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7 days California road trip itinerary

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Day 1: Los Angeles

  • Start your road trip in the morning by picking up your rental car and setting out for Los Angeles.
  • Visit the Hollywood Walk of Fame, which runs along Hollywood Boulevard and features the stars of some of the biggest names in entertainment history.
  • Stop by the TCL Chinese Theatre, a famous movie palace known for its hand and footprint ceremonies.
  • Drive down the Sunset Strip, a famous stretch of Sunset Boulevard known for its music scene, clubs, and bars.
  • End the day by visiting the Santa Monica Pier, a historic pier that features an amusement park, aquarium, and restaurants.
  • Stay overnight in Los Angeles.

Day 2: Venice Beach and Malibu

  • Start the day by driving to Venice Beach, a famous beach and entertainment destination known for its Muscle Beach outdoor gym and street performers.
  • Walk along the Venice Beach Boardwalk, a lively promenade with street vendors, artists, and musicians.
  • In the afternoon, drive up the coast to Malibu, a scenic beach city known for its beautiful beaches and surf spots.
  • Visit the Malibu Pier, a historic wooden pier that offers great views of the ocean and beach.
  • End the day by watching the sunset over the Pacific Ocean from one of Malibu’s many beach parks.
  • Stay overnight in Malibu.

Day 3: Santa Barbara

  • Drive north to Santa Barbara, a charming coastal city known for its Spanish architecture, beautiful beaches, and scenic mountains.
  • Take a stroll along State Street, the city’s main shopping and dining area.
  • Visit the Santa Barbara Mission, a historic Spanish mission founded in 1786 and known for its beautiful architecture and gardens.
  • In the afternoon, relax on one of Santa Barbara’s many beaches, such as East Beach or Butterfly Beach.
  • Stay overnight in Santa Barbara.

Day 4: Monterey and Cannery Row

  • Drive up the coast to Monterey, a historic fishing town known for its beautiful coastline and aquarium.
  • Visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium, one of the largest and most popular aquariums in the world, which features a wide variety of marine life and interactive exhibits.
  • Take a walk along Cannery Row, a former sardine canning center turned into a popular tourist destination with shops, restaurants, and scenic views of the ocean.
  • Stay overnight in Monterey.

Day 5: Big Sur and Carmel-by-the-Sea

  • Drive along the scenic coastal highway of Big Sur, one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world.
  • Stop at various overlooks and beaches along the way, such as Bixby Bridge, McWay Falls, and Pflegerhorn State Park, to take in the breathtaking views.
  • Spend the night in the charming town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, a beautiful coastal village known for its fine dining, shopping, and scenic beaches.

Day 6: San Francisco

  • Drive north to San Francisco, a city famous for its steep hills, historic landmarks, and cultural diversity.
  • Visit popular attractions like the Golden Gate Bridge, a iconic suspension bridge that offers stunning views of the Bay Area.
  • Take a stroll through Fisherman’s Wharf, a historic neighborhood that features seafood restaurants, street performers, and scenic views of the Bay.
  • Visit Alcatraz Island, a former prison turned into a museum that offers tours and exhibits about its history as a maximum-security prison.
  • End the day by exploring Golden Gate Park, a large urban park with a variety of gardens.

Day 7: San Francisco

  • Start the day by visiting the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, an art museum with a collection that spans from ancient to contemporary art.
  • Walk through the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood, known for its counterculture history and bohemian vibe.
  • Visit the Painted Ladies, a row of Victorian houses that are some of the most photographed homes in the city.
  • Take a tour of the famous Anchor Steam Brewery, a local brewery that offers tours and tastings of its handcrafted beers.
  • End your road trip by shopping and dining in the Union Square neighborhood, a popular shopping and dining destination with a variety of high-end stores and restaurants.
  • Return your rental car and fly back home, or plan to extend your trip if you have more time.

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