20 days in California, New Orleans & New York City Itinerary

20 days in California, New Orleans & New York City Itinerary

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Route & dates

20 days in California, New Orleans & New York City Itinerary

Start: Edinburgh
Fly:  16​h
1
San Francisco
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
2
Big Sur
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
3
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  6​h 15​min
4
Death Valley National Park
— 1 night
Drive + bus:  8​h
5
Yosemite National Park
— 2 nights
Drive + Fly:  9​h 30​min
6
New Orleans
— 3 nights
Fly + bus:  6​h
7
New York City
— 2 nights
bus + Fly:  11​h 30​min
End: Edinburgh

3
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Step out of the city life by going to Armstrong Redwood State Reserve and Muir Woods National Monument. You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Alcatraz Island and Fisherman's Wharf. Step out of San Francisco with an excursion to Modus Operandi Cellars in St. Helena--about 1h 25 min away. Next up on the itinerary: snap pictures at Golden Gate Bridge, take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, don't miss a visit to Lombard Street, and get to know the fascinating history of Filbert Steps.

To see ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, you can read our San Francisco trip itinerary site .

Edinburgh, UK to San Francisco is an approximately 16-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight. The time zone difference moving from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) to Pacific Standard Time (PST) is minus 8 hours. Prepare for somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Edinburgh in July: high temperatures in San Francisco hover around 26°C and lows are around 16°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 4th (Sat) so you can go by car to Big Sur.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Nature Wildlife

Side Trips

Armstrong Redwood State Reserve, Modus Operandi Cellars, Muir Woods National Monument
Highlights from your plan
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Armstrong Redwood State Reserve ©
Armstrong Redwood State Reserve
Muir Woods National Monument ©
Muir Woods National Monument

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.
Kick off your visit on the 5th (Sun): admire the sheer force of McWay Falls, tour the pleasant surroundings at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Pfeiffer State Beach.

To find more things to do, ratings, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the Big Sur travel route planner.

Getting from San Francisco to Big Sur by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight and taxi; or take a bus. In July, daily temperatures in Big Sur can reach 24°C, while at night they dip to 15°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Big Sur

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park ©
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach
McWay Falls ©
McWay Falls

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 6th (Mon): explore the historical opulence of Hearst Castle, then take a memorable drive along Moonstone Beach Dr, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Moonstone Beach. Keep things going the next day: visit a coastal fixture at Piedras Blancas Light Station, then look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery, and then stroll through Fiscalini Ranch Preserve.

For maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, use the San Simeon trip maker website .

Traveling by car from Big Sur to San Simeon takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car. Expect much hotter weather when traveling from Big Sur in July: highs in San Simeon hover around 40°C, while lows dip to 15°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Tue) to allow time to drive to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in San Simeon

Outdoors Parks Historic Sites

Side Trip

Cambria
Highlights from your plan
Hearst Castle ©
Hearst Castle
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve ©
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve

1
night
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 8th (Wed): take an in-depth tour of The Ranch at Furnace Creek, explore the activities along Badwater Basin, and then take a memorable drive along Artists Dr. Here are some ideas for day two: explore the striking landscape at Zabriskie Point, take some stellar pictures from Dante's View, and then don't miss a visit to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.

To find traveler tips, maps, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Death Valley National Park online travel route planner .

Drive from San Simeon to Death Valley National Park in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus, train, and car; or do a combination of taxi and bus. Plan for a bit warmer temperatures traveling from San Simeon in July, with highs in Death Valley National Park at 45°C and lows at 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Thu) to allow time to drive to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Badwater Basin ©
Badwater Basin
Zabriskie Point ©
Zabriskie Point
Artists Dr ©
Artists Dr

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.
Your itinerary includes some good beach time at Taft Point and Tunnel View. Discover out-of-the-way places like Tioga Pass and Sentinel Dome. There's lots more to do: explore the striking landscape at Glacier Point, tour the pleasant surroundings at Lembert Dome, don't miss a visit to Pothole Dome, and take in the dramatic scenery at Vernal Fall.

To find other places to visit, photos, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Yosemite National Park tour itinerary builder website .

Traveling by car from Death Valley National Park to Yosemite National Park takes 8 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus. Traveling from Death Valley National Park in July, you will find days in Yosemite National Park are little chillier (33°C), and nights are much colder (9°C). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Sun) to allow time to travel to New Orleans.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Yosemite Falls ©
Yosemite Falls
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Tioga Pass ©
Tioga Pass

3
nights
New Orleans

New Orleans ©
Known for its Creole cuisine, rich musical tradition, and nearby swamps and plantations, New Orleans is one of the nation's oldest cities.
We've included these beaches for you: Ultimate Swamp Adventures and Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Garden District and Kayaking & Canoeing. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around New Orleans: Mike the Tiger Habitat (in Baton Rouge), Insta-Gator Ranch & Hatchery (in Covington) and Global Wildlife Center (in Folsom). There's lots more to do: sample the fine beverages at Old New Orleans Rum Distillery, tour the pleasant surroundings at Woldenberg Park, and wander the streets of Faubourg Marigny.

To find other places to visit, maps, photos, and other tourist information, read our New Orleans day trip planning site .

Traveling by combination of car and flight from Yosemite National Park to New Orleans takes 9.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. You'll lose 2 hours traveling from Yosemite National Park to New Orleans due to the time zone difference. Plan for warmer nights when traveling from Yosemite National Park in July since evenings lows in New Orleans dip to 31°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Thu) so you can travel to New York City.

Things to do in New Orleans

Wildlife Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Global Wildlife Center, Ultimate Swamp Adventures, Mike the Tiger Habitat, Insta-Gator Ranch & Hatchery
Highlights from your plan
Ultimate Swamp Adventures ©
Ultimate Swamp Adventures
Garden District ©
Garden District

2
nights
New York City

New York City ©
Writer Pearl Buck once called New York City “a place apart,” and this giant urban center remains unlike any other in the world.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Bay Head Beach and Manasquan Beach. Escape the urban bustle at Brick Beach 1 and Plainsboro Preserve. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around New York City: Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir (in Robbinsville), Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park (in Princeton) and Windward Beach Park (in Brick).

To find reviews, ratings, maps, and more tourist information, go to the New York City road trip planning site .

Getting from New Orleans to New York City by combination of flight and bus takes about 6 hours. Other options: fly; or drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll lose 1 hour traveling from New Orleans to New York City. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from New Orleans in July: highs in New York City hover around 35°C, while lows dip to 26°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 19th (Sun) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in New York City

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Brick, Baps Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, Manasquan Beach, Plainsboro Preserve, Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park
Highlights from your plan
Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park ©
Bay Head Beach ©
Bay Head Beach
Manasquan Beach ©
Manasquan Beach

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