30 days in California Itinerary

30 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California holiday planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
San Francisco
— 5 nights
Drive
2
Monterey
— 2 nights
Taxi
3
Carmel
— 2 nights
Drive
4
Big Sur
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Paso Robles
— 2 nights
Drive
6
San Simeon
— 1 night
Drive
7
Nipomo
— 1 night
Drive
8
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
Drive
9
Los Angeles
— 2 nights
Drive
10
Malibu
— 3 nights
Drive
11
Long Beach
— 2 nights
Drive
12
San Diego
— 2 nights
Fly

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1

San Francisco

— 5 nights

City by the Bay

San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Muir Woods National Monument and California Academy of Sciences. Attractions like Alcatraz Island and Exploratorium make great kid-friendly stops. Get out of town with these interesting San Francisco side-trips: Goat Rock Beach (in Jenner), Bodega Head (in Bodega Bay) and Armstrong Redwood State Reserve (in Guerneville). There's lots more to do: take in the views from Golden Gate Bridge, get great views at Twin Peaks, enjoy the sand and surf at Limantour Beach, and stroll through Bodega Dunes.

To find other places to visit, reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our San Francisco trip planner.

Manchester, UK to San Francisco is an approximately 16-hour flight. The time zone changes from Greenwich Mean Time to Pacific Standard Time, which is usually a -8 hour difference. Traveling from Manchester in May, expect San Francisco to be somewhat warmer, temps between 24°C and 13°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 8th (Wed) early enough to drive to Monterey.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks · Nature · Beaches · Outdoors

Side Trips

Monterey

— 2 nights
Monterey is a city in the U.S. state of California, on the southern edge of Monterey Bay on California's Central Coast. Start off your visit on the 9th (Thu): stroll through Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, enjoy the sea views from Point Pinos Lighthouse, and then explore and take pictures at Lovers Point. Here are some ideas for day two: admire the architecture and history at Mission San Juan Bautista, then enjoy the sand and surf at Capitola Beach, and then make a trip to San Carlos Cathedral.

To see traveler tips and more tourist information, read our Monterey day trip website.

You can drive from San Francisco to Monterey in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a bus. In May in Monterey, expect temperatures between 21°C during the day and 12°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Fri) so you can drive to Carmel.

Things to do in Monterey

Parks · Beaches · Outdoors · Wildlife

Side Trips

Carmel

— 2 nights
Carmel-by-the-Sea, often simply called Carmel, is a city in Monterey County, California, United States, founded in 1902 and incorporated on October 31, 1916. On the 11th (Sat), explore the galleries of Carmel Mission, then admire the architecture and history at San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission, then admire the majestic nature at Point Lobos, and finally do a tasting at Dawn's Dream Winery. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: trek along Scenic Road Walkway, then learn about winemaking at Folktale Winery & Vineyard, and then enjoy the sand and surf at China Cove and Gibson Beach.

To see photos, more things to do, and more tourist information, go to the Carmel trip builder tool.

Carmel is very close to Monterey. In May, plan for daily highs up to 21°C, and evening lows to 12°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 12th (Sun) early enough to go by car to Big Sur.

Things to do in Carmel

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Beaches

Side Trip

Big Sur

— 2 nights

Big Country of the South

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 13th (Mon): trek along Partington Cove, take in the dramatic scenery at McWay Falls, then kick back and relax at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and finally take in the exciting artwork at Coast Gallery Big Sur. On the 14th (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: enjoy the sand and surf at Pfeiffer State Beach, then admire the majestic nature at Andrew Molera State Park, and then enjoy the sea views from Point Sur State Historic Park.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Big Sur trip planning website.

You can drive from Carmel to Big Sur in an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 21°C in May, and nighttime lows around 12°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 14th (Tue) so you can go by car to Paso Robles.

Things to do in Big Sur

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Beaches

Paso Robles

— 2 nights

Paso

A town of hot springs and wine, Paso Robles (or "Pass of the Oaks") feels like a desert paradise to those who travel here.
Kick off your visit on the 15th (Wed): meet the residents at Charles Paddock Zoo, then learn about winemaking at Jada Vineyard & Winery, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Heron and Cormorant Rookery. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 16th (Thu): make a splash at Ravine Waterpark, do a tasting at Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery, and then take in the exciting artwork at Studios on the Park.

To find ratings, maps, and more tourist information, read our Paso Robles online sightseeing planner.

Drive from Big Sur to Paso Robles in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and train; or take a bus. Traveling from Big Sur in May, you will find days in Paso Robles are somewhat warmer (32°C), and nights are about the same (10°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Thu) so you can drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Paso Robles

Parks · Theme Parks · Wildlife · Zoos & Aquariums

Side Trips

San Simeon

— 1 night
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 17th (Fri): step into the grandiose world of Hearst Castle, kick back and relax at William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach, then do a tasting at Hearst Ranch Winery, and finally take a leisurely stroll along San Simeon Pier. Here are some ideas for day two: kick back and relax at Piedras Blancas, look for gifts at Sebastian General Store, and then stop by Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop.

To see photos, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our San Simeon online holiday planner.

