40 days in United States Itinerary

40 days in United States Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California trip planner

Plan created by another user. Make it yours
1
San Francisco
— 6 nights
2
Santa Cruz
— 1 night
3
Monterey
— 5 nights
4
Big Sur
— 3 nights
5
Santa Barbara
— 5 nights
6
Santa Monica
— 5 nights
7
San Diego
— 7 nights
8
Los Angeles
— 7 nights

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6
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©

City by the Bay

San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
You'll visit kid-friendly attractions like Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island. Change things up with these side-trips from San Francisco: Sonoma Barracks (in Sonoma), Oakland California Temple (in Oakland) and Napa Valley Aloft Balloon Rides (in Yountville). Next up on the itinerary: see the interesting displays at Exploratorium, walk around Golden Gate Park, wander the streets of Union Square, and take a leisurely stroll along Fisherman's Wharf.

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

Chicago to San Francisco is an approximately 6.5-hour flight. You can also drive; or do a combination of train and subway. You'll gain 2 hours traveling from Chicago to San Francisco due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Chicago in December, you will find days in San Francisco are much hotter (59°F), and nights are a bit warmer (45°F). On the 30th (Wed), you'll have the morning to explore before heading off to Santa Cruz.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks · Historic Sites · Childrens Museums · Museums

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 24 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge
Exploratorium ©
Exploratorium
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island

1
night
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.
On the 30th (Wed), go for a walk through Shark Fin Cove, do a tasting at Beauregard Vineyard, and then take a memorable drive along West Cliff Drive.

To find other places to visit, reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Santa Cruz road trip planning tool.

You can drive from San Francisco to Santa Cruz in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. Expect little chillier evenings in Santa Cruz when traveling from San Francisco in December, with lows around 40°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 31st (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Monterey.

Things to do in Santa Cruz

Theme Parks · Outdoors · Scenic Drive · Beaches

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 30 — 31:
Highlights from your plan
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk ©
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk
Shark Fin Cove ©
Shark Fin Cove
Boardwalk's Cocoanut Grove ©
Boardwalk's Cocoanut Grove

5
nights
Monterey

Monterey ©
Monterey is a city in the U.S. Bring the kids along to Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard and Scenic Road Walkway. There's lots more to do: admire the majestic nature at Point Lobos, observe the fascinating underwater world at Monterey Bay Aquarium, stroll around Garland Ranch Regional Park, and cruise along 17-Mile Drive.

To see photos, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Monterey travel route planner.

Traveling by car from Santa Cruz to Monterey takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. December in Monterey sees daily highs of 62°F and lows of 43°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Tue) early enough to drive to Big Sur.

Things to do in Monterey

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 31 — Jan 5:
Highlights from your plan
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard ©
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard
Monterey Bay Aquarium ©
Monterey Bay Aquarium
Asilomar State Beach ©
Asilomar State Beach

3
nights
Big Sur

Big Sur ©

Big Country of the South

A sparsely populated area with stunning views, Big Sur attracts artists and tourists traveling California’s scenic Highway 1.
Bring the kids along to Pfeiffer State Beach and Bixby Bridge. There's still lots to do: immerse yourself in nature at Limekiln State Park, take some stellar pictures from Rocky Creek Bridge, admire the sheer force of McWay Falls, and shop like a local with Coast Gallery Big Sur.

For reviews, photos, traveler tips, and tourist information, read Big Sur visit planner.

Traveling by car from Monterey to Big Sur takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 62°F in January, and nighttime lows around 44°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 8th (Fri) so you can go by car to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Big Sur

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Beaches
Find places to stay Jan 5 — 8:
Highlights from your plan
Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park ©
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Partington Cove ©
Partington Cove

5
nights
Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara ©

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.
Family-friendly places like Santa Barbara Zoo and Stearns Wharf will thrill your kids. Explore Santa Barbara's surroundings by going to Solvang (Hans Christian Andersen Park & Hans Christian Andersen Museum), Bob Jones City to Sea Bike Trail (in Avila Beach) and The Luffa Farm (in Nipomo). There's still lots to do: contemplate the long history of Old Mission Santa Barbara, examine the collection at Reagan Ranch Center, don't miss a visit to Chaucer's Bookstore, and explore the world behind art at Santa Barbara Museum of Art.

