25 days in California Itinerary

25 days in California Itinerary

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25 days in California Itinerary

Chicago
Fly + bus:  9​h 15​min
Sonoma
— 5 nights
Drive:  1​h
San Francisco
— 1 night
Drive:  7​h
Redwood National Park
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 15​min
Mendocino
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
Santa Cruz
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h
Monterey
— Few hours
Drive:  15​min
Pebble Beach
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h
Big Sur
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
San Simeon
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 45​min
Santa Barbara
— 1 night
Drive:  30​min
Carpinteria
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 15​min
San Juan Capistrano
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
San Diego
— 3 nights
Fly:  6​h
Chicago

5
days
Sonoma

Sonoma ©
Set in the heart of one of the United States' most esteemed wine-producing regions, just 45 minutes from San Francisco, Sonoma boasts colonial Mexican architecture, including a mission.
Visiting Bothe-Napa State Park and Beals Point will get you outdoors. Your cultural itinerary includes sights like The Hess Collection Winery and Mumm Napa. There's still lots to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Sonoma Plaza, enjoy unforgettable views with a balloon tour, and appreciate the views at Sonoma Valley.

To see other places to visit, reviews, photos, and tourist information, read Sonoma attractions planner.

Madison to Sonoma is an approximately 10-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 2 hours traveling from Madison to Sonoma. Plan for somewhat warmer temperatures traveling from Madison in November, with highs in Sonoma at 64°F and lows at 41°F. You'll have a few hours on the 11th (Sun) to wrap things up before traveling to Redwood National Park.

Things to do in Sonoma

#Parks, #Outdoors, #Nature

Side Trips

Napa, Bothe-Napa State Park, Mumm Napa, Beals Point
Accommodations
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Sonoma Plaza ©
Sonoma Plaza
Mumm Napa ©
Mumm Napa

1
day
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Your list of things to see and do now includes Cable Car Museum, Lombard Street, Muir Beach, and other attractions. On the 20th (Tue), stroll through Muir Beach, steep yourself in history at SS Jeremiah O'Brien, then take a stroll through Fisherman's Wharf, then make a trip to Lombard Street, and finally see the interesting displays at Cable Car Museum.

To find maps, where to stay, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our San Francisco online trip builder .

Drive from Yosemite National Park to San Francisco in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of taxi, bus, flight, and subway. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Yosemite National Park in November: highs in San Francisco hover around 65°F, while lows dip to 50°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Monterey.

Things to do in San Francisco

#Beaches, #Parks, #Outdoors

Side Trip

Muir Beach
Accommodations
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Fisherman's Wharf ©
Fisherman's Wharf
SS Jeremiah O'Brien ©
SS Jeremiah O'Brien

1
day
Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park
Redwood National Park is home to a tremendous collection of the world's tallest type of tree.
Kick off your visit on the 11th (Sun): stroll through Redwood National Park.

To find ratings, photos, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Redwood National Park online trip builder .

You can drive from Sonoma to Redwood National Park in 6 hours. Another option is to fly. While traveling from Sonoma, expect a bit cooler days and about the same nights in Redwood National Park, ranging from highs of 59°F to lows of 44°F. You will have some time to spend on the 12th (Mon) before leaving for Mendocino.

Things to do in Redwood National Park

#Trails, #Nature, #Parks
Accommodations
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2
days
Mendocino

Mendocino ©
Mendocino is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County, California, United States. Start off your visit on the 14th (Wed): contemplate the waterfront views at Mendocino Coast, then kick back and relax at Glass Beach, and then enjoy the sea views from Point Cabrillo Light Station. On the next day, immerse yourself in nature at Montgomery Woods State Reserve and then look for all kinds of wild species at B Bryan Preserve.

To find other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Mendocino online trip itinerary planner .

Traveling by car from Redwood National Park to Mendocino takes 4.5 hours. Traveling from Redwood National Park in November, expect nights in Mendocino to be about the same, around 41°F, while days are a bit warmer, around 65°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Thu) so you can drive to Santa Cruz.

