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The Final 2-Week California Street Journey Itinerary » Savoteur

Wanting for one of the best locations so as to add to your California street journey itinerary?

Embarking on a two-week California street journey itinerary is the proper technique to dive deep into the landscapes and life that make this state a legendary journey vacation spot. Having spent over 5 months touring round California in a van, I’ve come to know what makes a street journey right here really particular.

I found that you will want a minimum of two weeks to see the highlights with out feeling rushed. That’s sufficient time to soak in just a few full of life cities, serene nationwide parks, and coastal drives to get the complete California expertise. However in case you have extra time, it’s even higher!

Be part of me as I share the gems of the Golden State, drawing on my intensive travels to make every day an journey and provide help to get essentially the most out of your California street journey.

Map: California Street Journey Itinerary

map of california road trip route
Picture Credit score: Google Maps

Contents: California Street Journey Itinerary

Day 1: San Francisco

san francisco streetcar with golden gate bridge in background
Picture Credit score: Warren Morelli

Finest for: City explorers and tradition fanatics.

Exploring in San Francisco looks like stepping right into a postcard, a metropolis that must be on each California street journey itinerary. The enduring fog usually shrouds the Golden Gate Bridge in thriller, making a picturesque scene that feels nearly surreal. The cityscape is a patchwork of full of life neighborhoods.

My first stroll up the town’s famously steep hills left me breathless, not simply from the climb but additionally from the gorgeous views at each flip. San Francisco combines the old-world allure of cable automobiles and Victorian homes with the cutting-edge buzz of Silicon Valley, making it a spot the place historical past and the long run coexist.

Issues to do in San Francisco:

  • Go to the Golden Gate Bridge: Irrespective of what number of instances you see it, it by no means fails to impress. It’s a marvel of engineering and wonder, particularly awe-inspiring when the morning fog lifts to disclose the towering pink construction.
  • Discover Fisherman’s Wharf: Whereas Fisherman’s Wharf can really feel touristy, it’s important for first-time guests. Sampling clam chowder in a sourdough bread bowl whereas watching the playful sea lions at Pier 39 is at all times pleasant.
  • Stroll by Golden Gate Park: Golden Gate Park is an expansive inexperienced oasis with one thing for everybody. My final go to concerned a leisurely afternoon exploring its hidden gardens, visiting the de Younger Museum, and easily soaking within the tranquility away from the city hustle.
  • Experience a cable automobile: Using one in all San Francisco’s historic cable automobiles is a quintessential expertise. There’s an actual thrill in clinging to the facet as you ascend and descend the town’s dramatic hills, providing gorgeous cityscapes alongside the way in which.
  • Try the Mission District: It’s the vibrant coronary heart of San Francisco’s Latino group, full of colourful murals telling tales of its wealthy cultural heritage. This neighborhood is a feast for the senses, providing a number of the finest Mexican delicacies, full of life avenue artwork, and an infectious power that epitomizes why San Francisco is so beloved.

Day 2-3: Yosemite

view of Yosemite National Park at sunset
Picture Credit score: Warren Morelli

Finest for: Nature lovers and out of doors adventurers.

Getting into Yosemite Nationwide Park is like getting into one other world—one the place nature’s grandeur is nearly overwhelming. Towering granite cliffs, historical large sequoias, and thundering waterfalls create a backdrop that feels extra like a portray than actuality. 

Throughout my first go to, I was struck by the sheer scale of all the pieces. The huge El Capitan looming overhead, the serene fantastic thing about Mirror Lake reflecting the sky, and the highly effective roar of Yosemite Falls echoing by the valley. It’s a spot that reminds you of the uncooked energy and fantastic thing about the pure world, providing a profound sense of peace and awe. Usually labeled as one of the best nationwide park within the US, Yosemite must be in your California street journey itinerary.

Issues to do in Yosemite:

  • Hike to Glacier Level: For among the finest views within the park, take the trek to Glacier Level. The panoramic vista of Yosemite Valley, Half Dome, and the Excessive Sierra is breathtaking and value each step.
  • Discover Yosemite Valley: Drive or bike across the valley loop to see well-known landmarks like El Capitan, Bridalveil Fall, and the meadows. Don’t miss stopping at the assorted viewpoints, every providing a novel perspective of the park.
  • Go to the Big Sequoias: No go to to Yosemite is full with out seeing the traditional large sequoias. These towering bushes, a number of the largest residing issues on Earth, are humbling and a must-see at Mariposa Grove.
  • Attempt mountain climbing: For the adventurous, Yosemite is a world-class climbing vacation spot. Whether or not you’re an skilled climber or a beginner eager to strive a guided climb, the granite partitions, like these of El Capitan, present the last word problem.
  • Stargazing: After a day of mountain climbing and exploring, nothing beats mendacity again and stargazing. Yosemite’s clear skies provide a number of the finest evening sky viewings, making it simple to identify constellations and the Milky Manner.

