12 days in California Itinerary

12 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock United States planner

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Route & dates

12 days in California Itinerary

Start: New York City
bus + Fly:  8​h 45​min
1
San Francisco
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
2
Monterey
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h 30​min
3
Santa Barbara
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
4
San Diego
— 4 nights
Fly + bus:  8​h 15​min
End: New York City

2
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
San Francisco is known for nature, museums, parks, nightlife, and shopping. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: step off the mainland to explore Alcatraz Island, snap pictures at Golden Gate Bridge, see the interesting displays at Exploratorium, and take a leisurely stroll along The Embarcadero.

To find ratings, where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, read San Francisco trip tool .

New York City to San Francisco is an approximately 9-hour combination of bus and flight. You can also fly; or drive. The time zone difference when traveling from New York City to San Francisco is minus 3 hours. Expect a bit warmer temperatures when traveling from New York City in December; daily highs in San Francisco reach 59°F and lows reach 45°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Monterey.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Childrens Museums Museums
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Exploratorium ©
Exploratorium
Japanese Tea Garden ©
Japanese Tea Garden

1
night
Monterey

Monterey ©
Monterey is a city in the U.S. Kick off your visit on the 28th (Fri): enjoy the sand and surf at Carmel River State Beach, then admire the majestic nature at Point Lobos, and then take in the views from Bixby Bridge.

To see more things to do, reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, refer to the Monterey day trip tool .

Traveling by car from San Francisco to Monterey takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 62°F, and evening lows to 43°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 28th (Fri) early enough to go by car to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Monterey

Beaches Outdoors Parks

Side Trips

Carmel, Bixby Bridge
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Carmel River State Beach ©
Carmel River State Beach
Bixby Bridge ©
Bixby Bridge

3
nights
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.
Kick off your visit on the 29th (Sat): wander the streets of State Street, contemplate the long history of Old Mission Santa Barbara, then do a tasting at Jaffurs Wine Cellars, and finally take in the waterfront at Stearns Wharf. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 30th (Sun): savor the flavors at Food & Drink.

Inspirock's itinerary builder makes planning a Santa Barbara trip simple and quick.

Traveling by car from Monterey to Santa Barbara takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or do a combination of shuttle and flight. In December, daytime highs in Santa Barbara are 67°F, while nighttime lows are 41°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Mon) early enough to go by car to San Diego.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Tours Historic Sites Neighborhoods
Find places to stay Dec 28 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Wine Tours & Tastings
Old Mission Santa Barbara ©
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Stearns Wharf ©
Stearns Wharf

4
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.
Pack the 2nd (Wed) with family-friendly diversions at SeaWorld San Diego. There's lots more to do: meet the residents at San Diego Zoo, take in nature's colorful creations at Botanical Building and Lily Pond, appreciate the history behind Cabrillo National Monument, and see the interesting displays at San Diego Air & Space Museum.

To find other places to visit, ratings, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our San Diego journey site .

You can drive from Santa Barbara to San Diego in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or do a combination of bus and flight. Traveling from Santa Barbara in December, San Diego is a bit warmer at night with lows of 51°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 4th (Fri) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks Outdoors Zoos & Aquariums
Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 4:
Highlights from your plan
San Diego Zoo ©
San Diego Zoo
SeaWorld San Diego ©
SeaWorld San Diego
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve ©

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