15 days in California Itinerary

15 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

15 days in California Itinerary

Start: New York City
Fly + bus:  12​h 15​min
1
Death Valley National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  7​h
2
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
3
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h
4
Carmel
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
5
Yosemite National Park
— 3 nights
+2
Drive + Fly + bus:  11​h 15​min
End: New York City

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 28th (Sun): explore the striking landscape at Zabriskie Point, then steep yourself in history at Eureka Mine, and then contemplate the waterfront views at Badwater Basin. On the next day, explore the striking landscape at Artists Palette, then cruise along Artists Dr, and then make a trip to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.

To find photos, where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, use the Death Valley National Park trip planning tool .

New York City to Death Valley National Park is an approximately 12.5-hour combination of bus and flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Pacific Standard Time (PST), which is usually a -3 hour difference. When traveling from New York City in July, plan for a bit warmer days in Death Valley National Park, with highs around 101°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 73°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Mon) so you can drive to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Nature Parks Scenic Drive
Highlights from your plan
Artists Palette ©
Artists Palette
Artists Dr ©
Artists Dr
Zabriskie Point ©
Zabriskie Point

2
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.
Explore hidden gems such as Zumwalt Meadow Trail and Kings Canyon National Park. Visit Manzanar National Historic Site and General Sherman Tree for their historical value. There's still lots to do: admire all the interesting features of Generals Hwy, tour the pleasant surroundings at Moro Rock, and take in the dramatic scenery at Grizzly Falls.

For other places to visit, maps, photos, and more tourist information, use the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park trip itinerary planner .

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 little chillier nights in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, with lows around 66°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trip

Manzanar National Historic Site
Highlights from your plan
Moro Rock ©
Moro Rock
Manzanar National Historic Site ©
Manzanar National Historic Site
Kings Canyon National Park ©
Kings Canyon 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.
Start off your visit on the 2nd (Fri): step into the grandiose world of Hearst Castle, take a memorable drive along Moonstone Beach Dr, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Moonstone Beach. On the 3rd (Sat), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: enjoy the sea views from Piedras Blancas Light Station, enjoy the sand and surf at Piedras Blancas, and then identify plant and animal life at Elephant Seal Rookery.

To find reviews, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our San Simeon day trip app .

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 August, expect a bit cooler with lows of 55°F in San Simeon. Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Sat) early enough to go by car to Carmel.

Things to do in San Simeon

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trip

Cambria
Highlights from your plan
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach
Piedras Blancas ©
Piedras Blancas
Friends of the Elephant Seal ©
Friends of the Elephant Seal

3
nights
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. Explore hidden gems such as Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Pacific Grove Shoreline Parkway Marine Refuge. You'll visit kid-friendly attractions like Point Lobos and Carmel River State Beach. Step out of Carmel to go to Big Sur and see McWay Falls, which is approximately 1 hour away. Spend the 5th (Mon) observing fascinating marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour. There's still lots to do: contemplate the waterfront views at Monterey Bay.

Find out how to plan Carmel trip without stress by asking Inspirock to help create an itinerary.

You can drive from San Simeon to Carmel in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus. Traveling from San Simeon in August, expect nights in Carmel to be about the same, around 57°F, while days are colder, around 70°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Carmel

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Monterey, Big Sur, Pacific Grove Shoreline Parkway Marine Refuge
Highlights from your plan
McWay Falls ©
McWay Falls
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park ©
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Carmel River State Beach ©
Carmel River State Beach

3
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.
Take a break from the city and head to Olmsted Point and Bridalveil Fall. Take a break from Yosemite National Park with a short trip to Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve in Lee Vining, about 1 hour away. There's still lots to do: don't miss a visit to Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center, take a memorable drive along Tioga Pass, take in the dramatic scenery at Yosemite Falls, and take in the dramatic natural features at Glacier Point.

To see other places to visit, ratings, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Yosemite National Park trip site .

You can drive from Carmel to Yosemite National Park in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and car; or do a combination of shuttle, flight, and car. When traveling from Carmel in August, plan for somewhat warmer days and slightly colder nights in Yosemite National Park: temperatures range from 81°F by day to 43°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Fri) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Nature Parks Wildlife

Side Trip

Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
Highlights from your plan
Yosemite Falls ©
Yosemite Falls
Bridalveil Fall ©
Bridalveil Fall
Tioga Pass ©
Tioga Pass

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