12 days in California Itinerary

12 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California travel planner

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Route & dates

12 days in California Itinerary

Start: Toronto
Fly + bus:  13​h 15​min
1
San Simeon
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h
2
Carmel
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
3
San Francisco
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h
4
Yosemite National Park
— 3 nights
Drive + Fly:  11​h 30​min
End: Toronto

1
night
San Simeon

San Simeon ©
When you arrive 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.
Start off your visit on the 10th (Wed): look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Piedras Blancas. Keep things going the next day: step into the grandiose world of Hearst Castle and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Moonstone Beach.

To find other places to visit, reviews, more things to do, and tourist information, read San Simeon road trip planning website .

Toronto, Canada to San Simeon is an approximately 13.5-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time to Pacific Standard Time, which is usually a -3 hour difference. Traveling from Toronto in July, expect nights in San Simeon to be little chillier, around 15°C, while days are somewhat warmer, around 40°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Thu) so you can drive to Carmel.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trip

Moonstone Beach
Highlights from your plan
Piedras Blancas ©
Piedras Blancas
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach
Hearst Castle ©
Hearst Castle

3
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. Take a break from the city and head to Dolphin & Whale Watching and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Point Lobos and Carmel River State Beach. Change things up with these side-trips from Carmel: Big Sur (Pfeiffer State Beach & McWay Falls).

To see maps, traveler tips, photos, and tourist information, use the Carmel holiday planner.

Traveling by car from San Simeon to Carmel takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus. Traveling from San Simeon in July, you will find days in Carmel are cooler (24°C), and nights are about the same (15°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to San Francisco.

Things to do in Carmel

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Big Sur, Dolphin & Whale Watching
Highlights from your plan
Carmel River State Beach ©
Carmel River State Beach
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park ©
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

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 15th (Mon): snap pictures at Golden Gate Bridge, then go for a walk through Fisherman's Wharf, and then explore the wealth of natural beauty at Alcatraz Island. On your second day here, contemplate the waterfront views at San Francisco Bay, then delve into the lush surroundings at Muir Woods National Monument, and then stroll through Lincoln Park.

To find traveler tips, photos, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the San Francisco trip planner .

You can drive from Carmel to San Francisco in 2.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and flight; or take a bus. In July, daily temperatures in San Francisco can reach 26°C, while at night they dip to 16°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Tue) so you can drive to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trip

Muir Woods National Monument
Highlights from your plan
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Muir Woods National Monument ©
Muir Woods National Monument
San Francisco Bay ©
San Francisco Bay

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.
Explore hidden gems such as Yosemite Falls and Olmsted Point. Visiting Tuolumne Meadows and Panorama Trail will get you outdoors. The adventure continues: explore the striking landscape at Glacier Point, take some stellar pictures from Tunnel View, enjoy the sand and surf at Cathedral Beach Picnic Area, and admire the sheer force of Vernal Fall.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Yosemite National Park driving holiday planner.

Getting from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park by car takes about 4 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight and car; or do a combination of subway, flight, bus, and taxi. When traveling from San Francisco in July, plan for somewhat warmer days in Yosemite National Park, with highs around 33°C, while nights are little chillier with lows around 9°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 19th (Fri) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Outdoors Trails
Highlights from your plan
Yosemite Falls ©
Yosemite Falls
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Tunnel View ©
Tunnel View

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