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

Make it your trip
Fly to San Francisco International Airport, Drive to Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz
— 3 nights
— 2 nights
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
Drive to Los Angeles International Airport, Fly to Monroe Regional Airport


Santa Cruz

— 3 nights
Santa Cruz remains synonymous with surfing, but this counterculture bastion offers plenty even if you don't plan to catch any waves.
Visiting 17-Mile Drive and Pleasure Point Beach will get you outdoors. Visit Manresa State Beach and Rio Del Mar State Beach for some beach relaxation. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Santa Cruz: Monterey (Monterey Bay Aquarium & Monterey's Tasty Olive Bar). There's lots more to do: get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour, go for a walk through West Cliff Drive, make a trip to S.S. Palo Alto Concrete Ship, and admire the striking features of Boardwalk's Cocoanut Grove.

To see more things to do, other places to visit, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Santa Cruz online driving holiday planner.

Monroe to Santa Cruz is an approximately 9.5-hour combination of flight and car. You can also drive. You'll gain 2 hours traveling from Monroe to Santa Cruz due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Monroe in August, expect Santa Cruz to be slightly colder, temps between 74°F and 57°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Cambria.

Things to do in Santa Cruz

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Scenic Drive

Side Trips


— 2 nights
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). On the 15th (Thu), cruise along Moonstone Beach Dr, then enjoy the sand and surf at 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 Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Piedras Blancas.

For photos, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read Cambria vacation maker site.

Traveling by car from Santa Cruz to Cambria takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus, train, and taxi; or take a bus. Expect a bit warmer weather when traveling from Santa Cruz in August: highs in Cambria hover around 94°F, while lows dip to 55°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Cambria

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Wildlife

Side Trip

Santa Barbara

— 2 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.
Kick off your visit on the 17th (Sat): enjoy the sand and surf at Thousand Steps Beach, then take a stroll through State Street Underpass, then learn about winemaking at Sunstone Winery, and finally do a tasting at Rusack Vineyards.

To find other places to visit, reviews, photos, and other tourist information, read our Santa Barbara vacation maker site.

Getting from Cambria to Santa Barbara by car takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or do a combination of bus and train. Traveling from Cambria in August, you will find days in Santa Barbara are slightly colder (76°F), and nights are about the same (60°F). Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 18th (Sun) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Outdoors · Beaches · Parks · Wineries

Side Trips