California Coast In One Week

CA Coast Map

The Question:

This spring, we are taking a week-long road trip from our home in Temecula, CA up the coast to Monterey.  We are traveling with our 11 and 13 year old sons.

What should we see and do along the way?  Hotels? Restaurants? Beaches? Places to pick up a picnic lunch?

We are planning a stop at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and love the ocean, modest hikes and good, fresh food.  We are not opposed to visiting the “must see” tourist stops.


My Answer:


There are definitely a lot of options, and the California​ coast is so beautiful. Here is a sample itinerary for a round trip Temecula-Monterey that I think you will like. You can modify it as suits you!

Day 1: Leave home in Temecula​ and head for Ventura​. The beach is nice by the pier and the historic part of town has an awesome vintage California vibe.

Day 2: Continue north to Big Sur​. This will be a longer day of driving, but there will be so much to look at I think it should go by fast. You’ll have plenty of options for stopping to take pictures.

Day 3: Go on a hike in the morning before driving to Monterey​. This will be an easy drive, giving you lots of time to explore.

Day 4: Spend the morning in Monterrey before starting to return south. Spend the night in San Simeon​, check out Hearst Castle if you have the time.

Day 5: San Luis Obispo​ is only a short drive away. There are some hikes you can do around here or even rent ATVs. It is known as the “Clam Capitol of the World” so if you like seafood fill up.

Day 6: Your final stop before heading home could be in Santa Barbara​. There are a bunch of theaters in town so you could see if anything suits your interests for that night. In addition to the zoo and botanic garden (both are nice), there is an amazing garden called “Lotusland.” It has a cool history and is really beautiful.

Day 7: Return home!

If you are a smart phone user I also recommend downloading the RoadTrippers app. When you put in your route it suggest attractions and sights along the way. I have found some hidden gems this way during my road trips.

Happy travels!

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