9 days in San Diego, Santa Monica & San Francisco Itinerary

9 days in San Diego, Santa Monica & San Francisco Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California visit planner

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Route & dates

Start: Atlanta
Fly:  5 h 45 min
1
San Diego
— 3 nights
Drive:  2 h 30 min
2
Santa Monica
— 2 nights
Bus + Fly:  5 h
3
San Francisco
— 3 nights
Fly:  6 h 30 min
End: Atlanta

3
nights
San Diego

San Diego ©
Divided into neighborhoods with distinct characters and cultural heritages, San Diego sits just north of the Mexican border and offers visitors a blend of tourist attractions, including a lively nightlife, diverse cuisine, and a thriving musical scene.
Take a break from the city and head to Pacific Beach and Crystal Cove. Family-friendly places like Newport Beach and South Carlsbad State Beach will thrill your kids. You'll find plenty of places to visit near San Diego: Oceanside Pier (in Oceanside) and Lions, Tigers & Bears (in Alpine). The adventure continues: kick back and relax at Coronado Beach, stroll the grounds of Fort Rosecrans Cemetery, browse the fresh offerings at Liberty Public Market, and look for gifts at Cousin's Candy Shops.

To find traveler tips, photos, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our San Diego trip itinerary planner.

Atlanta to San Diego is an approximately 6- hour flight. You can also drive; or take a bus. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time to Pacific Standard Time is minus 3 hours. Traveling from Atlanta in December, things will get somewhat warmer in San Diego: highs are around 68°F and lows about 51°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 23rd (Mon) early enough to go by car to Santa Monica.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trips

South Carlsbad State Beach, Oceanside Pier, Coronado Beach, Crystal Cove, Newport Beach
Highlights from your plan
Pacific Beach ©
Pacific Beach
Lions, Tigers & Bears ©
Lions, Tigers & Bears
Coronado Beach ©
Coronado Beach

2
nights
Santa Monica

Santa Monica ©
A famed resort town since the early 20th century, Santa Monica sits on the picturesque Santa Monica Bay, bordered on three sides by the city of Los Angeles.
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Tue): shop like a local with Two Rodeo Drive, then kick back and relax at Santa Monica State Beach, and then get some fabulous bargains at Camarillo Premium Outlets. Here are some ideas for day two: stroll through Manhattan Beach, then stop by Bergamot Station, and then get a taste of the local shopping with Third Street Promenade.

To find ratings, more things to do, reviews, and other tourist information, use the Santa Monica trip planner.

You can drive from San Diego to Santa Monica in 2.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of train and tram; or do a combination of flight and bus. In December, daily temperatures in Santa Monica can reach 67°F, while at night they dip to 50°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 25th (Wed) early enough to travel to San Francisco.

Things to do in Santa Monica

Shopping Beaches Outdoors

Side Trips

Two Rodeo Drive, Camarillo Premium Outlets, Manhattan Beach
Highlights from your plan
Camarillo Premium Outlets ©
Camarillo Premium Outlets
Santa Monica State Beach ©
Santa Monica State Beach
Manhattan Beach ©
Manhattan Beach

3
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Start off your visit on the 26th (Thu): tour the pleasant surroundings at Alcatraz Island, then look for gifts at Fog City News, then immerse yourself in nature at Marin Headlands, and finally browse the different shops at NFL Shop Pier 39. Here are some ideas for day two: take a peaceful walk through Muir Woods National Monument, get into the urban bustle at Civic Center, and then don't miss a visit to Ferry Building Marketplace.

To find photos, reviews, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the San Francisco itinerary tool.

Traveling by combination of bus and flight from Santa Monica to San Francisco takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus, flight, and subway; or drive. Expect little chillier temperatures when traveling from Santa Monica in December; daily highs in San Francisco reach 59°F and lows reach 45°F. On the 28th (Sat), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Nature Shopping

Side Trips

Muir Woods National Monument, Marin Headlands
Highlights from your plan
Lands End ©
Lands End
Marin Headlands ©
Marin Headlands
Muir Woods National Monument ©
Muir Woods National Monument

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