16 days in California Itinerary

16 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock San Francisco Bay Area trip planner
Make it your trip
San Francisco
— 6 nights
Santa Rosa
— 2 nights
— 2 nights
— 2 nights
— 3 nights


San Francisco — 6 nights

San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like San Francisco Botanical Garden and Conservatory of Flowers. Take a break from the city and head to San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park and Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around San Francisco: Mount Diablo State Park (in Clayton), Devil's Slide Trail (in Pacifica) and Fitzgerald J V Marine Reserve (in Moss Beach). There's much more to do: explore the wealth of natural beauty at Mount Tamalpais State Park, kick back and relax at Fort Funston National Park, see what you can catch with a fishing tour, and appreciate the extensive heritage of Golden Gate Promenade.

For photos, ratings, and tourist information, read our San Francisco road trip tool.

If you are flying in from New Zealand, the closest major aiports are San Francisco International Airport, Metropolitan Oakland International Airport, Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport and Travis Air Force Base. In May, plan for daily highs up to 24°C, and evening lows to 13°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 8th (Sun) so you can go by car to Santa Rosa.
Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Wildlife
Side Trips

Santa Rosa — 2 nights

Located less than an hour's drive north of San Francisco, Santa Rosa serves as a convenient hub for travelers on their way to the world-famous Napa Valley wine country.
Kick off your visit on the 9th (Mon): admire the verdant scenery at Bennett Valley, then learn about winemaking at Sherwin Family Vineyards, then learn about winemaking at Tedeschi Family Winery, and finally explore by horseback at Hood Mountain Regional Park. Here are some ideas for day two: enjoy some diversion at Snoopy's Home Ice, stroll through Laguna de Santa Rosa, then explore the landscape on two wheels at Santa Rosa Creek, and finally stroll through Taylor Mountain Regional Park & Open Space Preserve.

To see more things to do and other tourist information, read Santa Rosa trip planner.

Traveling by car from San Francisco to Santa Rosa takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of bus and train. Traveling from San Francisco in May, you will find days in Santa Rosa are somewhat warmer (28°C), and nights are slightly colder (10°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Tue) so you can drive to Sacramento.
Parks · Wineries · Nature · Trails
Side Trips

Sacramento — 2 nights

The capital city of America's most economically significant state, Sacramento is an important stop for any politico.
Kick off your visit on the 11th (Wed): tour the pleasant surroundings at Cosumnes River Preserve, do a tasting at Macchia Wines, then contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Natoma, and finally grab your bike and head to Lower American River. Keep things going the next day: hike along Davis Greenbelt, then examine the collection at Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum, then get engrossed in the history at Governor's Mansion, and finally trek along Stevens Trail.

For maps, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Sacramento trip maker website.

Traveling by car from Santa Rosa to Sacramento takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Traveling from Santa Rosa in May, Sacramento is a bit warmer at night with lows of 14°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 12th (Thu) so you can go by car to Modesto.
Parks · Trails · Outdoors · Museums
Side Trips

Modesto — 2 nights

Modesto, officially the City of Modesto, is the county seat and largest city of Stanislaus County, California, United States. Start off your visit on the 13th (Fri): take a memorable drive along Palos Verdes Scenic Drive, trek along Pacific Crest Trail - Southern Terminus, then examine the collection at Great Valley Museum, and finally stroll through Tuolumne River Trail. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 14th (Sat): take a peaceful walk through Ancient Bristlecone Forest, explore the activities along San Joaquin River National Wildlife Refuge, then buy something for everyone on your list at Vintage Faire Mall, and finally appreciate the extensive heritage of Modesto Historic Graffiti Cruise Route.

To see maps, photos, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our Modesto tour itinerary builder site.

Getting from Sacramento to Modesto by car takes about 1.5 hours. In May, daytime highs in Modesto are 34°C, while nighttime lows are 15°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Sat) so you can travel to Monterey.
Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature
Side Trips

Monterey — 3 nights

Monterey is a city in the U.S. state of California, on the southern edge of Monterey Bay on California's Central Coast. Get in touch with nature at Carmel River State Beach and Garrapata State Park. Discover out-of-the-way places like Asilomar State Beach and Scenic Road Walkway. Change things up with a short trip to Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve in Moss Landing (about 36 minutes away). There's much more to do: grab your bike and head to Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail, indulge your taste buds at Food & Drink, take in the waterfront at Coast Guard Pier, and get a dose of the wild on Elkhorn Slough Safari.

To find ratings, maps, where to stay, and tourist information, read Monterey travel tool.

You can drive from Modesto to Monterey in 2.5 hours. Prepare for little chillier weather when traveling from Modesto in May: high temperatures in Monterey hover around 21°C and lows are around 12°C.
Parks · Outdoors · Tours · Beaches
Side Trips

California travel guide

Specialty Museums · Wineries & Vineyards · Theme Parks
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.