12 days in United States Itinerary

12 days in United States Itinerary

Created using Inspirock United States travel route planner

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Route & dates

12 days in United States Itinerary

Start: Chicago
Fly:  6​h 15​min
1
San Francisco
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
2
Santa Cruz
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
3
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
— 3 nights
Fly + Drive:  7​h 15​min
4
Joshua Tree National Park
— 1 day
Drive:  4​h 30​min
5
Scottsdale
— 2 nights
Fly:  7​h
End: Chicago

2
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Take a break from the city and head to Marin Headlands and Lands End. Explore hidden gems such as Cable Car Museum and NFL Shop Pier 39. There's much more to do: contemplate the long history of Alcatraz Island, get a taste of the local shopping with Union Square, hunt for treasures at Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, and stop by City Lights Booksellers.

To see ratings, photos, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read San Francisco tour planner.

Chicago to San Francisco is an approximately 6.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and train; or drive. Traveling from Chicago to San Francisco, you'll gain 2 hours due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Chicago in October, things will get a bit warmer in San Francisco: highs are around 73°F and lows about 56°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 31st (Thu) so you can go by car to Santa Cruz.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Historic Sites Shopping

Side Trip

Marin Headlands
Highlights from your plan
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge
Marin Headlands ©
Marin Headlands
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island

2
nights
Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz ©
Santa Cruz remains synonymous with surfing, but this counterculture bastion offers plenty even if you don't plan to catch any waves.
Start off your visit on the 1st (Fri): explore the landscape on two wheels at Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail, kick back and relax at Carmel River State Beach, and then look for gifts at The Cheese Shop. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take a leisurely stroll along Santa Cruz Wharf, take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and then get to know the fascinating history of Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard.

To find ratings, photos, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Santa Cruz trip itinerary website .

Getting from San Francisco to Santa Cruz by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. Traveling from San Francisco in October, plan for little chillier nights in Santa Cruz, with lows around 51°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sat) so you can drive to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

Things to do in Santa Cruz

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Carmel, Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard, Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail
Highlights from your plan
Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail ©
Carmel River State Beach ©
Carmel River State Beach
Dolphin & Whale Watching

3
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.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Alabama Hills and Giant Forest. Get outdoors at Kings Canyon National Park and Mt. Whitney. Next up on the itinerary: explore the striking landscape at Moro Rock and hike along Big Stump Basin.

To find maps, photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park journey maker app .

You can drive from Santa Cruz to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car; or do a combination of train and car. In November, daily temperatures in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park can reach 67°F, while at night they dip to 42°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel to Joshua Tree National Park.

Things to do in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Parks Nature Trails

Side Trip

Alabama Hills
Highlights from your plan
Moro Rock ©
Moro Rock
Kings Canyon National Park ©
Kings Canyon National Park
Giant Forest ©
Giant Forest

1
day
Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park ©
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.
On the 6th (Wed), hike along Split Rock and then admire nature's extreme beauty at Cottonwood Spring Oasis.

To see traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Joshua Tree National Park trip itinerary planning tool .

Getting from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park to Joshua Tree National Park by combination of flight and car takes about 7.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus, train, and taxi; or do a combination of bus and taxi. Expect a daytime high around 70°F in November, and nighttime lows around 46°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 6th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Scottsdale.

Things to do in Joshua Tree National Park

Parks Trails Wildlife
Highlights from your plan
Cottonwood Spring Oasis ©
Cottonwood Spring Oasis

2
nights
Scottsdale

Scottsdale ©
Scottsdale is a city in the eastern part of Maricopa County, Arizona, adjacent to the Greater Phoenix Area. Give yourself a bit of retail therapy at Old Town Scottsdale and Elan Wollitzer Gallery. Escape the urban bustle at River Rafting & Tubing and Desert Botanical Garden. And it doesn't end there: look for all kinds of wild species at McDowell Sonoran Preserve, get the adrenaline pumping with an extreme tour, indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and look for gifts at Outrageous Olive Oil & Vinegar.

To see traveler tips, maps, ratings, and more tourist information, read Scottsdale trip planner .

Traveling by car from Joshua Tree National Park to Scottsdale takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and flight; or do a combination of car and bus. The time zone difference when traveling from Joshua Tree National Park to Scottsdale is 1 hour. Traveling from Joshua Tree National Park in November, things will get a bit warmer in Scottsdale: highs are around 78°F and lows about 55°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Sat) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Scottsdale

Parks Shopping Adventure

Side Trip

Desert Botanical Garden
Highlights from your plan
Desert Botanical Garden ©
Desert Botanical Garden
River Rafting & Tubing
Spas

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