ride. You can also take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. August in Santa Cruz sees daily highs of 74°F and lows of 57°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Thu) to allow time to drive to San Luis Obispo.

Things to do in Santa Cruz

Outdoors Tours Wildlife
Highlights from your plan
Natural Bridges State Beach ©
Natural Bridges State Beach
Dolphin & Whale Watching

1
night
San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo ©
San Luis Obispo, or SLO for short, is a city in the U.S. On the 3rd (Fri), experience rural life at Avila Valley Barn, hunt for treasures at San Luis Obispo County Farmers' Market Association, then see the interesting displays at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa Museum & Gift Shop, and finally admire the architecture and history at Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.

To see ratings, reviews, and tourist information, read San Luis Obispo trip planner.

Traveling by car from Santa Cruz to San Luis Obispo takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of shuttle, flight, and bus. In August in San Luis Obispo, expect temperatures between 79°F during the day and 58°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Fri) early enough to go by car to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in San Luis Obispo

Shopping Museums Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa ©
Old Mission Gift Shop and Museum ©
Avila Valley Barn ©
Avila Valley Barn

3
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.
You'll explore and learn at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History and Reagan Ranch Center. Take a break from the city and head to State Street and Arroyo Burro County Beach Park. There's much more to do: admire the masterpieces at Santa Barbara Museum of Art, have fun and explore at Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, identify plant and animal life at Douglas Family Preserve, and do a tasting at Grassini Family Vineyards.

For other places to visit, photos, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Santa Barbara online vacation builder .

Drive from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. In August, daytime highs in Santa Barbara are 76°F, while nighttime lows are 60°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Mon) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

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

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