18 days in California Itinerary

18 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock United States Trip Planner

©
You are viewing a shared plan.  Customize plan

Route & dates

18 days in California Itinerary

Brussels
Fly + bus:  22​h 15​min
Death Valley National Park
— 3 nights
bus:  9​h 30​min
Yosemite National Park
— 3 nights
Drive:  5​h 15​min
Carmel
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
Palm Springs
— 3 nights
Fly:  22​h 15​min
Brussels

2
days
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park
Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
On the 11th (Sun), don't miss a visit to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, then take in the dramatic natural features at Zabriskie Point, and then take some stellar pictures from Dante's View. On the 12th (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: admire all the interesting features of Artists Dr, contemplate the waterfront views at Badwater, and then take an in-depth tour of The Ranch at Furnace Creek.

To find maps, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Death Valley National Park trip planner.

Brussels, Belgium to Death Valley National Park is an approximately 22.5-hour combination of flight and bus. The time zone difference moving from Central European Time to Pacific Standard Time is minus 9 hours. Expect warmer weather when traveling from Brussels in February: highs in Death Valley National Park hover around 22°C, while lows dip to 1°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 13th (Tue) early enough to travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Zabriskie Point
Zabriskie Point
Dante's View ©
Dante's View
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes ©
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

2
days
Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park ©
Massive granite mountains, towering waterfalls, groves of Giant Sequoia trees, and wilderness as far as the eye can see distinguish the landscape of Yosemite National Park.
Kick off your visit on the 14th (Wed): explore the striking landscape at Glacier Point, then get great views at Tunnel View, and then make a trip to Valley View. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: don't miss a visit to Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, hike along May Lake Trailhead, and then take in the dramatic natural features at El Capitan.

For traveler tips, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, use the Yosemite National Park travel itinerary creator.

You can take a bus from Death Valley National Park to Yosemite National Park in 9.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car. Plan for little chillier temperatures traveling from Death Valley National Park in February, with highs in Yosemite National Park at 10°C and lows at -8°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Fri) so you can drive to Carmel.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Nature Trails
Highlights from your plan
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias ©
Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias
May Lake Trailhead ©
May Lake Trailhead

3
days
Carmel

Carmel ©
Carmel-by-the-Sea, often simply referred to as Carmel, is a city in Monterey County, California, United States, founded in 1902 and incorporated on October 31, 1916. Explore hidden gems such as Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Bixby Bridge. Venture out of the city with trips to Big Sur (Pfeiffer State Beach & McWay Falls). There's lots more to do: stop by The Cheese Shop, explore the activities along Monterey Bay, admire all the interesting features of Seventeen Mile Drive, and kick back and relax at Carmel City Beach/Carmel River Beach.

To see other places to visit, where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, go to the Carmel travel itinerary planner.

You can drive from Yosemite National Park to Carmel in 5.5 hours. Another option is to do a combination of taxi and bus. When traveling from Yosemite National Park in February, plan for a bit warmer days in Carmel, with highs around 20°C, while nights are much hotter with lows around 8°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Mon) so you can drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Carmel

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Big Sur, Monterey
Highlights from your plan
Point Lobos State Reserve ©
Point Lobos State Reserve
The Cheese Shop
The Cheese Shop
Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach

1
day
San Simeon

San Simeon ©
When you arrive in tiny San Simeon, which lies halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, you can see why William Randolph Hearst chose this coastal locale for his famous hilltop castle.
On the 20th (Tue), stroll through Moonstone Beach, learn about winemaking at Hearst Ranch Winery Tasting Room, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery.

For photos, where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, read our San Simeon travel planner.

Drive from Carmel to San Simeon in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Traveling from Carmel in February, expect nights in San Simeon to be about the same, around 11°C, while days are a bit cooler, around 16°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Wildlife Beaches

Side Trip

Moonstone Beach
Highlights from your plan
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach
Hearst Ranch Winery Tasting Room ©
Hearst Ranch Winery Tasting Room

2
days
Santa Barbara

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara is a solid vacation destination with its wide beaches, renowned wineries, and some of California's finest shopping and dining options.
On the 21st (Wed), awaken your taste buds at some of the top wineries in the area. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: steep yourself in history at Old Mission Santa Barbara, do a tasting at Jaffurs Wine Cellars, then take in panoramic vistas at Santa Barbara County Courthouse, and finally get a taste of the local shopping with State Street.

To find reviews, ratings, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Santa Barbara holiday planner.

Traveling by car from San Simeon to Santa Barbara takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and train; or take a bus. Traveling from San Simeon in February, expect nights in Santa Barbara to be slightly colder, around 7°C, while days are a bit warmer, around 20°C. On the 23rd (Fri), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Palm Springs.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Tours Outdoors Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Wine Tours & Tastings
Jaffurs Wine Cellars ©
Jaffurs Wine Cellars
Santa Barbara County Courthouse ©
Santa Barbara County Courthouse

3
days
Palm Springs

Palm Springs ©
Palm Springs is a desert resort city in Riverside County, California, within the Coachella Valley. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Tahquitz Canyon and The City of Rancho Mirage Public Library. Change things up with these side-trips from Palm Springs: Joshua Tree National Park (in Twentynine Palms) and Living Desert Zoo & Gardens (in Palm Desert). Next up on the itinerary: explore the stunning scenery at Indian Canyons, admire the masterpieces at Palm Springs Art Museum, and take an in-depth tour of Palm Springs Air Museum.

To see more things to do, where to stay, and other tourist information, read Palm Springs itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Santa Barbara to Palm Springs takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of train and bus. Prepare for somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Santa Barbara in February: high temperatures in Palm Springs hover around 26°C and lows are around 11°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 26th (Mon) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Palm Springs

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Joshua Tree National Park, The City of Rancho Mirage Public Library, Living Desert Zoo & Gardens
Highlights from your plan
Tahquitz Canyon ©
Tahquitz Canyon
Palm Springs Air Museum ©
Palm Springs Air Museum

Similar Plans

21 days in California BY A USER FROM SWEDEN June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: June, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 21 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 19 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED ARAB EMIRATES November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums, fast-paced, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, museums ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Fast-paced 19 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: January, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 21 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, culture, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 22 days in United States BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: September, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 22 days in California BY A USER FROM IRELAND July, teens, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, culture, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, museums, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 22 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM July, teens, kids, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, shopping, popular PREFERENCES: July, teens, kids, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, shopping ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 20 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, wildlife, popular & hidden gems PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular & hidden gems PACE: Medium 19 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED KINGDOM June, teens, kids, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: June, teens, kids, outdoors, beaches, historic sites, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium 22 days in California BY A USER FROM SAUDI ARABIA November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife, hidden gems PREFERENCES: November, culture, outdoors, relaxing, beaches, historic sites, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Hidden gems PACE: Medium 49 days in California BY A USER FROM UNITED STATES December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife, popular PREFERENCES: December, culture, outdoors, relaxing, romantic, beaches, historic sites, museums, shopping, wildlife ATTRACTION STYLE: Popular PACE: Medium
View more plans