26 days in California Itinerary

26 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California trip planner

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Route & dates

26 days in California Itinerary

Start: Toronto
Fly + bus:  13​h 15​min
1
Death Valley National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  7​h 45​min
2
Carmel
— 4 nights
bus:  45​min
3
Big Sur
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
4
Paso Robles
— 5 nights
+2
bus + Fly + Drive:  5​h 15​min
5
Yosemite National Park
— 5 nights
+3
Drive + Fly + subway + bus:  5​h
6
St. Helena
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h
7
Healdsburg
— 4 nights
+2
bus + foot + Fly:  9​h 45​min
End: Toronto

2
nights
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park ©
Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Start off your visit on the 27th (Mon): contemplate the long history of Harmony Borax Works, then take an in-depth tour of The Ranch at Furnace Creek, and then tee off at Furnace Creek Golf Course. On the 28th (Tue), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: contemplate the waterfront views at Salt Creek Interpretive Trail, then examine the collection at Goldwell Open Air Museum, and then take in breathtaking views at Mosaic Canyon.

To find other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, use the Death Valley National Park trip planning site .

Toronto, Canada to Death Valley National Park is an approximately 13.5-hour flight. You can also do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of bus and flight. You'll gain 3 hours traveling from Toronto to Death Valley National Park due to the time zone difference. Expect much warmer weather when traveling from Toronto in August: highs in Death Valley National Park hover around 46°C, while lows dip to 24°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 29th (Wed) early enough to travel to Carmel.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Outdoors Parks Nature

Side Trip

Goldwell Open Air Museum
Highlights from your plan
Salt Creek Interpretive Trail ©
Salt Creek Interpretive Trail
Harmony Borax Works ©
Harmony Borax Works
Goldwell Open Air Museum ©
Goldwell Open Air Museum

4
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. Your itinerary includes some good beach time at Lovers Point and Natural Bridges State Beach. Escape the urban bustle at Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail and Pebble Beach Golf Links. And it doesn't end there: get to know the fascinating history of Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard, look for gifts at The Cheese Shop, admire the architecture and history at San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission, and make a trip to San Carlos Cathedral.

To see traveler tips, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, read our Carmel online trip itinerary maker .

Do a combination of bus and flight from Death Valley National Park to Carmel in 8 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and train; or take a bus. Traveling from Death Valley National Park in August, you will find days in Carmel are colder (24°C), and nights are a bit cooler (15°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Sun) so you can drive to Big Sur.

Things to do in Carmel

Outdoors Parks Trails

Side Trips

Pacific Grove, Monterey, Natural Bridges State Beach, Pebble Beach Golf Links
Highlights from your plan
Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail ©
Scenic Road Walkway ©
Scenic Road Walkway
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard ©
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard

2
nights
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 (Mon): admire the majestic nature at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, take in the dramatic scenery at McWay Falls, hike along Partington Cove, then take in the exciting artwork at Coast Gallery Big Sur, and finally enjoy the sand and surf at Pfeiffer State Beach. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 4th (Tue): immerse yourself in nature at Andrew Molera State Park and then get lost in a book at Henry Miller Memorial Library.

For photos, other places to visit, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Big Sur online trip builder .

Drive from Carmel to Big Sur in an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In September, daily temperatures in Big Sur can reach 24°C, while at night they dip to 14°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Paso Robles.

Things to do in Big Sur

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

5
nights
Paso Robles

Paso Robles ©
A town of hot springs and wine, Paso Robles (or "Pass of the Oaks") feels like a desert paradise to those who travel here.
Get some cultural insight at Calcareous Vineyard and Opolo Vineyards. Step out of the city life by going to William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach and Bob Jones City to Sea Bike Trail. Venture out of the city with trips to San Simeon (Sebastian General Store & Hearst Ranch Winery Tasting Room) and Piedras Blancas Light Station (in Cambria). There's lots more to do: learn about winemaking at Sculpterra Winery, indulge your senses at some of the top wineries in the area, and look for gifts at Pasolivo Olive Oil.

