15 days in California Itinerary

15 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

15 days in California Itinerary

Start: Indianapolis
Fly + Bus:  11 h 15 min
1
Death Valley National Park
— 2 nights
Drive + Bus:  8 h
2
Yosemite National Park
— 4 nights
+2
Drive + Fly + Bus:  6 h
3
San Simeon
— 1 night
Drive:  1 h 30 min
4
Big Sur
— 3 nights
Drive:  2 h 45 min
5
San Francisco
— 4 nights
Fly + Bus:  7 h
End: Indianapolis

2
nights
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park ©
Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Kick off your visit on the 30th (Fri): get great views at Dante's View and then take in the dramatic natural features at Zabriskie Point. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take a memorable drive along Artists Dr and then contemplate the waterfront views at Badwater.

For other places to visit, where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read our Death Valley National Park travel itinerary planner.

Indianapolis to Death Valley National Park is an approximately 11.5-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also do a combination of train and bus; or take a bus. You'll gain 3 hours traveling from Indianapolis to Death Valley National Park due to the time zone difference. When traveling from Indianapolis in June, plan for a bit warmer days in Death Valley National Park, with highs around 99°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 65°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Sun) to allow time to travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Parks Nature Scenic Drive
Highlights from your plan
Zabriskie Point ©
Zabriskie Point
Dante's View ©
Dante's View
Badwater Basin ©
Badwater Basin

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 Glacier Point and May Lake Trailhead. There's much more to do: take in the dramatic natural features at Sentinel Dome, don't miss a visit to Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, hike along Tuolumne Meadows, and explore the activities along Tenaya Lake.

To see photos, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Yosemite National Park itinerary builder.

Traveling by bus from Death Valley National Park to Yosemite National Park takes 8 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car. Plan for colder temperatures traveling from Death Valley National Park in July, with highs in Yosemite National Park at 82°F and lows at 45°F. You will have some time to spend on the 6th (Thu) before leaving for San Simeon.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Trails Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Sentinel Dome ©
Sentinel Dome
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Tuolumne Meadows ©
Tuolumne Meadows

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.
Kick off your visit on the 7th (Fri): enjoy the sea views from Piedras Blancas Light Station and then identify plant and animal life at Elephant Seal Rookery.

To see photos, maps, ratings, and tourist information, use the San Simeon itinerary maker.

Traveling by car from Yosemite National Park to San Simeon takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, bus, and train. Traveling from Yosemite National Park in July, you will find days in San Simeon are cooler (59°F), and nights are a bit warmer (53°F). Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Big Sur.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Wildlife Historic Sites

Side Trip

Piedras Blancas Light Station
Highlights from your plan
Friends of the Elephant Seal ©
Friends of the Elephant Seal
Piedras Blancas Light Station ©
Piedras Blancas Light Station

3
nights
Big Sur

Big Sur ©
A sparsely populated area with stunning views, Big Sur attracts artists and tourists traveling California’s scenic Highway 1.
On the 8th (Sat), take in the views from Bixby Bridge, then don't miss a visit to San Carlos Cathedral, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Point Lobos State Reserve. On the next day, enjoy the sand and surf at Pfeiffer State Beach, then take in the dramatic scenery at McWay Falls, then immerse yourself in nature at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and finally hike along Partington Cove.

For photos, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Big Sur vacation planner.

Traveling by car from San Simeon to Big Sur takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. While traveling from San Simeon, expect a bit warmer days and about the same nights in Big Sur, ranging from highs of 68°F to lows of 54°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Mon) to allow time to drive to San Francisco.

Things to do in Big Sur

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

San Carlos Cathedral, Point Lobos
Highlights from your plan
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park ©
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

4
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
San Francisco is known for sightseeing, nature, museums, parks, and historic sites. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: take in the views from Golden Gate Bridge, get curious at The Exploratorium, catch a ride on Cable Cars, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Golden Gate Park.

To see where to stay, ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, refer to the San Francisco travel itinerary creator.

You can drive from Big Sur to San Francisco in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 72°F in July, and nighttime lows around 57°F. On the 14th (Fri), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Nature Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
San Francisco Bay ©
San Francisco Bay

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