18 days in California Itinerary

18 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California vacation planner

Plan created by another user. Make it yours

Route & dates

1
Death Valley National Park
— 2 nights
2
Yosemite National Park
— 2 nights
3
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
— 2 nights
4
San Simeon
— 2 nights
5
Carmel
— 3 nights
6
San Francisco
— 4 nights

2
nights
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park ©
Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Keep things going the next day: take in the dramatic natural features at Zabriskie Point, steep yourself in history at Eureka Mine, and then contemplate the waterfront views at Badwater Basin.

To find ratings, more things to do, maps, and tourist information, read Death Valley National Park journey planner.

Washington DC to Death Valley National Park is an approximately 12-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also drive; or do a combination of train, shuttle, and bus. You'll gain 3 hours traveling from Washington DC to Death Valley National Park due to the time zone difference. When traveling from Washington DC in August, plan for somewhat warmer days and about the same nights in Death Valley National Park: temperatures range from 98°F by day to 70°F at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sun) so you can catch the bus to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Nature · Parks · Scenic Drive
Highlights from your plan
Zabriskie Point ©
Zabriskie Point
Artists Palette ©
Artists Palette
Badwater Basin ©
Badwater Basin

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.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Yosemite, Tunnel View and Vernal Fall. Attractions like Yosemite Falls and Panorama Trail make great kid-friendly stops. Step out of Yosemite National Park with an excursion to Bodie State Historic Park in Bridgeport--about 1h 10 min away. There's still lots to do: hike along Mariposa Grove, make a trip to Olmsted Point, and explore the wealth of natural beauty at Swinging Bridge Picnic Area Yosemite National Park CA.

For where to stay, traveler tips, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our Yosemite National Park trip itinerary builder app.

You can take a bus from Death Valley National Park to Yosemite National Park in 6 hours. Expect slightly colder weather when traveling from Death Valley National Park in August: highs in Yosemite National Park hover around 81°F, while lows dip to 43°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 14th (Wed) to allow enough time to take a bus to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks · Outdoors · Trails

Side Trip

Bodie State Historic Park
Highlights from your plan
Yosemite Falls ©
Yosemite Falls
Mariposa Grove ©
Mariposa Grove
Yosemite, Tunnel View ©
Yosemite, Tunnel View

2
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.
Take a break from the city and head to Giant Forest and Zumwalt Meadow Trail. Bring the kids along to Moro Rock Trail and Grizzly Falls. Step out of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park with an excursion to Manzanar National Historic Site in Independence--about 6h 15 min away. There's more to do: explore the stunning scenery at Kings Canyon National Park and take a memorable drive along Generals Hwy.

To find where to stay, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park planning tool.

Take a bus from Yosemite National Park to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in 8.5 hours. Traveling from Yosemite National Park in August, expect Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park to be a bit warmer, temps between 95°F and 63°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 17th (Sat) to allow time to drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Parks · Nature · Historic Sites

Side Trip

Manzanar National Historic Site
Highlights from your plan
Giant Forest ©
Giant Forest
Moro Rock Trail ©
Moro Rock Trail
Kings Canyon National Park ©
Kings Canyon National Park

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 18th (Sun): stroll through Piedras Blancas, look for all kinds of wild species at Friends of the Elephant Seal, and then enjoy the sea views from Piedras Blancas Light Station. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the historical opulence of Hearst Castle, cruise along Moonstone Beach Dr, and then stroll through Moonstone Beach.

Use Inspirock's suggestions to plan your San Simeon trip and find the best activities and attractions for your vacation.

Getting from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park to San Simeon by car takes about 5 hours. Other options: do a combination of car, bus, and taxi; or do a combination of car and bus. Traveling from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in August, San Simeon is little chillier at night with lows of 55°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 19th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Carmel.

Things to do in San Simeon

Outdoors · Parks · Wildlife

Side Trip

Cambria
Highlights from your plan
Friends of the Elephant Seal ©
Friends of the Elephant Seal
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach
Hearst Castle ©
Hearst Castle

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. You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Point Lobos and Carmel River State Beach. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Dolphin & Whale Watching and Monterey Bay. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Carmel: Big Sur (McWay Falls & Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park). There's more to do: kick back and relax at Pacific Grove Shoreline Parkway Marine Refuge.

For where to stay, maps, photos, and more tourist information, refer to the Carmel trip builder app.

You can drive from San Simeon to Carmel in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus. When traveling from San Simeon in August, plan for colder days and about the same nights in Carmel: temperatures range from 70°F by day to 57°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Thu) so you can drive to San Francisco.

Things to do in Carmel

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches

Side Trips

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

4
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Get some historical perspective at Alcatraz Island and Golden Gate Bridge. Get in touch with nature at Muir Woods National Monument and Bodega Dunes. When in San Francisco, make a side trip to see Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, approximately Calistoga away. The adventure continues: engage your brain at Exploratorium, take some stellar pictures from Twin Peaks, take a leisurely stroll along Fisherman's Wharf, and get to know the fascinating history of Filbert Street Stairs.

To see photos, traveler tips, ratings, and more tourist information, read San Francisco vacation website.

You can drive from Carmel to San Francisco in 2.5 hours. Other options are to fly; or take a bus. In August in San Francisco, expect temperatures between 73°F during the day and 59°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 26th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks · Historic Sites · Museums

Side Trips

Bodega Dunes, Castello di Amorosa, Muir Woods National Monument
Highlights from your plan
Muir Woods National Monument ©
Muir Woods National Monument
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge

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