13 days in California Itinerary

13 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California holiday planner
Make it your trip
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.
Start off your visit on the 12th (Wed): explore the historical opulence of Hearst Castle, then do a tasting at Hearst Ranch Winery, then explore and take pictures at Moonstone Beach Dr, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Moonstone Beach. On the next day, kick back and relax at Piedras Blancas, look for all kinds of wild species at Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center, then contemplate the long history of Nitt Witt Ridge, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.

To see other places to visit, reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, go to the San Simeon trip planner.

The Route module shows you travel options from your home to San Simeon. In May, daily temperatures in San Simeon can reach 82°F, while at night they dip to 48°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Big Sur.
Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife · Beaches
Side Trip
Find places to stay May 12 — 14:

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.
Kick off your visit on the 14th (Fri): stroll through Pfeiffer State Beach, view the masterpieces at Coast Gallery Big Sur, then admire the sheer force of McWay Falls, and finally visit a coastal fixture at Point Sur State Historic Park. On the 15th (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: admire the majestic nature at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, then learn about winemaking at Joullian Vineyards & Winery, and then snap pictures at Bixby Bridge.

To see where to stay, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read Big Sur travel itinerary planner.

You can drive from San Simeon to Big Sur in 2 hours. Expect a bit cooler weather when traveling from San Simeon in May: highs in Big Sur hover around 65°F, while lows dip to 51°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Sun) so you can go by car to Monterey.
Parks · Nature · Historic Sites · Outdoors
Side Trip
Find places to stay May 14 — 16:

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. Kick off your visit on the 16th (Sun): observe the fascinating underwater world at Monterey Bay Aquarium, cruise along 17-Mile Drive, and then don't miss a visit to Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard. Keep things going the next day: admire the majestic nature at Point Lobos, then view the masterpieces at Photography West Gallery, then get to know the fascinating history of Cannery Row, and finally explore the world behind art at Casa Serrano, Historic Adobe.

To find out how to plan a trip to Monterey, use our trip itinerary maker.

Traveling by car from Big Sur to Monterey takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In May in Monterey, expect temperatures between 65°F during the day and 51°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 18th (Tue) early enough to go by car to Solvang.
Parks · Historic Sites · Zoos & Aquariums · Outdoors
Side Trips
Find places to stay May 16 — 18:

Solvang — 6 nights

Solvang is a city in Santa Barbara County, California. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at 246 Wine & Brew Tours and Clos Pepe Vineyards and Estate Wines. Venture out of the city with trips to Lompoc (Melville Winery & Babcock Winery & Vineyards). The adventure continues: learn about winemaking at Rusack Vineyards, admire the architecture and history at Old Mission Santa Ines, and steep yourself in history at La Purisima Mission State Historic Park.

To find where to stay, photos, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our Solvang road trip planning site.

You can drive from Monterey to Solvang in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or fly; or take a bus. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Monterey in May: highs in Solvang hover around 76°F, while lows dip to 48°F.
Wineries · Parks · Breweries & Distilleries · Historic Sites
Side Trips
Find places to stay May 18 — 24:

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.