17 days in California Itinerary

17 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

17 days in California Itinerary

Start: Richmond
Fly:  9​h 45​min
1
Los Angeles
— 2 nights
Fly + Drive:  4​h 15​min
2
Yosemite National Park
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h
3
San Francisco
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
4
Carmel
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
5
San Simeon
— 1 night
Drive:  6​h 15​min
6
Death Valley National Park
— 2 nights
bus + Fly:  13​h 15​min
End: Richmond

2
nights
Los Angeles

Los Angeles ©
Surrounded by mountain ranges, forests, valleys, beaches, and deserts, the metropolitan area of Los Angeles is home to over 17 million people.
On the 23rd (Mon), examine the collection at Mission San Juan Capistrano. Here are some ideas for day two: discover the magic at Disneyland Park.

To find traveler tips, other places to visit, where to stay, and tourist information, go to the Los Angeles trip itinerary builder website .

Richmond to Los Angeles is an approximately 10-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or drive. Traveling from Richmond to Los Angeles, you'll gain 3 hours due to the time zone difference. In December, Los Angeles is a bit warmer than Richmond - with highs of 69°F and lows of 49°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Wed) early enough to travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Theme Parks Museums

Side Trips

Disneyland Park, Mission San Juan Capistrano
Highlights from your plan
Disneyland Park ©
Disneyland Park
Universal Studios Hollywood ©
Universal Studios Hollywood
Mission San Juan Capistrano ©
Mission San Juan Capistrano

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.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Glacier Point and Olmsted Point. On the 27th (Fri), spend an exhilarating day on the slopes at Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area. There's still lots to do: get great views at Tunnel View, stroll around Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias, tour the pleasant surroundings at Panorama Trail, and take in the dramatic natural features at El Capitan.

For where to stay, traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, refer to the Yosemite National Park sightseeing planning app .

Traveling by combination of flight and car from Los Angeles to Yosemite National Park takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of flight and bus. Prepare for colder weather when traveling from Los Angeles in December: high temperatures in Yosemite National Park hover around 46°F and lows are around 14°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Sat) so you can drive to San Francisco.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Outdoors Winter Sports
Highlights from your plan
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Tunnel View ©
Tunnel View
El Capitan ©
El Capitan

3
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
San Francisco is known for nature, museums, nightlife, shopping, and childrens museums. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: snap pictures at Golden Gate Bridge, explore and take pictures at Golden Gate Park, get curious at Exploratorium, and take in the pleasant sights at Fisherman's Wharf.

For other places to visit and tourist information, you can read our San Francisco road trip website .

You can drive from Yosemite National Park to San Francisco in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and flight; or do a combination of bus and flight. Traveling from Yosemite National Park in December, expect nights in San Francisco to be much warmer, around 45°F, while days are somewhat warmer, around 59°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Tue) early enough to drive to Carmel.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Childrens Museums Museums
Highlights from your plan
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Fisherman's Wharf ©
Fisherman's Wharf

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. Discover out-of-the-way places like Monterey Bay and Carmel River State Beach. Step out of Carmel with an excursion to Pfeiffer State Beach in Big Sur--about 54 minutes away. Spend the 2nd (Thu) observing fascinating marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour. The adventure continues: trek along Point Lobos, take a memorable drive along Seventeen Mile Drive, stop by Monterey's Tasty Olive Bar, and snap pictures at Bixby Bridge.

To find reviews, maps, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the Carmel online day trip planner .

You can drive from San Francisco to Carmel in 2.5 hours. Other options are to fly; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 62°F in December, and nighttime lows around 43°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Fri) early enough to go by car to San Simeon.

Things to do in Carmel

Outdoors Wildlife Parks

Side Trips

Monterey, Big Sur
Highlights from your plan
Monterey Bay ©
Monterey Bay
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
Dolphin & Whale Watching

1
night
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.
Kick off your visit on the 4th (Sat): explore the historical opulence of Hearst Castle, then identify plant and animal life at Elephant Seal Rookery, and then enjoy the sea views from Piedras Blancas Light Station.

For other places to visit, photos, reviews, and more tourist information, read our San Simeon road trip tool .

Traveling by car from Carmel to San Simeon takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car. Traveling from Carmel in January, San Simeon is little chillier at night with lows of 37°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Sat) early enough to drive to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in San Simeon

Historic Sites Wildlife Parks

Side Trip

Piedras Blancas Light Station
Highlights from your plan
Hearst Castle ©
Hearst Castle
Elephant Seal Rookery ©
Elephant Seal Rookery
Piedras Blancas Light Station ©
Piedras Blancas Light Station

2
nights
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park ©
Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Badwater Basin and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. There's still lots to do: explore the striking landscape at Zabriskie Point, explore the stunning scenery at Mosaic Canyon, take an in-depth tour of The Ranch at Furnace Creek, and explore the fascinating underground world of Titus Canyon.

To find traveler tips, ratings, maps, and tourist information, use the Death Valley National Park day trip planner .

You can drive from San Simeon to Death Valley National Park in 6.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus, train, and car; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Expect a bit cooler weather when traveling from San Simeon in January: highs in Death Valley National Park hover around 58°F, while lows dip to 35°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Tue) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Nature Parks Museums
Highlights from your plan
Badwater Basin ©
Badwater Basin
Zabriskie Point ©
Zabriskie Point
Dante's View ©
Dante's View

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