23 days in California & Grand Canyon National Park Itinerary

23 days in California & Grand Canyon National Park Itinerary

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Route & dates

23 days in California & Grand Canyon National Park Itinerary

Start: Milan
Fly:  16​h 45​min
1
San Francisco
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h
2
San Jose
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h
3
Santa Cruz
— Few hours
+2
shuttle + Fly + Drive:  4​h 30​min
4
Yosemite National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
5
Monterey
— Few hours
bus:  45​min
6
Big Sur
— 1 night
Drive:  3​h 30​min
7
San Simeon
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 45​min
8
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
9
Malibu
— 2 nights
Drive:  30​min
10
Santa Monica
— 2 nights
Drive:  30​min
11
Los Angeles
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
12
San Diego
— 2 nights
Fly + bus:  8​h 30​min
13
Grand Canyon National Park
— 1 night
+2
bus + taxi + Fly:  28​h
End: Milan

3
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
San Francisco is known for nature, museums, parks, nightlife, and shopping. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: take in nature's colorful creations at Japanese Tea Garden, make a trip to Lombard Street, enjoy breathtaking views from Coit Tower, and hunt for treasures at Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

For traveler tips, reviews, maps, and tourist information, you can read our San Francisco online trip builder .

Milan, Italy to San Francisco is an approximately 17-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight. Traveling from Milan to San Francisco, you'll gain 9 hours due to the time zone difference. Traveling from Milan in July, things will get slightly colder in San Francisco: highs are around 26°C and lows about 16°C. You'll have a few hours on the 31st (Tue) to wrap things up before traveling to San Jose.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Childrens Museums Museums
Highlights from your plan
Washington Square ©
Washington Square
Japanese Tea Garden ©
Japanese Tea Garden
California Academy of Sciences ©
California Academy of Sciences

1
night
San Jose

San Jose ©
The metropolitan center of Silicon Valley, San Jose considers itself a global city.
Kick off your visit on the 31st (Tue): steep yourself in history at Winchester Mystery House, enjoy the scholastic atmosphere at Stanford University, and then don't miss a visit to Apple Inc..

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, ratings, and other tourist information, read our San Jose sightseeing app .

You can drive from San Francisco to San Jose in an hour. Other options are to take a bus; or take a train. When traveling from San Francisco in July, plan for a bit warmer days in San Jose, with highs around 32°C, while nights are about the same with lows around 17°C. You will have some time to spend on the 1st (Wed) before leaving for Santa Cruz.

Things to do in San Jose

Historic Sites Shopping Childrens Museums

Side Trips

Apple Infinite Loop, Stanford University
Highlights from your plan
Winchester Mystery House ©
Winchester Mystery House
Stanford University ©
Stanford University
The Tech Interactive ©
The Tech Interactive

few
hours
Santa Cruz

Santa Cruz ©
Santa Cruz remains synonymous with surfing, but this counterculture bastion offers plenty even if you don't plan to catch any waves.
Start off your visit on the 1st (Wed): take in the pleasant sights at West Cliff Drive and then find something for the whole family at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk.

For reviews, maps, where to stay, and more tourist information, read Santa Cruz trip itinerary planner.

You can drive from San Jose to Santa Cruz in an hour. Another option is to take a bus. Traveling from San Jose in August, expect nights in Santa Cruz to be about the same, around 14°C, while days are a bit cooler, around 26°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 1st (Wed) so you can drive to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Santa Cruz

Theme Parks Scenic Drive Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk ©
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

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.
Kick off your visit on the 2nd (Thu): take in the dramatic natural features at El Capitan and then trek along Tuolumne Meadows.

For more things to do, reviews, other places to visit, and other tourist information, you can read our Yosemite National Park trip builder .

Getting from Santa Cruz 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 bus, train, and taxi. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Santa Cruz in August: highs in Yosemite National Park hover around 32°C, while lows dip to 7°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Monterey.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Trails Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Tuolumne Meadows ©
Tuolumne Meadows
El Capitan ©
El Capitan

few
hours
Monterey

Monterey ©
Monterey is a city in the U.S. Start off your visit on the 3rd (Fri): look for all kinds of wild species at Point Lobos State Reserve.

For more things to do, reviews, photos, and more tourist information, read our Monterey trip planner.

Traveling by car from Yosemite National Park to Monterey takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of bus and train. Traveling from Yosemite National Park in August, you will find days in Monterey are little chillier (24°C), and nights are somewhat warmer (15°C). Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 3rd (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to Big Sur.

Things to do in Monterey

Nature Parks Outdoors

Side Trip

Point Lobos
Highlights from your plan
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos

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 3rd (Fri): snap pictures at Bixby Bridge.

Plan my Big Sur trip by asking Inpirock to come up with tips and suggestions.

You can drive from Monterey to Big Sur in an hour. Another option is to take a bus. In August, daily temperatures in Big Sur can reach 23°C, while at night they dip to 15°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 4th (Sat) so you can go by car to San Simeon.

Things to do in Big Sur

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park ©
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Bixby Bridge ©
Bixby Bridge

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.
Start off your visit on the 5th (Sun): explore the historical opulence of Friends of Hearst Castle and then identify plant and animal life at Elephant Seal Rookery.

To find reviews, photos, maps, and tourist information, read our San Simeon tour planner .