Day 4: Monterey

view of charming Monterey a coastal town in california
Picture Credit score: Warren Morelli

Finest for: Sea life fanatics and historical past buffs.

Monterey is an enthralling coastal city that captures the essence of California’s maritime historical past and pure magnificence. My first impression of Monterey was its serene bay, teeming with marine life and framed by historic, weathered piers. 

Strolling by the streets, you possibly can really feel the echoes of John Steinbeck’s tales within the salt air, notably round Cannery Row, as soon as the sardine-packing coronary heart of the world, now bustling with outlets and eateries. The city seamlessly blends its wealthy historical past with a ardour for ocean conservation, making it a captivating cease on any California street journey.

Issues to do in Monterey:

  • Go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium: Famend for its spectacular marine reveals and conservation efforts, the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must-visit. From playful sea otters to mesmerizing jellyfish, the reveals join you deeply with the marine lifetime of the Pacific.
  • Discover Cannery Row: As soon as the setting for Steinbeck’s novel, right now’s Cannery Row gives a mixture of buying, eating, and leisure. It’s a vibrant place to soak within the native tradition and historical past.
  • Take a whale-watching tour: Monterey Bay is among the finest locations on this planet for whale-watching. Relying on the season, you may see humpback whales, blue whales, and orcas.
  • Drive the 17-mile Drive: This scenic route takes you thru Pebble Seashore and Pacific Grove, providing gorgeous coastal views, rugged seashores, and iconic golf programs.
  • Chill out at Lovers Level Park and Seashore: Very best for a extra laid-back afternoon, Lovers Level gives calm waters for kayaking and a stunning spot for picnics with views over the bay.

Day 5-6: Large Sur

view of famous bridge connecting Big Sur
Picture Credit score: Warren Morelli

Finest for: Nature fanatics and non secular seekers.

Large Sur is an unforgettable stretch of shoreline that calls for you to disconnect from the world and reconnect with nature. The second I first drove down Freeway One, flanked by the rugged cliffs on one facet and the expansive Pacific Ocean on the opposite, I used to be captivated. 

The air is thick with the scent of eucalyptus and sea spray, making a mesmerizing environment that’s each invigorating and calming. The panorama right here is dramatically wild, with towering redwoods and misty cliffs that appear to whisper historical secrets and techniques.

Issues to do in Large Sur:

  • Hike in Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park: Begin with the straightforward path to McWay Falls, an 80-foot waterfall that flows instantly onto a pristine seashore beneath—an iconic Large Sur sight.
  • Discover Pfeiffer Seashore: Well-known for its purple sand and big rock formations, Pfeiffer Seashore is a must-visit for photographers and nature lovers alike. The sunsets right here, with the sunshine streaming by the keyhole arch, are magical.
  • Go to the Henry Miller Library: A mix of a bookstore, efficiency venue, and tribute to the American author, the Henry Miller Library is a cultural hub set amidst the redwoods. It’s an ideal spot for literary followers and people seeking to catch an area occasion.
  • Take a scenic drive on Freeway One: The drive by Large Sur itself is an expertise, with numerous viewpoints like Bixby Bridge providing spectacular vistas that you’ll need to savor.
  • Chill out and meditate at Esalen Institute: For these seeking to unwind and delve deep into private wellness, the Esalen Institute gives workshops and lessons in a setting that’s each nurturing and provoking, perched on cliffs overlooking the ocean.

Day 7-8: Santa Barbara

view of santa barbara beach
Picture Credit score: Warren Morelli

Finest for: Seashore lovers and cultural fanatics.

Santa Barbara, usually dubbed “The American Riviera,” gives a shocking mixture of pure magnificence and complicated allure. My first go to right here left an enduring impression with its lovely Spanish Colonial structure and the laid-back, luxurious vibe of its sun-drenched streets. 

Nestled between the Santa Ynez Mountains and the Pacific Ocean, the town boasts palm-lined seashores alongside boutique outlets and fantastic eating, creating an ideal stability of rest and cultural exploration.

