Family-Friendly Five Day California Road Trip

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Advisor - Jill Albino
Curated By

Jill Albino

  • USA

  • California

  • Adventure Travel

  • Beaches

  • City Travel

  • Domestic Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Road Trip Travel

  • Amusement Parks

  • Multi-City

  • Scenic Drive

California coast
Curator’s statement

The state of California is a wonderful destination for a family road trip with many views and stops along the way in some of its major cities. This can be an express five-day trip or a longer eight-day adventure, giving more space to explore. Regardless of the duration, the vistas are spectacular, the monuments are internationally known and California's culinary scene is currently in its heyday. Take your family out for a trip on the West Coast!

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Day 1: San Diego and LegoLand

Fun Town in California

Fly into San Diego and spend the day relaxing and walking around Coronado. Looking for something more exciting? Check out LegoLand. To finish out your stay in San Diego, book a dinner at Campfire in Carlsbad for a scrumptious meal of a lifetime. Finally, walk around the downtown Gaslamp area if you still have the energy to burn.

Advisor - Jill Albino

A note from Jill

You could also do Disneyland if you prefer that over LegoLand.

Day 2: Morning in La Jolla and afternoon in Los Angeles

Coast in La Jolla, California

Take the morning to go to La Jolla for seal watching and shopping. Stop by for a quick lunch at Herringbone and perhaps even visit the San Diego Zoo if you have time before you drive out to Los Angeles. In-N-Out Burger is a must while in California for a meal on-the-go, or you can reserve dinner at Cecconi's. And don’t forget that Los Angeles is the home of Universal Studios – indulge your inner child.

Day 3: Exploring Los Angeles and Big Sur

City view of Los Angeles, California

Start the day off with breakfast at Kitchen 24 – a spot you cannot miss in Los Angeles. Then make your way to the Hollywood Sign, The Getty and/or Griffith Observatory for some local touristing and killer pictures for the ‘gram. If you chose to have dinner in Los Angeles, check out Barton G's' or Connie and Ted's. Drive to Big Sur and perhaps have dinner at Nepenthe if you skipped out on dining in LA. 

Day 4: Out and about in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Carmel by the Sea, California

The Monterey Aquarium is a lovely place to watch marine life right across from the Pacific Ocean. Don’t miss out on a chance to grab a cone of ice cream at Ghirardelli. Then, drive out to Carmel-by-the-Sea, grab lunch at La Bicyclette and hang out on Carmel Beach and Pebble Beach. 

Advisor - Jill Albino

A note from Jill

If you have the time, two other stops between Los Angeles, California and Carmel, are San Luis Obispo and Hearst Castle.

Day 5: San Francisco

City view of San Francisco, California

For your final day, drive out to San Francisco where you can start out with a double-decker bus tour to explore the downtown area. Enjoy breakfast at Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and then hang out at Pier 39. Here you can check out the Mechanical Museum, watch the seals and maybe go to Alcatraz. For those looking to bring home some souvenirs, check out the stores at the Ghirardelli Market. From there walk Lombard Street and head to dinner at Scoma'sBarrel House on the water in Sausalito, State Bird or Mister Jiu's

Advisor - Jill Albino

A note from Jill

While in San Francisco you can also choose to stop at Muir Woods or Redwoods National Park just north of San Francisco. 

Advisor - Jill Albino

Travel Advisor

Jill Albino

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