18 days in California Itinerary

18 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

18 days in California Itinerary

Start: London
drive:  16​h 30​min
1
Calistoga
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 45​min
2
Fort Bragg
— 2 nights
Drive:  7​h
3
Independence
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 45​min
4
Yosemite National Park
— 2 nights
bus + Fly:  4​h 15​min
5
Big Sur
— 2 nights
bus:  30​min
6
Carmel
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h
7
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
8
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
9
Los Angeles
— 1 night
Fly:  14​h 30​min
End: London

1
night
Calistoga

Calistoga ©
Indulgence is the name of the game in Calistoga.
Start off your visit on the 30th (Tue): learn about winemaking at Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards, do a tasting at Robert Mondavi Winery, then do a tasting at V. Sattui Winery, and finally step into the grandiose world of Castello di Amorosa.

To see other places to visit, ratings, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Calistoga online day trip planner .

Drive from San Francisco to Calistoga in 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and taxi; or take a bus. Traveling from San Francisco in July, you will find days in Calistoga are a bit warmer (34°C), and nights are about the same (13°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 30th (Tue) so you can drive to Fort Bragg.

Things to do in Calistoga

Wineries Historic Sites

Side Trips

St. Helena, Robert Mondavi Winery
Highlights from your plan
Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards ©
Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards
Castello di Amorosa ©
Castello di Amorosa
Robert Mondavi Winery ©
Robert Mondavi Winery

2
nights
Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg ©
Fort Bragg is a coastal city along State Route 1 in Mendocino County, California. Start off your visit on the 31st (Wed): kick back and relax at Seaside Beach, then kick back and relax at Glass Beach, and then view the masterpieces at Glass Fire Art Glass Gallery. On your second day here, take in the exciting artwork at Highlight Gallery, then steep yourself in history at Ford House Museum, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Noyo Headlands Park, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Pudding Creek Beach.

To find where to stay, photos, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Fort Bragg road trip tool .

You can drive from Calistoga to Fort Bragg in 3 hours. Another option is to do a combination of taxi and bus. While traveling from Calistoga, expect somewhat warmer days and about the same nights in Fort Bragg, ranging from highs of 41°C to lows of 16°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 1st (Thu) early enough to travel to Independence.

Things to do in Fort Bragg

Beaches Outdoors Parks

Side Trip

Mendocino
Highlights from your plan
Glass Beach ©
Glass Beach
Seaside Beach ©
Seaside Beach
Pudding Creek Beach ©
Pudding Creek Beach

1
night
Independence

Independence ©
Independence is a census-designated place in Inyo County, California. Start off your visit on the 2nd (Fri): steep yourself in history at Manzanar National Historic Site. On the next day, contemplate the long history of California Historical Landmark 507, then see the interesting displays at Museum of Western Film History, then contemplate the long history of Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery, and finally see the interesting displays at Eastern California Museum.

To see traveler tips, photos, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Independence vacation maker website .

Drive from Fort Bragg to Independence in 9.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly. In August, daytime highs in Independence are 42°C, while nighttime lows are 15°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Sat) early enough to travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Independence

Historic Sites Nature Parks

Side Trip

Lone Pine
Highlights from your plan
Manzanar National Historic Site ©
Manzanar National Historic Site
Museum of Western Film History ©
Museum of Western Film History
Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery ©
Mt. Whitney Fish Hatchery

2
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.
On the 4th (Sun), take in the architecture and atmosphere at Yosemite Valley Chapel, take in the dramatic scenery at Yosemite Falls, then make a trip to Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center, and finally take in the dramatic natural features at Glacier Point. Keep things going the next day: tour the pleasant surroundings at Panorama Trail, take in the dramatic scenery at Vernal Fall, and then get great views at Tunnel View.

To find more things to do, reviews, photos, and more tourist information, read our Yosemite National Park trip maker site .