You can drive from Big Sur to San Simeon in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car. When traveling from Big Sur in August, plan for slightly colder days and about the same nights in San Simeon: temperatures range from 18°C by day to 14°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 5th (Sun) early enough to go by car to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in San Simeon

Wildlife Parks Historic Sites
Highlights from your plan
Friends of the Elephant Seal ©
Friends of the Elephant Seal
Hearst Castle ©
Hearst Castle

2
nights
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.
Start off your visit on the 6th (Mon): indulge your senses at some of the top wineries in the area. Here are some ideas for day two: enjoy breathtaking views from Santa Barbara County Courthouse, steep yourself in history at Old Mission Santa Barbara, then wander the streets of State Street, and finally take a leisurely stroll along Stearns Wharf.

To see ratings, traveler tips, where to stay, and other tourist information, refer to the Santa Barbara attractions planner.

Traveling by car from San Simeon to Santa Barbara takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of bus and train. Expect a bit warmer weather when traveling from San Simeon in August: highs in Santa Barbara hover around 27°C, while lows dip to 16°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 7th (Tue) so you can go by car to Malibu.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Tours Historic Sites Shopping
Highlights from your plan
Wine Tours & Tastings
Old Mission Santa Barbara ©
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Stearns Wharf ©
Stearns Wharf

2
nights
Malibu

Malibu ©
Malibu is a beach city in Los Angeles County, California, situated 30mi west of Downtown Los Angeles. On the 8th (Wed), cool off at Paradise Cove, examine the collection at The Getty Villa, and then admire the majestic nature at Point Dume State Beach and Preserve. Here are some ideas for day two: take in the waterfront at Malibu Pier, kick back and relax at El Matador State Beach, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Zuma Beach.

To find traveler tips, ratings, reviews, and other tourist information, read our Malibu route planning tool .

Getting from Santa Barbara to Malibu by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of train, bus, and taxi; or take a bus. Expect somewhat warmer evenings in Malibu when traveling from Santa Barbara in August, with lows around 20°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 9th (Thu) early enough to go by car to Santa Monica.

Things to do in Malibu

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Zuma Beach ©
Zuma Beach
The Getty Villa ©
The Getty Villa
Point Dume State Beach and Preserve ©

2
nights
Santa Monica

Santa Monica ©
A famed resort town since the early 20th century, Santa Monica sits on the picturesque Santa Monica Bay, bordered on three sides by the city of Los Angeles.
Kick off your visit on the 10th (Fri): stroll through Santa Monica Beach, soothe aching muscles at some of the top local wellness centers, then get to know the fascinating history of Santa Monica Pier, and finally shop like a local with Third Street Promenade. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 11th (Sat): tour the pleasant surroundings at Greystone Mansion, then look for gifts at Bergamot Station, and then take in the pleasant sights at 26-Mile Bike Path.

To see traveler tips, maps, reviews, and tourist information, use the Santa Monica online itinerary maker .

Santa Monica is just a short distance from Malibu. In August in Santa Monica, expect temperatures between 28°C during the day and 20°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Sat) so you can drive to Los Angeles.

Things to do in Santa Monica

Parks Outdoors Shopping

Side Trip

Greystone Mansion and Park
Highlights from your plan
Santa Monica State Beach ©
Santa Monica State Beach
Santa Monica Pier ©
Santa Monica Pier
26-Mile Bike Path ©
26-Mile Bike Path

2
nights
Los Angeles

Los Angeles ©
Surrounded by mountain ranges, forests, valleys, beaches, and deserts, the metropolitan area of Los Angeles is home to over 17 million people.
On the 11th (Sat), see the interesting displays at Getty Center The Publications. Keep things going the next day: find something for the whole family at Disneyland Park.

To find photos, traveler tips, reviews, and tourist information, read our Los Angeles online itinerary maker .

Los Angeles is very close to Santa Monica. Traveling from Santa Monica in August, expect nights in Los Angeles to be about the same, around 22°C, while days are a bit warmer, around 34°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 13th (Mon) early enough to go by car to San Diego.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Theme Parks Museums

Side Trip

Disneyland Park
Highlights from your plan
Disneyland Park ©
Disneyland Park
Universal Studios Hollywood ©
Universal Studios Hollywood
The Getty Center ©
The Getty Center

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 14th (Tue): examine the collection at USS Midway Museum and then meet the residents at San Diego Zoo. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 15th (Wed): stroll through Sunset Cliffs and then enjoy some diversion at Balboa Park.

To see photos, maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, you can read our San Diego trip maker site .

You can drive from Los Angeles to San Diego in 2.5 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or fly. While traveling from Los Angeles, expect a bit cooler days and about the same nights in San Diego, ranging from highs of 30°C to lows of 23°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 15th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Grand Canyon National Park.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks Zoos & Aquariums Fun & Games
Highlights from your plan
San Diego Zoo ©
San Diego Zoo
USS Midway Museum ©
USS Midway Museum
Balboa Park ©
Balboa Park

1
night
Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park ©
The size, shape, and color of Grand Canyon National Park combine to leave an impression on visitors as deep as the canyon itself.
Kick off your visit on the 16th (Thu): trek along Bright Angel Trail. Here are some ideas for day two: get great views at Mather Point, then get great views at Lookout Studio, and then explore the stunning scenery at Grand Canyon South Rim.

To find maps, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Grand Canyon National Park trip itinerary planning tool .

You can drive from San Diego to Grand Canyon National Park in 8.5 hours. Traveling from San Diego to Grand Canyon National Park, you'll lose 1 hour due to the time zone difference. Traveling from San Diego in August, plan for little chillier nights in Grand Canyon National Park, with lows around 11°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Fri) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Grand Canyon National Park

Parks Trails Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Grand Canyon South Rim ©
Grand Canyon South Rim
Bright Angel Trail ©
Bright Angel Trail
Mather Point ©
Mather Point

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