16 days in California Itinerary

16 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California trip builder

Make it your trip
Fly
1
San Francisco
— 3 nights
Drive
2
Carmel
— 2 nights
Drive
3
San Simeon
— 1 night
Drive
4
Death Valley National Park
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Mammoth Lakes
— 3 nights
Fly
6
Los Angeles
— 1 night
Drive
7
San Diego
— 3 nights
Fly

S M T W T F S
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28

San Francisco

— 3 nights

City by the Bay

San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Step off the beaten path and head to Wine Tours & Tastings and VJB Cellars. Change things up with a short trip to Armstrong Redwood State Reserve in Guerneville (about 1h 40 min away). Next up on the itinerary: take in the views from Golden Gate Bridge, admire the masterpieces at Legion of Honor, contemplate the waterfront views at San Francisco Bay, and take in the waterfront at Fisherman's Wharf.

Ask Inspirock to suggest an itinerary and make planning a trip to San Francisco fast, fun, and easy.

Washington DC to San Francisco is an approximately 7.5-hour flight. You can also drive; or do a combination of subway and train. You'll gain 3 hours traveling from Washington DC to San Francisco due to the time zone difference. Expect a bit cooler temperatures when traveling from Washington DC in September; daily highs in San Francisco reach 76°F and lows reach 58°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Carmel.

Things to do in San Francisco

Nature · Parks · Wineries · Historic Sites

Side Trips

Carmel

— 2 nights
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. Start off your visit on the 12th (Thu): make a trip to Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard, then immerse yourself in nature at Point Lobos, and then hike along Scenic Road Walkway. Here are some ideas for day two: contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Carmel Mission, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission, then indulge in some personalized pampering at some of the best spas, and finally immerse yourself in nature at Garrapata State Park.

For traveler tips, maps, other places to visit, and tourist information, you can read our Carmel trip itinerary site.

Traveling by car from San Francisco to Carmel takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a bus. In September, daily temperatures in Carmel can reach 72°F, while at night they dip to 56°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 13th (Fri) so you can go by car to San Simeon.

Things to do in Carmel

Parks · Nature · Historic Sites · Outdoors

Side Trip

San Simeon

— 1 night
When you arriveĀ 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 14th (Sat): explore the historical opulence of Hearst Castle, look for all kinds of wild species at Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop, and then do a tasting at Hearst Ranch Winery.

For maps, where to stay, and more tourist information, refer to the San Simeon journey planning website.

You can drive from Carmel to San Simeon in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus, train, and taxi. 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 14th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks · Historic Sites · Wildlife · Wineries

Death Valley National Park

— 2 nights

Hottest, Driest, Lowest

Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Kick off your visit on the 15th (Sun): don't miss a visit to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, then take some stellar pictures from Dante's View, and then take in the dramatic natural features at Zabriskie Point. Keep things going the next day: take a memorable drive along Artists Dr, explore the activities along Badwater Basin, and then get engrossed in the history at The Ranch at Furnace Creek.

To find other places to visit, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Death Valley National Park road trip site.

Drive from San Simeon to Death Valley National Park in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of bus, train, and car. Traveling from San Simeon in September, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit warmer in Death Valley National Park, with lows of 63°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Mon) early enough to drive to Mammoth Lakes.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Nature · Parks · Scenic Drive · Outdoors

Mammoth Lakes

— 3 nights
Mammoth Lakes is a town in Mono County, California, the county's only incorporated community. Discover out-of-the-way places like Glacier Point and Mammoth Mountain Bike Park. Step out of Mammoth Lakes with an excursion to Four Mile Trail in Yosemite National Park--about 1h 5 min away. There's lots more to do: take in the dramatic natural features at Obsidian Dome, trek along Crystal Lake trail, sample the tasty concoctions at Mammoth Brewing Company, and contemplate the waterfront views at Horseshoe Lake.

To see maps, traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Mammoth Lakes vacation app.

You can drive from Death Valley National Park to Mammoth Lakes in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus. Traveling from Death Valley National Park in September, expect nights in Mammoth Lakes to be colder, around 38°F, while days are a bit cooler, around 74°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Thu) so you can travel to Los Angeles.

Things to do in Mammoth Lakes

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature

Side Trip

Los Angeles

— 1 night

City of Angels

Surrounded by mountain ranges, forests, valleys, beaches, and deserts, the metropolitan area of Los Angeles is home to over 17 million people.
Start off your visit on the 20th (Fri): get your bearings at The Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens and then examine the collection at The Nethercutt Collection.

To see other places to visit, maps, ratings, and more tourist information, read our Los Angeles visit planning tool.

Getting from Mammoth Lakes to Los Angeles by flight takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: drive; or do a combination of bus and train. When traveling from Mammoth Lakes in September, plan for somewhat warmer days in Los Angeles, with highs around 85°F, while nights are much warmer with lows around 66°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Fri) to allow time to drive to San Diego.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Parks · Historic Sites · Museums

Side Trip

San Diego

— 3 nights

America's Finest City

Divided into neighborhoods with distinct characters and cultural heritages, San Diego sits just north of the Mexican border and offers visitors a blend of tourist attractions, including a lively nightlife, diverse cuisine, and a thriving musical scene.
On the 21st (Sat), appreciate the history behind The Unconditional Surrender, then stroll the grounds of Fort Rosecrans Cemetery, and then get to know the resident critters at San Diego Zoo. Here are some ideas for day two: stroll through La Jolla Shores Park, then appreciate the history behind Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, and then catch a live event at Petco Park.

For maps, traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, go to the San Diego trip itinerary app.

Getting from Los Angeles to San Diego by car takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or fly. Traveling from Los Angeles in September, you will find days in San Diego are slightly colder (79°F), and nights are about the same (68°F). On the 23rd (Mon), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks · Zoos & Aquariums · Beaches · Outdoors

California travel guide

4.1
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.