15 days in California Itinerary

15 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California tour planner

Make it your trip
Fly to Reno, Bus to Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park
— 4 nights
Death Valley National Park
— 3 nights
San Simeon
— 2 nights
— 4 nights
Shuttle to San Francisco International Airport, Fly to Sydney


Yosemite National Park

— 4 nights
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.
Get some cultural insight at Bodie State Historic Park and Yosemite Valley Chapel. Get in touch with nature at Yosemite Falls and Vernal Fall. Go for a jaunt from Yosemite National Park to Lee Vining to see Mono Lake Vista Point about 50 minutes away. The adventure continues: explore the striking landscape at El Capitan, take some stellar pictures from Washburn Point, and explore the striking landscape of Bridalveil Fall.

To see more things to do, photos, ratings, and more tourist information, read our Yosemite National Park road trip planning app.

Sydney, Australia to Yosemite National Park is an approximately 24-hour combination of flight and bus. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 18 hours traveling from Sydney to Yosemite National Park. When traveling from Sydney in May, plan for slightly colder days in Yosemite National Park, with highs around 21°C, while nights are colder with lows around 1°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Sun) to allow time to travel to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Nature · Parks · Historic Sites

Side Trips

Death Valley National Park

— 3 nights

Hottest, Driest, Lowest

Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Dante's View and Devil's Golf Course. Escape the urban bustle at Artists Palette and Badwater Basin. When in Death Valley National Park, make a side trip to see Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad Museum in Death Valley Junction, approximately Death Valley Junction away. Next up on the itinerary: take a memorable drive along Artists Dr and explore the striking landscape at Zabriskie Point.

To find maps, more things to do, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our Death Valley National Park trip itinerary site.

Drive from Yosemite National Park to Death Valley National Park in 4.5 hours. Traveling from Yosemite National Park in May, expect nights in Death Valley National Park to be much warmer, around 15°C, while days are somewhat warmer, around 33°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Wed) so you can drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Nature · Parks · Scenic Drive · Outdoors

Side Trip

San Simeon

— 2 nights
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 21st (Thu): contemplate the long history of Hearst Castle, pause for some serene contemplation at Santa Rosa Catholic Church, then get a taste of the local shopping with Ephraim Pottery West Gallery, and finally kick back and relax at Piedras Blancas. On the 22nd (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: stroll through Moonstone Beach, cruise along Moonstone Beach Dr, and then identify plant and animal life at Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop.

For traveler tips, more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, read San Simeon trip itinerary planner.

You can drive from Death Valley National Park to San Simeon in 6.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of car, bus, and train. Traveling from Death Valley National Park in May, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit cooler in San Simeon, with lows of 10°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Fri) so you can go by car to Monterey.

Things to do in San Simeon

Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife · Beaches

Side Trip


— 4 nights
Monterey is a city in the U.S. Appreciate the collections at Coast Gallery Big Sur and Wyland Gallery Carmel. Relax by the water at Carmel River State Beach and Pfeiffer State Beach. Change things up with these side-trips from Monterey: Big Sur (McWay Falls & Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park). There's much more to do: kick back and relax at Asilomar State Beach, steep yourself in history at The Old Monterey Jail, see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour, and immerse yourself in nature at Point Lobos.

To find maps, photos, and tourist information, read Monterey day trip planner.

Traveling by car from San Simeon to Monterey takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, train, and bus; or do a combination of car and bus. Traveling from San Simeon in May, you will find days in Monterey are little chillier (21°C), and nights are about the same (12°C). You'll have a few hours on the 26th (Tue) to wrap things up before traveling home.

Things to do in Monterey

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Nature

Side Trips

California travel guide

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.