Issues to do in Santa Barbara:

  • Stroll alongside State Avenue: This bustling thoroughfare is the guts of Santa Barbara, lined with wonderful outlets, artwork galleries, and eating places. It’s ultimate for a leisurely stroll or a little bit of buying.
  • Go to the Santa Barbara Mission: Often known as the “Queen of the Missions” for its gorgeous magnificence, this historic website gives a glimpse into California’s mission days with its magnificent church and plush gardens.
  • Discover the Santa Barbara County Courthouse: A shocking instance of Spanish Colonial structure; the courthouse contains a mural room and a clock tower that gives panoramic views of the town.
  • Chill out at East Seashore: Recognized for its tender sand and comparatively calm waters, East Seashore is ideal for a day below the solar. You may as well discover volleyball courts and picnic spots right here.
  • Benefit from the native wine scene: Santa Barbara’s wine nation is only a quick drive away, providing the prospect to style a number of the best wines produced in California. The city wine path within the Funk Zone additionally offers a enjoyable and accessible technique to pattern native vintages.

Day 9-10: Los Angeles

view of los angeles with palm trees in the forefront
Picture Credit score: Warren Morelli

Finest for: Leisure seekers and cultural explorers.

Los Angeles is a sprawling metropolis that captures the essence of a fast-paced way of life blended with laid-back seashore vibes. From my first go to, I used to be struck by the range of its neighborhoods, every with its personal distinctive taste. From the glitz of Beverly Hills to the bohemian streets of Venice Seashore.

LA is a metropolis the place you’ll find world-class museums, vibrant meals scenes, and the guts of the leisure business, all set in opposition to the backdrop of white sand seashores, infinite sunny days and palm-lined boulevards.

Issues to do in Los Angeles:

  • Stroll the Hollywood Stroll of Fame: Discover the long-lasting stars on Hollywood Boulevard. It’s touristy, certain, but it surely’s additionally a quintessential LA expertise.
  • Go to Griffith Observatory: This place gives an awesome view of the Hollywood Signal and panoramic views of Los Angeles. The reveals and planetarium reveals are undoubtedly price your time.
  • Discover the Getty Heart: This architectural marvel gives spectacular artwork collections, gorgeous gardens, and breathtaking metropolis views. It’s a peaceable retreat from the town’s hustle.
  • Spend a day in Santa Monica: The Santa Monica Pier and Third Avenue Promenade provide an ideal mix of beachfront enjoyable and upscale buying. Don’t miss the prospect to benefit from the vibrant avenue performances right here.
  • Uncover the humanities in Downtown LA: From the modern exhibitions at The Broad to the historic Los Angeles Theatre, downtown is booming with cultural riches.
  • Eat your means by the town: LA’s meals scene is as various as its inhabitants. From Korean BBQ in Koreatown to Mexican avenue tacos in East LA, there’s a dish to fulfill each craving.

Day 11-12: Joshua Tree Nationwide Park

trees in Joshua Tree National Park
Picture Credit score: Warren Morelli

Finest for: Desert explorers and stargazers.

Joshua Tree Nationwide Park is the place the Mojave and Colorado deserts converge, creating a novel and mystical panorama that looks like stepping onto one other planet. 

The rugged fantastic thing about this park captivated me from my very first go to. The twisted, bristled Joshua bushes in opposition to the backdrop of huge, open skies and rocky outcrops are visually gorgeous.  The serene silence of the desert, punctuated by the wind, gives a profound sense of solitude and introspection. There are a lot of choices relating to tenting, so be certain to take a look at the finest campgrounds in Joshua Tree.

Issues to do in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park:

  • Mountain climbing and rock scrambling: The park gives quite a few trails starting from simple walks to difficult hikes. Widespread spots like Hidden Valley provide incredible rock scrambling and gorgeous views.
  • Go to Cranium Rock: Eroded by the weather into the form of a cranium, this pure rock formation is each eerie and interesting, positioned proper beside the street for simple entry.
  • Discover Cholla Cactus Backyard: This space showcases lovely cholla cacti. The backyard glows fantastically in the course of the golden hours of dawn and sundown.
  • Stargazing: Joshua Tree is thought for its clear, darkish skies, making it among the finest locations in California for stargazing. The Milky Manner is usually seen to the bare eye, stretching throughout the evening sky.
  • Try native artwork: The small cities round Joshua Tree, like Joshua Tree Village, host vibrant artwork scenes with galleries and outlets that includes works by native artists.

