12 days in California Itinerary

12 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California tour itinerary builder

Make it your trip
Drive
1
Eureka
Drive
2
Bodega Bay
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Monterey
— 1 night
Drive
4
Big Sur
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Death Valley National Park
— 3 nights
Drive

S M T W T F S
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22

Eureka

Eureka is the principal city and county seat of Humboldt County in the Redwood Empire region of California. For where to stay, reviews, maps, and tourist information, read Eureka online visit planner.

Arcata to Eureka is an approximately half hour car ride. You can also take a bus. May in Eureka sees daily highs of 60°F and lows of 49°F at night. On the 10th (Mon), you're off to Bodega Bay.

Things to do in Eureka

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Museums

Bodega Bay

— 2 nights
Bodega Bay is a town and census-designated place (CDP) in Sonoma County, California, United States. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Bodega Bay: Marin French Cheese Company (in Petaluma) and Iron Horse Vineyards (in Sebastopol). The adventure continues: learn about winemaking at Dutton Goldfield Winery, don't miss a visit to James E Potter Elementary School, enjoy the sand and surf at Doran Beach, and take in the architecture and atmosphere at St. Teresa of Avila Church.

To see maps, where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Bodega Bay journey maker website.

Traveling by car from Eureka to Bodega Bay takes 4.5 hours. Traveling from Eureka in May, expect nights in Bodega Bay to be about the same, around 48°F, while days are a bit warmer, around 76°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 12th (Wed) so you can travel to Monterey.

Things to do in Bodega Bay

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Wineries

Side Trips

Monterey

— 1 night
Monterey is a city in the U.S. state of California, on the southern edge of Monterey Bay on California's Central Coast. Start off your visit on the 13th (Thu): admire the masterpieces at Casa Serrano, Historic Adobe.

For reviews, other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, read Monterey trip website.

You can drive from Bodega Bay to Monterey in 3.5 hours. Traveling from Bodega Bay in May, you will find days in Monterey are a bit cooler (65°F), and nights are about the same (51°F). You will have some time to spend on the 13th (Thu) before leaving for Big Sur.

Things to do in Monterey

Museums
Highlights from your trip

Big Sur

— 2 nights

Big Country of the South

A sparsely populated area with stunning views, Big Sur attracts artists and tourists traveling California’s scenic Highway 1.
Kick off your visit on the 13th (Thu): shop like a local with Coast Gallery Big Sur, then kick back and relax at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, then admire the sheer force of McWay Falls, and finally hike along Partington Cove. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: stroll through Pfeiffer State Beach, admire the natural beauty at Hawthorne Gallery, admire the majestic nature at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park, then snap pictures at Bixby Bridge, and finally get great views at Rocky Creek Bridge.

To see where to stay, ratings, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Big Sur trip planner.

Drive from Monterey to Big Sur in an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 65°F in May, and nighttime lows around 51°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 15th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Big Sur

Parks · Nature · Historic Sites · Outdoors

Santa Barbara

— 2 nights

The American Riviera

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.
Kick off your visit on the 16th (Sun): awaken your taste buds at some of the top wineries in the area and then take a leisurely stroll along Stearns Wharf. Here are some ideas for day two: admire the landmark architecture of Santa Barbara County Courthouse and then steep yourself in history at Old Mission Santa Barbara.

To find where to stay, ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Santa Barbara day trip website.

Traveling by car from Big Sur to Santa Barbara takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and train; or take a bus. When traveling from Big Sur in May, plan for somewhat warmer days and about the same nights in Santa Barbara: temperatures range from 71°F by day to 52°F at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 17th (Mon) so you can go by car to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Wineries · Tours · Historic Sites

Death Valley National Park

— 3 nights

Hottest, Driest, Lowest

Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Death Valley National Park is known for nature, scenic drive, and historic sites. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: get great views at Dante's View, take a memorable drive along Artists Dr, take in breathtaking views at Twenty Mule Team Canyon, and explore the striking landscape at The Devil's Speedway.

To find where to stay, reviews, photos, and other tourist information, use the Death Valley National Park road trip planner.

Drive from Santa Barbara to Death Valley National Park in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of train, bus, and car. Traveling from Santa Barbara in May, you will find days in Death Valley National Park are a bit warmer (83°F), and nights are about the same (55°F). Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Thu) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Trails

California travel guide

4.1
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.