13 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California trip itinerary planner
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San Simeon
— 2 nights
Big Sur
— 2 nights
— 2 nights
— 6 nights


San Simeon — 2 nights

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 (Thu): visit a coastal fixture at Piedras Blancas Light Station, then don't miss a visit to San Simeon Pier, then step into the grandiose world of Hearst Castle, and finally stroll through William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach. On the next day, kick back and relax at Piedras Blancas, get all the information you need at Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center, take some stellar pictures from Ragged Point Overlook, then learn about winemaking at Hearst Ranch Winery, and finally stop by Sebastian General Store.

For reviews, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, read our San Simeon day trip planning website.

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from your home destination to San Simeon. February in San Simeon sees daily highs of 66°F and lows of 38°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Sat) early enough to go by car to Big Sur.
Parks · Historic Sites · Beaches · Shopping
Find places to stay Feb 25 — 27:

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.
On the 27th (Sat), take in the exciting artwork at Hawthorne Gallery, shop like a local with Coast Gallery Big Sur, do a tasting at Joullian Vineyards & Winery, then get great views at Rocky Creek Bridge, and finally take in the views from Bixby Bridge. On the 28th (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: stroll through Partington Cove, take in the dramatic scenery at McWay Falls, then admire the majestic nature at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at New Camaldoli Hermitage, and finally snap pictures at Big Creek Bridge.

To find photos, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, read our Big Sur trip planner.

Traveling by car from San Simeon to Big Sur takes 2 hours. Traveling from San Simeon in February, plan for somewhat warmer nights in Big Sur, with lows around 45°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Mon) early enough to drive to Monterey.
Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Historic Sites
Side Trip
Find places to stay Feb 27 — Mar 1:

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 1st (Mon): get up close and personal with brilliant marine life at Monterey Bay Aquarium, don't miss a visit to Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard, and then kick back and relax at Asilomar State Beach. On the 2nd (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: tour the pleasant surroundings at Carmel River State Beach, admire the majestic nature at Point Lobos, then explore and take pictures at 17-Mile Drive, and finally examine the collection at Casa Serrano, Historic Adobe.

To see reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our Monterey day trip planning app.

Traveling by car from Big Sur to Monterey takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 64°F in March, and nighttime lows around 47°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Wed) early enough to drive to Solvang.
Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Nature
Side Trips
Find places to stay Mar 1 — 3:

Solvang — 6 nights

Solvang is a city in Santa Barbara County, California. Get a sense of the local culture at Sunstone Winery and Rusack Vineyards. Change things up with these side-trips from Solvang: Zaca Mesa Winery (in Los Olivos), Sevtap Winery Tasting Room (in Santa Barbara) and Lompoc Wine Ghetto (in Lompoc). There's much more to do: admire the architecture and history at Old Mission Santa Ines, do a tasting at Sanford Winery & Vineyards, steep yourself in history at La Purisima Mission State Historic Park, and see the interesting displays at Elverhoj Museum of History & Art.

For maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, go to the Solvang vacation builder website.

Drive from Monterey to Solvang in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or fly; or take a bus. When traveling from Monterey in March, plan for somewhat warmer days in Solvang, with highs around 71°F, while nights are slightly colder with lows around 42°F.
Wineries · Parks · Historic Sites · Museums
Side Trips
Find places to stay Mar 3 — 9:

California travel guide

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.