25 days in California Itinerary

25 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California Trip Planner

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Route & dates

25 days in California Itinerary

Start: Sydney
Fly:  9​h 30​min
1
San Francisco
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
2
Santa Cruz
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
3
Pismo Beach
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
4
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
5
Santa Monica
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
6
San Diego
— 3 nights
Fly + bus:  7​h 45​min
7
Yosemite National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
8
Placerville
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 30​min
9
South Lake Tahoe
— 2 nights
bus + Fly:  20​h 45​min
End: Sydney

2
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Museum-lovers will appreciate SS Jeremiah O'Brien and California Academy of Sciences. Get in touch with nature at Alcatraz Island and Stow Lake. Take a break from San Francisco with a short trip to Gray Whale Cove State Beach in Half Moon Bay, about 36 minutes away. There's lots more to do: take in the pleasant sights at Fisherman's Wharf, admire the majestic nature at Golden Gate National Recreation Area, take in the waterfront at The Embarcadero, and shop like a local with Ferry Building Marketplace.

To find ratings, reviews, and tourist information, go to the San Francisco tour planner.

Sydney, Australia to San Francisco is an approximately 17-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and train; or do a combination of flight, shuttle, and bus. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 18 hours traveling from Sydney to San Francisco. In September, daily temperatures in San Francisco can reach 28°C, while at night they dip to 17°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Thu) early enough to drive to Santa Cruz.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Nature Neighborhoods

Side Trips

Golden Gate National Recreation Area, Gray Whale Cove State Beach
Highlights from your plan
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Ferry Building Marketplace ©
Ferry Building Marketplace
SS Jeremiah O'Brien ©
SS Jeremiah O'Brien

3
nights
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.
Bring the kids along to Asilomar State Beach and Big Basin Redwoods State Park. Get in touch with nature at Natural Bridges State Beach and Garrapata State Park. Take a break from Santa Cruz with a short trip to Cannery Row in Monterey, about 50 minutes away. There's more to do: find something for the whole family at Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and kick back and relax at Santa Cruz Main Beach.

To see other places to visit, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Santa Cruz online trip itinerary builder .

Traveling by car from San Francisco to Santa Cruz takes 1.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. In September, plan for daily highs up to 30°C, and evening lows to 15°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 18th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Pismo Beach.

Things to do in Santa Cruz

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trips

Asilomar State Beach, Cannery Row, Garrapata State Park, Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Highlights from your plan
Asilomar State Beach ©
Asilomar State Beach
Big Basin Redwoods State Park ©
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Garrapata State Park ©
Garrapata State Park

2
nights
Pismo Beach

Pismo Beach ©
Pismo Beach is a city in San Luis Obispo County, in the Central Coast area of California, United States. Step out of the city life by going to Avila Beach Paddlesports and Morro Bay National Estuary. Go for a jaunt from Pismo Beach to Morro Bay to see Central Coast Stand Up Paddling about 32 minutes away. The adventure continues: get interesting insight from Pismo Beach Surf Shop, take a leisurely stroll along Pismo Pier, and discover the deep blue sea with Pismo Beach Dive Shop.

For maps, photos, other places to visit, and more tourist information, go to the Pismo Beach trip planner.

Drive from Santa Cruz to Pismo Beach in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of shuttle and flight; or take a bus. In September, plan for daily highs up to 33°C, and evening lows to 16°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Tue) early enough to drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Pismo Beach

Tours Outdoors Adventure

Side Trips

Morro Bay, Avila Beach Paddlesports
Highlights from your plan
Pismo Beach Surf Shop ©
Pismo Beach Surf Shop
Avila Beach Paddlesports ©
Avila Beach Paddlesports

2
nights
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.
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Wed): take in the waterfront at Ventura Pier and Promenade, kick back and relax at Carpinteria State Beach, then take a leisurely stroll along Stearns Wharf, and finally add some entertainment to your itinerary with Santa Barbara Bowl. On the 22nd (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in the waterfront at Santa Barbara Harbor, tour the water at your own pace with Santa Barbara Sailing Center, then steep yourself in history at Old Mission Santa Barbara, and finally get a sense of history and politics at Santa Barbara County Courthouse.

To see other places to visit, maps, ratings, and tourist information, read Santa Barbara day trip app .

Drive from Pismo Beach to Santa Barbara in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. In September in Santa Barbara, expect temperatures between 30°C during the day and 17°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 22nd (Thu) early enough to go by car to Santa Monica.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Carpinteria State Beach, Ventura Pier and Promenade
Highlights from your plan
Carpinteria State Beach ©
Carpinteria State Beach
Old Mission Santa Barbara ©
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Stearns Wharf ©
Stearns Wharf

3
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.
Do your shopping at Two Rodeo Drive and Shoreline Village. Bring the kids along to Santa Monica State Beach and Seaside Lagoon. Venture out of the city with trips to SoCal Kitesurfing & Kiteboarding (in Long Beach) and Torrance Beach (in Redondo Beach). The adventure continues: get to know the fascinating history of Santa Monica Pier, take in the waterfront at Manhattan Beach Pier, and identify plant and animal life at Santa Monica Mountains.

