16 days in California Itinerary

16 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

16 days in California Itinerary

Start: Philadelphia
Fly:  7​h 30​min
1
San Francisco
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h
2
Yosemite National Park
— 3 nights
bus + Fly:  4​h
3
Big Sur
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 45​min
4
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
5
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
— 3 nights
Drive:  7​h
6
Death Valley National Park
— 1 night
bus + Fly:  11​h 30​min
End: Philadelphia

2
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Muir Woods National Monument and Bodega Dunes. Get some historical perspective at Alcatraz Island and City Lights Booksellers. When in San Francisco, make a side trip to see Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, approximately 1h 30 min away. The adventure continues: snap pictures at Golden Gate Bridge, get to know the fascinating history of Filbert Steps, take in the waterfront at Fisherman's Wharf, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Lincoln Park.

To find reviews, maps, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the San Francisco tour planner.

Philadelphia to San Francisco is an approximately 7.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or drive. The time zone difference moving from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Pacific Standard Time (PST) is minus 3 hours. Traveling from Philadelphia in July, expect San Francisco to be little chillier, temps between 73°F and 57°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Fri) early enough to drive to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Historic Sites Nature

Side Trips

Bodega Dunes, Castello di Amorosa, Muir Woods National Monument
Highlights from your plan
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Muir Woods National Monument ©
Muir Woods National Monument
Castello di Amorosa ©
Castello di Amorosa

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.
Get outdoors at Nevada Falls Loop and Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Vernal Fall and Glacier Point. And it doesn't end there: take some stellar pictures from Tunnel View, pause for some serene contemplation at Yosemite Valley Chapel, take in the dramatic scenery at Yosemite Falls, and take in the dramatic natural features at Sentinel Dome.

To find other places to visit, photos, maps, and tourist information, use the Yosemite National Park tour itinerary planning app .

Drive from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and car; or do a combination of flight and bus. Traveling from San Francisco in July, you will find days in Yosemite National Park are somewhat warmer (83°F), and nights are little chillier (46°F). Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Big Sur.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Outdoors Trails
Highlights from your plan
Yosemite Falls ©
Yosemite Falls
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Sentinel Dome ©
Sentinel Dome

2
nights
Big Sur

Big Sur ©
A sparsely populated area with stunning views, Big Sur attracts artists and tourists traveling California’s scenic Highway 1.
On the 23rd (Tue), enjoy the sand and surf at Pfeiffer State Beach, then kick back and relax at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, then admire the sheer force of McWay Falls, and finally trek along Partington Cove. Here are some ideas for day two: admire the majestic nature at Limekiln State Park, then take in the spiritual surroundings of New Camaldoli Hermitage, and then trek along Pacific Valley Bluff Trail.

To find other places to visit, photos, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Big Sur trip planner .

The Route module can help you plan travel from Yosemite National Park to Big Sur. While traveling from Yosemite National Park, expect little chillier days and somewhat warmer nights in Big Sur, ranging from highs of 69°F to lows of 55°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Wed) to allow time to drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Big Sur

Parks Outdoors Nature
Highlights from your plan
Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park ©
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
McWay Falls ©
McWay Falls

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 25th (Thu): steep yourself in history at Hearst Castle, then cruise along Moonstone Beach Dr, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Moonstone Beach. Keep things going the next day: enjoy the sea views from Piedras Blancas Light Station, stroll through Piedras Blancas, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery.

To find reviews, where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, read San Simeon trip itinerary planning website .

Traveling by car from Big Sur to San Simeon takes 4 hours. While traveling from Big Sur, expect warmer days and about the same nights in San Simeon, ranging from highs of 94°F to lows of 56°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Fri) so you can drive to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

Things to do in San Simeon

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trip

Cambria
Highlights from your plan
Hearst Castle ©
Hearst Castle
Friends of the Elephant Seal ©
Friends of the Elephant Seal
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach

3
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.
Escape the urban bustle at Manzanar National Historic Site and Zumwalt Meadow Trail. Step off the beaten path and head to Kings Canyon National Park and Grizzly Falls. The adventure continues: take a peaceful walk through Giant Forest, cruise along Generals Hwy, and explore the striking landscape at Moro Rock.

To find maps, ratings, reviews, and more tourist information, go to the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park route planner.

Getting from San Simeon to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park by car takes about 5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and car. Plan for somewhat warmer nights when traveling from San Simeon in July since evenings lows in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park dip to 66°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 29th (Mon) to allow time to drive to Death Valley National Park.

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
Giant Forest ©
Giant Forest
Kings Canyon National Park ©
Kings Canyon National Park

1
night
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park ©
Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
On the 30th (Tue), explore the striking landscape at Zabriskie Point, contemplate the long history of Eureka Mine, and then explore the activities along Badwater Basin. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in the dramatic natural features at Artists Palette, then cruise along Artists Dr, and then don't miss a visit to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.

To find traveler tips, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Death Valley National Park day trip tool .

You can drive from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park to Death Valley National Park in 7 hours. Expect a bit warmer evenings in Death Valley National Park when traveling from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in July, with lows around 73°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Wed) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Zabriskie Point ©
Zabriskie Point
Artists Palette ©
Artists Palette
Badwater Basin ©
Badwater Basin

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