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: Albuquerque
Fly:  3​h 45​min
1
San Diego
— Few hours
Drive:  45​min
2
Carlsbad
— Few hours
Drive:  2​h 45​min
3
Calipatria
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
4
Yucca Valley
— Few hours
Drive:  2​h 30​min
5
Newport Beach
— Few hours
Drive:  1​h
6
Los Angeles
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
7
San Luis Obispo
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
8
Big Sur
— 1 day
Fly + bus:  4​h
9
Yosemite National Park
— 2 nights
car:  4​h 30​min
10
San Jose
— Few hours
Drive:  1​h
11
San Francisco
— 3 nights
Fly:  4​h 45​min
End: Albuquerque

few
hours
San Diego

San Diego ©
Divided into neighborhoods with distinct characters and cultural heritages, San Diego sits just north of the Mexican border and offers visitors a blend of tourist attractions, including a lively nightlife, diverse cuisine, and a thriving musical scene.
Kick off your visit on the 1st (Mon): get a taste of the local shopping with Gaslamp Quarter and then view the masterpieces at Spanish Village Art Center.

For where to stay, maps, and more tourist information, read San Diego trip planner .

Albuquerque to San Diego is an approximately 4-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a train. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 1 hour traveling from Albuquerque to San Diego. Traveling from Albuquerque in July, you will find days in San Diego are a bit cooler (77°F), and nights are about the same (68°F). Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 1st (Mon) to allow time for the car ride to Carlsbad.

Things to do in San Diego

Shopping Museums
Highlights from your plan
Gaslamp Quarter ©
Gaslamp Quarter
Spanish Village Art Center ©
Spanish Village Art Center

few
hours
Carlsbad

Carlsbad
Stretching along 11 km (7 mi) of Pacific coastline, the city of Carlsbad attracts visitors with its Mediterranean climate and natural beauty.
Inspirock's itinerary builder makes planning a Carlsbad trip simple and quick.

Drive from San Diego to Carlsbad in an hour. Alternatively, you can take a train; or take a bus. In July, plan for daily highs up to 78°F, and evening lows to 64°F. You'll set off for Calipatria on the 1st (Mon).

Things to do in Carlsbad

Outdoors Parks Tours

1
night
Calipatria

Calipatria
Calipatria is a city in Imperial County, California. For where to stay, more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, use the Calipatria visit planning app .

Getting from Carlsbad to Calipatria by car takes about 3 hours. Traveling from Carlsbad in July, expect nights in Calipatria to be a bit warmer, around 81°F, while days are much hotter, around 108°F. On the 2nd (Tue), you'll travel to Yucca Valley.

Things to do in Calipatria

Wildlife Parks Historic Sites

few
hours
Yucca Valley

Yucca Valley ©
Yucca Valley is an incorporated town in San Bernardino County, California, United States. To find more things to do, ratings, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Yucca Valley tour builder .

You can drive from Calipatria to Yucca Valley in 2 hours. Expect slightly colder weather when traveling from Calipatria in July: highs in Yucca Valley hover around 103°F, while lows dip to 78°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 2nd (Tue) to allow time for travel to Newport Beach.

Things to do in Yucca Valley

Museums Shopping

Side Trips

The Dream Wanderer, Coyote Corner
Highlights from your plan
The Dream Wanderer ©
The Dream Wanderer
Coyote Corner ©
Coyote Corner

few
hours
Newport Beach

Newport Beach ©
City beaches line the coast from the Balboa Peninsula to the Santa Ana River in Newport Beach.
To see photos, maps, where to stay, and more tourist information, read our Newport Beach trip builder .

Traveling by car from Yucca Valley to Newport Beach takes 2 hours. Expect colder weather when traveling from Yucca Valley in July: highs in Newport Beach hover around 80°F, while lows dip to 67°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Tue) early enough to drive to Los Angeles.

Things to do in Newport Beach

Shopping

Side Trip

South Coast Plaza
Highlights from your plan
South Coast Plaza ©
South Coast Plaza

3
nights
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.
Kick off your visit on the 3rd (Wed): get in on the family fun at Universal Studios Hollywood. On the 4th (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take a leisurely stroll along Santa Monica Pier, then see the interesting displays at The Getty Center, then make a trip to Hollywood Walk of Fame, and finally look and learn at Griffith Observatory.

To see photos, reviews, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Los Angeles visit planning website .

