18 days in California Itinerary

18 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California trip maker

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Route & dates

18 days in California Itinerary

Start: Los Angeles
Fly + Drive:  4​h
1
Yosemite National Park
— 3 nights
Drive:  4​h
2
San Francisco
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
3
Carmel
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
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
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
End: Los Angeles

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 Bridalveil Fall and Yosemite Falls. Visiting Tunnel View and Panorama Trail will get you outdoors. There's much more to do: take in the dramatic natural features at Glacier Point, take in the awesome beauty at Cathedral Beach Picnic Area, take in the dramatic scenery at Vernal Fall, and stroll through Lembert Dome.

For where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, use the Yosemite National Park trip planner .

Los Angeles to Yosemite National Park is an approximately 4.5-hour combination of flight and car. You can also drive; or do a combination of flight and bus. Plan for little chillier nights when traveling from Los Angeles in June since evenings lows in Yosemite National Park dip to 43°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 25th (Tue) so you can go by car to San Francisco.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Yosemite Falls ©
Yosemite Falls
Bridalveil Fall ©
Bridalveil Fall

3
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Do some cultural sightseeing at Alcatraz Island and SoMa. Escape the urban bustle at Muir Woods National Monument and Dolphin & Whale Watching. There's lots more to do: take in the views from Golden Gate Bridge, get to know the fascinating history of Filbert Steps, enjoy the sea views from Fort Point, and steep yourself in history at SS Jeremiah O'Brien.

For traveler tips, maps, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our San Francisco day trip planning site .

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. When traveling from Yosemite National Park in June, plan for slightly colder days and a bit warmer nights in San Francisco: temperatures range from 71°F by day to 55°F at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 28th (Fri) so you can go by car to Carmel.

Things to do in San Francisco

Historic Sites Parks Neighborhoods

Side Trip

Muir Woods National Monument
Highlights from your plan
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Muir Woods National Monument ©
Muir Woods National Monument

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. Explore hidden gems such as Monterey Bay and Point Lobos. Escape the urban bustle at Dolphin & Whale Watching and Carmel River State Beach. Change things up with these side-trips from Carmel: Big Sur (McWay Falls & Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park). The adventure continues: kick back and relax at Pacific Grove Shoreline Parkway Marine Refuge.

To find other places to visit, ratings, maps, and tourist information, go to the Carmel trip itinerary website .

You can drive from San Francisco to Carmel in 2.5 hours. Other options are to fly; or take a bus. In June, daytime highs in Carmel are 68°F, while nighttime lows are 53°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Mon) so you can drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Carmel

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Big Sur, Monterey, Pacific Grove Shoreline Parkway Marine Refuge
Highlights from your plan
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
Carmel River State Beach ©
Carmel River State Beach
Dolphin & Whale Watching

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 2nd (Tue): contemplate the long history of Hearst Castle, cruise along Moonstone Beach Dr, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Moonstone Beach. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: enjoy the sea views from Piedras Blancas Light Station, then enjoy the sand and surf at Piedras Blancas, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery.

To see reviews, ratings, and tourist information, you can read our San Simeon travel route builder app .

Drive from Carmel to San Simeon in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car. Traveling from Carmel in July, you will find days in San Simeon are warmer (94°F), and nights are about the same (56°F). Cap off your sightseeing on the 3rd (Wed) early enough to go by car to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

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

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.
Your cultural itinerary includes sights like Manzanar National Historic Site and General Sherman Tree. Visiting Moro Rock and Giant Forest will get you outdoors. Step out of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park with an excursion to Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery in Independence--about 38 minutes away. There's more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Lakes Trail in Sequoia National Park and cruise along Generals Hwy.

To find photos, reviews, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park trip maker tool .

You can drive from San Simeon to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car. Expect somewhat warmer evenings in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park when traveling from San Simeon in July, with lows around 66°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Sat) early enough to drive back home.

Things to do in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trip

Independence
Highlights from your plan
Moro Rock ©
Moro Rock
Giant Forest ©
Giant Forest
Manzanar National Historic Site ©
Manzanar National Historic Site

2
nights
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park ©
Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Kick off your visit on the 7th (Sun): explore the stunning scenery at Twenty Mule Team Canyon, then take in the dramatic natural features at Zabriskie Point, and then don't miss a visit to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. On the next day, don't miss a visit to Ashford Mill Ruins, then explore the fascinating underground world of Titus Canyon, then steep yourself in history at Harmony Borax Works, and finally steep yourself in history at Eureka Mine.

For reviews, where to stay, and tourist information, use the Death Valley National Park trip builder app .

Getting from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park to Death Valley National Park by car takes about 7 hours. Traveling from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in July, plan for somewhat warmer nights in Death Valley National Park, with lows around 73°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 9th (Tue) to allow time for the car ride back home.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Parks Nature Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Zabriskie Point ©
Zabriskie Point
Harmony Borax Works ©
Harmony Borax Works
Titus Canyon ©
Titus Canyon

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