The Ultimate 2-Week California Road Trip Itinerary

The United States makes for a pretty much perfect country to road trip in. It offers an incredible mix of stunning panoramas, massive roads, serene beaches, quaint eateries, and out-of-the-world towns. I took the fascinating US road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway with a friend, and, oh man, what an experience it was! My YouTube series on the US road trip has 10 exciting episodes. So, you can already imagine what this epic plan has in store for you. Here are the detailed itinerary and an exhaustive list of places to cover throughout the road trip!

Best time to visit the US for a road trip

California is a perfect year-round destination. But, in the winter months, parts of the Yosemite National Park become inaccessible. Lake Tahoe presents good skiing opportunities in a similar time frame.

Day to day itinerary for a California road trip

Pacific Coast Highway ( 4 Days) –

We’ll start with the drive section along the Pacific Coast Highway from San Francisco to Los Angeles. This is one of the best road trips in the world and all the credit goes to unskippable pitstops like Monterey, Carmel by the Sea, Big Sur, etc.


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Pacific Coast Highway

Things to do –

  • Monterey – Julia Pfeiffer Burns Park, Bixby Bridge, Pfeiffer Beach, Garrapata State Park.

  • Carmel by the Sea – Surfing Carmel, Cycling 17 Mile Drive (Lone cypress, Spanish Bay, Bird Rock, Ghost tree, Links at Spanish Bay, John Denver Memorial).

  • Big Sur – Julia Pfeiffer Burns Park, Bixby Bridge, Pfeiffer Beach, Garrapata State Park.

  • En route Santa Maria – Hearst Castle, Morrow Bay, Pismo Beach.

Accommodation – Pfeiffer Big Sur Campground, Sandpiper Inn, Coachman’s Inn, The Inn at 1252, The Jabberwock B&B.


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Santa Maria (2 Days)

Things to do –

  • Santa Maria – Wine Tours, Santa Maria Style Barbecue, Hidden Hollywood, Dune Buggy Adventure.

  • Santa Barbara – Sunset Sail, Dinner on a patio.

Accommodation: 1900 VICTORIAN, Private Studio, Sunshine California

Also read: Pacific Dunes Ranch & Solvang: The Perfect Pit Stops On A Road Trip In California!

Los Angeles (2 Days)

When you’re in LA, there’s no shortage of activities to relish in. If LA is big and confusing for you, you can make Santa Monica your base for its spectacular beaches.

Things to doDisneyland, Malibu Coast, Knott’s Berry Farm, Studio Tour at Universal, Catalina Island, Six Flags Magic Mountain, Santa Monica Beach, Getty Museum.

Accommodation – Banana Bungalow, Magic Castle Hotel, The Georgian Hotel, Villa Delle Stelle.

Joshua National Tree National Park (1 day)

Heading out of the cities, the rest of our itinerary will now portray ecstatic wilderness. Joshua Tree National Park is a perfect spot for camping and stargazing. It’s a wonderful place where two deserts meet and home to those iconic shaped trees.

Accommodation – 9 Palms Inn, El Rancho Dolores, Hampton Inn, Aqua Soleil Hotel.

Also read: Driving In the US – Essential Tips You Must Know Before Hitting The Road!

Death Valley National Park (1 day)

There’s a lot of interesting stuff in this park that will surely surprise you. Check out the lowest land in the US at the Badwater Basina and explore Dante’s view, Zabriskie Point, Devil’s Golf course, Artist’s Palette, Darwin Falls, Golden Canyon, Ubehebe Crater, etc.

Accommodation – The Inn, The Ranch, Stovepipe Wells.


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Death Valley National Park

Yosemite National Park (2 days)

Yosemite is undoubtedly one of my favorite places in the US. The huge park has 13 campsites and among them, you can’t miss Yosemite Falls, Nevada & Vernal Falls, Glacier Point, Tunnel View, and Bridalveil Falls.

Accommodation: Yosemite International Hostel, El Dorado Motel, Heritage Inn.


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Yosemite National Park

Also read: Yosemite National Park – A Must-Have In Your USA Travel Bucket-list!

Lake Tahoe (2 days)

Whether it’s spring, winter, summer, or fall, Lake Tahoe awaits you with skiing, hiking, alpine slides, beaches, boats, and so on.

Things to do –

  • North Lake Tahoe – Ski Lake Tahoe, Sugarbowl Ski Resort.

  • South Lake Tahoe – Driving tour of Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay, Cruise of Emerald Bay, Camp Richardson.

Accommodation – Rodeway Inn, Beverly Hills, Econo lodge Inn.

The entire driving route

| Watch the video series on YouTube |

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