15 days in California Itinerary

15 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California vacation planner

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Route & dates

15 days in California Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
1
San Francisco
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
2
Carmel
— 1 night
bus:  30​min
3
Big Sur
— 1 night
Drive:  5​h 15​min
4
Santa Barbara
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 45​min
5
Los Angeles
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h
6
Palm Springs
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h
7
Los Angeles
— 2 nights
End: Los Angeles

3
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Step off the beaten path and head to California State Railroad Museum and Cable Car Museum. Get some cultural insight at Exploratorium and SS Jeremiah O'Brien. Change things up with these side-trips from San Francisco: Bodega Head (in Bodega Bay) and Old Sacramento (in Sacramento). It doesn't end there: get curious at California Academy of Sciences.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, and tourist information, read San Francisco trip itinerary maker tool .

If you are flying in from Canada, the closest major airports are San Francisco International Airport, Metropolitan Oakland International Airport and Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport. In December, plan for daily highs up to 17°C, and evening lows to 8°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Carmel.

Things to do in San Francisco

Museums Childrens Museums Shopping

Side Trips

Sacramento, Bodega Head
Highlights from your plan
California State Railroad Museum ©
California State Railroad Museum
Cable Car Museum ©
Cable Car Museum
California Academy of Sciences ©
California Academy of Sciences

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. Kick off your visit on the 26th (Wed): admire the majestic nature at Point Lobos.

To see ratings, maps, other places to visit, and other tourist information, go to the Carmel travel planner .

Traveling by car from San Francisco to Carmel takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or take a bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 19°C, and evening lows to 7°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 26th (Wed) to allow time for the bus ride to Big Sur.

Things to do in Carmel

Nature Parks Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos

1
night
Big Sur

Big Sur ©
A sparsely populated area with stunning views, Big Sur attracts artists and tourists traveling California’s scenic Highway 1.
Your day-by-day itinerary now includes Pfeiffer State Beach.

For reviews, maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Big Sur road trip website .

Big Sur is very close to Carmel. In December, daily temperatures in Big Sur can reach 19°C, while at night they dip to 7°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Big Sur

Parks Beaches Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach

1
night
Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara ©
Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara is a solid vacation destination with its wide beaches, renowned wineries, and some of California's finest shopping and dining options.
Kick off your visit on the 27th (Thu): immerse yourself in nature at Carpinteria State Beach and then admire the masterpieces at Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Here are some ideas for day two: identify plant and animal life at Carpinteria Harbor Seal Preserve and Rookery, then grab your bike and head to Carpenteria Bluffs Nature Preserve, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Douglas Family Preserve.

To see photos, reviews, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our Santa Barbara online tour builder .

Traveling by car from Big Sur to Santa Barbara takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, flight, and bus; or do a combination of taxi and flight. In December, daily temperatures in Santa Barbara can reach 22°C, while at night they dip to 5°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Fri) so you can drive to Los Angeles.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trip

Carpinteria
Highlights from your plan
Carpenteria Bluffs Nature Preserve ©
Carpinteria State Beach ©
Carpinteria State Beach
Douglas Family Preserve ©
Douglas Family Preserve

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.
Escape the urban bustle at Running Horse Ranch and Venice Beach and Boardwalk. Popular historic sites such as La Brea Tar Pits and Museum and Hollywood Walk of Fame are in your itinerary. And it doesn't end there: see the interesting displays at The Getty Center, explore the world behind art at Diorama-museum of Bhagavad-gita, don't miss a visit to Santa Monica Pier, and enjoy the sand and surf at Santa Monica State Beach.

For other places to visit, reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, you can read our Los Angeles tour itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Traveling from Santa Barbara in December, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit warmer in Los Angeles, with lows of 11°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Mon) to allow time to drive to Palm Springs.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trips

Santa Monica, Running Horse Ranch
Highlights from your plan
Diorama-museum of Bhagavad-gita ©
Diorama-museum of Bhagavad-gita
Santa Monica State Beach ©
Santa Monica State Beach
The Getty Center ©
The Getty Center

3
nights
Palm Springs

Palm Springs ©
Palm Springs is a desert resort city in Riverside County, California, United States, within the Coachella Valley. Do some cultural sightseeing at Cabot's Pueblo Museum and Indian Canyons. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Motif and Barker Dam Trail. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Palm Springs: Climbing Tours (in Joshua Tree) and Desert Holocaust Memorial (in Palm Desert). There's lots more to do: relax in the rural setting at Sam Cobb Farms, stop by Brandini Toffee, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Bump and Grind Trail.

To find other places to visit, traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, read our Palm Springs online route planner .

Getting from Los Angeles to Palm Springs by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: fly; or do a combination of train and bus. Expect a daytime high around 24°C in December, and nighttime lows around 10°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Thu) early enough to go by car to Los Angeles.

Things to do in Palm Springs

Parks Outdoors Tours

Side Trips

Palm Desert, Sam Cobb Farms, Cabot's Pueblo Museum, Barker Dam Trail, Climbing Tours
Highlights from your plan
Indian Canyons ©
Indian Canyons
Cabot's Pueblo Museum
Cabot's Pueblo Museum
Climbing Tours

2
nights
Los Angeles

Los Angeles ©
Start off your visit on the 4th (Fri): appreciate the extensive heritage of El Pueblo de Los Angeles, then look for all kinds of wild species at Shambala Preserve, and then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Angelus Temple.

To see reviews, traveler tips, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Los Angeles trip itinerary tool .

Traveling by car from Palm Springs to Los Angeles takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or do a combination of bus and train. You'll have a few hours on the 5th (Sat) to wrap things up before traveling home.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Historic Sites Wildlife Parks

Side Trip

Shambala Preserve
Highlights from your plan
El Pueblo de Los Angeles ©
El Pueblo de Los Angeles
Angelus Temple ©
Angelus Temple
Thien Hau Temple ©
Thien Hau Temple

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