12 days in California Itinerary

12 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California holiday planner

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Route & dates

12 days in California Itinerary

Start: Los Angeles
1
Los Angeles
— 1 night
Fly + Drive:  4​h 15​min
2
Yosemite National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h
3
San Francisco
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
4
Carmel
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
5
Cambria
— 2 nights
Drive:  6​h
6
Palm Springs
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h
End: Los Angeles

1
night
Los Angeles

Los Angeles ©
Surrounded by mountain ranges, forests, valleys, beaches, and deserts, the metropolitan area of Los Angeles is home to over 17 million people.
Start off your visit on the 26th (Wed): get in on the family fun at Disneyland Park. Here are some ideas for day two: see the interesting displays at The Getty Center, take a stroll through Abbot Kinney Boulevard, wander the streets of Montana Avenue, then look for gifts at Bergamot Station, and finally browse the different shops at The Grove.

To see photos, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Los Angeles day trip planning app .

The Route module shows you travel options from your home to Los Angeles. December in Los Angeles sees daily highs of 69°F and lows of 49°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Thu) early enough to travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Theme Parks Shopping Neighborhoods

Side Trips

Santa Monica, Disneyland Park
Highlights from your plan
Disneyland Park ©
Disneyland Park
The Getty Center ©
The Getty Center
The Grove ©
The Grove

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.
Start off your visit on the 28th (Fri): take in the dramatic scenery at Yosemite Falls, stop by Yosemite Museum Gallery, view the masterpieces at Ansel Adams Gallery, then look for all kinds of wild species at Cathedral Beach Picnic Area, and finally explore the striking landscape at Glacier Point. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: fly down the slopes at Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area.

For where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, read our Yosemite National Park trip planner .

Traveling by combination of flight and car from Los Angeles to Yosemite National Park takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of flight, bus, and taxi. Prepare for much colder weather when traveling from Los Angeles in December: high temperatures in Yosemite National Park hover around 46°F and lows are around 14°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 29th (Sat) early enough to go by car to San Francisco.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Outdoors Winter Sports
Highlights from your plan
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Yosemite Falls ©
Yosemite Falls
Badger Pass Ski Area ©
Badger Pass Ski Area

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 30th (Sun): get into the urban bustle at Civic Center, stop by City Lights Booksellers, buy something for everyone on your list at Ghirardelli Square, then head off the coast to Alcatraz Island, and finally take in the views from Golden Gate Bridge. On your second day here, take a stroll through Union Square, then take a leisurely stroll along Fisherman's Wharf, then wander the streets of SoMa, and finally get a taste of the local shopping with Ferry Building Marketplace.

To see photos, reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the San Francisco vacation planner .

Traveling by car from Yosemite National Park to San Francisco takes 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and flight; or do a combination of taxi, bus, flight, and subway. When traveling from Yosemite National Park in December, plan for a bit warmer days and much hotter nights in San Francisco: temperatures range from 59°F by day to 45°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 31st (Mon) so you can drive to Carmel.

Things to do in San Francisco

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

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. Kick off your visit on the 1st (Tue): view the masterpieces at Gallery by the Sea Carmel, then kick back and relax at Carmel River State Beach, then admire the majestic nature at Point Lobos, and finally look for gifts at The Cheese Shop. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: get a taste of the local shopping with Carmel Art Association, take in the exciting artwork at Weston Gallery, view the masterpieces at Steven Whyte's Sculpture Studio and Gallery, then pick up some local products at Pacific Grove Certified Farmers' Market, then get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour, and finally get engrossed in the history at Casa Serrano, Historic Adobe.

To find maps, where to stay, and more tourist information, read our Carmel trip maker tool .

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. In December, daytime highs in Carmel are 62°F, while nighttime lows are 43°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 2nd (Wed) early enough to go by car to Cambria.

Things to do in Carmel

Outdoors Shopping Beaches

Side Trips

Monterey, Pacific Grove Certified Farmers' Market
Highlights from your plan
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Carmel River State Beach ©
Carmel River State Beach

2
nights
Cambria

Cambria ©
Cambria is a seaside village in San Luis Obispo County, California, United States midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles along California State Route 1 (Highway 1). Kick off your visit on the 3rd (Thu): steep yourself in history at Hearst Castle, then look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery, then shop like a local with Ephraim Pottery West Gallery, and finally get a taste of the local shopping with artifacts gallery. Keep things going the next day: get a taste of the local shopping with Harmony Pottery Works, explore the striking landscape at Morro Rock, view the masterpieces at Fiona Bleu Gallery, then kick back and relax at Moonstone Beach, and finally contemplate the long history of The Old Santa Rosa Creek Chapel.

To find ratings, more things to do, other places to visit, and other tourist information, you can read our Cambria tour planner .

Drive from Carmel to Cambria in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus, train, and taxi; or do a combination of bus and car. Traveling from Carmel in January, expect little chillier with lows of 37°F in Cambria. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Fri) early enough to drive to Palm Springs.

Things to do in Cambria

Parks Historic Sites Museums

Side Trips

Morro Bay, San Simeon, Harmony Pottery Works
Highlights from your plan
Friends of the Elephant Seal ©
Friends of the Elephant Seal
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach
Hearst Castle ©
Hearst Castle

1
night
Palm Springs

Palm Springs ©
Palm Springs is a desert resort city in Riverside County, California, United States, within the Coachella Valley. Kick off your visit on the 5th (Sat): admire nature's wide array of creatures at The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, then explore the world behind art at Heather James Fine Art, then get engrossed in the history at Palm Springs Air Museum, and finally look for gifts at Brandini Toffee. On the 6th (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take a stroll through El Paseo Shopping District, then take in the exciting artwork at CODA Gallery, then view the masterpieces at Antique Galleries of Palm Springs, and finally take in breathtaking views at Indian Canyons.

To see more things to do, reviews, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Palm Springs road trip app .

You can drive from Cambria to Palm Springs in 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of bus and train. Expect somewhat warmer temperatures when traveling from Cambria in January; daily highs in Palm Springs reach 71°F and lows reach 48°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive back home.

Things to do in Palm Springs

Shopping Parks Museums

Side Trip

Palm Desert
Highlights from your plan
Heather James Fine Art ©
Heather James Fine Art
Indian Canyons ©
Indian Canyons
Palm Springs Air Museum ©
Palm Springs Air Museum

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