21 days in California's Central Coast Itinerary

21 days in California's Central Coast Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California's Central Coast route maker

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Monterey
— 6 nights
Drive
2
San Luis Obispo
— 5 nights
Drive
3
Santa Barbara
— 8 nights
Bus to Los Angeles, Fly to New York City

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Monterey

— 6 nights
Monterey is a city in the U.S. state of California, on the southern edge of Monterey Bay on California's Central Coast. Escape the urban bustle at 17-Mile Drive and Del Monte Beach. Popular historic sites such as Cannery Row and San Carlos Cathedral are in your itinerary. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Monterey: Santa Cruz (Wilder Ranch State Park, Natural Bridges State Beach, &more). And it doesn't end there: explore the landscape on two wheels at Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail, contemplate the waterfront views at Monterey Bay, stop by Monterey's Tasty Olive Bar, and get up close and personal with brilliant marine life at Monterey Bay Aquarium.

For photos, where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Monterey travel planning tool.

New York City to Monterey is an approximately 8-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a bus. Traveling from New York City to Monterey, you'll gain 3 hours due to the time zone difference. In December, Monterey is somewhat warmer than New York City - with highs of 62°F and lows of 43°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Thu) so you can go by car to San Luis Obispo.

Things to do in Monterey

Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Wildlife

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 3 — 9:

San Luis Obispo

— 5 nights
San Luis Obispo, or SLO for short, is a city in the U.S. state of California, located roughly midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco on the Central Coast. Visiting Cuesta Canyon County Park and Bishop Peak will get you outdoors. Visit Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa and Ah Louis Store for their historical value. Venture out of the city with trips to Santa Maria (Rancho Sisquoc Winery, Foxen Vineyard & Winery, &more). And it doesn't end there: trek along Cerro San Luis, tee off at Avila Beach Golf Resort, wander the streets of Bubblegum Alley, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Monarch Butterfly Grove.

To find maps, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, read San Luis Obispo online travel planner.

Drive from Monterey to San Luis Obispo in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or fly. In December, daily temperatures in San Luis Obispo can reach 67°F, while at night they dip to 42°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 14th (Tue) so you can go by car to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in San Luis Obispo

Parks · Outdoors · Shopping · Nature

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 9 — 14:

Santa Barbara

— 8 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.
Take a break from the city and head to State Street Underpass and Douglas Family Preserve. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Old Mission Santa Barbara and Casa de la Guerra. Explore Santa Barbara's surroundings by going to Oxnard (Oxnard Beach Park & Silver Strand Beach). Dedicate the 16th (Thu) to wine at some of the top wineries in the area. Next up on the itinerary: make a trip to Santa Barbara County Courthouse, learn about winemaking at Jaffurs Wine Cellars, take a leisurely stroll along Stearns Wharf, and get to know the resident critters at Santa Barbara Zoo.

To see other places to visit, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, use the Santa Barbara trip planner.

Traveling by car from San Luis Obispo to Santa Barbara takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. In December in Santa Barbara, expect temperatures between 67°F during the day and 41°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Wed) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Parks · Wineries · Outdoors · Nature

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 14 — 22: