17 days in California Itinerary

17 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California vacation planner
Make it your trip
Palm Springs
— 2 nights
Death Valley National Park
— 1 night
Yosemite National Park
— 1 night
San Francisco
— 3 nights
San Simeon
— 3 nights
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
San Diego
— 4 nights


Palm Springs — 2 nights

Step off the beaten path and head to Palm Springs Art Museum and Off-Road Tours. Step out of Palm Springs to go to Palm Desert and see The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, which is approximately 32 minutes away.

To see ratings, where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Palm Springs trip itinerary tool.

Atlanta to Palm Springs is an approximately 6.5-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a bus. The time zone difference when traveling from Atlanta to Palm Springs is minus 3 hours. Traveling from Atlanta in January, expect Palm Springs to be a bit warmer, temps between 71°F and 48°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Sat) to allow time to drive to Death Valley National Park.
Museums · Parks · Tours · Shopping
Side Trips

Death Valley National Park — 1 night

Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
On the 16th (Sun), get great views at Dante's View, take in the dramatic natural features at Zabriskie Point, explore the striking landscape at Devil's Golf Course, explore the activities along Badwater Basin, then take a memorable drive along Artists Dr, and finally steep yourself in history at Harmony Borax Works.

For photos, reviews, ratings, and tourist information, read Death Valley National Park trip site.

You can drive from Palm Springs to Death Valley National Park in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus, train, and car; or take a bus. Expect little chillier temperatures when traveling from Palm Springs in January; daily highs in Death Valley National Park reach 58°F and lows reach 35°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Sun) early enough to travel to Yosemite National Park.
Nature · Parks · Historic Sites · Scenic Drive

Yosemite National Park — 1 night

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.
Start off your visit on the 17th (Mon): stroll through Nature Center at Happy Isles, admire the sheer force of Vernal Fall, take in the dramatic scenery at Bridalveil Fall, get great views at Yosemite, Tunnel View, then take in the dramatic scenery at Yosemite Falls, and finally stroll through McGurk Meadow.

For more things to do, photos, maps, and other tourist information, read Yosemite National Park attractions planner.

You can drive from Death Valley National Park to Yosemite National Park in 4.5 hours. When traveling from Death Valley National Park in January, plan for slightly colder days and much colder nights in Yosemite National Park: temperatures range from 44°F by day to 13°F at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 17th (Mon) so you can travel to San Francisco.
Parks · Nature · Wildlife

San Francisco — 3 nights

San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Step off the beaten path and head to West Cliff Drive and San Francisco Bay. Dedicate the 19th (Wed) to wine at some of the top wineries in the area. There's much more to do: examine the collection at Walt Disney Family Museum, admire the masterpieces at Legion of Honor, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Lands End.

To find ratings, reviews, maps, and more tourist information, read San Francisco day trip site.

Traveling by car from Yosemite National Park to San Francisco takes 4 hours. Traveling from Yosemite National Park in January, expect nights in San Francisco to be much warmer, around 46°F, while days are somewhat warmer, around 59°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Thu) so you can go by car to San Simeon.
Wineries · Tours · Parks · Outdoors
Side Trip

San Simeon — 3 nights

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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Pfeiffer State Beach and Moonstone Beach. Get out of town with these interesting San Simeon side-trips: Big Sur (Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park & McWay Falls). Next up on the itinerary: admire all the interesting features of Moonstone Beach Dr, explore the historical opulence of Hearst Castle, get to know the fascinating history of East Village, and stop by Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop.

To see traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the San Simeon driving holiday planner.

Drive from San Francisco to San Simeon in 4 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of train and taxi; or do a combination of bus and car. Traveling from San Francisco in January, plan for little chillier nights in San Simeon, with lows around 37°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Santa Barbara.
Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Historic Sites
Side Trips

Santa Barbara — 2 nights

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara is a solid vacation destination with its wide beaches, renowned wineries, and some of California's finest shopping and dining options.
Start off your visit on the 24th (Mon): contemplate the long history of Old Mission Santa Barbara and then admire the striking features of Santa Barbara County Courthouse. On the 25th (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: indulge your taste buds at Food & Drink.

To find more things to do, ratings, maps, and tourist information, read our Santa Barbara trip builder tool.

Getting from San Simeon to Santa Barbara by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: take a bus; or do a combination of bus and train. Plan for a bit warmer nights when traveling from San Simeon in January since evenings lows in Santa Barbara dip to 43°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Tue) early enough to fly to San Diego.
Wineries · Tours · Historic Sites

San Diego — 4 nights

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.
Explore hidden gems such as South Carlsbad State Beach and Coronado Island. Step out of San Diego to go to Oceanside and see Oceanside Pier, which is approximately 44 minutes away. There's lots more to do: snap pictures at Coronado Bridge, head outdoors with Outdoor Activities, walk around Sunset Cliffs Natural Park, and admire the natural beauty at Botanical Building and Lily Pond.

To see where to stay, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the San Diego driving holiday app.

Traveling by flight from Santa Barbara to San Diego takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a train. Expect somewhat warmer evenings in San Diego when traveling from Santa Barbara in January, with lows around 51°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 29th (Sat) to allow enough time to fly back home.
Parks · Historic Sites · Nature · Outdoors
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.