12 days in California Itinerary

12 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California trip planner

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Route & dates

12 days in California Itinerary

Start: Washington DC
Fly:  7​h
1
San Francisco
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
2
Carmel
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h
3
San Simeon
— 1 night
+2
bus + Fly + Drive:  5​h 30​min
4
Yosemite National Park
— 3 nights
bus + Drive:  5​h 30​min
5
Death Valley National Park
— 2 nights
bus + Fly:  12​h
End: Washington DC

2
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Start off your visit on the 18th (Sun): don't miss a visit to Lombard Street and then head off the coast to Alcatraz Island. Here are some ideas for day two: take in the waterfront at Fisherman's Wharf, then snap pictures at Golden Gate Bridge, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Golden Gate Park.

For reviews, where to stay, and other tourist information, refer to the San Francisco online trip planner .

Washington DC to San Francisco is an approximately 7-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or drive. You'll gain 3 hours traveling from Washington DC to San Francisco due to the time zone difference. In March, San Francisco is a bit warmer than Washington DC - with highs of 65°F and lows of 50°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 20th (Tue) early enough to go by car to Carmel.

Things to do in San Francisco

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

2
nights
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 21st (Wed): enjoy the sand and surf at Carmel City Beach/Carmel River Beach, kick back and relax at Point Lobos State Reserve, and then look for gifts at The Cheese Shop.

To find reviews, other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, use the Carmel trip planner .

You can drive from San Francisco to Carmel in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 63°F in March, and nighttime lows around 47°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Carmel

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

1
night
San Simeon

San Simeon ©
When you arriveĀ 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 22nd (Thu), visit a coastal fixture at Piedras Blancas Light Station and then identify plant and animal life at Elephant Seal Rookery.

For photos, more things to do, maps, and tourist information, you can read our San Simeon trip itinerary planner .

Getting from Carmel to San Simeon by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and car. Expect a bit cooler weather when traveling from Carmel in March: highs in San Simeon hover around 57°F, while lows dip to 49°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Fri) to allow time to drive to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in San Simeon

Wildlife Parks Historic Sites

Side Trip

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

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.
Kick off your visit on the 23rd (Fri): tour the pleasant surroundings at May Lake Trailhead. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in the dramatic natural features at El Capitan, get great views at Tunnel View, and then explore the striking landscape at Glacier Point.

Planning Yosemite National Park trip won't be overwheling when you use's Insprock itinerary maker.

You can drive from San Simeon to Yosemite National Park in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of bus, ferry, and taxi. Traveling from San Simeon in March, expect much colder with lows of 23°F in Yosemite National Park. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 26th (Mon) early enough to take a bus to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

Mammoth Lakes
Highlights from your plan
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Yosemite, Tunnel View ©
Yosemite, Tunnel View
El Capitan ©
El Capitan

2
nights
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 26th (Mon): explore the stunning scenery at Mosaic Canyon. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the activities along Badwater, take a memorable drive along Artists Dr, and then make a trip to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.

To find other places to visit, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, refer to the Death Valley National Park journey planner .

You can take a bus from Yosemite National Park to Death Valley National Park in 5.5 hours. Plan for somewhat warmer temperatures traveling from Yosemite National Park in March, with highs in Death Valley National Park at 73°F and lows at 43°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Wed) so you can travel back home.

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
Badwater Basin ©
Badwater Basin

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