18 days in California Itinerary

18 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

18 days in California Itinerary

Start: Denver
Fly:  4​h 45​min
1
San Francisco
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h
2
Big Sur
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 45​min
3
San Simeon
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h 45​min
4
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
— 1 night
Fly + bus:  7​h 45​min
5
South Lake Tahoe
— 4 nights
+2
bus + foot + bus:  6​h 15​min
6
Yosemite National Park
— 4 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
7
Olympic Valley
— 2 nights
Fly:  10​h
End: Denver

1
night
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
On the 22nd (Sat), examine the collection at Cable Car Museum, then engage your brain at Exploratorium, and then step off the mainland to explore Alcatraz Island.

To find ratings, more things to do, photos, and tourist information, read San Francisco road trip planning tool .

Denver to San Francisco is an approximately 5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and train; or drive. Traveling from Denver to San Francisco, you'll gain 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Expect a bit cooler weather when traveling from Denver in June: highs in San Francisco hover around 71°F, while lows dip to 55°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Big Sur.

Things to do in San Francisco

Museums Shopping Childrens Museums
Highlights from your plan
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Exploratorium ©
Exploratorium
Cable Car Museum ©
Cable Car Museum

1
night
Big Sur

Big Sur ©
A sparsely populated area with stunning views, Big Sur attracts artists and tourists traveling California’s scenic Highway 1.
Start off your visit on the 23rd (Sun): immerse yourself in nature at Andrew Molera State Park and then immerse yourself in nature at Point Sur State Historic Park.

To see ratings, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, read Big Sur driving holiday app .

Traveling by car from San Francisco to Big Sur takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and taxi; or do a combination of train and taxi. In June, plan for daily highs up to 68°F, and evening lows to 53°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Mon) to allow time to drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Big Sur

Parks Nature Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Andrew Molera State Park ©
Andrew Molera State Park
Point Sur State Historic Park ©
Point Sur State Historic Park

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 24th (Mon): step into the grandiose world of Hearst Castle, then identify plant and animal life at Elephant Seal Rookery, then learn about winemaking at Hearst Ranch Winery, and finally make a trip to San Simeon Pier. On the next day, take in nature's colorful creations at Cambria Nursery & Florist, then do a tasting at Peachy Canyon Winery, then enjoy the sand and surf at Moonstone Beach, and finally tour the pleasant surroundings at Piedras Blancas.

To see more things to do, traveler tips, where to stay, and tourist information, read San Simeon sightseeing planning app .

You can drive from Big Sur to San Simeon in 4 hours. Traveling from Big Sur in June, you will find days in San Simeon are much warmer (93°F), and nights are about the same (53°F). Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Tue) so you can drive to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trips

Cambria, Peachy Canyon Winery
Highlights from your plan
Hearst Castle ©
Hearst Castle
Piedras Blancas ©
Piedras Blancas
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach

1
night
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.
On the 26th (Wed), take in the dramatic natural features at Moro Rock, then take a peaceful walk through Giant Forest, and then cruise along Generals Hwy. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 27th (Thu): trek along Zumwalt Meadow Trail and then admire the sheer force of Roaring River Falls.

For reviews, other places to visit, ratings, and tourist information, read Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park trip planner .

Traveling by car from San Simeon to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car. Traveling from San Simeon in June, plan for a bit warmer nights in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, with lows around 62°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Thu) early enough to travel to South Lake Tahoe.

Things to do in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Moro Rock ©
Moro Rock
Zumwalt Meadow Trail ©
Zumwalt Meadow Trail
Roaring River Falls ©
Roaring River Falls

4
nights
South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe ©
High in the Sierra Nevada mountains on the shore of one of America’s most scenic lakes, South Lake Tahoe captures the spirit of the outdoors and serves as a hub for tourism activities surrounding the lake.
You'll visit kid-friendly attractions like Van Sickle Bi-State Park and Lakeside Beach. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Waterskiing & Jetskiing and Wine Tours & Tastings. There's lots more to do: explore the activities along Emerald Bay State Park, hike along Cascade Falls Trail, and admire the majestic nature at D.L. Bliss State Park.

To see traveler tips, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, you can read our South Lake Tahoe tour planner.

You can do a combination of flight and bus from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park to South Lake Tahoe in 8 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. When traveling from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in June, plan for slightly colder days in South Lake Tahoe, with highs around 77°F, while nights are much colder with lows around 41°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Mon) so you can travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in South Lake Tahoe

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Lake Tahoe (California), Cascade Falls Trail, Fallen Leaf Lake
Highlights from your plan
Emerald Bay State Park ©
Emerald Bay State Park
Van Sickle Bi-State Park ©
Van Sickle Bi-State Park
D.L. Bliss State Park ©
D.L. Bliss State Park

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.
Take a break from the city and head to Tuolumne Meadows and Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias. Discover out-of-the-way places like Vernal Fall and Yosemite Falls. There's much more to do: take in the dramatic natural features at Glacier Point, stroll through Lembert Dome, don't miss a visit to Olmsted Point, and get great views at Tunnel View.

To see ratings, where to stay, and other tourist information, read our Yosemite National Park driving holiday app .

Traveling by bus from South Lake Tahoe to Yosemite National Park takes 6.5 hours. In July, daytime highs in Yosemite National Park are 83°F, while nighttime lows are 46°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Fri) so you can travel to Olympic Valley.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Outdoors Trails
Highlights from your plan
Panorama Trail ©
Panorama Trail
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Yosemite Falls ©
Yosemite Falls

2
nights
Olympic Valley

Olympic Valley ©
Start off your visit on the 6th (Sat): admire the majestic nature at Donner Memorial State Park and Emigrant Trail Museum, let little ones run wild at Commons Beach Park, and then grab your bike and head to Tahoe City - South/North Trailheads. On the 7th (Sun), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: trek along Tahoe Meadows Whole Access Interpretive Trail, then tour the pleasant surroundings at Burnt Cedar Beach, and then visit a coastal fixture at Lake Tahoe.

For photos, ratings, more things to do, and tourist information, read Olympic Valley sightseeing app .

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Yosemite National Park to Olympic Valley. Traveling from Yosemite National Park in July, plan for a bit cooler nights in Olympic Valley, with lows around 40°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Sun) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Olympic Valley

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Tahoe City, Incline Village, Lake Tahoe, Donner Memorial State Park and Emigrant Trail Museum
Highlights from your plan
Lake Tahoe ©
Lake Tahoe
Burnt Cedar Beach ©
Burnt Cedar Beach

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