17 days in California Itinerary

17 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

17 days in California Itinerary

Start: Edmonton
Fly:  9​h 15​min
1
San Francisco
— 4 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
2
Yosemite National Park
— 4 nights
+2
Drive + Fly + bus:  6​h
3
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
4
Carmel
— 3 nights
Fly:  3​h 15​min
5
Los Angeles
— 3 nights
Fly:  7​h 15​min
End: Edmonton

4
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Castello di Amorosa and Muir Woods National Monument. Get a sense of the local culture at Alcatraz Island and Exploratorium. Step out of San Francisco with an excursion to V. Sattui in St. Helena--about 1h 25 min away. And it doesn't end there: snap pictures at Golden Gate Bridge, steep yourself in history at SS Jeremiah O'Brien, see the interesting displays at Cable Car Museum, and get great views at Twin Peaks.

To find other places to visit, maps, ratings, and other tourist information, read our San Francisco trip itinerary builder tool .

Edmonton, Canada to San Francisco is an approximately 9.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from Edmonton to San Francisco due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Edmonton in December, things will get much warmer in San Francisco: highs are around 17°C and lows about 8°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 25th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in San Francisco

Historic Sites Museums Nature

Side Trips

Muir Woods National Monument, Castello di Amorosa, V. Sattui Winery
Highlights from your plan
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Castello di Amorosa ©
Castello di Amorosa

4
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.
Explore hidden gems such as Bodie State Historic Park and Glacier Point. Step out of the city life by going to Tunnel View and Olmsted Point. Step out of Yosemite National Park with an excursion to Dodge Ridge in Pinecrest--about 1 hour away. Next up on the itinerary: explore the striking landscape at El Capitan, make a trip to Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, and see a world frozen in time at Bodie.

To find photos, ratings, maps, and tourist information, read Yosemite National Park trip planning website .

Getting from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park by car takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of subway, flight, bus, and taxi. Expect little chillier weather when traveling from San Francisco in December: highs in Yosemite National Park hover around 7°C, while lows dip to -11°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 29th (Fri) to allow time for the car ride to San Simeon.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Bodie State Historic Park, Dodge Ridge
Highlights from your plan
Bodie State Historic Park ©
Bodie State Historic Park
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
El Capitan ©
El Capitan

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.
Kick off your visit on the 30th (Sat): look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery and then kick back and relax at Piedras Blancas. On your second day here, enjoy the sand and surf at Moonstone Beach and then see the interesting displays at Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon Bay (Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary).

For where to stay, ratings, reviews, and tourist information, read our San Simeon travel itinerary planner .

Traveling by car from Yosemite National Park to San Simeon takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus. Traveling from Yosemite National Park in December, expect nights in San Simeon to be much hotter, around 11°C, while days are somewhat warmer, around 17°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 31st (Sun) so you can go by car to Carmel.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trip

Moonstone Beach
Highlights from your plan
Friends of the Elephant Seal ©
Friends of the Elephant Seal
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach
Piedras Blancas ©
Piedras Blancas

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. Get in touch with nature at Point Lobos State Reserve and Pfeiffer State Beach. You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Carmel City Beach/Carmel River Beach and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Get out of town with these interesting Carmel side-trips: Big Sur (Partington Cove & McWay Falls). There's still lots to do: admire the majestic nature at Asilomar State Beach, look for gifts at The Cheese Shop, and make a trip to San Carlos Cathedral.

For where to stay and more tourist information, go to the Carmel trip planning app .

Drive from San Simeon to Carmel in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus. Traveling from San Simeon in December, plan for a bit cooler nights in Carmel, with lows around 7°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 3rd (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Los Angeles.

Things to do in Carmel

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Big Sur, San Carlos Cathedral, Asilomar State Beach
Highlights from your plan
Carmel River State Beach ©
Carmel River State Beach
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
Asilomar State Beach ©
Asilomar State Beach

3
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.
Get in touch with nature at Venice Beach and Boardwalk and El Pueblo de Los Angeles. Get a sense of the local culture at Getty Center The Publications and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Next up on the itinerary: see the sky in a new way at Griffith Observatory, don't miss a visit to Hollywood Walk of Fame, appreciate the extensive heritage of Venice Canals Walkway, and get engrossed in the history at La Brea Tar Pits & Museum.

For maps, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, go to the Los Angeles online visit planner .

Traveling by combination of taxi and flight from Carmel to Los Angeles takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or do a combination of bus and train. Traveling from Carmel in January, you will find days in Los Angeles are a bit warmer (24°C), and nights are about the same (11°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Museums Childrens Museums Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
The Getty Center ©
The Getty Center
Los Angeles County Museum of Art ©
Los Angeles County Museum of Art
La Brea Tar Pits and Museum ©
La Brea Tar Pits and Museum

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