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I’m so excited by the 10 days I’ve spent in California! A little short for a state with so many things to see and so many things to do, but I discovered as much as I could! I am the kind of person who is willing to wake up early and stay up late and maximize my time to see as many places as I can. So here is the break down of my itinerary for my 10 days in the Golden State. As you’ll see, it’s pretty much the classical path, but it’s a good start for a first-timer like me.
Day 1 – Montreal to San Francisco
Well… I need to get there first… I flew with US Airways. It shouldn’t be too difficult for you to find a direct flight to San Francisco.
My favorite search engine for flights is Skyscanner. You should always do a test and check the price on this site before buying from anywhere else.
Day 2 – San Francisco
I started with the most touristic path and walked near the Golden Gate, Lombard Street and the Seven Painted Ladies. We entended to visit San Francisco by foot as I think it’s the best way to feel the vibe of a town. We spent the days taking pictures of colorful houses in various neighborhoods.
By walking A LOT, here’s what I managed to visit in one day:
- The Seven Painted Ladies – The famous house on Steiner Street
- The Golden Gate Park – Which is not where the Golden Gate is
- The Presidio – A beautiful park near the bridge
- The Golden Gate Bridge
- Cow Hollow – A trendy neighbourhood with lots of Cafés
- Lombard Street – The crookedest street in the World in the Russian Hill neighbourhood
Where to sleep in San Francisco?
The city is filled up with rooms to rent on Airbnb. And you’ll save A LOT of money by renting an Airbnb instead of a hotel room, trust me! Sign up to Airbnb with this link and get a credit towards your first stay!
Day 3 – San Francisco : Alcatraz and Fisherman’s Wharf
I really wanted to visit Alcatraz so I booked my ticket well in advance. Don’t forget to do the same if you want a chance to see the famous prison.
And since we were at the port, we wandered around Pier 39, where we observed sea lions.
If you plan on visiting Alcatraz and other popular attractions in San Francisco, definitely take a look at CityPASS. It gives you access to the major attractions and, since it’s a bundle, you can save around 40%.
Curious about Alcatraz? Take a look: Photo Essay: Alcatraz Prison
Day 4 – Napa Valley and Berkeley
Let’s drink all the wine!!!!
Obviously, you don’t want to be driving while you visit all the wineries. The best is to join a tour so you can enjoy everything that Napa has to offer. A cool tour combine a visit to Muir Woods (hello giant sequoia tree!) and 3 wine tasting stops.
In Napa Valley, Airbnb is as expensive as hotel rooms, so you might prefer to have the comfort of a hotel room. I always compare the price of hotel rooms on all sites before choosing. Best way to make sure to save money.
Do you know Hotels Combined? That website compare the prices of the hotels on all the most popular platform such as Booking.com, Hotels.com and Expedia… so you don’t have to do all the work.
Day 5 – Yosemite National Park
A stop in Yosemite National Park was a must during our road trip in California. It’s a detour from the Pacific Highway though, so you need to love driving.
One mistake we did was not to plan a night in the park. That would have been the best way to enjoy the nature and to get some rest after walking in the sun.
There are hotels in the park, but they are expensive. I recently discover a website where you can rent an RV directly from the owner. Think of it as an Airbnb for RV. I think you should definitely consider that option to visit Yosemite and to save money.
Everything didn’t go as planned: Why We Had a Terrible Day at Yosemite
Day 6 – Monterey
Monterey Aquarium is one of the best aquarium I’ve visited! It’s both crowded and peaceful, which rarely go together.
Make sure to plan at least 2 hours to visit the aquarium.
Near Monterey, we rented an old school bus transformed into a room. That was pretty cool! We found it on Airbnb.
Learn more about Monterey Aquarium: Monterey Aquarium: Please Don’t Flash the Octopus
Day 7 – Santa Barbara
When I hear this name, I just think of the soap opera my grandmother watched everyday. I need to reprogram my brain and create new associations.
I discovered what this town is really about: beaches. Of course, there are plenty of things to do in Santa Barbara if you’re not a beach person.
In the city, it’s a room in an old container that we found on Airbnb. We really had fun with our type of accommodations during that trip! Ahah!
Take a look at my Beginner’s Guide to Airbnb.
Day 8 – Los Angeles
Los Angeles has a lot of haters, and I have no idea what to think.
It was the last destination of our road trip, and I won’t pretend I discovered this huge city in only two days. It’s massive and transit between touristic spots can be very long.
I focused my attention on Venice Beach and Hollywood.
I found the most beautiful hostel ever, take a look : Freehand Los Angeles, Los Angeles. This is the kind of design I LOOOOVE.
My post about LA: Los Angeles is Disney World on Crack
Day 9 – Los Angeles
On that day, we walked on Hollywood Boulevard all along the Walk of Fame.
It would be a lie to say that I knew everybody who has a star there… but I was certainly very happy to see the star of my all-time favorite singer Ella Fitzgerald.
Day 10 – Los Angeles to Montreal
Back home with American Airlines…. until next time, California
Have you been to California? Where are your favorite places? Any questions about the itinerary? Ask your questions in comments below.
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Article in partnership with RVshare.