10 days in California Itinerary

10 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California planner
Make it your trip
Drive
1
Palm Springs
— 1 night
Drive
2
Death Valley National Park
— 1 night
Drive
3
Yosemite National Park
— 1 night
Drive
4
Monterey
— 2 nights
Drive
5
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
Drive

S M T W T F S
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25

Palm Springs — 1 night

Kick off your visit on the 15th (Wed): contemplate the long history of Indian Canyons and then take an in-depth tour of Palm Springs Air Museum. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 16th (Thu): admire the natural beauty at Sunnylands Center & Gardens, admire nature's extreme beauty at Coachella Valley Preserve, and then admire the masterpieces at Palm Springs Art Museum.

To see reviews, traveler tips, where to stay, and more tourist information, use the Palm Springs trip planning site.

Los Angeles to Palm Springs is an approximately 2-hour car ride. You can also fly; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 70°F in December, and nighttime lows around 48°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Thu) early enough to drive to Death Valley National Park.
Parks · Museums · Nature · Historic Sites
Side Trip

Death Valley National Park — 1 night

Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
On the 17th (Fri), explore the stunning scenery at Twenty Mule Team Canyon, take a memorable drive along Artists Dr, contemplate the waterfront views at Badwater Basin, then explore the striking landscape at Devil's Golf Course, then take in the dramatic natural features at Zabriskie Point, and finally explore the stunning scenery at Golden Canyon.

To see more things to do, reviews, and more tourist information, read our Death Valley National Park trip planning site.

Traveling by car from Palm Springs to Death Valley National Park takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus, train, and car; or take a bus. Expect a bit cooler temperatures when traveling from Palm Springs in December; daily highs in Death Valley National Park reach 56°F and lows reach 33°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Fri) to allow time to travel to Yosemite National Park.
Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Scenic Drive

Yosemite National Park — 1 night

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.
On the 18th (Sat), explore the striking landscape of Bridalveil Fall, get great views at Yosemite, Tunnel View, admire the sheer force of Yosemite Falls, then admire the sheer force of Vernal Fall, then stroll through Nature Center at Happy Isles, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at McGurk Meadow.

For other places to visit, more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, read our Yosemite National Park online day trip planner.

Getting from Death Valley National Park to Yosemite National Park by car takes about 4.5 hours. Traveling from Death Valley National Park in December, things will get slightly colder in Yosemite National Park: highs are around 46°F and lows about 14°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 18th (Sat) early enough to travel to Monterey.
Parks · Nature · Wildlife

Monterey — 2 nights

Monterey is a city in the U.S. state of California, on the southern edge of Monterey Bay on California's Central Coast. On the 19th (Sun), tour the pleasant surroundings at Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail and then see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour. On the 20th (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: tour the pleasant surroundings at Carmel River State Beach and then immerse yourself in nature at Point Lobos.

To find more things to do, other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, read our Monterey travel route planner.

Traveling by car from Yosemite National Park to Monterey takes 5 hours. While traveling from Yosemite National Park, expect a bit warmer days and much warmer nights in Monterey, ranging from highs of 62°F to lows of 43°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Mon) to allow time to drive to San Simeon.
Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Wildlife
Side Trips

San Simeon — 2 nights

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 21st (Tue), do a tasting at Hearst Ranch Winery and then explore the historical opulence of Hearst Castle. On your second day here, stop by Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop and then kick back and relax at Piedras Blancas.

To see reviews, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our San Simeon sightseeing planner.

Traveling by car from Monterey to San Simeon takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus, train, and taxi; or do a combination of bus and car. Plan for slightly colder nights when traveling from Monterey in December since evenings lows in San Simeon dip to 33°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Wed) early enough to drive to Santa Barbara.
Parks · Wildlife · Wineries · Historic Sites

Santa Barbara — 2 nights

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 23rd (Thu), contemplate the long history of Old Mission Santa Barbara and then make a trip to Santa Barbara County Courthouse. On the 24th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: awaken your taste buds at some of the top wineries in the area.

For maps, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our Santa Barbara trip planning website.

You can drive from San Simeon to Santa Barbara in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of bus and train. Expect somewhat warmer evenings in Santa Barbara when traveling from San Simeon in December, with lows around 41°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Fri) so you can go by car back home.
Wineries · Tours · Historic Sites

California travel guide

4.1
Specialty Museums · Wineries & Vineyards · Theme Parks
The Golden State
The country's most populous state, California includes landscapes that range from the forested northern coast to harsh southern deserts. Sandwiched right in the middle of the state is a fertile valley, home to farms, vineyards, and orchards. California's cities offer diverse attractions, from amusement parks and upscale shops to award-winning restaurants and innovative art galleries. Outside the state's big urban centers, places to visit include some of the nation's most rugged national parks, ancient forests, towering mountain peaks, and ski resorts. More than just a surfing destination famous for its beaches and winding coastal roads, California also boasts one of the world's largest economies, bolstered by the booming tech industries.