13 days in California Itinerary

13 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

13 days in California Itinerary

Start: Charlotte
Fly + bus:  11​h
1
Death Valley National Park
— 1 night
Drive:  7​h
2
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h 45​min
3
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h
4
Carmel
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
5
San Francisco
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h
6
Yosemite National Park
— 4 nights
Drive + Fly:  9​h
End: Charlotte

1
night
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park ©
Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
For maps, where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Death Valley National Park holiday builder website .

Charlotte to Death Valley National Park is an approximately 11-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also do a combination of flight, bus, and car; or drive. You'll gain 3 hours traveling from Charlotte to Death Valley National Park due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Charlotte in July, you will find days in Death Valley National Park are somewhat warmer (101°F), and nights are about the same (73°F). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Tue) to allow time to drive to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Nature Parks
Highlights from your plan
Zabriskie Point ©
Zabriskie Point
Badwater Basin ©
Badwater Basin

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 3rd (Wed): hike along Lakes Trail in Sequoia National Park, make a trip to General Sherman Tree, and then explore the striking landscape at Moro Rock. On the next day, hike along Zumwalt Meadow Trail, explore the stunning scenery at Kings Canyon National Park, and then take in the dramatic scenery at Grizzly Falls.

To see maps, photos, and tourist information, go to the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park travel route planning site .

You can drive from Death Valley National Park to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in 7 hours. Traveling from Death Valley National Park in July, plan for slightly colder nights in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, with lows around 66°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Parks Trails Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Moro Rock ©
Moro Rock
Kings Canyon National Park ©
Kings Canyon National Park
Lakes Trail in Sequoia National Park ©

2
nights
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.
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Fri): explore the historical opulence of Hearst Castle, admire all the interesting features of Moonstone Beach Dr, and then tour the pleasant surroundings at Moonstone Beach. On your second day here, visit a coastal fixture at Piedras Blancas Light Station, then look for all kinds of wild species at Piedras Blancas, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery.

To see more things to do, where to stay, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the San Simeon driving holiday website .

You can drive from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park to San Simeon in 5 hours. Another option is to do a combination of car and bus. Traveling from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in July, San Simeon is slightly colder at night with lows of 56°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 6th (Sat) so you can go by car to Carmel.

Things to do in San Simeon

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trip

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

1
night
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. On the 7th (Sun), browse the exhibits of Carmel Mission, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Carmel River State Beach, and then hike along Point Lobos.

For maps, other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our Carmel online holiday planner .

Getting from San Simeon to Carmel by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of car and bus. When traveling from San Simeon in July, plan for colder days in Carmel, with highs around 69°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 55°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 7th (Sun) so you can go by car to San Francisco.

Things to do in Carmel

Beaches Outdoors Parks
Highlights from your plan
Carmel River State Beach ©
Carmel River State Beach
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
Carmel Mission ©
Carmel Mission

2
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
On the 8th (Mon), delve into the lush surroundings at Muir Woods National Monument, take in the views from Golden Gate Bridge, and then head off the coast to Alcatraz Island. Here are some ideas for day two: have fun and explore at Exploratorium, then take a leisurely stroll along Fisherman's Wharf, and then contemplate the long history of SS Jeremiah O'Brien.

For where to stay, maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our San Francisco day trip planner .

You can drive from Carmel to San Francisco in 2.5 hours. Other options are to fly; or take a bus. In July, daytime highs in San Francisco are 73°F, while nighttime lows are 57°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in San Francisco

Nature Museums Parks

Side Trip

Muir Woods National Monument
Highlights from your plan
Muir Woods National Monument ©
Muir Woods National Monument
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge

4
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Yosemite Falls and Tunnel View. Escape the urban bustle at Nevada Falls Loop and Four Mile Trail. And it doesn't end there: explore the striking landscape at Sentinel Dome, make a trip to Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, stroll through Panorama Trail, and take in the awesome beauty at Mt. Hoffmann.

To see traveler tips, reviews, photos, and other tourist information, read our Yosemite National Park day trip site .

You can drive from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and car; or do a combination of flight and bus. When traveling from San Francisco in July, plan for a bit warmer days in Yosemite National Park, with highs around 83°F, while nights are a bit cooler with lows around 46°F. You will have some time to spend on the 13th (Sat) before leaving for home.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Yosemite Falls ©
Yosemite Falls
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Sentinel Dome ©
Sentinel Dome

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