California Road Trip Itinerary for 7 days
The US is the ultimate destination for an unforgettable road trip and there are plenty of routes to choose from. The famous Route 66 is the most well-known road trip route across the world and there are also several popular coast-to-coast routes that provide amazing memories for those lucky enough to have time to experience one of them. However, arguably the very best road trip of all is the west coast of the US through California, due to the breathtaking sights along the way and famous places you pass through.
If you are thinking of taking a US road trip in the future then we have the perfect 7-day itinerary to make sure that you have the trip of a lifetime. The trip we have chosen is the California Pacific Coast Highway, which goes from San Francisco to LA and allows you to take in some of the best parts of the US.
Day 1 - San Francisco
Starting off in Golden Gate City, the first stop along this amazing trip will be at one of the world’s most famous landmarks – the Golden Gate Bridge. As well as having the opportunity to cross this famous bridge, you can stop off and appreciate the amazing views across the bay or even take a boat trip. A visit to Alcatraz is one of the top attractions and is worth spending a few hours of your time when in San Fran.
Day 2 - Santa Cruz
As you head out of San Francisco, there are some wonderful places to stop along the way such as San Jose and also Half Moon Bay, which is a small coastal town with lots of character. You might want to stop for a bite to eat here before heading onto the exciting Santa Cruz.
When you reach Santa Cruz, there are some lovely beaches if you fancy stopping off and the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is not to be missed. Santa Cruz is really popular with surfers so if you fancy trying some surfing lessons or just watching the surfers show how it is done, Seabright State Beach is a good choice.
Day 3 - Monterey and Big Sur
If you have watched the TV series Big Little Lies then you may be familiar with Monterey, as it is filmed here. The Big Sur coastline is arguably the best views you will come across in the US, so you might want to spend a bit of time here. There are some amazing beaches along this stretch and just a bit further on is the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park which is perfect for camping and is famous for the Redwood Forests.
Day 4 - Pismo Beach and Santa Maria
As you head back down the highway, there are numerous great areas to stop off at and we recommend Pismo Beach and/or Morro Bay. Santa Maria is a top place to stop over if you are a wine drinker as you can visit one of the excellent vineyards. Presqu’ile Winery is one of the best in the area and has amazing views.
Day 5 - Santa Barbara
If your budget stretches to it, try and get a beachfront hotel in Santa Barbara to take in all of its splendour. Santa Barbara is often referred to as the place where beaches meet the mountains, and if you enjoy hiking then you won’t be disappointed when you head into the hills. Kayak tours are also a great way to see a different side of this beautiful part of California.
Day 6 - Malibu
Before we get to LA, it is worth a stop at Malibu and its famous beaches. Zuma Beach is definitely worth a visit and the Santa Monica Mountains are ideal for hiking with a view. Malibu Creek is one of the most stunning places in Southern California, so head there if you have time. You can head straight to LA from Malibu and spend the evening there, checking out the Hollywood Walk of Fame and Rodeo Drive.
Day 7 - LA
If you like your theme parks then Universal Studios is the perfect day out but if not then make the most of your time in LA by taking an open top bus tour to see all the famous film scenes and other interesting parts of LA. You might be able to spot some stars whilst you are there, especially if you venture to their favourite haunts like the Chateau Marmont, Beverly Hills Hotel, Franklin Village, Malibu Country Mart or down at the Staples Center when a basketball game is on.
You could spend much more time in LA than one day so that is why we finished the route here, in case you have a few extra days to enjoy LA’s capital city and home to the stars. Enjoy your trip and remember that when you travel to the US, you are going to need to get a visa or an ESTA as travel authorisation.