To see where to stay, reviews, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Santa Barbara trip planner.

Traveling by car from Big Sur to Santa Barbara takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and train; or take a bus. In January, daily temperatures in Santa Barbara can reach 66°F, while at night they dip to 43°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 13th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Santa Monica.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Museums · Parks · Historic Sites · Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trips

Find places to stay Jan 8 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Santa Barbara Museum of Art ©
Santa Barbara Museum of Art
Santa Barbara Zoo ©
Santa Barbara Zoo
Old Mission Santa Barbara ©
Old Mission Santa Barbara

5
nights
Santa Monica

Santa Monica ©

Fortunate People in a Fortunate Land

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.
Bring the kids along to Santa Monica Pier and Two Rodeo Drive. Change things up with a short trip to Six Flags Magic Mountain in Santa Clarita (about 42 minutes away). And it doesn't end there: cruise along Mulholland Drive, wander the streets of Rodeo Drive, walk around Coldwater Canyon Park, and take in the pleasant sights at 26-Mile Bike Path.

For other places to visit, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Santa Monica trip maker website.

You can drive from Santa Barbara to Santa Monica in 2 hours. Other options are to fly; or take a bus. Traveling from Santa Barbara in January, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit warmer in Santa Monica, with lows of 50°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Mon) so you can drive to San Diego.

Things to do in Santa Monica

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Shopping

Side Trips

Find places to stay Jan 13 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Santa Monica State Beach ©
Santa Monica State Beach
Santa Monica Pier ©
Santa Monica Pier
The Getty Villa ©
The Getty Villa

7
nights
San Diego

San Diego ©

America's Finest City

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.
Kids will enjoy San Diego Zoo and USS Midway Museum. The adventure continues: try out the rides at SeaWorld San Diego, take an unforgettable tour with Corporate Helicopters, get up close and personal with brilliant marine life at Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and admire the natural beauty at Balboa Park.

For reviews, photos, where to stay, and tourist information, read San Diego road trip planning tool.

Traveling by car from Santa Monica to San Diego takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or do a combination of tram and train. Expect a daytime high around 67°F in January, and nighttime lows around 51°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Mon) to allow time to drive to Los Angeles.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks · Zoos & Aquariums · Outdoors · Museums
Find places to stay Jan 18 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
San Diego Zoo ©
San Diego Zoo
SeaWorld San Diego ©
SeaWorld San Diego
La Jolla Cove ©
La Jolla Cove

7
nights
Los Angeles

Los Angeles ©

City of Angels

Surrounded by mountain ranges, forests, valleys, beaches, and deserts, the metropolitan area of Los Angeles is home to over 17 million people.
Kids will appreciate attractions like Disney California Adventure Park and Griffith Observatory. Change things up with these side-trips from Los Angeles: Anaheim (Soarin' Around The World, Radiator Springs Racers, &more). Next up on the itinerary: find something for the whole family at Universal Studios Hollywood, see the interesting displays at The Getty Center, admire the landmark architecture of Walt Disney Concert Hall, and make a trip to Hollywood Walk of Fame.

For other places to visit, ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Los Angeles online holiday builder.

You can drive from San Diego to Los Angeles in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or fly. January in Los Angeles sees daily highs of 70°F and lows of 49°F at night. On the 1st (Mon), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Theme Parks · Museums · Fun & Games · Childrens Museums

Side Trip

Find places to stay Jan 25 — Feb 1:
Highlights from your plan
Diorama-museum of Bhagavad-gita ©
Diorama-museum of Bhagavad-gita
Disney California Adventure Park ©
Disney California Adventure Park
Downtown Disney ©
Downtown Disney

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