Traveling by car from Newport Beach to Los Angeles takes an hour. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and train; or do a combination of bus and train. In July, plan for daily highs up to 83°F, and evening lows to 66°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 5th (Fri) to allow time to travel to San Luis Obispo.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Theme Parks Museums Childrens Museums

Side Trip

Santa Monica Pier
Highlights from your plan
The Getty Center ©
The Getty Center
Griffith Observatory ©
Griffith Observatory
Santa Monica Pier ©
Santa Monica Pier

2
nights
San Luis Obispo

San Luis Obispo ©
San Luis Obispo, or SLO for short, is a city in the U.S. Kick off your visit on the 5th (Fri): get some thrills on the water with a speed boat tour, hunt for treasures at San Luis Obispo County Farmers' Market Association, and then examine the collection at Morro Bay State Park. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: immerse yourself in nature at Montana de Oro State Park, then examine the collection at Morro Bay Skateboard Museum, then get a taste of the local shopping with Fiona Bleu Gallery, and finally take in the dramatic natural features at Morro Rock.

To see maps, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our San Luis Obispo online travel planner .

Traveling by flight from Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a train. Traveling from Los Angeles in July, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be slightly colder in San Luis Obispo, with lows of 56°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 7th (Sun) early enough to go by car to Big Sur.

Things to do in San Luis Obispo

Parks Nature Museums

Side Trips

Morro Bay, Speed Boats Tours, Montana de Oro State Park
Highlights from your plan
Morro Rock ©
Morro Rock
Montana de Oro State Park ©
Montana de Oro State Park
Speed Boats Tours

1
day
Big Sur

Big Sur ©
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 7th (Sun): stroll through Pfeiffer State Beach, admire the majestic nature at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, then take in the dramatic scenery at McWay Falls, and finally shop like a local with Coast Gallery Big Sur.

To find where to stay, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, use the Big Sur road trip website .

You can drive from San Luis Obispo to Big Sur in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and taxi; or take a train. Traveling from San Luis Obispo in July, you will find days in Big Sur are slightly colder (69°F), and nights are about the same (55°F). Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Sun) so you can travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Big Sur

Parks Beaches Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park ©
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
McWay Falls ©
McWay Falls

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.
On the 8th (Mon), take in the dramatic scenery at Yosemite Falls, then explore the world behind art at Yosemite Museum Gallery, then take in the dramatic scenery at Vernal Fall, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Panorama Trail.

For where to stay, reviews, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Yosemite National Park trip app .

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Big Sur to Yosemite National Park. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Big Sur in July: highs in Yosemite National Park hover around 83°F, while lows dip to 46°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Tue) to allow time to travel to San Jose.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Vernal Fall ©
Vernal Fall
Panorama Trail ©
Panorama Trail
Yosemite Falls ©
Yosemite Falls

few
hours
San Jose

San Jose ©
The metropolitan center of Silicon Valley, San Jose considers itself a global city.
Kick off your visit on the 9th (Tue): pause for some serene contemplation at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, see the interesting displays at The Tech Museum of Innovation, and then contemplate the long history of Winchester Mystery House.

To see more things to do, other places to visit, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our San Jose travel itinerary planner .

Getting from Yosemite National Park to San Jose by combination of car, flight, and train takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of taxi and bus. Traveling from Yosemite National Park in July, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit warmer in San Jose, with lows of 59°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Tue) early enough to drive to San Francisco.

Things to do in San Jose

Historic Sites Childrens Museums Museums
Highlights from your plan
Winchester Mystery House ©
Winchester Mystery House
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral ©
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
The Tech Museum of Innovation ©
The Tech Museum of Innovation

3
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Kick off your visit on the 10th (Wed): snap pictures at Golden Gate Bridge, steep yourself in history at SS Jeremiah O'Brien, then take a leisurely stroll along Fisherman's Wharf, and finally head off the coast to Alcatraz Island. Keep things going the next day: engage your brain at Exploratorium, then look for gifts at City Lights Booksellers, and then take a stroll through Union Square.

For where to stay, ratings, and more tourist information, go to the San Francisco itinerary builder .

Drive from San Jose to San Francisco in an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of bus and subway. Expect slightly colder weather when traveling from San Jose in July: highs in San Francisco hover around 73°F, while lows dip to 57°F. You'll have a few hours on the 12th (Fri) to wrap things up before traveling home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Shopping Museums Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Exploratorium ©
Exploratorium

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