For photos, where to stay, ratings, and tourist information, read Santa Monica attractions planner.

Drive from Santa Barbara to Santa Monica in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a bus. Traveling from Santa Barbara in September, Santa Monica is somewhat warmer at night with lows of 21°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 25th (Sun) early enough to go by car to San Diego.

Things to do in Santa Monica

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Long Beach, Redondo Beach, Two Rodeo Drive, Manhattan Beach Pier
Highlights from your plan
Santa Monica State Beach ©
Santa Monica State Beach
Santa Monica Pier ©
Santa Monica Pier
Santa Monica Mountains ©
Santa Monica Mountains

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.
Take a break from the city and head to La Jolla Cove and Ocean Beach. You'll visit kid-friendly attractions like SeaWorld San Diego and Cabrillo Tide Pools. There's still lots to do: let little ones run wild at Balboa Park, enjoy the sand and surf at Children's Pool, and take a leisurely stroll along Seaport Village.

For ratings, reviews, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the San Diego trip itinerary planning tool .

Drive from Santa Monica to San Diego in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a train; or do a combination of bus and flight. In September, daily temperatures in San Diego can reach 30°C, while at night they dip to 23°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Wed) so you can travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Ocean Beach ©
Ocean Beach
La Jolla Cove ©
La Jolla Cove
SeaWorld San Diego ©
SeaWorld San Diego

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.
Visiting Glacier Point and Lembert Dome will get you outdoors. There's still lots to do: take in the dramatic scenery at Vernal Fall, explore the activities along Mirror Lake/Meadow Trail, take in the dramatic natural features at El Capitan, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Nevada Falls Loop.

To see photos, where to stay, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Yosemite National Park trip builder .

Getting from San Diego to Yosemite National Park by combination of flight and bus takes about 8 hours. Other options: drive; or take a bus. Traveling from San Diego in September, expect nights in Yosemite National Park to be cooler, around 3°C, while days are little chillier, around 27°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 1st (Sat) early enough to travel to Placerville.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Vernal Fall ©
Vernal Fall
Bridalveil Fall ©
Bridalveil Fall

2
nights
Placerville

Placerville ©
Placerville is the county seat of El Dorado County, California. On the 2nd (Sun), add some fun to your beach time Tributary Whitewater Tours - South Fork American River Rafting, then take an in-depth tour of Folsom Prison Museum, and then explore the activities along Lake Natoma. On the 3rd (Mon), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: let the river carry you with Mariah Wilderness Expeditions, immerse yourself in nature at Marshall Gold Discovery State Historic Park, and then get a new perspective on things with American Whitewater Expeditions.

To find traveler tips, more things to do, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Placerville trip planner.

Traveling by car from Yosemite National Park to Placerville takes 3.5 hours. Traveling from Yosemite National Park in October, you will find days in Placerville are somewhat warmer (26°C), and nights are much hotter (15°C). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Mon) to allow time to drive to South Lake Tahoe.

Things to do in Placerville

Adventure Tours Outdoors

Side Trips

Coloma, Lotus, Folsom
Highlights from your plan
American Whitewater Expeditions ©
American Whitewater Expeditions
Mariah Wilderness Expeditions ©
Mariah Wilderness Expeditions

2
nights
South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe ©
High in the Sierra Nevada mountains on the shore of one of America’s most scenic lakes, South Lake Tahoe captures the spirit of the outdoors and serves as a hub for tourism activities surrounding the lake.
Start off your visit on the 4th (Tue): explore the activities along Cascade Falls Trail, explore the historical opulence of Vikingsholm, and then contemplate the waterfront views at Lake Tahoe. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: contemplate the long history of Tallac Historic Site, get outside with Ski Run Boat Company, then head outdoors with South Tahoe Standup Paddle, and finally examine the collection at Lake Tahoe Historical Society Museum.

For traveler tips, where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, you can read our South Lake Tahoe attractions app .

You can drive from Placerville to South Lake Tahoe in 1.5 hours. Traveling from Placerville in October, you will find days in South Lake Tahoe are a bit cooler (20°C), and nights are much colder (0°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 5th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in South Lake Tahoe

Outdoors Parks Nature

Side Trips

Lake Tahoe, Cascade Falls Trail
Highlights from your plan
South Tahoe Standup Paddle ©
South Tahoe Standup Paddle
Tallac Historic Site ©
Tallac Historic Site
Vikingsholm ©
Vikingsholm

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