26 days in California Itinerary

26 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

26 days in California Itinerary

Start: New York City
Bus + Fly:  8​h 15​min
1
San Diego
— 5 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
2
Los Angeles
— 5 nights
Drive:  4​h 30​min
3
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h
4
Carmel
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h 45​min
5
Yosemite National Park
— 7 nights
Drive:  4​h
6
San Francisco
— 5 nights
Fly + Bus:  8​h 45​min
End: New York City

5
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 Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve. There's still lots to do: stroll through San Diego Zoo, see the interesting displays at USS Midway Museum, kick back and relax at La Jolla Cove, and let little ones run wild at Balboa Park.

To see ratings, reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our San Diego trip planning site .

New York City to San Diego is an approximately 8.5-hour combination of bus and flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or drive. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Pacific Standard Time (PST), which is usually a -3 hour difference. Traveling from New York City in May, plan for a bit warmer nights in San Diego, with lows around 61°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 6th (Sun) so you can go by car to Los Angeles.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks Outdoors Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve ©
La Jolla Cove ©
La Jolla Cove
Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve ©
Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve

5
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.
Santa Monica Pier and Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park will appeal to history buffs. Get in touch with nature at Santa Monica Mountains and Venice Beach and Boardwalk. When in Los Angeles, make a side trip to see Disneyland Park in Anaheim, approximately 38 minutes away. Pack the 9th (Wed) with family-friendly diversions at Universal Studios Hollywood. And it doesn't end there: identify plant and animal life at Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, explore the different monuments and memorials at Hollywood Forever Cemetery, immerse yourself in nature at Will Rogers State Beach, and make a trip to Hollywood Walk of Fame.

For more things to do, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, read our Los Angeles travel planner .

Traveling by car from San Diego to Los Angeles takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or fly. In May, daily temperatures in Los Angeles can reach 75°F, while at night they dip to 59°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 11th (Fri) so you can drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Theme Parks Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Santa Monica, Disneyland Park
Highlights from your plan
Disneyland Park ©
Disneyland Park
Santa Monica Mountains ©
Santa Monica Mountains
Santa Monica Pier ©
Santa Monica Pier

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.
On the 11th (Fri), learn about winemaking at Hearst Ranch Winery and then stroll through Fiscalini Ranch Preserve. On your second day here, identify plant and animal life at Piedras Blancas and then look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery.

To find other places to visit, maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read San Simeon travel route planner .

Drive from Los Angeles to San Simeon in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of train and bus. In May, San Simeon is slightly colder than Los Angeles - with highs of 56°F and lows of 50°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Sun) early enough to drive to Carmel.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trip

Fiscalini Ranch Preserve
Highlights from your plan
Friends of the Elephant Seal ©
Friends of the Elephant Seal
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve ©
Fiscalini Ranch Preserve
Piedras Blancas ©
Piedras Blancas

1
night
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. On the 13th (Sun), make a trip to Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard and then admire the majestic nature at Asilomar State Beach.

For photos, maps, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Carmel trip itinerary website .

You can drive from San Simeon to Carmel in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from San Simeon in May: highs in Carmel hover around 65°F, while lows dip to 51°F. On the 14th (Mon), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Carmel

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

Pacific Grove
Highlights from your plan
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard ©
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard
Asilomar State Beach ©
Asilomar State Beach

7
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.
Get in touch with nature at Glacier Point and Nature Center at Happy Isles. And it doesn't end there: take in the dramatic scenery at Vernal Fall, trek along Nevada Falls Loop, tour the pleasant surroundings at Panorama Trail, and explore the striking landscape at Sentinel Dome.

To see where to stay, ratings, more things to do, and tourist information, you can read our Yosemite National Park driving holiday planning tool .

Traveling by car from Carmel to Yosemite National Park takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of bus, train, and taxi. Traveling from Carmel in May, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be slightly colder in Yosemite National Park, with lows of 34°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 21st (Mon) to allow time for the car ride to San Francisco.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Outdoors Trails
Highlights from your plan
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Tuolumne Meadows ©
Tuolumne Meadows
Panorama Trail ©
Panorama Trail

5
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Get in touch with nature at Alcatraz Island and San Francisco Botanical Garden. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Twin Peaks and Filbert Steps. Explore San Francisco's surroundings by going to Muir Woods National Monument (in Mill Valley) and Fitzgerald J V Marine Reserve (in Moss Beach). The adventure continues: take in the views from Golden Gate Bridge, contemplate the long history of SS Jeremiah O'Brien, have fun and explore at Exploratorium, and take in the spiritual surroundings of Grace Cathedral.

For traveler tips, ratings, more things to do, and tourist information, you can read our San Francisco vacation site .

Getting from Yosemite National Park to San Francisco by car takes about 4 hours. Other options: take a bus; or do a combination of taxi, bus, flight, and subway. Plan for a bit warmer nights when traveling from Yosemite National Park in May since evenings lows in San Francisco dip to 53°F. On the 26th (Sat), you'll have the morning to explore before heading back home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Historic Sites Nature

Side Trips

Muir Woods National Monument, Fitzgerald J V Marine Reserve
Highlights from your plan
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge
Muir Woods National Monument ©
Muir Woods National Monument

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