Day 13-14: San Diego

view of san diego at night
Picture Credit score: Warren Morelli

Finest for Seashore fanatics and historical past lovers.

San Diego, with its infinite sunshine, laid-back environment, and delightful seashores, is the proper place to wind down your California street journey. My first impression of San Diego was {that a} sense of rest appeared to be felt on each nook of this full of life metropolis. 

From the historic Gaslamp Quarter, the place each constructing has a narrative, to the pristine stretches of sand at La Jolla, San Diego combines cultural richness with pure magnificence in a means that’s each thrilling and soothing.

Issues to do in San Diego:

  • Go to Balboa Park: Dwelling to 17 museums, lovely gardens, and the famend San Diego Zoo, Balboa Park is a cultural hub that may hold you entertained for hours.
  • Discover the USS Halfway Museum: Situated on the plane provider Halfway, this museum gives a captivating glimpse into naval historical past with self-guided excursions by the ship’s intensive plane assortment.
  • Chill out at La Jolla Cove: One of San Diego’s most fascinating spots for swimming, snorkeling, and simply absorbing the solar. The clear waters and scenic cliffs make La Jolla Cove a must-visit.
  • Stroll by the Gaslamp Quarter: This full of life district is thought for its Victorian-era buildings, stylish outlets, artwork galleries, and bustling nightlife.
  • Surf or watch the surfers at Pacific Seashore: Whether or not you’re an skilled surfer or simply need to watch others catching waves, Pacific Seashore has a nice laid-back surf tradition.

Much less-Recognized Hidden Gems Value Visiting

Sunset on Pacific coast of central California in Carmel, between Monastery beach and Carmel River Beach, looking toward Point Lobos State Natural Preserve, as waves break along the Monterey Bay.
Picture Credit score:Shutterstock / David A Litman

Whereas exploring California, you’ll seemingly hit the well-known hotspots listed above, however some lesser-known websites alongside the identical route are undoubtedly definitely worth the detour in case you have the time. Listed here are 5 hidden gems that promise distinctive experiences with out straying far out of your deliberate itinerary:

  • Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery, San Simeon: Simply north of San Simeon alongside Freeway 1, this spot is ideal for wildlife fanatics. Go to throughout the migration season to see a whole bunch of elephant seals sunning on the seashore.
  • Level Lobos State Pure Reserve, Carmel-by-the-Sea: Simply south of Monterey, this park gives breathtaking coastal views, coves, and the prospect to see seals, sea lions, and sea otters. It’s much less crowded than close by Large Sur and equally gorgeous.
  • Concord Headlands State Park, Concord: This small state park, just a few miles north of Morro Bay, gives a 4.5-mile round-trip hike by a quiet coastal meadow to a secluded seashore that’s not often crowded.
  • Los Alamos, Santa Barbara County: Hidden within the Santa Ynez Valley, Los Alamos is a tiny city with previous West allure, that includes vintage outlets, native wine-tasting rooms, and distinctive eateries. It’s a quaint stopover between Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.
  • Crystal Cove State Park, Orange County: Situated between Newport Seashore and Laguna Seashore, this park gives 3.2 miles of seashore and a couple of,400 acres of backcountry wilderness. It’s an awesome spot for mountain climbing, horseback using, and tide pooling, with fewer guests than its extra well-known neighbors.

Touring This Route with an EV

Exploring California in an electrical automobile (EV) is not solely environmentally pleasant but additionally more and more handy due to the state’s dedication to sustainable transportation. Listed here are some ideas and key charging areas to make sure a easy and pleasant journey in your California street journey itinerary:

Preparation is Key:

  • Plan Your Charging Stops: Earlier than you hit the street, map out your route utilizing apps like PlugShare or ChargePoint. These instruments assist find charging stations alongside your route and supply real-time availability and charging pace data.
  • Verify Your Vary: Know the vary of your EV and plan stops accordingly. California’s highways are well-equipped with charging stations, but it surely’s at all times good to plan, particularly when touring by extra distant areas like elements of Large Sur or Yosemite.

