9 days in San Francisco, San Diego & Santa Cruz Itinerary

9 days in San Francisco, San Diego & Santa Cruz Itinerary

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1
San Francisco
— 3 nights
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2
San Diego
— 3 nights
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3
Santa Cruz
— 2 nights
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San Francisco — 3 nights

City by the Bay

San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Step out of San Francisco with an excursion to Oakland California Temple in Oakland--about 32 minutes away. And it doesn't end there: take in the views from Golden Gate Bridge, engage your brain at Exploratorium, don't miss a visit to Lombard Street, and stroll around Crissy Field.

To see photos, where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, refer to the San Francisco online visit planner.

Phoenix to San Francisco is an approximately 3.5-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a bus. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from Phoenix to San Francisco due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Phoenix in September, things will get colder in San Francisco: highs are around 76°F and lows about 58°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 29th (Thu) so you can catch the flight to San Diego.
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Side Trips
Find places to stay Sep 26 — 29:
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San Diego — 3 nights

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.
Take a break from San Diego with a short trip to Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage & Meditation Gardens in Encinitas, about 32 minutes away. Next up on the itinerary: get to know the resident critters at San Diego Zoo, browse the exhibits of Maritime Museum of San Diego, let the kids burn off some steam at Balboa Park, and walk around Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.

For other places to visit, more things to do, reviews, and more tourist information, read our San Diego trip planner.

You can fly from San Francisco to San Diego in 3 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. Plan for a bit warmer nights when traveling from San Francisco in September since evenings lows in San Diego dip to 68°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Sun) to allow time to fly to Santa Cruz.
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Parks · Zoos & Aquariums · Museums · Fun & Games
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Find places to stay Sep 29 — Oct 2:
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Santa Cruz — 2 nights

Santa Cruz remains synonymous with surfing, but this counterculture bastion offers plenty even if you don't plan to catch any waves.
On the 3rd (Mon), kick back and relax at Carmel Beach, then immerse yourself in nature at Point Lobos, and then take a memorable tour with Tours. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: don't miss a visit to Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard, then kick back and relax at Asilomar State Beach, and then admire all the interesting features of 17-Mile Drive.

To find photos, traveler tips, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Santa Cruz trip planning site.

Getting from San Diego to Santa Cruz by flight takes about 3 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. Expect slightly colder evenings in Santa Cruz when traveling from San Diego in October, with lows around 51°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Tue) to allow enough time to fly back home.
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Outdoors · Parks · Nature · Beaches
Side Trips
Find places to stay Oct 2 — 4:
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