26 days in United States Itinerary

26 days in United States Itinerary

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Route & dates

26 days in United States Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
Drive:  3​h 30​min
1
Mendocino
— 2 nights
Drive:  6​h
2
Big Sur
— 2 nights
bus:  45​min
3
Carmel
— 2 nights
Drive:  5​h 15​min
4
Yosemite National Park
— 2 nights
bus + Drive:  9​h 30​min
5
Death Valley National Park
— 1 night
bus + Fly:  10​h 30​min
6
San Francisco
— 15 nights
End: San Francisco

2
nights
Mendocino

Mendocino ©
Mendocino is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County, California, United States. Start off your visit on the 10th (Thu): explore the world behind art at Mendocino Art Center, learn about winemaking at Navarro Vineyards & Winery, and then admire the verdant scenery at Anderson Valley. On the 11th (Fri), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: kick back and relax at Noyo Headlands Park, contemplate the waterfront views at Big River, and then paddle through the water with a kayaking and canoeing tour.

To find where to stay, more things to do, reviews, and tourist information, read our Mendocino trip itinerary planner.

San Francisco to Mendocino is an approximately 3.5-hour car ride. You can also do a combination of bus and taxi. Traveling from San Francisco in May, you will find days in Mendocino are a bit warmer (29°C), and nights are a bit cooler (9°C). Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Sat) so you can drive to Carmel.

Things to do in Mendocino

Parks Nature Beaches

Side Trips

Philo, Noyo Headlands Park
Highlights from your plan
Anderson Valley ©
Anderson Valley
Navarro Vineyards ©
Navarro Vineyards
Mendocino Art Center ©
Mendocino Art Center

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.
On the 12th (Sat), deepen your understanding at Educational Sites, then admire the majestic nature at Limekiln State Park, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Pfeiffer State Beach. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in the exciting artwork at Coast Gallery Big Sur, then admire the sheer force of McWay Falls, then enjoy the sand and surf at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, and finally enjoy the sea views from Point Sur State Historic Park.

For ratings, reviews, other places to visit, and other tourist information, you can read our Big Sur trip generator.

Traveling by car from Mendocino to Big Sur takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight. Traveling from Mendocino in May, you will find days in Big Sur are little chillier (20°C), and nights are about the same (11°C). Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Carmel.

Things to do in Big Sur

Parks Nature Beaches
Highlights from your plan
Point Sur State Historic Park ©
Point Sur State Historic Park
McWay Falls ©
McWay Falls
Limekiln State Park ©
Limekiln State Park

2
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. On the 14th (Mon), appreciate the extensive heritage of Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard, visit a coastal fixture at Point Pinos Lighthouse, and then play a few rounds at Pebble Beach Golf Links. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: enjoy the sand and surf at Lovers Point, stroll through Carmel River State Beach, and then take in the spiritual surroundings of Carmel Mission.

To find maps, photos, and more tourist information, use the Carmel custom trip planner.

Traveling by car from Big Sur to Carmel takes an hour. Alternatively, you can take a bus. In May, plan for daily highs up to 21°C, and evening lows to 12°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Wed) so you can drive to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Carmel

Outdoors Golf Historic Sites

Side Trips

Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach Golf Links
Highlights from your plan
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard ©
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard
Pebble Beach Golf Links ©
Pebble Beach Golf Links
Carmel Mission ©
Carmel Mission

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 16th (Wed): trek along May Lake Trailhead, don't miss a visit to Olmsted Point, and then take in the dramatic natural features at Lembert Dome. Here are some ideas for day two: see the interesting displays at Yosemite Museum Gallery, get to know the fascinating history of Big Trees Lodge, National Historic Landmark, and then don't miss a visit to Valley View.

To see reviews, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our Yosemite National Park trip itinerary maker.

Traveling by car from Carmel to Yosemite National Park takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi. Traveling from Carmel in May, plan for a bit cooler nights in Yosemite National Park, with lows around 1°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 18th (Fri) so you can travel to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Trails Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Lembert Dome ©
Lembert Dome
Valley View ©
Valley View
Olmsted Point ©
Olmsted Point

1
night
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park ©
Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
On the 18th (Fri), don't miss a visit to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and then hike along Salt Creek Interpretive Trail. Keep things going the next day: take an in-depth tour of Beatty Museum & Historical Society, then see the interesting displays at Goldwell Open Air Museum, then steep yourself in history at Harmony Borax Works, and finally take an in-depth tour of The Ranch at Furnace Creek.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Death Valley National Park itinerary builder.

Getting from Yosemite National Park to Death Valley National Park by bus takes about 9.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of car and bus. Expect warmer temperatures when traveling from Yosemite National Park in May; daily highs in Death Valley National Park reach 35°C and lows reach 15°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 19th (Sat) to allow time to travel to San Francisco.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Museums Parks Trails

Side Trip

Beatty
Highlights from your plan
Goldwell Open Air Museum ©
Goldwell Open Air Museum
Harmony Borax Works ©
Harmony Borax Works
Beatty Museum & Historical Society ©
Beatty Museum & Historical Society

15
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Explore hidden gems such as California State Railroad Museum and Castello di Amorosa. Old Sacramento and Cable Car Museum will appeal to museum buffs. Get out of town with these interesting San Francisco side-trips: Fitzgerald J V Marine Reserve (in Moss Beach), Bodega Head (in Bodega Bay) and Montara State Beach (in Montara). There's lots more to do: take some stellar pictures from Twin Peaks, examine the collection at The Walt Disney Family Museum, engage your brain at California Academy of Sciences, and explore the striking landscape of Muir Woods National Monument.

To see where to stay, more things to do, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read our San Francisco sightseeing planner.

Do a combination of bus and flight from Death Valley National Park to San Francisco in 10.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of bus and train. While traveling from Death Valley National Park, expect a bit cooler days and about the same nights in San Francisco, ranging from highs of 23°C to lows of 13°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 4th (Mon) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

St. Helena, Pescadero, Sacramento, Half Moon Bay, Guerneville
Highlights from your plan
Fitzgerald J V Marine Reserve ©
Fitzgerald J V Marine Reserve
Big Basin Redwoods State Park ©
Big Basin Redwoods State Park
Bodega Head ©
Bodega Head

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