23 days in California Itinerary

23 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

23 days in California Itinerary

Start: San Diego
Fly:  4​h 15​min
1
Carmel
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
2
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
3
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
— 4 nights
Bus:  5​h
4
Yosemite National Park
— 5 nights
+4
Drive + Fly + Bus + Train + Bus:  7​h
5
Fort Bragg
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
6
San Francisco
— 5 nights
Fly:  3​h 30​min
End: San Diego

3
nights
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. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Point Lobos State Reserve and Pfeiffer State Beach. Visiting Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Seventeen Mile Drive will get you outdoors. Explore Carmel's surroundings by going to Big Sur (McWay Falls & Partington Cove). There's lots more to do: kick back and relax at Carmel City Beach/Carmel River Beach, identify plant and animal life at Del Monte Beach, stroll through Breakwater, and admire the majestic nature at Asilomar State Beach.

To find more things to do, maps, ratings, and tourist information, go to the Carmel trip tool .

San Diego to Carmel is an approximately 4.5-hour combination of flight and bus. You can also do a combination of flight, shuttle, and bus; or drive. Plan for slightly colder temperatures traveling from San Diego in August, with highs in Carmel at 70°F and lows at 57°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 27th (Mon) early enough to go by car to San Simeon.

Things to do in Carmel

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Big Sur, Monterey, Bird Rock Vista Point, Asilomar State Beach
Highlights from your plan
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
Asilomar State Beach ©
Asilomar State Beach
Carmel River State Beach ©
Carmel River State Beach

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 28th (Tue): identify plant and animal life at Elephant Seal Rookery, then learn about winemaking at Hearst Ranch Winery, and then kick back and relax at Moonstone Beach. On your second day here, step into the grandiose world of Hearst Castle, then enjoy the sand and surf at Piedras Blancas, and then visit a coastal fixture at Piedras Blancas Light Station.

To see reviews, more things to do, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our San Simeon travel route app .

Drive from Carmel to San Simeon in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car. While traveling from Carmel, expect much warmer days and about the same nights in San Simeon, ranging from highs of 94°F to lows of 55°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Wed) so you can drive to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Cambria
Highlights from your plan
Friends of the Elephant Seal ©
Friends of the Elephant Seal
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach
Piedras Blancas ©
Piedras Blancas

4
nights
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park ©
With mountain peaks reaching past 4,250 m (14,000 ft) and trees stretching to over 75 m (250 ft) high, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks present nature on a grand scale.
Step out of the city life by going to Moro Rock and Zumwalt Meadow Trail. Explore hidden gems such as Giant Forest and Lakes Trail in Sequoia National Park. When in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, make a side trip to see Manzanar National Historic Site in Independence, approximately 44 minutes away. There's much more to do: take in breathtaking views at Kings Canyon National Park, admire the sheer force of Grizzly Falls, and contemplate the long history of General Sherman Tree.

For photos, reviews, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park day trip tool .

Traveling by car from San Simeon to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, bus, and car; or do a combination of bus and car. Expect somewhat warmer evenings in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park when traveling from San Simeon in August, with lows around 63°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Sun) to allow time to drive to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trip

Manzanar National Historic Site
Highlights from your plan
Moro Rock ©
Moro Rock
Giant Forest
Giant Forest
Kings Canyon National Park ©
Kings Canyon National Park

5
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Glacier Point and Bridalveil Fall. Visiting Yosemite Falls and Tuolumne Meadows will get you outdoors. There's still lots to do: get great views at Tunnel View, take in the dramatic natural features at Lembert Dome, get answers to all your questions at Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center, and don't miss a visit to Pothole Dome.

For ratings, more things to do, traveler tips, and more tourist information, refer to the Yosemite National Park journey website .

Getting from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park to Yosemite National Park by car takes about 5 hours. Traveling from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in September, you will find days in Yosemite National Park are little chillier (74°F), and nights are colder (38°F). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Fri) to allow time to drive to Fort Bragg.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

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

2
nights
Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg ©
Fort Bragg is a coastal city along State Route 1 in Mendocino County, California. You'll get in some beach time at Pudding Creek Beach and Seaside Beach. Explore hidden gems such as Glass Beach and Black Sands Beach. Step out of Fort Bragg with an excursion to Lost Coast Trail in Eureka--about 1h 25 min away. And it doesn't end there: enjoy the sand and surf at Russian Gulch State Park, admire the majestic nature at Van Damme State Park, savor the flavors at Roundman's Smoke House, and stroll through Noyo Beach.

For photos, other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, read our Fort Bragg tour planner.

You can drive from Yosemite National Park to Fort Bragg in 7 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, bus, and flight; or do a combination of taxi and bus. In September, Fort Bragg is a bit warmer than Yosemite National Park - with highs of 88°F and lows of 52°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to San Francisco.

Things to do in Fort Bragg

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Mendocino, Black Sands Beach, Lost Coast Trail
Highlights from your plan
Pudding Creek Beach ©
Pudding Creek Beach
Black Sands Beach ©
Black Sands Beach
Glass Beach ©
Glass Beach

5
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Take a break from the city and head to Alcatraz Island and Bodega Dunes. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Muir Woods National Monument and Limantour Beach. Step out of San Francisco with an excursion to Goat Rock Beach in Jenner--about 1h 40 min away. There's still lots to do: snap pictures at Golden Gate Bridge, don't miss a visit to Lombard Street, contemplate the waterfront views at San Francisco Bay, and have fun and explore at Exploratorium.

To see reviews, ratings, where to stay, and tourist information, use the San Francisco road trip app .

Traveling by car from Fort Bragg to San Francisco takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of bus and flight. Expect a bit cooler weather when traveling from Fort Bragg in September: highs in San Francisco hover around 76°F, while lows dip to 58°F. On the 15th (Sat), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Bodega Dunes, Limantour Beach, Muir Woods National Monument, Goat Rock Beach
Highlights from your plan
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Muir Woods National Monument ©
Muir Woods National Monument
Bodega Dunes ©
Bodega Dunes

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