11 days in California Itinerary

11 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

11 days in California Itinerary

Start: San Diego
Fly + bus:  4​h
1
Carmel
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
2
San Francisco
— 2 nights
Fly:  5​h 15​min
3
Mount Shasta
— 1 night
Drive:  6​h 15​min
4
Yosemite National Park
— 2 nights
bus:  2​h
5
Mammoth Lakes
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 15​min
6
Death Valley National Park
— 1 night
Drive:  5​h 30​min
End: San Diego

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. Start off your visit on the 25th (Tue): immerse yourself in nature at Point Lobos and then take in the exciting artwork at Venture Gallery. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take a memorable drive along Seventeen Mile Drive, kick back and relax at Carmel River State Beach, then view the masterpieces at Carmel Art Association, and finally admire the masterpieces at Casa Serrano, Historic Adobe.

For where to stay, maps, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Carmel trip builder website .

San Diego to Carmel is an approximately 4-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also do a combination of flight, shuttle, and bus; or drive. Expect slightly colder temperatures when traveling from San Diego in December; daily highs in Carmel reach 62°F and lows reach 43°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Wed) early enough to drive to San Francisco.

Things to do in Carmel

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trip

Monterey
Highlights from your plan
Carmel River State Beach ©
Carmel River State Beach
Carmel Art Association ©
Carmel Art Association

2
nights
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 27th (Thu): head off the coast to Alcatraz Island, then examine the collection at Exploratorium, and then examine the collection at Cable Car Museum. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 28th (Fri): delve into the lush surroundings at Muir Woods National Monument, then snap pictures at Golden Gate Bridge, and then take a leisurely stroll along Fisherman's Wharf.

To see where to stay, maps, reviews, and tourist information, go to the San Francisco journey builder .

Traveling by car from Carmel to San Francisco takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or take a bus. December in San Francisco sees daily highs of 59°F and lows of 45°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Fri) early enough to travel to Mount Shasta.

Things to do in San Francisco

Nature Parks Museums

Side Trip

Muir Woods National Monument
Highlights from your plan
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Muir Woods National Monument ©
Muir Woods National Monument
Exploratorium ©
Exploratorium

1
night
Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta ©
Mount Shasta is a city in Siskiyou County, California, at about 3600ft above sea level on the flanks of Mount Shasta, a prominent northern California landmark. On the 29th (Sat), ski along the peaceful trails at Mt. Shasta Nordic Center and then contemplate the geological forces at Shasta-Trinity National Forest. Here are some ideas for day two: hit the slopes at Mt Shasta Ski Park and then take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Castle Lake.

For other places to visit, maps, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Mount Shasta trip planner .

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from San Francisco to Mount Shasta. In December, Mount Shasta is little chillier than San Francisco - with highs of 45°F and lows of 28°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Sun) to allow enough time to travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Mount Shasta

Outdoors Parks Winter Sports
Highlights from your plan
Mt Shasta Ski Park ©
Mt Shasta Ski Park
Castle Lake ©
Castle Lake

2
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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Bodie State Historic Park and Glacier Point. Get in touch with nature at Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area and Swinging Bridge Picnic Area Yosemite National Park CA. And it doesn't end there: admire the sheer force of Yosemite Falls, stroll through Curry Village Ice Rink, and take in the awesome beauty at Cathedral Beach Picnic Area.

To see ratings, photos, more things to do, and more tourist information, refer to the Yosemite National Park trip itinerary maker site .

Traveling by car from Mount Shasta to Yosemite National Park takes 7 hours. Alternatively, you can fly. Expect a bit cooler evenings in Yosemite National Park when traveling from Mount Shasta in December, with lows around 14°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Wed) so you can travel to Mammoth Lakes.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trip

Bodie State Historic Park
Highlights from your plan
Bodie State Historic Park ©
Bodie State Historic Park
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Yosemite Falls ©
Yosemite Falls

1
night
Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes ©
Mammoth Lakes is a town in Mono County, California, the county's only incorporated community. Kick off your visit on the 3rd (Thu): contemplate the waterfront views at Wild Willy's Hot Springs, then look for gifts at Footloose Sports in Mammoth Lakes, then fly down the slopes at Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center, and finally take an in-depth tour of Mammoth Museum at the Hayden Cabin.

To see more things to do, ratings, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Mammoth Lakes trip itinerary site .

Traveling by bus from Yosemite National Park to Mammoth Lakes takes 2 hours. January in Mammoth Lakes sees daily highs of 44°F and lows of 13°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in Mammoth Lakes

Outdoors Parks Winter Sports
Highlights from your plan
Footloose Sports in Mammoth Lakes ©
Footloose Sports in Mammoth Lakes

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 4th (Fri): explore the activities along Badwater Basin, contemplate the long history of Eureka Mine, and then explore the striking landscape at Zabriskie Point.

To see photos, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Death Valley National Park road trip planner.

Drive from Mammoth Lakes to Death Valley National Park in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Mammoth Lakes in January: highs in Death Valley National Park hover around 58°F, while lows dip to 35°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive back home.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Nature Parks Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Badwater Basin ©
Badwater Basin
Zabriskie Point ©
Zabriskie Point

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