23 days in California Itinerary

23 days in California Itinerary

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23 days in California Itinerary

Durham
bus + Fly + bus:  8​h
Santa Monica
— 2 nights
Drive:  30​min
Los Angeles
— 4 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
Big Sur
— 2 nights
Drive:  45​min
Carmel
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
Napa
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
Mendocino
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
San Francisco
— 3 nights
Fly + bus:  7​h 30​min
Durham

2
days
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 17th (Tue): browse the collection at Santa Monica Public Library, soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, then take in the waterfront at Santa Monica Pier, and finally shop like a local with Third Street Promenade. Here are some ideas for day two: get in on the family fun at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

For reviews, more things to do, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the Santa Monica itinerary builder.

Durham to Santa Monica is an approximately 8-hour combination of bus and flight. You can also drive; or do a combination of bus and taxi. The time zone difference when traveling from Durham to Santa Monica is minus 3 hours. Traveling from Durham in July, things will get a bit cooler in Santa Monica: highs are around 74°F and lows about 63°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 19th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Los Angeles.

Things to do in Santa Monica

Theme Parks Beaches Parks

Side Trip

Six Flags Magic Mountain
Accommodations
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Six Flags Magic Mountain ©
Six Flags Magic Mountain
Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Beach ©
Santa Monica Beach

4
days
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.
Step out of Los Angeles to go to Anaheim and see Disneyland Park, which is approximately 38 minutes away. Pack the 21st (Sat) with family-friendly diversions at Universal Studios Hollywood. The adventure continues: see the interesting displays at Getty Center The Publications, make a trip to Walt Disney Concert Hall, appreciate the extensive heritage of Hollywood Walk of Fame, and see the sky in a new way at Griffith Observatory.

To see traveler tips, ratings, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Los Angeles online itinerary creator.

Los Angeles is just a stone's throw from Santa Monica. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Santa Monica in July: highs in Los Angeles hover around 82°F, while lows dip to 64°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Mon) early enough to drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Theme Parks Museums Childrens Museums

Side Trip

Disneyland Park
Accommodations
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Disneyland Park ©
Disneyland Park
Universal Studios Hollywood ©
Universal Studios Hollywood
Getty Center The Publications ©
Getty Center The Publications

2
days
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 23rd (Mon): indulge your senses at some of the top wineries in the area. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 24th (Tue): ponder the world of politics at Santa Barbara County Courthouse, then don't miss a visit to State Street, then contemplate the long history of Old Mission Santa Barbara, and finally make a trip to Moreton Bay Fig Tree.

To see more things to do, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Santa Barbara holiday planner.

Traveling by car from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. In July, Santa Barbara is slightly colder than Los Angeles - with highs of 74°F and lows of 58°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 25th (Wed) early enough to go by car to San Simeon.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Tours Historic Sites Neighborhoods
Accommodations
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Wine Tours & Tastings
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara County Courthouse ©
Santa Barbara County Courthouse

2
days
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.
Kick off your visit on the 25th (Wed): kick back and relax at Piedras Blancas and then identify plant and animal life at Elephant Seal Rookery. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 26th (Thu): step into the grandiose world of Friends of Hearst Castle, then do a tasting at Hearst Ranch Winery Tasting Room, then stop by Sebastian General Store, and finally admire the majestic nature at Montana de Oro State Park.

For photos, traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, read our San Simeon tour planner.

Traveling by car from Santa Barbara to San Simeon takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and bus; or take a bus. In July, San Simeon is a bit cooler than Santa Barbara - with highs of 59°F and lows of 53°F. You'll set off for Big Sur on the 27th (Fri).

