7 days in California's Central Coast, Big Sur & San Francisco Itinerary

7 days in California's Central Coast, Big Sur & San Francisco Itinerary

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7 days in California's Central Coast, Big Sur & San Francisco Itinerary

Start: Palm Springs
Drive:  3​h 30​min
1
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
2
San Simeon
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 45​min
3
Big Sur
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h
4
San Francisco
— 2 nights
End: San Francisco

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.
Kick off your visit on the 23rd (Tue): enjoy breathtaking views from Santa Barbara County Courthouse, admire the masterpieces at Santa Barbara Museum of Art, then admire the majestic nature at Carpinteria State Beach, and finally wander the streets of State Street Underpass. Here are some ideas for day two: contemplate the long history of Old Mission Santa Barbara, then enjoy the sand and surf at Arroyo Burro County Beach Park, and then do a tasting at Margerum Wine Company.

To find traveler tips, where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Santa Barbara trip planner .

Palm Springs to Santa Barbara is an approximately 3.5-hour car ride. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or fly. Traveling from Palm Springs in April, expect Santa Barbara to be slightly colder, temps between 25°C and 11°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Wed) so you can drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trip

Carpinteria State Beach
Highlights from your plan
Carpinteria State Beach ©
Carpinteria State Beach
Old Mission Santa Barbara ©
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Museum of Art ©
Santa Barbara Museum of Art

1
night
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 25th (Thu): stroll through Moonstone Beach and then admire all the interesting features of Moonstone Beach Dr.

For maps, more things to do, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our San Simeon trip planner .

Traveling by car from Santa Barbara to San Simeon takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. Traveling from Santa Barbara in April, you will find days in San Simeon are somewhat warmer (30°C), and nights are a bit cooler (7°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Thu) so you can drive to Big Sur.

Things to do in San Simeon

Outdoors Scenic Drive Beaches

Side Trip

Cambria
Highlights from your plan
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone 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.
Kick off your visit on the 26th (Fri): stroll through Pfeiffer State Beach and then admire the majestic nature at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

To see where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, read Big Sur trip app .

You can drive from San Simeon to Big Sur in 4 hours. When traveling from San Simeon in April, plan for slightly colder days and about the same nights in Big Sur: temperatures range from 20°C by day to 10°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Fri) early enough to drive to San Francisco.

Things to do in Big Sur

Outdoors Beaches Parks
Highlights from your plan
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park ©
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach

2
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
On the 27th (Sat), enjoy the sand and surf at Baker Beach, then take in the pleasant sights at Fisherman's Wharf, and then head off the coast to Alcatraz Island.

For photos, more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our San Francisco road trip planner .

Traveling by car from Big Sur to San Francisco takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and flight; or do a combination of taxi and train. In April, daytime highs in San Francisco are 22°C, while nighttime lows are 12°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 28th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Fisherman's Wharf ©
Fisherman's Wharf
Fort Funston National Park ©
Fort Funston National Park

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