Things to do in Mendocino

#Parks, #Wildlife, #Nature

Side Trips

Glass Beach, Montgomery Woods State Reserve, B Bryan Preserve
Accommodations
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Glass Beach ©
Glass Beach
B Bryan Preserve ©
B Bryan Preserve
Montgomery Woods State Reserve ©
Montgomery Woods State Reserve

2
days
Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz ©
Santa Cruz remains synonymous with surfing, but this counterculture bastion offers plenty even if you don't plan to catch any waves.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes MJA Vineyards. Kick off your visit on the 21st (Wed): do a tasting at MJA Vineyards. Here are some ideas for day two: admire the majestic nature at Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, then enjoy the sea views from Pigeon Point Light Station, and then take in the dramatic natural features at Natural Bridges State Beach.

To find reviews, photos, ratings, and other tourist information, you can read our Santa Cruz road trip planning tool .

Traveling by car from Monterey to Santa Cruz takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In November, daily temperatures in Santa Cruz can reach 66°F, while at night they dip to 44°F. You will have some time to spend on the 23rd (Fri) before leaving for Pebble Beach.

Things to do in Santa Cruz

#Outdoors, #Nature, #Parks

Side Trips

Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Pigeon Point Light Station
Accommodations
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Natural Bridges State Beach ©
Natural Bridges State Beach
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park ©
Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park

few
hours
Monterey

Monterey ©
Monterey is a city in the U.S. To find photos, reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the Monterey trip planner .

Traveling by car from Santa Cruz to Monterey takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In November in Monterey, expect temperatures between 65°F during the day and 47°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 18th (Sun) to allow time for travel to Pebble Beach.

Things to do in Monterey

#Historic Sites
Accommodations
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Cannery Row ©
Cannery Row
San Carlos Cathedral ©
San Carlos Cathedral

1
day
Pebble Beach

Pebble Beach ©
Pebble Beach is an unincorporated community on the Monterey Peninsula in Monterey County, California. Start off your visit on the 18th (Sun): admire the architecture and history at Mission San Juan Bautista.

To find more things to do, maps, reviews, and tourist information, read Pebble Beach trip itinerary planning tool .

Pebble Beach is very close to Monterey. In November, plan for daily highs up to 65°F, and evening lows to 47°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 19th (Mon) to allow time for travel to Big Sur.

Things to do in Pebble Beach

#Golf, #Outdoors, #Parks

Side Trip

Mission San Juan Bautista
Accommodations
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Pebble Beach Golf Links ©
Pebble Beach Golf Links
Mission San Juan Bautista ©
Mission San Juan Bautista
Bird Rock Vista Point ©
Bird Rock Vista Point

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.
You've now added Pfeiffer State Beach to your itinerary. Kick off your visit on the 24th (Sat): take in the dramatic scenery at McWay Falls and then shop like a local with Coast Gallery Big Sur. On your second day here, admire the majestic nature at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, then take in the history at Mission San Antonio de Padua, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Pfeiffer State Beach.

To find traveler tips, maps, where to stay, and tourist information, refer to the Big Sur trip planning app .

You can drive from Pebble Beach to Big Sur in an hour. In November, plan for daily highs up to 64°F, and evening lows to 46°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 26th (Mon) so you can go by car to San Simeon.

Things to do in Big Sur

#Parks, #Nature, #Beaches

Side Trip

Mission San Antonio de Padua
Accommodations
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Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park ©
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Mission San Antonio de Padua ©
Mission San Antonio de Padua

1
day
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.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Elephant Seal Rookery. Kick off your visit on the 27th (Tue): look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery, then enjoy the sand and surf at Piedras Blancas, and then explore the historical opulence of Friends of Hearst Castle.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the San Simeon trip maker app .

