11 days in California Itinerary

11 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

11 days in California Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
1
San Francisco
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
2
Carmel
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h
3
San Simeon
— 1 night
Drive:  6​h 15​min
4
Death Valley National Park
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h 30​min
5
Anaheim
— 2 nights
+3
Bus + Foot + Fly + Drive:  5​h
6
Yosemite National Park
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h
End: San Francisco

1
night
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Kick off your visit on the 26th (Wed): contemplate the long history of SS Jeremiah O'Brien, go for a walk through Fisherman's Wharf, then step off the mainland to explore Alcatraz Island, and finally take in the views from Golden Gate Bridge. On the 27th (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: get curious at Exploratorium and then make a trip to Golden Gate Park.

To see other places to visit, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the San Francisco trip planner .

The Route module shows you all the different ways you can get to San Francisco. December in San Francisco sees daily highs of 59°F and lows of 45°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Thu) so you can drive to Carmel.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Museums Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge
Exploratorium ©
Exploratorium
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island

1
night
Carmel

Carmel ©
Carmel-by-the-Sea, often simply called Carmel, is a city in Monterey County, California, United States, founded in 1902 and incorporated on October 31, 1916. Kick off your visit on the 28th (Fri): immerse yourself in nature at Point Lobos, then kick back and relax at Carmel River State Beach, and then view the masterpieces at Steven Whyte's Sculpture Studio and Gallery.

To see where to stay, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, read our Carmel journey planner.

Traveling by car from San Francisco to Carmel takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or take a bus. December in Carmel sees daily highs of 62°F and lows of 43°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Fri) early enough to drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Carmel

Beaches Outdoors Parks
Highlights from your plan
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
Carmel River State Beach ©
Carmel River State Beach

1
night
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 29th (Sat), explore the historical opulence of Hearst Castle, then look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery, and then enjoy the sea views from Piedras Blancas Light Station.

To see ratings, photos, and tourist information, read our San Simeon trip planner .

Traveling by car from Carmel to San Simeon takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car. Plan for little chillier nights when traveling from Carmel in December since evenings lows in San Simeon dip to 33°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in San Simeon

Historic Sites Wildlife Parks

Side Trip

Piedras Blancas Light Station
Highlights from your plan
Hearst Castle ©
Hearst Castle
Friends of the Elephant Seal ©
Friends of the Elephant Seal
Piedras Blancas Light Station ©
Piedras Blancas Light Station

1
night
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park ©
Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Kick off your visit on the 30th (Sun): explore the striking landscape at Zabriskie Point, then take some stellar pictures from Dante's View, and then don't miss a visit to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Here are some ideas for day two: contemplate the waterfront views at Badwater Basin, admire all the interesting features of Artists Dr, and then discover the riches below the earth's surface at Eureka Mine.

For maps, other places to visit, traveler tips, and more tourist information, refer to the Death Valley National Park planner .

You can drive from San Simeon to Death Valley National Park in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus, train, and car; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Traveling from San Simeon in December, expect nights in Death Valley National Park to be about the same, around 33°F, while days are slightly colder, around 56°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 31st (Mon) early enough to go by car to Anaheim.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Parks Nature Scenic Drive
Highlights from your plan
Badwater Basin ©
Badwater Basin
Dante's View ©
Dante's View
Zabriskie Point ©
Zabriskie Point

2
nights
Anaheim

Anaheim ©
Anaheim's major attractions are its world-famous Disney entertainment complex, sports teams, and convention center.
Kick off your visit on the 1st (Tue): make an unforgettable trip to Disneyland Park. On the 2nd (Wed), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: discover the magic at Disney California Adventure Park.

To see reviews, photos, and tourist information, use the Anaheim online sightseeing planner .

Traveling by car from Death Valley National Park to Anaheim takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, bus, and flight; or do a combination of car, bus, and train. Traveling from Death Valley National Park in December, expect Anaheim to be somewhat warmer, temps between 71°F and 47°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Wed) to allow time to travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Anaheim

Theme Parks
Highlights from your plan
Disneyland Park ©
Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure Park ©
Disney California Adventure Park

3
nights
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.
Family-friendly places like Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area and June Mountain will thrill your kids. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Glacier Point and Mono Lake County Park. There's still lots to do: take some stellar pictures from Tunnel View, take in the dramatic scenery at Yosemite Falls, and snap pictures at Pohono Bridge.

For other places to visit, ratings, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Yosemite National Park day trip app .

You can do a combination of bus, flight, and car from Anaheim to Yosemite National Park in 5 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of bus, flight, and taxi. Prepare for much colder weather when traveling from Anaheim in January: high temperatures in Yosemite National Park hover around 44°F and lows are around 13°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Sat) to allow time to drive back home.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Winter Sports Outdoors

Side Trips

June Mountain, Mono Lake County Park
Highlights from your plan
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Badger Pass Ski Area ©
Badger Pass Ski Area
June Mountain ©
June Mountain

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