11 days in California Itinerary

11 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California Trip Planner

Make it your trip
San Francisco
— 3 nights
— 2 nights
Santa Rosa
— 3 nights
South Lake Tahoe
— 1 night


San Francisco

— 3 nights

City by the Bay

San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
San Francisco is known for nature, parks, and museums. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: steep yourself in history at Golden Gate Bridge, get great views at Twin Peaks, head off the coast to Alcatraz Island, and see a show at Palace of Fine Arts Theatre.

To see more things to do, where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the San Francisco road trip site.

New York City to San Francisco is an approximately 9-hour flight. You can also drive; or do a combination of bus, train, and subway. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Pacific Standard Time (PST), which is usually a -3 hour difference. Traveling from New York City in September, plan for a bit cooler nights in San Francisco, with lows around 58°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Tue) early enough to drive to Monterey.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks · Neighborhoods · Historic Sites · Museums


— 2 nights
Monterey is a city in the U.S. Kick off your visit on the 16th (Wed): cruise along 17-Mile Drive, admire the majestic nature at Point Lobos, and then snap pictures at Bixby Bridge. Keep things going the next day: stroll around Dennis the Menace Park and then get up close and personal with brilliant marine life at Monterey Bay Aquarium.

For traveler tips, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Monterey holiday maker site.

Drive from San Francisco to Monterey in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or fly. In September, daytime highs in Monterey are 72°F, while nighttime lows are 56°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Thu) to allow time to drive to Santa Rosa.

Things to do in Monterey

Parks · Zoos & Aquariums · Outdoors · Scenic Drive

Side Trips

Santa Rosa

— 3 nights

Where Everything Comes Together

Located less than an hour's drive north of San Francisco, Santa Rosa serves as a convenient hub for travelers on their way to the world-famous Napa Valley wine country.
You'll find plenty of places to visit near Santa Rosa: Calistoga (Schramsberg Vineyards, Chateau Montelena, &more), V. Sattui Winery (in St. Helena) and Robert Mondavi Winery (in Oakville). There's lots more to do: look for gifts at Oxbow Public Market, identify plant and animal life at Safari West, do a tasting at Benziger Family Winery, and indulge your senses at Napa Valley Wine Train.

To find other places to visit, photos, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Santa Rosa tour itinerary website.

You can drive from Monterey to Santa Rosa in 3 hours. Other options are to fly; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. Traveling from Monterey in September, you will find days in Santa Rosa are somewhat warmer (84°F), and nights are little chillier (51°F). Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Sun) so you can go by car to South Lake Tahoe.

Things to do in Santa Rosa

Wineries · Parks · Wildlife · Tours

Side Trips

South Lake Tahoe

— 1 night
High in the Sierra Nevada mountains on the shore of one of America’s most scenic lakes, South Lake Tahoe captures the spirit of the outdoors and serves as a hub for tourism activities surrounding the lake.
On the 21st (Mon), explore the historical opulence of Vikingsholm, contemplate the waterfront views at Emerald Bay State Park, and then get your game on at Magic Carpet Golf.

For other places to visit, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, read our South Lake Tahoe journey planner.

Getting from Santa Rosa to South Lake Tahoe by car takes about 4 hours. Other options: take a bus; or do a combination of bus and flight. Prepare for little chillier weather when traveling from Santa Rosa in September: high temperatures in South Lake Tahoe hover around 73°F and lows are around 39°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 21st (Mon) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in South Lake Tahoe

Parks · Nature · Fun & Games · Historic Sites

Side Trip

California travel guide

Specialty Museums · Wineries & Vineyards · Beaches
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.

Sonoma County travel guide

Wineries & Vineyards · Wine Tours & Tastings · State Parks
Less than an hour from San Francisco, Sonoma County bills itself as the "Number 1 Wine Destination in the U.S." for good reason. Though not as famous as the neighboring Napa Valley, Sonoma County features a rolling landscape dotted with over 250 wineries. The county ranks among the country's most agriculturally productive regions. It turns out not only some of America's finest grapes, but also hops, prunes, and apples. The county manages to cling to its leisurely way of life--which is how the local nickname "Slow-noma" got started (despite the fact that the valley attracts nearly 8 million tourists annually)--and is really more about simple enjoyment than a jam-packed sightseeing itinerary. Napa may be better known, but as the crowds of visitors continue to clog the roads there, Sonoma's appeal as a vacation destination only grows.

Lake Tahoe (California) travel guide

Ski Areas · Zipline · State Parks
Lake of the Sky
Straddling the border between California and Nevada, Lake Tahoe draws visitors from both states and beyond to its shores. With an average of 300 sunny days annually, it's no surprise that the lake is a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts. The blue-green waters beckon travelers for swimming, boating, windsurfing, or kayaking. The lake also has a number of walking trails for those who don't want to get wet. In the colder months, skiers take to the surrounding mountains. The south shore is the most developed side of the lake, with more things to do, while the west and north shores are generally more tranquil.