9 days in California Itinerary

9 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

9 days in California Itinerary

Start: Chicago
Fly:  7​h
1
Los Angeles
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
2
Santa Barbara
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h
3
Solvang
— Few hours
Drive:  2​h 30​min
4
San Simeon
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h
5
Carmel
— Few hours
Drive:  15​min
6
Monterey
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
7
San Francisco
— 2 nights
Fly:  6​h 15​min
End: Chicago

3
nights
Los Angeles

Los Angeles ©
Surrounded by mountain ranges, forests, valleys, beaches, and deserts, the metropolitan area of Los Angeles is home to over 17 million people.
Do your shopping at Hammer Museum and Montana Avenue.

To find traveler tips, ratings, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Los Angeles trip planner .

Chicago to Los Angeles is an approximately 7-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 2 hours traveling from Chicago to Los Angeles. In March, Los Angeles is much hotter than Chicago - with highs of 74°F and lows of 54°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Shopping Museums Neighborhoods

Side Trip

Montana Avenue
Highlights from your plan
Hammer Museum ©
Hammer Museum

1
night
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 26th (Tue), make a trip to State Street Underpass, steep yourself in history at Old Mission Santa Barbara, admire the masterpieces at Santa Barbara Museum of Art, then admire the majestic nature at Carpinteria State Beach, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Carpenteria Bluffs Nature Preserve.

For maps, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the Santa Barbara day trip site .

Traveling by car from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. In March, Santa Barbara is a bit cooler than Los Angeles - with highs of 69°F and lows of 48°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Solvang.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trip

Carpinteria
Highlights from your plan
Carpinteria State Beach ©
Carpinteria State Beach
Old Mission Santa Barbara ©
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Carpenteria Bluffs Nature Preserve ©

few
hours
Solvang

Solvang
Solvang is a city in Santa Barbara County, California. To see other places to visit and other tourist information, use the Solvang trip itinerary planning website .

You can drive from Santa Barbara to Solvang in an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Traveling from Santa Barbara in March, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be little chillier in Solvang, with lows of 42°F. You will leave for San Simeon on the 27th (Wed).

Things to do in Solvang

Wineries Outdoors Parks

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.
To see maps, ratings, and more tourist information, go to the San Simeon tour itinerary maker website .

Getting from Solvang to San Simeon by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 72°F in March, and nighttime lows around 41°F. You will leave for Big Sur on the 27th (Wed).

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Historic Sites Wildlife
Highlights from your plan
Friends of the Elephant Seal ©
Friends of the Elephant Seal
Hearst Castle ©
Hearst Castle
Jade Cove ©
Jade Cove

few
hours
Carmel

Carmel ©
Carmel-by-the-Sea, often simply called Carmel, is a city in Monterey County, California, United States, founded in 1902 and incorporated on October 31, 1916. Seventeen Mile Drive has been added to your itinerary. Start off your visit on the 28th (Thu): admire all the interesting features of Seventeen Mile Drive, then take in the exciting artwork at Gallery by the Sea Carmel, and then explore the world behind art at Casa Serrano, Historic Adobe. On the 29th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: contemplate the long history of Cannery Row and then get to know the fascinating history of Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard.

To find ratings, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, you can read our Carmel journey site .

Carmel is just a stone's throw from Big Sur. In March, daily temperatures in Carmel can reach 64°F, while at night they dip to 47°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 30th (Sat) early enough to go by car to Monterey.

Things to do in Carmel

Museums Shopping

Side Trip

Casa Serrano, Historic Adobe
Highlights from your plan
Gallery by the Sea Carmel ©
Gallery by the Sea Carmel
Casa Serrano, Historic Adobe ©
Casa Serrano, Historic Adobe

1
night
Monterey

Monterey
Monterey is a city in the U.S. Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Monterey County Youth Museum. Kick off your visit on the 30th (Sat): see the interesting displays at Monterey County Youth Museum.

To find more things to do, reviews, photos, and tourist information, read our Monterey online travel route builder .

Monterey is very close to Carmel. March in Monterey sees daily highs of 64°F and lows of 47°F at night. On the 1st (Mon), you'll travel to San Francisco.

Things to do in Monterey

Outdoors Parks Tours

2
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Kick off your visit on the 29th (Fri): browse the different shops at Ferry Building Marketplace, then get curious at Exploratorium, then head off the coast to Alcatraz Island, and finally see the interesting displays at Cable Car Museum. Here are some ideas for day two: see what you can catch with a fishing tour, kick back and relax at Baker Beach, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Fort Funston National Park.

To find maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our San Francisco road trip tool .

Traveling by car from Monterey to San Francisco takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or do a combination of bus and train. Expect a daytime high around 65°F in March, and nighttime lows around 50°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 31st (Sun) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Outdoors Parks Wildlife
Highlights from your plan
Ferry Building Marketplace ©
Ferry Building Marketplace
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Exploratorium ©
Exploratorium

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