We, my husband, myself and our 3 yr old daughter, are departing on a roadtrip of the western U.S. from Austin, Tx in a couple weeks and I could use some advice in how to traverse California from south to north. We'll be traveling west through northern New Mexico and Arizona and will probably head for California from the Sedona/Prescott area.
Must do's, to visit family and friends, include Santa Barbara, Monterey, S.F./Marin County. In addition we want to do Death Valley NP, Yosemite, Big Sur, Highway 1 up the coast at least part of the way, Hearst Castle sounds fun.
We have a couple weeks at least but can add more time if needed (no jobs at the moment) and we are pulling a 16 ft trailer fully self contained.
So what else should we not miss in California and what is your recommendation on the best way to traverse the state east to west and south to north to hit all the highlights given where we need to be? It's kind of got me befuddled where to hug the coast and then pull away to head east and back. Will probably skip L.A. and all it has to offer so Santa Barbara is, so far, the southernmost point I have on the list. Would love suggestions of scenic drives that will make the driving time more enjoyable and interesting and things that would be appropriate for a family with a small child. Would love to camp on the seashore and our focus is on enjoying the outdoors and local flavors so can skip zoos and the like. All suggestions are appreciated.