20 days in California Itinerary

20 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

20 days in California Itinerary

Start: Narrabri
Fly + Drive:  26​h
1
Santa Barbara
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 45​min
2
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
3
Big Sur
— 2 nights
bus:  45​min
4
Carmel
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
5
San Francisco
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 15​min
6
Yosemite National Park
— 3 nights
bus + Drive:  9​h 30​min
7
Death Valley National Park
— 3 nights
Drive:  8​h 45​min
8
San Diego
— 3 nights
Fly:  27​h
End: Narrabri

1
night
Santa Barbara

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.
To find maps, photos, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Santa Barbara trip planning app .

Narrabri, Australia to Santa Barbara is an approximately 26-hour flight. The time zone difference moving from Australian Eastern Standard Time (New South Wales) to Pacific Standard Time is minus 18 hours. Expect a bit warmer temperatures when traveling from Narrabri in July; daily highs in Santa Barbara reach 27°C and lows reach 17°C. On the 31st (Tue), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Museums
Highlights from your plan
Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History ©
Santa Barbara Museum of Art ©
Santa Barbara Museum of Art

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 1st (Wed): learn about winemaking at Jack Creek Cellars, then do a tasting at AronHill Vineyards, then do a tasting at Peachy Canyon Winery Tasting Room, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Piedras Blancas. On the 2nd (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: look for gifts at Brown Butter Cookie Co and then look for all kinds of wild species at Sweet Springs Nature Preserve.

To see reviews, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, go to the San Simeon trip builder .

Traveling by car from Santa Barbara to San Simeon takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. Traveling from Santa Barbara in July, things will get little chillier in San Simeon: highs are around 17°C and lows about 13°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Big Sur.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Wildlife Beaches

Side Trips

Templeton, Sweet Springs Nature Preserve, Brown Butter Cookie Company
Highlights from your plan
Piedras Blancas ©
Piedras Blancas
Jack Creek Celllars ©
Jack Creek Celllars
AronHill Vineyards ©
AronHill Vineyards

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.
Start off your visit on the 3rd (Fri): view the masterpieces at Coast Gallery Big Sur, stroll through Partington Cove, immerse yourself in nature at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, then admire the sheer force of McWay Falls, and finally kick back and relax at Pfeiffer State Beach. Here are some ideas for day two: admire the majestic nature at Andrew Molera State Park and then enjoy the sea views from Point Sur State Historic Park.

For where to stay, ratings, photos, and tourist information, read our Big Sur itinerary planner.

Drive from San Simeon to Big Sur in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus. Expect a bit warmer weather when traveling from San Simeon in August: highs in Big Sur hover around 23°C, while lows dip to 15°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Sat) early enough to drive to Carmel.

Things to do in Big Sur

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
McWay Falls ©
McWay Falls
Point Sur State Historic Park ©
Point Sur State Historic Park
Andrew Molera State Park ©
Andrew Molera State Park

1
night
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. Start off your visit on the 5th (Sun): enjoy the sand and surf at Carmel River State Beach, then look for gifts at The Cheese Shop, and then immerse yourself in nature at Point Lobos State Reserve.

To see photos, traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, use the Carmel tour itinerary app .

You can drive from Big Sur to Carmel in an hour. Another option is to take a bus. August in Carmel sees daily highs of 24°C and lows of 15°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sun) so you can drive to San Francisco.

Things to do in Carmel

Nature Parks Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
The Cheese Shop ©
The Cheese Shop

2
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Kick off your visit on the 6th (Mon): stroll through Twin Peaks, then delve into the lush surroundings at Muir Woods National Monument, and then browse the different shops at Ferry Building Marketplace. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 7th (Tue): kick back and relax at San Gregorio State Beach and then kick back and relax at Fitzgerald J V Marine Reserve.

To see traveler tips, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, go to the San Francisco trip builder site .

You can drive from Carmel to San Francisco in 2.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and flight; or take a bus. In August, daytime highs in San Francisco are 26°C, while nighttime lows are 17°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trips

Muir Woods National Monument, Fitzgerald J V Marine Reserve, San Gregorio State Beach
Highlights from your plan
Fitzgerald J V Marine Reserve ©
Fitzgerald J V Marine Reserve
San Gregorio State Beach ©
San Gregorio State Beach
Muir Woods National Monument ©
Muir Woods National Monument

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.
Start off your visit on the 8th (Wed): explore the activities along Gaylor Lake and then contemplate the geological forces at Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve. On the next day, don't miss a visit to Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, admire the masterpieces at Yosemite Museum Gallery, then stroll through Lembert Dome, and finally don't miss a visit to Olmsted Point.

For other places to visit, where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, read Yosemite National Park route tool .

Getting from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park by car takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of subway, flight, bus, and taxi. Expect a bit warmer weather when traveling from San Francisco in August: highs in Yosemite National Park hover around 32°C, while lows dip to 7°C. On the 10th (Fri), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trip

Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve
Highlights from your plan
Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve ©
Lembert Dome ©
Lembert Dome
Olmsted Point ©
Olmsted Point

3
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 11th (Sat): get great views at Father Crowley Vista Point, then examine the collection at Lone Pine Film History Museums, and then take in breathtaking views at Mosaic Canyon. On your second day here, explore the activities along Salt Creek Interpretive Trail, then stop by Death Valley Nut & Candy Co, and then take in breathtaking views at Titus Canyon.

To see maps, where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, refer to the Death Valley National Park trip maker website .

You can take a bus from Yosemite National Park to Death Valley National Park in 9.5 hours. Another option is to do a combination of car and bus. Plan for much warmer temperatures traveling from Yosemite National Park in August, with highs in Death Valley National Park at 46°C and lows at 24°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 13th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Nature Parks Trails

Side Trips

Death Valley Nut & Candy, Museum of Western Film History
Highlights from your plan
Titus Canyon ©
Titus Canyon
Museum of Western Film History ©
Museum of Western Film History
Salt Creek Interpretive Trail ©
Salt Creek Interpretive Trail

3
nights
San Diego

San Diego ©
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.
Start off your visit on the 14th (Tue): get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour and then get a taste of the local shopping with Seaport Village. On the next day, wander the streets of Old Town Temecula and then tour the pleasant surroundings at La Jolla Shores Park.

To see maps, ratings, photos, and tourist information, refer to the San Diego driving holiday planner.

Do a combination of bus and flight from Death Valley National Park to San Diego in 9 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and train; or take a bus. Expect colder weather when traveling from Death Valley National Park in August: highs in San Diego hover around 30°C, while lows dip to 23°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 16th (Thu) to allow time for travel back home.

Things to do in San Diego

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Old Town Temecula, Carlsbad Village
Highlights from your plan
La Jolla Shores Park ©
La Jolla Shores Park
Carlsbad Village ©
Carlsbad Village
Old Town Temecula ©
Old Town Temecula

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