12 days in California Itinerary

12 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

12 days in California Itinerary

Start: New York City
bus + Fly:  11​h 45​min
1
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
2
Carmel
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 30​min
3
Calistoga
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 30​min
4
San Francisco
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h
5
Yosemite National Park
— 4 nights
+2
Drive + Fly + bus:  11​h 15​min
End: New York City

2
nights
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park ©
With mountain peaks reaching past 4,250 m (14,000 ft) and trees stretching to over 75 m (250 ft) high, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks present nature on a grand scale.
Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: admire all the interesting features of Manzanar National Historic Site.

To find out how to plan a trip to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, use our trip itinerary maker.

New York City to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park is an approximately 12-hour combination of bus and flight. You can also fly; or take a bus. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 3 hours traveling from New York City to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from New York City in July: highs in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park hover around 98°F, while lows dip to 66°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 8th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Carmel.

Things to do in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trip

Manzanar National Historic Site
Highlights from your plan
Manzanar National Historic Site ©
Manzanar National Historic Site
Moro Rock ©
Moro Rock
Lakes Trail in Sequoia National Park ©

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 9th (Tue): steep yourself in history at San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission, kick back and relax at Carmel River State Beach, and then admire the majestic nature at Point Lobos.

To find reviews, where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, go to the Carmel trip itinerary maker site .

You can drive from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park to Carmel in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus; or do a combination of car, bus, and flight. When traveling from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in July, plan for much colder days and slightly colder nights in Carmel: temperatures range from 69°F by day to 55°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Tue) early enough to drive to Calistoga.

Things to do in Carmel

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

1
night
Calistoga

Calistoga ©
Indulgence is the name of the game in Calistoga.
On the 10th (Wed), do a tasting at Huge Bear at The Bank Tasting Room, do a tasting at Pride Mountain Vineyards, learn about winemaking at Schweiger Vineyards, then do a tasting at Robert Mondavi Winery, then learn about winemaking at V. Sattui Winery, and finally step into the grandiose world of Castello di Amorosa.

To find traveler tips, reviews, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Calistoga trip planning site .

You can drive from Carmel to Calistoga in 3.5 hours. Other options are to fly; or do a combination of flight, subway, and bus. When traveling from Carmel in July, plan for a bit warmer days in Calistoga, with highs around 84°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 53°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Wed) early enough to drive to San Francisco.

Things to do in Calistoga

Wineries Historic Sites

Side Trips

St. Helena, Robert Mondavi Winery
Highlights from your plan
Castello di Amorosa ©
Castello di Amorosa
Robert Mondavi Winery ©
Robert Mondavi Winery
Pride Mountain Vineyards ©
Pride Mountain Vineyards

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 11th (Thu): take in the views from Golden Gate Bridge, examine the collection at SS Jeremiah O'Brien, then take a leisurely stroll along Fisherman's Wharf, and finally head off the coast to Alcatraz Island. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Twin Peaks, then wander the streets of SoMa, and then wander the streets of Chinatown.

To find more things to do, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read our San Francisco trip builder tool .

Drive from Calistoga to San Francisco in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a train. When traveling from Calistoga in July, plan for little chillier days and about the same nights in San Francisco: temperatures range from 73°F by day to 57°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Fri) so you can drive to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in San Francisco

Neighborhoods Historic Sites Parks
Highlights from your plan
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Fisherman's Wharf ©
Fisherman's Wharf

4
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.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Vernal Fall and Bridalveil Fall. Get outdoors at Bodie State Historic Park and Tunnel View. There's lots more to do: take in the dramatic scenery at Yosemite Falls, take in the dramatic natural features at Glacier Point, make a trip to Olmsted Point, and trek along Nevada Falls Loop.

For maps, ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Yosemite National Park trip planner .

Drive from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and car; or do a combination of flight and bus. When traveling from San Francisco in July, plan for a bit warmer days and slightly colder nights in Yosemite National Park: temperatures range from 83°F by day to 46°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Tue) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Nature Museums

Side Trip

Bodie State Historic Park
Highlights from your plan
Yosemite, Tunnel View ©
Yosemite, Tunnel View
Bodie State Historic Park ©
Bodie State Historic Park
Bridalveil Fall ©
Bridalveil Fall

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