A road trip from San Diego to Yosemite National Park and up the Pacific Coast Highway is quite possibly one of the perfect road trips with your families you could ever take in your life. Admire the ultimate Hollywood experience of Los Angeles, the charming and natural beach of Cambria and Santa Barbara, the sea cliffs of Big Sur, the urban charm of San Francisco on this tour of the Golden Gates and the natural splendor of Yosemite National Park. Here, we collected route options, best stops, hotel info, and travel tips to help who are preparing for a 6-day journey from San Diego to Yosemite National Park.
6-Day San Diego to Yosemite
Routes: San Diego - Los Angeles - Santa Barbara - Cambria - Big Sur - San Francisco - Yosemite National Park
Durations: 6 Days
Day 1: Los Angeles (The Getty Center, Universal Studios Hollywood)
Day 2: Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara Waterfront, Solvang)
Day 3: Cambria (Moonstone Beach, Moonstone Drive)
Day 4: Big Sur (Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Point Sur State Historic Park, Point Sur Lighthouse)
Day 5: San Francisco (Fisherman's Wharf, Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street)
Day 6: Yosemite National Park - San Diego
The Getty Center
The Getty Center, spectacular museum boasts a most impressive collection by such luminaries as Van Gogh, Monet and Cezanne, along with the architectural triumph of its six buildings and gardens. Perched in the hills above West Los Angeles, the main branch of the world-class museum may look like an elevated modernist city.
The Getty Center have great tourist attraction ranging from art gallery to museum and gardens of the highest standard. The view is fascinating and the food cafe will be better than expected. The parking fee is $20, but the entrance is free. You can bring a picnic, there are lockers available and nice outdoor space with table. The art experience is definitely worth it!
Universal Studios Hollywood
Find a full day of action-packed entertainment all in one place: thrilling Theme Park rides and shows, a real working movie studio, and Los Angeles’ best shops, restaurants and cinemas at CityWalk. Universal Studios Hollywood is a unique experience that’s fun for the whole family.
Universal Studios Hollywood has immersive environments like the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Springfield Hollywood which portrays the quirky world of The Simpsons, physical rides (in a moving vehicle) like Jurassic Park: The Ride, virtual rides, live-action effects shows, musical performances, and more. And there is a Park Map of Universal Studios Hollywood. You can click here to get more details.
Where to stay in Los Angeles?
Loews Hollywood Hotel: This hotel is perfectly located to experience Hollywood, with attractions, restaurants and tour buses right at your doorstep. The rooms are a great size, modern and the bed was super comfy.
Address: 1755 North Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA
Santa Barbara Waterfront
The Santa Barbara Waterfront captures that postcard-perfect view of the area’s famous coastline. Pristine beaches, palm tree-lined shores, and the Santa Ynez Mountains as a backdrop ensure plenty of photo-worthy moments. Take a bike ride or a leisurely stroll down the Cabrillo Bike Path, which runs parallel to three beaches. It’s easy to make your way from one beach to the next while soaking up the sunshine and ocean-scented air.
What To See Along The Santa Barbara Waterfront
1.Stearns Wharf is the most well known Santa Barbara Waterfront attraction.
2.Leadbetter Beach is one of the more popular and beautiful beaches in Southern California.
3.Santa Barbara Maritime Museum is a well-curated collection of artifacts and exhibits looking into the area’s rich maritime history.
4.Shoreline Park is a skinny bit of land right on the ocean. Walk along coastal walkways and enjoy views of the city and water, or take some time to relax and sunbathe on your next visit.
5.Arroyo Burro Beach is also known as Hendry’s Beach, and it’s another breathtaking beach park in Santa Barbara County.
Solvang is a small city just north of Santa Barbara that has dedicated itself to its Danish history. There are filled with Danish shops and restaurants serving Danish food.
Aside from the shops, bakeries, and restaurants, there's a Hans Christian Andersen Museum (he was Danish); the Elverhoj Museum of Danish History; and the Mission Santa Inés, adding some Spanish and California history, too. There's also a cool vintage motorcycle museum.
Moonstone Beach is a charming and natural beach with easy access. Quiet, windswept, and perfect for a romantic getaway.