Traveling by car from Paso Robles to San Simeon takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In May, daytime highs in San Simeon are 32°C, while nighttime lows are 10°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Nipomo.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks · Beaches · Wildlife · Outdoors

Nipomo

— 1 night
Nipomo is a census-designated place (CDP) in San Luis Obispo County, California, United States. On the 19th (Sun), tour the pleasant surroundings at Point Buchon Trail and then enjoy the sand and surf at Pirate's Cove Beach. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: do a tasting at Dierberg Star Lane Vineyards, take in the history at La Purisima State Historical Park, then learn about winemaking at Montemar Wines, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Surf Beach.

To see ratings, more things to do, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our Nipomo travel route website.

You can drive from San Simeon to Nipomo in 1.5 hours. While traveling from San Simeon, expect little chillier days and about the same nights in Nipomo, ranging from highs of 25°C to lows of 11°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Mon) so you can drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Nipomo

Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Wineries

Side Trips

Santa Barbara

— 2 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.
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Tue): stop by Ostrich Land, learn about winemaking at Sunstone Winery, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Carpinteria State Beach. Keep things going the next day: steep yourself in history at Old Mission Santa Barbara, then take in the history at Old Mission Santa Ines, and then stroll around Arroyo Burro County Beach Park.

To see other places to visit, where to stay, photos, and other tourist information, read our Santa Barbara trip planner.

Drive from Nipomo to Santa Barbara in 1.5 hours. In May, daytime highs in Santa Barbara are 25°C, while nighttime lows are 13°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Wed) to allow time to drive to Los Angeles.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Parks · Beaches · Outdoors · Nature

Side Trips

Los Angeles

— 2 nights

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.
On the 23rd (Thu), see the interesting displays at The Getty Center, then take a leisurely stroll along Santa Monica Pier, then get to know the fascinating history of Venice Canals Walkway, and finally stroll through Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area. On the 24th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: kick back and relax at Venice Beach and Boardwalk, then explore the different monuments and memorials at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, then see the sky in a new way at Griffith Observatory, and finally get to know the fascinating history of Hollywood Walk of Fame.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, use the Los Angeles road trip tool.

Traveling by car from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Plan for a bit warmer nights when traveling from Santa Barbara in May since evenings lows in Los Angeles dip to 17°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Malibu.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Museums · Parks · Childrens Museums · Wildlife

Side Trip

Malibu

— 3 nights
Malibu is a beach city in Los Angeles County, California, situated 30mi west of Downtown Los Angeles. Kids will appreciate attractions like The Getty Villa and Adamson House and Malibu Lagoon Museum. Get a sense of the local culture at U.S. Navy Seabee Museum and Malibu Family Wines. Change things up with a short trip to Fillmore Fish Hatchery in Fillmore (about 50 minutes away). And it doesn't end there: enjoy the sand and surf at El Matador State Beach, stroll through Zuma Beach, and explore the wealth of natural beauty at Paramount Ranch.

To find ratings, photos, where to stay, and more tourist information, you can read our Malibu trip itinerary builder site.

Drive from Los Angeles to Malibu in an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of tram and bus. In May, daily temperatures in Malibu can reach 25°C, while at night they dip to 17°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Long Beach.

Things to do in Malibu

Parks · Beaches · Outdoors · Museums

Side Trips

Long Beach

— 2 nights

Aquatic Capital of America

Long Beach has long been overshadowed by its bigger and more famous neighbor known as the City of Angels.
Start off your visit on the 28th (Tue): take in the architecture and atmosphere at Wayfarers Chapel, have fun and explore at Bowers Museum, and then stroll through Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. On your second day here, stroll through Pacific Marine Mammal Center, kick back and relax at Victoria Beach, then tour the pleasant surroundings at 1,000 Steps Beach, and finally pause for some serene contemplation at Saddleback Church.

For other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Long Beach planning website.

Drive from Malibu to Long Beach in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and tram; or take a bus. In May, daily temperatures in Long Beach can reach 28°C, while at night they dip to 17°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to San Diego.

Things to do in Long Beach

Parks · Beaches · Wildlife · Outdoors

Side Trips

San Diego

— 2 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.
On the 30th (Thu), see the interesting displays at USS Midway Museum and then kick back and relax at La Jolla Shores Park. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 31st (Fri): pause for some photo ops at Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, then explore the different monuments and memorials at Fort Rosecrans Cemetery, and then explore the striking landscape at Point Loma.

To see ratings, where to stay, photos, and other tourist information, read our San Diego trip itinerary planner.

You can drive from Long Beach to San Diego in 2 hours. Other options are to fly; or take a bus. In May in San Diego, expect temperatures between 25°C during the day and 19°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 31st (Fri) to allow enough time to fly back home.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks · Historic Sites · Beaches · Nature

California travel guide

4.1
Specialty Museums · Wineries & Vineyards · Beaches
The Golden State
The country's most populous state, California includes landscapes that range from the forested northern coast to harsh southern deserts. Sandwiched right in the middle of the state is a fertile valley, home to farms, vineyards, and orchards. California's cities offer diverse attractions, from amusement parks and upscale shops to award-winning restaurants and innovative art galleries. Outside the state's big urban centers, places to visit include some of the nation's most rugged national parks, ancient forests, towering mountain peaks, and ski resorts. More than just a surfing destination famous for its beaches and winding coastal roads, California also boasts one of the world's largest economies, bolstered by the booming tech industries.