A Family Road Trip

A Family Road Trip on California’s Central Coast

The family road trip is an American right of passage and there is no more scenic and interesting a place than California’s Central Coast. Whether it is beachside camping or luxury family resorts this is a vacation the whole family can enjoy and cherish.
Below is a sample one-week itinerary:

Ventura Harbor Village

Ventura Harbor, where visitors can relax in a sun kissed oceanfront playground.

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Ventura Harbor Village

Ventura Harbor, where visitors can relax in a sun kissed oceanfront playground.

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Drive from Los Angeles to Ventura to the bustling Ventura Harbor and hop a ferry to the Channel Island’s National Park. Channel Islands National Park encompasses five remarkable islands and their ocean environment.

Upon returning to the Ventura Harbor Village – which is home to 35 shops, galleries, restaurants and waterfront activities – stop for lunch in a local restaurant.

Afternoon visit to either the Oxnard Children’s Museum or the Mullin Automotive Museum that houses a collection of French automobiles from the Art Deco period.

Drive to El Capitan Canyon and check into a luxury tent.
Overnight: El Capitan Canyon luxury camping

Spend the morning on Santa Barbara’s sandy beaches then take a trolley tour of Santa Barbara’s major sites and finish at the Santa Barbara Zoo, which is home to over 500 animals on 30 acres or the scenic Botanical Gardens.

Explore the Urban Wine Trail for a sampling of local wines (children are welcome), before dinner on the town or back at the hotel or campground.

Overnight: El Capitan Canyon luxury camping

Visit Santa Barbara

Experience The American Riviera. The Santa Barbara County visitor info resource.

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Photo credit: Gabriela Herman

Visit Santa Barbara

Experience The American Riviera. The Santa Barbara County visitor info resource.

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Santa Ynez Valley

Just two hours up the coast from Los Angeles, it feels like a world away with endless possibilities.

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Santa Ynez Valley

Just two hours up the coast from Los Angeles, it feels like a world away with endless possibilities.

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Drive to Solvang and walk the Solvang Heritage Walk to see all the Danish sites including the traditional Danish windmills, the Santa Ynez Mission and art museum. Sample treats from the famous Danish bakeries or chocolate shops. Lunch in one of Solvang’s many downtown restaurants.

Drive to Quick Silver miniature horse ranch and get up close to the miniature horses that are bred there.

Spend the afternoon enjoying the hotel activities or camp environs including dinner.

Overnight: Solvang, Alisal Guest Ranch or Cachuma Lake Yurt Camping

Morning hike at Figueroa Mountain to explore to explore the historic mines and pioneer homesteads that are found throughout the park.

Head to Hans Christian Andersen Park and ride the famous tunnel slide, open spaces and playgrounds.

Depending on season, watch a show at the famous Solvang Festival Theater.

Overnight: Solvang, Alisal Guest Ranch or Cachuma Lake Yurt Camping

Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau

Official Visitors Bureau promoting the Danish Village of Solvang.

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SolvangUSA.com

Solvang Conference & Visitors Bureau

Official Visitors Bureau promoting the Danish Village of Solvang.

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Visit SLO CAL

California's Natural Escape.

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Visit SLO CAL

California's Natural Escape.

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Drive to San Luis Obispo and explore the town that has often been called the “happiest town in America” including the famous farmers markets, historic missions and bubble gum alley.

Drive to Oceano Dunes, recognized by scientists, and conservationists as the most extensive coastal dunes remaining in California, take a Humvee tour of these unique eco system.

Drive to Pismo Beach and visit the Monarch Butterfly Grove before exploring downtown Pismo Beach.

Drive to Big Sur for dinner in hotel.

Overnight: Big Sur, TreeBones

Spend the Day exploring Big Sur National Park From beaches to mountains. Hike along the streams in the cool, tree-lined valleys. Climb up on the high ridges for a spectacular view of the coastline on the western slope and gaze into three million acres of wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest on the eastern slope.

What the sunset at Pfeiffer beach followed by dinner in area restaurant.

Overnight: Big Sur, TreeBones

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Visit this incredibly scenic waterfall, which flows year-round.

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Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

Visit this incredibly scenic waterfall, which flows year-round.

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Visit Santa Cruz County

Experience the quintessential California vacation in Santa Cruz County!

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Visit Santa Cruz County

Experience the quintessential California vacation in Santa Cruz County!

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Spend the morning exploring Monterey including the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which is home to 35,000 creatures representing over 550 species in nearly 200 exhibits.

Drive to Santa Cruz for lunch and a stop at Steamer Beach, one of the world’s best surfing beaches.

Drive to San Francisco for evening flight home.

California’s Central Coast consists of:

VENTURA REGION: Ventura County, Camarillo, Conejo Valley, Heritage Valley, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Simi Valley
SANTA BARBARA REGION: Santa Barbara County, Buellton, Carpinteria Valley, Lompoc Valley, Los Olivos, Santa Maria Valley, Solvang, Santa Ynez Valley
SAN LUIS OBISPO REGION: San Luis Obispo County, Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Cambria, Cayucos, Grover Beach, Harmony, Morro Bay, Nipomo, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, San Simeon
MONTEREY BAY REGION: Monterey County, Santa Cruz County, Carmel, Gilroy, Hollister, San Benito

About Central Coast Tourism Council

The Central Coast Tourism Council (CCTC) is a non-profit organization comprised of Destination Management Organizations (DMOs; Convention & Visitor Bureaus, Chambers of Commerce, etc.) throughout the California Central Coast. Comprised of tourism and hospitality professionals, the mission of CCTC is to jointly promote the entire California Central Coast as a destination. The four regions that comprise California’s Central Coast include Monterey Bay, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Ventura. The CCTC also serves as the Central Coast’s voice in Sacramento, and as a partner with Visit California’s global marketing and advertising campaigns.