21 days in California Itinerary

21 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California visit planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Los Angeles
— 4 nights
Drive
2
San Simeon
— 1 night
Drive
3
Carmel
— 1 night
Drive
4
San Francisco
— 4 nights
Drive
5
Yosemite National Park
— 4 nights
Drive
6
Death Valley National Park
— 2 nights
Drive
7
San Diego
— 3 nights
Bus to Tijuana, Fly to Sao Paulo

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Los Angeles

— 4 nights

City of Angels

Surrounded by mountain ranges, forests, valleys, beaches, and deserts, the metropolitan area of Los Angeles is home to over 17 million people.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like La Brea Tar Pits and Museum and California Science Center. Kids will enjoy Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park. And it doesn't end there: find something for the whole family at Universal Studios Hollywood, see the sky in a new way at Griffith Observatory, explore the engaging exhibits at Travel Town, and examine the collection at The Getty Center.

To find maps, reviews, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Los Angeles road trip site.

Sao Paulo, Brazil to Los Angeles is an approximately 16-hour flight. The time zone difference when traveling from Sao Paulo to Los Angeles is minus 5 hours. Traveling from Sao Paulo in December, things will get a bit cooler in Los Angeles: highs are around 24°C and lows about 11°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Wed) so you can drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Theme Parks · Museums · Childrens Museums · Nightlife

Side Trips

San Simeon

— 1 night
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 26th (Thu): look for all kinds of wild species at Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop, step into the grandiose world of Hearst Castle, and then contemplate the long history of The Old Santa Rosa Creek Chapel.

To find more things to do, maps, reviews, and other tourist information, read our San Simeon tour planner.

Getting from Los Angeles to San Simeon by car takes about 4.5 hours. Other options: fly; or do a combination of train and taxi. Expect a bit cooler temperatures when traveling from Los Angeles in December; daily highs in San Simeon reach 20°C and lows reach 0°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 26th (Thu) early enough to go by car to Carmel.

Things to do in San Simeon

Historic Sites · Parks · Wildlife

Side Trip

Carmel

— 1 night
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. Kick off your visit on the 27th (Fri): tour the pleasant surroundings at Carmel River State Beach, immerse yourself in nature at Point Lobos, and then take in the views from Bixby Bridge.

To see where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, read our Carmel driving holiday tool.

Getting from San Simeon to Carmel by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: do a combination of taxi, train, and bus. Traveling from San Simeon in December, Carmel is a bit warmer at night with lows of 7°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Fri) to allow time to drive to San Francisco.

Things to do in Carmel

Parks · Nature · Beaches · Outdoors

Side Trip

San Francisco

— 4 nights

City by the Bay

San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Kids will appreciate attractions like Exploratorium and Alcatraz Island. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at California Academy of Sciences and Grace Cathedral. Go for a jaunt from San Francisco to Mill Valley to see Muir Woods National Monument about 48 minutes away. And it doesn't end there: snap pictures at Golden Gate Bridge, explore the activities along San Francisco Bay, get engrossed in the history at Tenderloin Museum, and admire the natural beauty at Japanese Tea Garden.

To find maps, other places to visit, and tourist information, use the San Francisco trip itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Carmel to San Francisco takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a bus. In December, daytime highs in San Francisco are 17°C, while nighttime lows are 8°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Tue) early enough to travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks · Nature · Museums · Childrens Museums

Side Trip

Yosemite National Park

— 4 nights
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.
Family-friendly places like Badger Pass Ski Area and El Capitan will thrill your kids. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Yosemite Falls and Tioga Pass. And it doesn't end there: look for all kinds of wild species at Cathedral Beach Picnic Area, take some stellar pictures from Yosemite, Tunnel View, explore the striking landscape at Glacier Point, and hike along Mariposa Grove.

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

Getting from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park by car takes about 4 hours. Traveling from San Francisco in December, expect nights in Yosemite National Park to be much colder, around -11°C, while days are slightly colder, around 9°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Winter Sports

Death Valley National Park

— 2 nights

Hottest, Driest, Lowest

Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Start off your visit on the 5th (Sun): make a trip to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, take some stellar pictures from Dante's View, and then take in the dramatic natural features at Zabriskie Point. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: cruise along Artists Dr and then contemplate the waterfront views at Badwater Basin.

To find more things to do, ratings, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our Death Valley National Park trip planner.

Drive from Yosemite National Park to Death Valley National Park in 4.5 hours. Expect a bit warmer weather when traveling from Yosemite National Park in January: highs in Death Valley National Park hover around 17°C, while lows dip to 1°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 6th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to San Diego.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Scenic Drive

San Diego

— 3 nights

America's Finest City

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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Cabrillo National Monument and Maritime Museum of San Diego. Kids will appreciate attractions like San Diego Zoo and USS Midway Museum. There's more to do: get up close and personal with brilliant marine life at SeaWorld San Diego and let the kids burn off some steam at Balboa Park.

To find maps, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, go to the San Diego trip planner.

Drive from Death Valley National Park to San Diego in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of car, bus, and train. Traveling from Death Valley National Park in January, things will get somewhat warmer in San Diego: highs are around 22°C and lows about 12°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 9th (Thu) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks · Zoos & Aquariums · Museums · Theme Parks

California travel guide

4.1
Specialty Museums · Wineries & Vineyards · Beaches
The Golden State
The country's most populous state, California includes landscapes that range from the forested northern coast to harsh southern deserts. Sandwiched right in the middle of the state is a fertile valley, home to farms, vineyards, and orchards. California's cities offer diverse attractions, from amusement parks and upscale shops to award-winning restaurants and innovative art galleries. Outside the state's big urban centers, places to visit include some of the nation's most rugged national parks, ancient forests, towering mountain peaks, and ski resorts. More than just a surfing destination famous for its beaches and winding coastal roads, California also boasts one of the world's largest economies, bolstered by the booming tech industries.