15 days in California Itinerary

15 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California tour itinerary planner

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Route & dates

15 days in California Itinerary

Start: Philadelphia
Fly + Drive:  10​h 30​min
1
Yosemite National Park
— 5 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
2
Carmel
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
3
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 30​min
4
San Francisco
— 4 nights
Fly:  7​h 30​min
End: Philadelphia

5
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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Taft Point and Sentinel Dome. Visiting Tioga Pass and El Capitan will get you outdoors. Spend the 6th (Fri) exploring nature at Bridalveil Fall. There's still lots to do: get great views at Tunnel View, admire the sheer force of Vernal Fall, trek along Tuolumne Meadows, and make a trip to Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias.

For where to stay, more things to do, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Yosemite National Park travel route builder .

Philadelphia to Yosemite National Park is an approximately 10.5-hour combination of flight and car. 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. Traveling from Philadelphia in September, you will find days in Yosemite National Park are a bit cooler (74°F), and nights are cooler (38°F). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Sat) early enough to drive to Carmel.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Yosemite, Tunnel View ©
Yosemite, Tunnel View
Bridalveil Fall ©
Bridalveil Fall
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point

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. Visiting Asilomar State Beach and Dolphin & Whale Watching will get you outdoors. You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Pfeiffer State Beach and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Change things up with a short trip to McWay Falls in Big Sur (about 56 minutes away). Next up on the itinerary: get to know the fascinating history of Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard, enjoy the sand and surf at Carmel River State Beach, take in the views from Bixby Bridge, and immerse yourself in nature at Point Lobos.

For other places to visit, ratings, more things to do, and more tourist information, you can read our Carmel trip planner .

Traveling by car from Yosemite National Park to Carmel takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and flight; or do a combination of car, flight, and shuttle. Expect somewhat warmer evenings in Carmel when traveling from Yosemite National Park in September, with lows around 56°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Tue) to allow time to drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Carmel

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Big Sur, Pacific Grove, Dolphin & Whale Watching
Highlights from your plan
Asilomar State Beach ©
Asilomar State Beach
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
Carmel River State Beach ©
Carmel River State Beach

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 11th (Wed): look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery and then identify plant and animal life at Piedras Blancas. Here are some ideas for day two: steep yourself in history at Hearst Castle, take a memorable drive along Moonstone Beach Dr, and then stroll through Moonstone Beach.

For maps, traveler tips, other places to visit, and more tourist information, read San Simeon trip itinerary planning tool .

Getting from Carmel to San Simeon by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and car. Expect a bit warmer weather when traveling from Carmel in September: highs in San Simeon hover around 90°F, while lows dip to 53°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Thu) so you can drive to San Francisco.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

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

4
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Shop till you drop at Exploratorium and Union Square. Golden Gate Bridge and SS Jeremiah O'Brien will appeal to history buffs. Step out of San Francisco to go to Mill Valley and see Muir Woods National Monument, which is approximately 48 minutes away. There's lots more to do: step off the mainland to explore Alcatraz Island, take in the waterfront at Fisherman's Wharf, hunt for treasures at Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, and buy something for everyone on your list at NFL Shop Pier 39.

To find more things to do, reviews, ratings, and other tourist information, use the San Francisco trip planner.

Drive from San Simeon to San Francisco in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or do a combination of bus and flight. While traveling from San Simeon, expect slightly colder days and about the same nights in San Francisco, ranging from highs of 76°F to lows of 58°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 16th (Mon) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Shopping Historic Sites Parks

Side Trip

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

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