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Wildlife Beaches

Side Trip

Montana de Oro State Park
Accommodations
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Montana de Oro State Park ©
Montana de Oro State Park
Piedras Blancas
Piedras Blancas
Friends of Hearst Castle ©
Friends of Hearst Castle

2
days
Big Sur

Big Sur ©
A sparsely populated area with stunning views, Big Sur attracts artists and tourists traveling California’s scenic Highway 1.
Start off your visit on the 27th (Fri): admire the sheer force of McWay Falls, then immerse yourself in nature at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and then browse the collection at Henry Miller Memorial Library. On the next day, immerse yourself in nature at Andrew Molera State Park, admire the majestic nature at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, and then kick back and relax at Pfeiffer State Beach.

For where to stay, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, read our Big Sur travel itinerary planner.

You can drive from San Simeon to Big Sur in 1.5 hours. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from San Simeon in July: highs in Big Sur hover around 68°F, while lows dip to 54°F. On the 29th (Sun), you'll have the morning to explore before heading off to Carmel.

Things to do in Big Sur

Parks Nature Beaches
Accommodations
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Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park ©
Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park
McWay Falls ©
McWay Falls

2
days
Carmel

Carmel ©
Carmel-by-the-Sea, often simply referred to as Carmel, is a city in Monterey County, California, United States, founded in 1902 and incorporated on October 31, 1916. Start off your visit on the 29th (Sun): look for gifts at The Cheese Shop and then admire the majestic nature at Point Lobos State Reserve. On the 30th (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take a memorable drive along 17-Mile Drive, then meet the residents at Monterey Bay Aquarium, and then don't miss a visit to San Carlos Cathedral.

To find reviews, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Carmel trip generator.

Traveling by car from Big Sur to Carmel takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 68°F in July, and nighttime lows around 55°F. You will leave for Napa on the 31st (Tue).

Things to do in Carmel

Parks Outdoors Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trip

Monterey
Accommodations
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Point Lobos State Reserve ©
Point Lobos State Reserve
Monterey Bay Aquarium ©
Monterey Bay Aquarium
The Cheese Shop
The Cheese Shop

2
days
Napa

Located just 80 km (50 mi) north of San Francisco, Napa sits at the southern end of the scenic Napa Valley, one of the world's major wine regions.
Kick off your visit on the 31st (Tue): enjoy unforgettable views with a balloon tour. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 1st (Wed): indulge your taste buds at Food & Drink.

For reviews, other places to visit, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Napa trip itinerary maker.

Drive from Carmel to Napa in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, flight, subway, and bus; or do a combination of bus and subway. Traveling from Carmel in July, you will find days in Napa are a bit warmer (78°F), and nights are about the same (54°F). You will have some time to spend on the 2nd (Thu) before leaving for Mendocino.

Things to do in Napa

Tours Outdoors Wineries

Side Trip

V. Sattui
Accommodations
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Wine Tours & Tastings
V. Sattui ©
V. Sattui
Balloon Rides

2
days
Mendocino

Mendocino
Mendocino is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County, California, United States. Start off your visit on the 2nd (Thu): cruise along Mendocino Coast. On the 3rd (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in nature's colorful creations at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, enjoy the sand and surf at Glass Beach, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Noyo Headlands Park.

To see ratings, reviews, and tourist information, you can read our Mendocino travel itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Napa to Mendocino takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Traveling from Napa in August, expect nights in Mendocino to be about the same, around 54°F, while days are somewhat warmer, around 92°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 5th (Sun) early enough to go by car to San Francisco.

Things to do in Mendocino

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

Fort Bragg
Accommodations
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Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
Glass Beach ©
Glass Beach
Point Cabrillo Light Station ©
Point Cabrillo Light Station

3
days
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: take in the views from Golden Gate Bridge, don't miss a visit to Lombard Street, take a leisurely stroll along Fisherman's Wharf, and take in nature's colorful creations at Japanese Tea Garden.

For more things to do, photos, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our San Francisco itinerary builder.

Traveling by car from Mendocino to San Francisco takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus. While traveling from Mendocino, expect cooler days and about the same nights in San Francisco, ranging from highs of 72°F to lows of 58°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 8th (Wed) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Childrens Museums Museums
Accommodations
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Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge
Fisherman's Wharf
Fisherman's Wharf

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