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San Diego to San Francisco - One week road trip in December

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All - Looking for some advice on planning a roadtrip itinerary for Southern California in December.

We are flying in from NYC to San Diego on December 15th ...arriving late night.
And flying back from San Francisco on December 24th (red eye flight to NYC).

We plan to rent a car and make our way from San Diego to San Francisco. I was thinking of making overnight stops at LA, Santa Barbara and Salinas.

We will have an 18 month old with us ...so we plan to do low key / outdoorsy stuff. She is a little young for theme parks and museums.

I would like your advice on:
1) Are these the right cities for an overnight stop?
2) How long should we stay in each city
3) Is this too much crammed into a short time with a toddler (she is a great kid and has travelled more than the average kid so far with us ..but still!)

Any advice would be much appreciated!

Thanks in advance for your help.

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