12 days in California Itinerary

12 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California travel route builder

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Joshua Tree National Park
— 2 nights
Drive
2
Los Angeles
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Dana Point
— 3 nights
Drive
4
San Diego
— 4 nights
Fly

S M T W T F S
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25

Joshua Tree National Park

— 2 nights
Joshua Tree National Park takes its name from the Joshua tree, a twisted, spiky tree with bayonet-shaped leaves at the top that's one of the few plant species hardy enough to thrive in the extreme climate of the Mojave Desert.
Kick off your visit on the 12th (Sun): take in the dramatic natural features at Keys View, then appreciate the views at Hidden Valley Nature Trail, then contemplate the long history of Keys Ranch, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Split Rock. On the next day, trek along Boy Scout Trail, then explore the striking landscape at Wonderland of Rocks, then trek along Ladder Canyon Trail, and finally hike along Box Canyon Road.

For more things to do, maps, photos, and tourist information, go to the Joshua Tree National Park online travel route planner.

Newark to Joshua Tree National Park is an approximately 9-hour flight. You can also drive; or do a combination of train, bus, and taxi. The time zone difference when traveling from Newark to Joshua Tree National Park is minus 3 hours. Plan for a bit warmer temperatures traveling from Newark in April, with highs in Joshua Tree National Park at 81°F and lows at 55°F. You will have some time to spend on the 14th (Tue) before leaving for Los Angeles.

Things to do in Joshua Tree National Park

Parks · Trails · Outdoors · Nature

Side Trip

Los Angeles

— 2 nights

City of Angels

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 14th (Tue): examine the collection at The Getty Center. On the next day, steep yourself in history at Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, then get your bearings at The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens, then pause for some serene contemplation at Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, and finally look and learn at Griffith Observatory.

To see reviews, more things to do, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Los Angeles attractions planner.

You can drive from Joshua Tree National Park to Los Angeles in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or fly. Traveling from Joshua Tree National Park in April, you will find days in Los Angeles are slightly colder (75°F), and nights are about the same (56°F). Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Thu) early enough to go by car to Dana Point.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Parks · Historic Sites · Outdoors · Beaches

Side Trips

Dana Point

— 3 nights
Dana Point is a city located in southern Orange County, California. Visit Baby Beach and Aliso Beach Park for some beach relaxation. Discover out-of-the-way places like Doffo Winery and Lorimar Vineyards and Winery. Change things up with these side-trips from Dana Point: Oceanside Pier (in Oceanside) and Temecula (Europa Village & Cougar Vineyard & Winery). There's lots more to do: kick back and relax at Dana Strands Beach, admire the natural beauty at Sherman Library & Gardens, play a few rounds at Monarch Beach Golf Links, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Bluff Top Trail.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Dana Point route maker site.

You can drive from Los Angeles to Dana Point in 1.5 hours. Other options are to take a train; or take a bus. In April, plan for daily highs up to 73°F, and evening lows to 56°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 19th (Sun) so you can go by car to San Diego.

Things to do in Dana Point

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Wineries

Side Trips

San Diego

— 4 nights

America's Finest City

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.
Popular historic sites such as Point Loma and Fort Rosecrans Cemetery are in your itinerary. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and Moonlight State Beach. Explore San Diego's surroundings by going to Del Mar City Beach (in Del Mar) and Carlsbad (South Carlsbad State Beach & The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch). There's still lots to do: kick back and relax at Windansea Beach, tour the pleasant surroundings at Coronado Beach, pause for some photo ops at The Unconditional Surrender, and stroll around La Jolla Cove.

For other places to visit, maps, photos, and tourist information, use the San Diego trip tool.

Getting from Dana Point to San Diego by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a train; or take a bus. In April in San Diego, expect temperatures between 71°F during the day and 58°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 23rd (Thu) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Nature

Side Trips

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.

Orange County travel guide

4.5
Disney Parks & Activities · Beaches · Piers & Boardwalks
Embodying southern California's ambience of laid-back sophistication, Orange County is one of the state's most popular vacation destinations, offering year-round sunshine, beautiful golden beaches, and high-end shopping and dining, spread throughout several picturesque beach communities. Spend your holiday indulging at the region's oceanfront spas, designer boutiques, and five-star restaurants, or opt for a trip to the Disneyland Resort and Knott's Berry Farm. While known mostly for its luxurious amenities, the region is also a favorite among outdoor enthusiasts, home to several national parks and active marinas.