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Malibu to Santa Cruz drive

driving   /   2 days   /   no pets   /   no RV

Malibu to Santa Cruz road trip planner

Here's a sample itinerary for a drive from Malibu to Santa Cruz. If you're planning a road trip to Santa Cruz, you can research locations to stop along the way. Make sure you check road conditions to double check the weather. Traveling with a dog or cat? Find pet-friendly stops. Camping along the way? Search for RV campgrounds. Find the best hotels, restaurants, and attractions based on the most talked about places recommended by Trippy members.

customize this trip
 Day 1

11:00 am  start in Malibu
drive for about 47 minutes

11:47 am  Ventura
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 12:47 pm
drive for about 1 hour

1:52 pm  Solvang
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 2:52 pm
drive for about 1 hour

4:01 pm  San Luis Obispo
stay overnight at The Madonna Inn
leave the next day around 10:00 am

day 1 driving ≈ 3 hours
find more stops

 Day 2

10:00 am  leave from The Madonna Inn
drive for about 1.5 hours

11:17 am  King City (California)
stay for about 1 hour
and leave at 12:17 pm
drive for about 1 hour

1:30 pm  Monterey
stay for about 4 hours
and leave at 5:30 pm
drive for about 49 minutes

6:19 pm  arrive in Santa Cruz
eat at Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria

day 2 driving ≈ 3.5 hours
find more stops

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Where should I stop along the way?

Ventura  (16 answers)
    Downtown Ventura  (2 mentions)
    C Street  (2 mentions)
    questions about Ventura:
        What to see, do & eat in Ventura, CA
        Romantic weekend events/entertainment

Solvang  (46 answers)
    Firestone Vineyard  (3 mentions)
    Fess Parker Winery  (3 mentions)
    R Country Market  (2 mentions)
    Blackjack Ranch  (2 mentions)
    Saarloos And Sons Tasting Room  (2 mentions)
    restaurants around Solvang:
        Los Olivos Wine Merchant Cafe
        Olsen's Danish Village Bakery & Coffee Shop
        Industrial Eats
        Panino
        Petros
    questions about Solvang:
        What to do in Solvang... good places to stay, eat, etc.

San Luis Obispo  (122 answers)
    Bishop Peak  (4 mentions)
    San Luis Obispo Mission  (3 mentions)
    California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo  (3 mentions)
    Edna Valley  (2 mentions)
    F. McLintocks Saloon and Dining House  (2 mentions)
    restaurants around San Luis Obispo:
        Firestone Grill
        Novo Restaurant & Lounge
        Bello Mundo
        Splash Cafe
        Avila Valley Barn
    hotels around San Luis Obispo:
        The Madonna Inn
        Madonna Inn Resort & Spa
        Sycamore Mineral Springs Resort
        Dolphin Bay Resort & Spa
        Seacrest Beach Resort
    questions about San Luis Obispo:
        Lodging
        Exploring SLO in March to scout moving there - what should I check out?
        What is your favorite restaurant in San Luis Obispo?
        Where to stay outside of San Luis Obispo for Cal Poly graduation

King City (California)  (2 answers)

Monterey  (167 answers)
    Monterey Bay Aquarium  (41 mentions)
    Pebble Beach  (21 mentions)
    Point Lobos  (9 mentions)
    Point Lobos State Reserve  (8 mentions)
    17-Mile Drive  (6 mentions)
    restaurants around Monterey:
        Passionfish
        Katy's Place
        Epsilon Fine Greek Restaurant
        Flaherty's Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar
        Sunset Lounge
    questions about Monterey:
        Restaurant recommendations for a large group dinner?
        What to do for a family outing in Monterey?
        Things to do with the kiddos besides the aquarium
        hotels in Monterey, CA


Where's the best place to eat in Santa Cruz?

Need some recommendations on somewhere to get food?

Trippy members suggest Gayle's Bakery & Rosticceria, which was mentioned 3 times.

Here are some more restaurants people talk about:

Want to research more popular restaurants in Santa Cruz? Click the blue button below.




What are some things to do in Santa Cruz?

This section could be endless, so rather than trying to suggest every local activity or attraction, we'll leave it open-ended.

These are some of the places people talk about on Trippy:

The Mystery Spot  (4 mentions)
Santa Cruz Beach  (4 mentions)
Seabright State Beach  (3 mentions)

Of course, Trippy is the perfect place to ask questions because there's an entire community of travelers talking to each other and sharing tips and advice. Trippy is where you can get answers personalized for your tastes, budgets, trip dates & more!

For example, here are some questions people have asked about Santa Cruz. Click on any question to see answers from the community!

profile  Drew from Angelika Film Center & Cafe asked:
Activities during reunion in santa cruz  (4 answers)

profile  Allysia from Boston asked:
What are some must places to go to in Santa Cruz, CA  (2 answers)

profile  Paul from Redmond (Washington) asked:
Are there any good restaurants in Santa Cruz?  (2 answers)

profile  Lily from asked:
Names of beaches that aren't so crowded  (1 answer)

profile  Eddie from Bronx asked:
Best Things To Do In Santa Cruz?  (1 answer)

Click the button below to explore more questions and answers related to Santa Cruz.




Do I really have to go back home?

Yes, even this step is optional, because if you're on vacation who wants the trip to end? It's okay, you can start planning your next trip!

Want to plan the trip back? Get the reverse directions for a Santa Cruz to Malibu drive, or go to the main page to plan a new road trip.

You can also compare the travel time if you're flying or driving by calculating the distance from Malibu to Santa Cruz. Or get a full Malibu to Santa Cruz flight plan.

Don't forget about exploring your own hometown with a staycation. You can also find some cool day trips or get away for a weekend. Maybe try typing in a faraway location like London, Hong Kong, or Sydney, and get inspired for your dream trip around the world.

And if you know Malibu well, please help your fellow travelers and answer their questions about Malibu!





At a Glance
without making any stops
total driving distance is 324 miles
driving time of 5 hours, 39 minutes
66 Malibu travel answers
16 Ventura travel answers
46 Solvang travel answers
122 San Luis Obispo travel answers
2 King City (California) travel answers
167 Monterey travel answers
85 Santa Cruz travel answers





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