You can drive from Big Sur to San Simeon in 1.5 hours. Traveling from Big Sur in November, you will find days in San Simeon are slightly colder (59°F), and nights are about the same (51°F). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in San Simeon

#Wildlife, #Parks, #Beaches
Accommodations
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Elephant Seal Rookery ©
Elephant Seal Rookery
Piedras Blancas ©
Piedras Blancas
Hearst Castle ©
Hearst Castle

1
day
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 23rd (Fri), wander the streets of State Street, identify plant and animal life at Santa Barbara Orchid Estate, and then contemplate the long history of Old Mission Santa Barbara.

To see where to stay, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, go to the Santa Barbara trip maker site .

You can drive from San Simeon to Santa Barbara in 3 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or do a combination of bus and train. Plan for somewhat warmer nights when traveling from San Simeon in November since evenings lows in Santa Barbara dip to 46°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Fri) to allow enough time to travel to Carpinteria.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

#Historic Sites, #Wildlife, #Parks
Accommodations
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Old Mission Santa Barbara ©
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara Orchid Estate ©
Santa Barbara Orchid Estate

1
day
Carpinteria

Carpinteria ©
Carpinteria is a small oceanside city located in southeastern Santa Barbara County, California, east of Santa Barbara and northwest of Ventura. Start off your visit on the 30th (Fri): identify plant and animal life at Ojai Meadows Preserve, make a trip to galerie102, then get engrossed in the history at Ojai Valley Museum, and finally learn and have fun at Meditation Mount. Keep things going the next day: stroll through Zuma Beach, then examine the collection at Adamson House Museum, and then make a trip to Malibu Pier.

For other places to visit, reviews, photos, and tourist information, refer to the Carpinteria trip maker tool .

Carpinteria is just a short distance from Santa Barbara. In November, daily temperatures in Carpinteria can reach 69°F, while at night they dip to 45°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 2nd (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to San Juan Capistrano.

Things to do in Carpinteria

#Wildlife, #Parks, #Museums

Side Trip

Ojai
Accommodations
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Ojai Meadows Preserve ©
Ojai Meadows Preserve
galerie102 ©
galerie102
Ojai Valley Museum of History and Art ©

3
days
San Juan Capistrano

San Juan Capistrano ©
San Juan Capistrano is a city in Orange County, California, United States. Escape the urban bustle at The Wedge and Newport Beach. Change things up with these side-trips from San Juan Capistrano: Newport Beach (Balboa Island & Civic Center Park) and Glass Church / Wayfarers Chapel (in Rancho Palos Verdes). Next up on the itinerary: kick back and relax at Doheny State Beach, examine the collection at Mission San Juan Capistrano, get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour, and take a leisurely stroll along Dana Point Harbor.

For maps, ratings, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the San Juan Capistrano trip itinerary planning app .

You can drive from Carpinteria to San Juan Capistrano in 3 hours. Traveling from Carpinteria in November, expect somewhat warmer with lows of 55°F in San Juan Capistrano. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to San Diego.

Things to do in San Juan Capistrano

#Parks, #Outdoors, #Beaches

Side Trips

Newport Beach, Dana Point, Saddleback Church, Glass Church / Wayfarers Chapel
Accommodations
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Newport Beach ©
Newport Beach
The Wedge ©
The Wedge
Doheny State Beach ©
Doheny State Beach

3
days
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.
Appreciate the collections at USS Midway Museum and San Diego Air & Space Museum. Old Point Loma Lighthouse and Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial are good opportunities to explore the local culture. There's much more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at La Jolla Cove, look for all kinds of wild species at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, snap pictures at San Diego - Coronado Bridge, and admire nature's wide array of creatures at San Diego Zoo.

To find more things to do, other places to visit, photos, and tourist information, use the San Diego vacation planning site .

Traveling by car from San Juan Capistrano to San Diego takes 1.5 hours. In November, plan for daily highs up to 73°F, and evening lows to 57°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 30th (Fri) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in San Diego

#Parks, #Outdoors, #Zoos & Aquariums
Accommodations
Get expert advice on where to stay in San Diego.
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Highlights from your plan
La Jolla Cove ©
La Jolla Cove
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve ©
USS Midway Museum ©
USS Midway Museum

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