Moonstone Drive is oceanfront scenic loop that parallels Highway 1. This drive offers a slightly winding road and lovely vistas of the Pacific ocean. It is almost at sea level, so you can sea and hear the waves crashing on the beach. Sunsets are great, and there are places to stop and enjoy the breeze, the waves and the not unusual wildlife (sea lions, seagulls, etc.).
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
A breathtaking 80-foot waterfall dropping from the cliffs to the ocean is the focal point of this park. Enjoy your walk about the cliffs after your drive around the park. This is a very scenic park.
The view is spectacular. There is plenty of parking. Pay ten dollars to use it. And Hike up the cliff area was a little bit of a workout, but well worth the effort.
Point Sur State Historic Park
Point Sur State Historic Park is now a state park. Located 19 miles (30.6k) south of Carmel along the PCH (CA-1), this park preserves the historic Point Sur Lightstation which sits dramatically a top a gigantic 361 foot (110m) high volcanic rock overlooking the sea.
Point Sur State Historic Park, besides the famous lighthouse. It's the best place for visiting, camping, walking, cycling and so on.
Point Sur Lighthouse
Point Sur Lighthouse is a California State Historic Landmark and it’s on the National Register of Historic Places. It’s only open for guided tours on a first-come first-served basis. Make sure to bring a jacket as it can be much colder in the lighthouse than it is in town.
The tours are not offered every day so check the website. You need to wait by the gate for a tour guide to let you in, so arrive a bit early as there is a limit on the guests and no reservations.
Historic Fisherman's Wharf is the classic San Francisco experience where you will find a range of hotels, specialty restaurants, famous attractions, unique shops, breathtaking scenery and entertainment for the whole family.
You can come here to go on cruise or hire a bike to view the Golden Gate bridge. And there are street performers entertain on the wharf & the sights which are very amazing.
Golden Gate Bridge
The Golden Gate Bridge is a suspension bridge spanning the Golden Gate, the one-mile-wide (1.6 km) strait connecting San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean. It's the symbol and landmark of San Francisco. The Frommer's travel guide describes the Golden Gate Bridge as "possibly the most beautiful, certainly the most photographed, bridge in the world".
Spectacular, iconic & fantastic! You can hire a bike & ride over the bridge to fully experience it, seeing pelicans flying low level, and seeing the sea was superb!
Known as the "crookedest" street in the world, the steep hills and sharp curves of this one-way road pass by grand Victorian mansions and attract millions of tourists each year.
You can either catch the hop-on hop-off bus or the cable car to this amazing sight. Cars are driving down it quite regularly so you can take some good photos. The street was designed this way to reduce the 27% decline, which cars can’t drive down to a much more leisurely 16%. It's worth to experience.
Where to stay in San Francisco?
Outstanding & wonderful with a great location. Top spots nearby: Palace of Fine Arts, University of San Francisco, Lombard Street, University of California San Francisco, Golden Gate Bridge & more.
Address: 2901 Pacific Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94115, United States of America
Yosemite National park is managed by the National Park Service and covers an area of 748,436 acres, which is internationally recognized for its granite cliffs, waterfalls, clear streams, giant sequoia groves, lakes, mountains, meadows, glaciers, and biological diversity. It is America’s third-oldest national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The highest waterfall in the United States. June and July are the best time to see falls because the flow of the waterfall is the greatest.
If you do some hiking trail to Half Dome would be easy for you. Remember to bring some easy dry clothes for the first part as you will get completely wet while walking under the waterfall. You might also like to have enough water or a water filter to drink from streams. The whole way up to Half Dome is easily accessible and its also beautiful nature there.
Yosemite National Park is renowned for its granite cliffs and waterfalls. Half Dome and El Capitan are two of the formations made famous by photographer Ansel Adams. The valley is open year-round for camping, hiking, and climbing. In Summer, you can stay cool by swimming, rafting, fishing, tubing, and more in and around Yosemite.
Renting a Car for the Road Trip
If you need to rent a car to start your road trip, you can book at Dollar Rent A Car, Europcar, Avis, Thrifty, Hertz, Sixt Rent A Car, CarRentals.com. Don't forget to earn up to 6% cashback from Extrabux!
There is no doubt that driving up the Pacific Coast Highway is the greatest way to take a road trip from San Diego to Yosemite! We recommend that you'd better plan 6-day durations for fully enjoy this journey.
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