8 days in California’s Central Coast Itinerary

8 days in California’s Central Coast Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California’s Central Coast route maker

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Route & dates

8 days in California’s Central Coast Itinerary

Start: Monroe
Fly:  9​h 45​min
1
Santa Cruz
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
2
Cambria
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
3
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
Fly:  9​h 30​min
End: Monroe

3
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.
Relax by the water at Pleasure Point Beach and Manresa State Beach. Get in touch with nature at 17-Mile Drive and Dolphin & Whale Watching. Get out of town with these interesting Santa Cruz side-trips: Monterey (Monterey Bay Aquarium & Monterey's Tasty Olive Bar). There's still lots to do: go for a walk through West Cliff Drive, admire the striking features of Boardwalk's Cocoanut Grove, don't miss a visit to S.S. Palo Alto Concrete Ship, and kick back and relax at Rio Del Mar State Beach.

For other places to visit, photos, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Santa Cruz trip planner .

Monroe to Santa Cruz is an approximately 10-hour flight. You can also drive. The time zone difference moving from Central Standard Time (CST) to Pacific Standard Time (PST) is minus 2 hours. Prepare for little chillier weather when traveling from Monroe in August: high temperatures in Santa Cruz hover around 74°F and lows are around 57°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Cambria.

Things to do in Santa Cruz

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Monterey, Aptos, Dolphin & Whale Watching
Highlights from your plan
17-Mile Drive ©
17-Mile Drive
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Pleasure Point Beach ©
Pleasure Point Beach

2
nights
Cambria

Cambria ©
Cambria is a seaside village in San Luis Obispo County, California, United States midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles along California State Route 1 (Highway 1). Kick off your visit on the 15th (Thu): cruise along Moonstone Beach Dr, then stroll through Moonstone Beach, and then kick back and relax at William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 16th (Fri): indulge your thirst for a good beer at 927 Beer Company, then identify plant and animal life at Elephant Seal Rookery, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Piedras Blancas.

To find more things to do, photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Cambria online itinerary planner .

Getting from Santa Cruz to Cambria by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and train; or take a bus. Traveling from Santa Cruz in August, expect nights in Cambria to be about the same, around 55°F, while days are somewhat warmer, around 94°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Fri) early enough to drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Cambria

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

San Simeon
Highlights from your plan
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach
Piedras Blancas ©
Piedras Blancas
927 Beer Company ©
927 Beer Company

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.
On the 17th (Sat), enjoy the sand and surf at Thousand Steps Beach, then take a stroll through State Street Underpass, then do a tasting at Sunstone Vineyards & Winery, and finally do a tasting at Rusack Vineyards.

To see other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, go to the Santa Barbara day trip tool .

Traveling by car from Cambria to Santa Barbara takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. While traveling from Cambria, expect slightly colder days and about the same nights in Santa Barbara, ranging from highs of 76°F to lows of 60°F. On the 18th (Sun), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Outdoors Beaches Parks

Side Trips

Rusack Vineyards, Carpenteria Bluffs Nature Preserve, Sunstone Vineyards & Winery
Highlights from your plan
Rusack Vineyards ©
Rusack Vineyards
Sunstone Vineyards & Winery ©
Sunstone Vineyards & Winery

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