Charging Places Alongside the Route:

  • San Francisco: Begin your journey with a full battery by profiting from the dense community of charging stations throughout the town, together with quick chargers alongside the principle exits and entries of the town.
  • Yosemite Nationwide Park: Charging stations can be found at Yosemite Valley Lodge, Half Dome Village, and close to the customer middle, making it simple to discover the park with out vary nervousness.
  • Monterey and Large Sur: Discover a number of charging factors in Monterey and alongside the Pacific Coast Freeway. Nevertheless, plan fastidiously, as charging choices are much less frequent alongside the distant stretches of Large Sur.
  • Santa Barbara and Los Angeles: These areas are EV-friendly, with quite a few charging stations obtainable, together with a number of quick chargers ultimate for fast top-ups as you discover the cities.
  • Joshua Tree Nationwide Park: Charging stations are positioned within the cities close to the park, equivalent to Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree City.
  • San Diego: As a serious metropolis, San Diego gives intensive charging infrastructure, guaranteeing you possibly can simply recharge earlier than heading to any seashores or sights.

FAQs: California Street Journey Itinerary

What number of days do you want for a street journey in California?

Ideally, a two-week California street journey itinerary means that you can discover a variety of landscapes and sights with out feeling rushed. This itinerary covers main cities, iconic landmarks, and delightful pure parks, supplying you with a well-rounded expertise of what California has to supply.

When you’ve got much less time, contemplate specializing in both the northern or southern a part of the state to scale back journey time and deepen your exploration. I’d say the extra time, the higher!

What are one of the best seashores in California?

California is famed for its gorgeous coastlines, and every seashore has its personal allure. For traditional surf tradition, Huntington Seashore and Malibu are high picks. For a extra secluded, scenic expertise, strive Pfeiffer Seashore in Large Sur or the seashores of Level Reyes Nationwide Seashore.

Should you’re into full of life seashore cities, Santa Monica and Venice Seashore are must-visits with their busy boardwalks and full of life atmospheres.

The place are one of the best campgrounds in California?

California gives a various vary of tenting experiences, from beachfront websites to mountain retreats. Some high campgrounds embrace Yosemite’s North Pines Campground, the place you are surrounded by majestic views, and Kirk Creek Campground in Large Sur, which gives dramatic ocean vistas.

For an in depth information on one of the best locations to camp, particularly in Joshua Tree Nationwide Park, try this complete listing of the finest campgrounds in California.

The place are one of the best free tenting areas in California?

For these seeking to escape the crowds and luxuriate in nature on a finances, California has a number of choices free of charge tenting. Many nationwide forests, just like the Sierra Nationwide Forest, permit dispersed tenting freed from cost.

For extra particular areas and tips about the right way to discover one of the best spots, discover my stealth van tenting information, or you should utilize van life parking apps that assist determine authorized and scenic parking choices all through the state.

What are one of the best nationwide parks in California?

California’s nationwide parks are various, every providing distinctive pure options and experiences. Yosemite Nationwide Park is legendary for its large sequoias and gorgeous valley views. Joshua Tree Nationwide Park is famend for its otherworldly desert landscapes, whereas Sequoia Nationwide Park is residence to the immense Normal Sherman tree, one of many largest bushes on Earth.

Different noteworthy parks embrace Loss of life Valley, the most well liked place on Earth, and the often-overlooked Lassen Volcanic Nationwide Park, with its effervescent mud pots and clear mountain lakes. I would advocate making an attempt so as to add as many as potential to your California street journey itinerary.

California Street Journey Itinerary

This two-week California street journey is an journey that showcases the huge variety and hanging fantastic thing about the Golden State. Whether or not you’re absorbing the power from the full of life cities, exploring the serene nationwide parks, or lounging on a number of the finest seashores on this planet, California guarantees a memorable journey.

This itinerary is designed not simply to focus on key sights however to encourage immersion within the native way of life. Savor the regional delicacies, Interact with the group, and take the time to observe the delicate magnificence that surrounds you.

So, roll down your home windows, flip up your favourite tunes, and let California’s scenic routes lead you to new discoveries. Secure travels, and luxuriate in each second of your unbelievable California street journey itinerary!


Warren Morelli is the creator behind The Nomad Hive, a weblog and useful resource hub for digital nomads and journey fanatics. Alongside his associate, Natasha, Warren has been exploring the world and dealing remotely for over eight years. They’ve a deep ardour for locating new cultures, sharing journey ideas, and instructing others the right way to maintain a nomadic way of life. Their experiences provide readers sensible recommendation and a firsthand take a look at the thrill and challenges of residing a nomadic life. By means of his weblog, Warren continues to encourage and information those that dream of a life unbound by location.

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