Traveling by car from Independence to Yosemite National Park takes 3 hours. Prepare for a bit cooler weather when traveling from Independence in August: high temperatures in Yosemite National Park hover around 32°C and lows are around 7°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Big Sur.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Nature Trails
Highlights from your plan
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Yosemite Valley Chapel ©
Yosemite Valley Chapel
Panorama Trail ©
Panorama Trail

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 6th (Tue), hike along Partington Cove, immerse yourself in nature at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and then kick back and relax at Pfeiffer State Beach. On your second day here, steep yourself in history at Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soledad, then contemplate in the serene atmosphere at New Camaldoli Hermitage, then admire the sheer force of McWay Falls, and finally take in the exciting artwork at Coast Gallery Big Sur.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, go to the Big Sur tour itinerary planning website .

You can drive from Yosemite National Park to Big Sur in 6 hours. Traveling from Yosemite National Park in August, expect nights in Big Sur to be a bit warmer, around 16°C, while days are little chillier, around 24°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 7th (Wed) to allow enough time to take a bus to Carmel.

Things to do in Big Sur

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soledad
Highlights from your plan
Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach
Mission Nuestra Senora de la Soledad ©
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park ©
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

2
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. On the 8th (Thu), appreciate the extensive heritage of Cannery Row and then trek along Point Lobos. Here are some ideas for day two: admire all the interesting features of Seventeen Mile Drive and then stroll through Carmel River State Beach.

To find other places to visit, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, use the Carmel trip itinerary maker website .

Carmel is very close to Big Sur. August in Carmel sees daily highs of 24°C and lows of 16°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Fri) so you can go by car to San Simeon.

Things to do in Carmel

Beaches Outdoors Parks

Side Trip

Cannery Row
Highlights from your plan
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
Carmel River State Beach ©
Carmel River State Beach
Cannery Row ©
Cannery Row

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 10th (Sat): visit a coastal fixture at Piedras Blancas Light Station, view the masterpieces at artifacts gallery, and then kick back and relax at Moonstone Beach. Here are some ideas for day two: step into the grandiose world of Hearst Castle and then look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery.

To find other places to visit, ratings, where to stay, and other tourist information, use the San Simeon holiday planner.

You can drive from Carmel to San Simeon in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car. While traveling from Carmel, expect much warmer days and about the same nights in San Simeon, ranging from highs of 40°C to lows of 15°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Historic Sites Beaches

Side Trip

Cambria
Highlights from your plan
Piedras Blancas Light Station ©
Piedras Blancas Light Station
Artifacts Gallery ©
Artifacts Gallery
Hearst Castle ©
Hearst Castle

2
nights
Santa Barbara

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 12th (Mon): take in panoramic vistas at Santa Barbara County Courthouse, then don't miss a visit to Old Mission Santa Barbara, and then take a stroll through State Street. Here are some ideas for day two: awaken your taste buds at some of the top wineries in the area.

To find ratings, traveler tips, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Santa Barbara trip site .

You can drive from San Simeon to Santa Barbara in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of bus and train. When traveling from San Simeon in August, plan for slightly colder days and about the same nights in Santa Barbara: temperatures range from 28°C by day to 18°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Los Angeles.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Tours Historic Sites Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Wine Tours & Tastings
Old Mission Santa Barbara ©
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Santa Barbara County Courthouse ©
Santa Barbara County Courthouse

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 14th (Wed): admire the majestic nature at Santa Monica State Beach and then kick back and relax at Venice Beach and Boardwalk.

To see other places to visit, maps, reviews, and tourist information, go to the Los Angeles online vacation planner .

Getting from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a bus; or take a train. Plan for a bit warmer temperatures traveling from Santa Barbara in August, with highs in Los Angeles at 34°C and lows at 22°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Beaches Outdoors Parks

Side Trip

Santa Monica State Beach
Highlights from your plan
Venice Beach and Boardwalk ©
Venice Beach and Boardwalk
Santa Monica State Beach ©
Santa Monica State Beach

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