To find traveler tips, reviews, ratings, and tourist information, read Paso Robles trip itinerary website .

Traveling by car from Big Sur to Paso Robles takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and train; or do a combination of bus and train. When traveling from Big Sur in September, plan for much hotter days in Paso Robles, with highs around 38°C, while nights are about the same with lows around 12°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 9th (Sun) to allow time for the car ride to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Paso Robles

Wineries Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

San Simeon, Piedras Blancas Light Station, Bob Jones City to Sea Bike Trail
Highlights from your plan
Calcareous Vineyard ©
Calcareous Vineyard
Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Garden ©
Opolo Vineyards ©
Opolo Vineyards

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 explore the less-touristy side of things at Olmsted Point and Tuolumne Meadows. Visiting Panorama Trail and Merced Grove will get you outdoors. Change things up with these side-trips from Yosemite National Park: Black Oak Casino Resort (in Sonora) and South Gate Brewing Company (in Oakhurst). There's still lots to do: take in the dramatic natural features at Lembert Dome, hike along Wawona Meadow, stroll through May Lake Trailhead, and make a trip to Valley View.

To see more things to do, where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the Yosemite National Park road trip planning tool .

Traveling by car from Paso Robles to Yosemite National Park takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus, train, and taxi. In September, Yosemite National Park is slightly colder than Paso Robles - with highs of 28°C and lows of 3°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 14th (Fri) to allow enough time to drive to St. Helena.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Trails Outdoors

Side Trips

Black Oak Casino, Southgate Brewing Company
Highlights from your plan
Olmsted Point ©
Olmsted Point
Panorama Trail ©
Panorama Trail
Tuolumne Meadows ©
Tuolumne Meadows

2
nights
St. Helena

St. Helena ©
The city of St.
Start off your visit on the 15th (Sat): learn about winemaking at Far Niente Winery, do a tasting at B Cellars Vineyards and Winery, then do a tasting at Goosecross Cellars, and finally do a tasting at Jessup Cellars Gallery. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 16th (Sun): learn about winemaking at Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards, do a tasting at Schweiger Vineyards & Winery, then learn about winemaking at Tamber Bey Vineyards, and finally learn about winemaking at Bennett Lane Winery.

To find reviews, traveler tips, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our St. Helena holiday builder tool .

You can drive from Yosemite National Park to St. Helena in 5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of taxi, bus, and ferry; or do a combination of taxi, bus, and subway. In September, St. Helena is somewhat warmer than Yosemite National Park - with highs of 33°C and lows of 11°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 16th (Sun) to allow time to drive to Healdsburg.

Things to do in St. Helena

Wineries

Side Trips

Oakville, Yountville, Calistoga
Highlights from your plan
Far Niente Winery ©
Far Niente Winery
Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards ©
Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards
Goosecross Cellars ©
Goosecross Cellars

4
nights
Healdsburg

Healdsburg ©
The quaint city of Healdsburg is one of northern California's wine capitals, serving as the meeting point for three of Sonoma's most important wine-producing regions.
Get a sense of the local culture at Gracianna Winery and Iron Horse Vineyards. Escape the urban bustle at Gualala Point Regional Park and Johnson's Beach. Next up on the itinerary: do a tasting at Williamson Wines Tasting Room.

To see more things to do, ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Healdsburg road trip planner.

Getting from St. Helena to Healdsburg by car takes about an hour. Other options: do a combination of bus and taxi; or take a bus. In September, daytime highs in Healdsburg are 33°C, while nighttime lows are 11°C. You will have some time to spend on the 20th (Thu) before leaving for home.

Things to do in Healdsburg

Wineries Beaches Parks

Side Trips

Sebastopol, Gualala Point Regional Park, Cast Wines, Johnson's Beach
Highlights from your plan
Williamson Wines Tasting Room ©
Williamson Wines Tasting Room
Gracianna Winery ©
Gracianna Winery
Seghesio Family Vineyards ©
Seghesio Family Vineyards

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