8 days in California's Central Coast & Big Sur Itinerary

8 days in California's Central Coast & Big Sur Itinerary

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Route & dates

8 days in California's Central Coast & Big Sur Itinerary

Start: Atlanta
Fly + bus:  9​h 30​min
1
Santa Barbara
— 1 night
Drive:  45​min
2
Los Olivos
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
3
Paso Robles
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h
4
San Simeon
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
5
Big Sur
— 1 night
bus:  45​min
6
Monterey
— 2 nights
shuttle + Fly:  9​h 15​min
End: Atlanta

1
night
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 10th (Sat): learn about winemaking at Margerum Wine Company and then take a leisurely stroll along Stearns Wharf.

To see where to stay, ratings, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the Santa Barbara attractions planning tool .

Atlanta to Santa Barbara is an approximately 9.5-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also fly; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Pacific Standard Time (PST) is minus 3 hours. Prepare for a bit cooler weather when traveling from Atlanta in August: high temperatures in Santa Barbara hover around 76°F and lows are around 60°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sun) so you can go by car to Los Olivos.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Tours Wineries
Highlights from your plan
Wine Tours & Tastings
Stearns Wharf ©
Stearns Wharf
Margerum Wine Company ©
Margerum Wine Company

1
night
Los Olivos

Los Olivos ©
Los Olivos is a census-designated place in the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara County, California. Start off your visit on the 12th (Mon): indulge your senses at some of the top wineries in the area, learn about winemaking at Sunstone Vineyards & Winery, do a tasting at Artiste Winery & Tasting Studio, then do a tasting at Rusack Vineyards, and finally see the interesting displays at The Creation Station Fabric and Quilt Shop.

To see reviews, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Los Olivos route maker website .

You can drive from Santa Barbara to Los Olivos in an hour. Traveling from Santa Barbara in August, you will find days in Los Olivos are somewhat warmer (86°F), and nights are little chillier (54°F). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Mon) to allow time to travel to Paso Robles.

Things to do in Los Olivos

Tours Wineries Museums

Side Trips

Santa Ynez, The Creation Station Fabric and Quilt Shop, Rusack Vineyards
Highlights from your plan
Rusack Vineyards ©
Rusack Vineyards
Sunstone Vineyards & Winery ©
Sunstone Vineyards & Winery
Artiste Winery & Tasting Studio ©
Artiste Winery & Tasting Studio

1
night
Paso Robles

A town of hot springs and wine, Paso Robles (or "Pass of the Oaks") feels like a desert paradise to those who travel here.
Kick off your visit on the 13th (Tue): learn about winemaking at Rio Seco Winery, then do a tasting at Derby Wine Estates, and then awaken your taste buds at some of the top wineries in the area.

To find reviews, traveler tips, maps, and tourist information, go to the Paso Robles trip maker .

Getting from Los Olivos to Paso Robles by car takes about 1.5 hours. When traveling from Los Olivos in August, plan for a bit warmer days and about the same nights in Paso Robles: temperatures range from 94°F by day to 55°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Paso Robles

Tours Wineries
Highlights from your plan
Wine Tours & Tastings
Rio Seco Winery ©
Rio Seco Winery
Derby Wine Estates ©
Derby Wine Estates

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.
Start off your visit on the 14th (Wed): look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery, explore the historical opulence of Hearst Castle, and then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at The Old Santa Rosa Creek Chapel.

To find photos, traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the San Simeon itinerary planner .

You can drive from Paso Robles to San Simeon in an hour. Another option is to take a bus. In August, plan for daily highs up to 94°F, and evening lows to 55°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Big Sur.

Things to do in San Simeon

Historic Sites Parks Wildlife

Side Trip

The Old Santa Rosa Creek Chapel
Highlights from your plan
Hearst Castle ©
Hearst Castle
Friends of the Elephant Seal ©
Friends of the Elephant Seal

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 15th (Thu): kick back and relax at Pfeiffer State Beach, then immerse yourself in nature at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, then take in nature's colorful creations at Hawthorne Gallery, and finally snap pictures at Bixby Bridge.

For ratings, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, use the Big Sur online holiday planner .

Traveling by car from San Simeon to Big Sur takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus. Expect colder weather when traveling from San Simeon in August: highs in Big Sur hover around 70°F, while lows dip to 57°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 15th (Thu) so you can catcht the bus to Monterey.

Things to do in Big Sur

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

2
nights
Monterey

Monterey ©
Monterey is a city in the U.S. On the 16th (Fri), meet the residents at Monterey Bay Aquarium, then explore and take pictures at 17-Mile Drive, and then learn about winemaking at Pierce Ranch Vineyards Tasting Room.

To find more things to do, reviews, and other tourist information, go to the Monterey trip builder .

You can take a bus from Big Sur to Monterey in an hour. Another option is to drive. In August, daytime highs in Monterey are 70°F, while nighttime lows are 57°F. You will have some time to spend on the 17th (Sat) before leaving for home.

Things to do in Monterey

Parks Zoos & Aquariums Scenic Drive
Highlights from your plan
Monterey Bay Aquarium ©
Monterey Bay Aquarium
17-Mile Drive ©
17-Mile Drive
Pierce Ranch Vineyards Tasting Room ©

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