Being from the San Francisco Bay Area, we have traveled extensively across California and the western US. Traveling across California with kids (infants or toddlers) is almost like taking a walk across your backyard. No planning required, and one should be able to get up, take the car, and go.
North to South is a 14 hour stretch, and for folks in Northern California (San Francisco/San Jose/Sacramento regions), we have the benefit of being right in the middle when it comes to driving time. Its approximately 7 hours south to San Diego, and roughly 7 hours north to Crescent City. Both of these distances fall in the lets-just-go-here-this-weekend category. In fact, probably the most remote place for us distance-wise has been Death Valley or the White Mountains, and even those required just a little last minute packing before we stepped out of the door.
In terms of planning, there is probably very little more than what we spoke about in the Traveling Across the Americas section. All of those tips apply to California – its just that things get even more familiar and more uniform.
It’s just your backyard – what are you waiting for. Get up and go.