California in a Week:  How to Plan a Road-Trip up America’s Most Scenic Coast

California in a Week: How to Plan a Road-Trip up America’s Most Scenic Coast

From towering redwood forests in foggy Northern California to perfectly sun-kissed surf beaches in Southern California, this Golden State alongside the Pacific is a prize.”Lonely Planet



What You Need To Know Before You Go:


 This Trip Is For You If: 

✓ You’re looking for that iconic California road-trip with your girlfriends or loved one

✓ Ready to hit the road, making multiple stops (and Instagram worthy pictures) along the way

✓ Don’t mind spending a little more to experience the best food, shopping and spots California has to offer.


 How Long To Go For: 6-8 Days 


 Weather In California: 

  •        July is the hottest month in Los Angeles with an average temperature of 22°C (72°F) with13 hours of daily sunshine
  •        The coldest is January at 13°C (55°F) with an average of 79mm of rain
  •        The best month to swim in the sea is in September when the average sea temperature is 20°C (68°F).


 Daily Travel Costs In California: 

Below is daily average of a typical travel budget for California. Costs include accommodations and food in US dollars.

Budget Travel:  $75/day

  •        Hostel dorm beds: $25–$55
  •        Take-out meal: $6-$12

Mid-Range Travel: $75-$200/day

  •        Two-star motel or hotel double room: $75–$150
  •        Rental car per day, excluding insurance and gas: $30–$75

Luxury Travel: $200 day/day

  •        Three-star hotel or beach resort room: $150–$300
  •        Three-course meal excluding drinks in top restaurant: $75–$100


Getting There & Around: 

Flights: See the best flights to California and compare prices here.

Airport Transfer: Arrange your private transfer from LAX to your hotel of choice here.

Car Rental: Road trip here we come! Find the cheapest car rental rates to take you from LA to SFO here.

Local Transpiration: Here’s Plan B: use local bus transportation. Find the routes here.


The Trip


 Day 1-2 : Los Angeles 


✓ SEE: Santa Monica and Venice Beach

  •     Rent bikes and ride along the beach: Jay’s Cycles
  •     Explore the Venice canals
  •     Walk to the Venice Boardwalk and check out the street entertainment
  •     Take a Yoga class on the beach: Bryan Kest’s Power Yoga

TIP: Avoid the horrible LA traffic by making sure you avoid rush tour

Lovely and clean, lots to do. We hired bikes and explored the promenade. Muscle beach was interesting and the little restaurants were lovely”TripAdvisor

A sense of perspective | Venice Beach, California | Photography by @asenseofhuber #TheProTraveler

A photo posted by Edmond Sultan (@theprotraveler) on



  •     For a delicious fresh and healthy lunch: Lemonade
  •     If you want to try one of the best Vegan lunches: Cafe Gratitude
  •     Happy hour on a rooftop bar with a view of Venice beach: High Rooftop Lounge
  •     A classic dinner with a fantastic menu: Gjelina


Red dress, sunset, vacation #reddress #vacation #sunset #california #usa??

A photo posted by Alia Khayrullina (@aliya_lazy_sunbeam) on




Day 3: Los Angeles- San Luis Obispo 


✓ SEE: Santa Barbara, Solvang, San Luis Obispo

  •     Stop by Santa Barbara and go on a historical walk. Look up and admire the city’s Spanish colonial architecture.
  •     Next stop: see the Historic Danish Village of Solvang while eating an authentic Danish cookie.
  •     Drop by Pismo Pier. Go for a walk and see breathtaking views of the Pacific.
  •     Once in San Luis Obispo, don’t miss the unique and amazing roadside attraction, Madonna Inn.

TIP: The city’s name is pronounced the Spanish way. It’s not Louis the French pronunciation but Luis. SLO locals are a friendly bunch and they lead a laidback lifestyle. When driving, avoid honking.


A photo posted by Shayne T. Kelley (@shayne_kells) on






Day 4: San Luis Obispo – Big Sur 


✓ SEE: Cayucos, Cambria, Big Sur

  •     On the way to Big Sur, make a pit stop at Morro Bay. Take photos of the rock and spot falcons, otters, and squirrels too!
  •     Park your vehicle, grab coffee and pastries from nearby bakeries, and recharge at Cayucos Pier.
  •     Next stop: stretch your legs and go for a walk at the wooden walkway to Moonstone Beach in Cambria.
  •     Before hitting Big Sur town, visit Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, go on a short hike, and enjoy stunning views of the coast and waterfalls.
  •     After 85 miles of driving, say hello to the quiet town of Big Sur nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Lucia Range.

TIP: Mobile coverage and GPS drops in some areas. Plan ahead, get a map, and put your plans in writing.

“There were lots of baby squirrels between the rocks that kept peaking out at us. The locals were very friendly as were others that were just stopping for pictures. It’s a really nice easy breezy picturesque stop on a PCH road trip.” TripAdvisor   





Pool with a view. ?: @iiroseppanen

A photo posted by Post Ranch Inn (@postranchinn) on


 Day 5: Big Sur- San Francisco 


✓ SEE: Carmel, Monterey, Santa Cruz, San Francisco

  •     Don’t forget to take your photos at the iconic Bixby Bridge.
  •     Fall in love with the rustic town of Carmel. Visit Carmel by the Sea and see beautiful houses and artisan shops.
  •     Stop by Monterey Bay Aquarium – one of the best aquariums in the country.
  •     Make time for some amusement park fun by the beach at Santa Cruz Boardwalk
  •     Say hello to San Francisco! Head to the Golden Gate Bridge for that ‘We’re in SFO!’ photo.

TIP: Eating fresh seafood is a must in Monterey!






Day 6-7: San Francisco 


✓ SEE: San Francisco

TIP: Get your tickets ahead of time online if you plan to visit Alcatraz.





Day 8: Depart 


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