31 days in California Itinerary

31 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

31 days in California Itinerary

Start: Washington DC
Fly:  7​h
1
San Francisco
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
2
Fort Bragg
— 2 nights
Drive:  5​h 30​min
3
Carmel
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
4
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
5
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
— 5 nights
bus:  6​h 45​min
6
Yosemite National Park
— 4 nights
bus:  1​h 30​min
7
Mammoth Lakes
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
8
Death Valley National Park
— 3 nights
bus + Fly:  11​h 30​min
End: Washington DC

4
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Do your shopping at Union Square and Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Take a break from the city and head to Alcatraz Island and Muir Woods National Monument. Venture out of the city with trips to Safari West (in Santa Rosa) and Castello di Amorosa (in Calistoga). And it doesn't end there: get a taste of the local shopping with Ferry Building Marketplace, take in the views from Golden Gate Bridge, wander the streets of Twin Peaks, and take in the waterfront at Fisherman's Wharf.

To find ratings, maps, more things to do, and tourist information, read San Francisco trip itinerary planner.

Washington DC to San Francisco is an approximately 7-hour flight. You can also do a combination of subway, bus, and flight; or drive. You'll gain 3 hours traveling from Washington DC to San Francisco due to the time zone difference. In July, San Francisco is slightly colder than Washington DC - with highs of 73°F and lows of 57°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 5th (Fri) so you can go by car to Fort Bragg.

Things to do in San Francisco

Shopping Parks Historic Sites

Side Trips

Muir Woods National Monument, Castello di Amorosa, Safari West
Highlights from your plan
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Muir Woods National Monument ©
Muir Woods National Monument
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge

2
nights
Fort Bragg

Fort Bragg ©
Fort Bragg is a coastal city along State Route 1 in Mendocino County, California. Start off your visit on the 6th (Sat): stroll through Seaside Beach, kick back and relax at Pudding Creek Beach, enjoy the sand and surf at Noyo Headlands Park, then stop by Mendocino Jams & Preserves, and finally take in the exciting artwork at Glass Fire Art Glass Gallery. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 7th (Sun): immerse yourself in nature at Van Damme State Park, get a taste of the local shopping with Highlight Gallery, and then immerse yourself in nature at Russian Gulch State Park.

For reviews, more things to do, and other tourist information, refer to the Fort Bragg road trip app .

Getting from San Francisco to Fort Bragg by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight and bus; or take a bus. Expect much warmer weather when traveling from San Francisco in July: highs in Fort Bragg hover around 95°F, while lows dip to 57°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 7th (Sun) early enough to go by car to Carmel.

Things to do in Fort Bragg

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Mendocino
Highlights from your plan
Seaside Beach ©
Seaside Beach
Pudding Creek Beach ©
Pudding Creek Beach
Russian Gulch State Park ©
Russian Gulch State Park

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 Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Monterey Bay. For shopping fun, head to Ocean Avenue or Gallery by the Sea Carmel. Venture out of the city with trips to Big Sur (McWay Falls & Pfeiffer State Beach). Spend the 9th (Tue) observing fascinating marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour. There's still lots to do: kick back and relax at Carmel River State Beach, take in the exciting artwork at Carmel Art Association, cruise along Seventeen Mile Drive, and look for gifts at Monterey's Tasty Olive Bar.

To find maps, where to stay, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Carmel online travel route planner .

Drive from Fort Bragg to Carmel in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus, flight, and shuttle; or do a combination of bus, train, and flight. Traveling from Fort Bragg in July, you will find days in Carmel are colder (69°F), and nights are about the same (55°F). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Thu) to allow time to drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Carmel

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Monterey, Big Sur
Highlights from your plan
Monterey Bay ©
Monterey Bay
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
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 12th (Fri): identify plant and animal life at Elephant Seal Rookery, then kick back and relax at Piedras Blancas, and then enjoy the sea views from Piedras Blancas Light Station. On your second day here, explore the historical opulence of Hearst Castle, then view the masterpieces at artifacts gallery, then view the masterpieces at Ephraim Pottery West Gallery, and finally stroll through Moonstone Beach.

To find photos and other tourist information, go to the San Simeon trip itinerary app .

Getting from Carmel to San Simeon by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and car. When traveling from Carmel in July, plan for much hotter days and about the same nights in San Simeon: temperatures range from 94°F by day to 56°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 13th (Sat) to allow time to drive to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trip

Cambria
Highlights from your plan
Piedras Blancas ©
Piedras Blancas
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach
Hearst Castle ©
Hearst Castle

5
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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Manzanar National Historic Site and Moro Rock. Get outdoors at Kings Canyon National Park and Giant Forest. Take a break from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park with a short trip to Trail of 100 Giants in Ponderosa, about 1h 20 min away. There's lots more to do: contemplate the long history of General Sherman Tree, trek along Congress Trail, stroll through Zumwalt Meadow Trail, and cruise along Generals Hwy.

To see other places to visit, where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, use the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park trip maker tool .

Drive from San Simeon to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and car. Traveling from San Simeon in July, expect a bit warmer with lows of 66°F in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Thu) to allow enough time to take a bus to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Manzanar National Historic Site, Trail of 100 Giants
Highlights from your plan
Moro Rock ©
Moro Rock
Kings Canyon National Park ©
Kings Canyon National Park
General Grant Tree Trail ©
General Grant Tree Trail

4
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 some cultural insight at Bodie State Historic Park and Bodie. Get in touch with nature at Nevada Falls Loop and Vernal Fall. Spend the 22nd (Mon) exploring nature at Bridalveil Fall. The adventure continues: take in the dramatic natural features at Glacier Point, take in the awesome beauty at Cathedral Beach Picnic Area, make a trip to Olmsted Point, and stroll through Tuolumne Meadows.

To find traveler tips, ratings, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our Yosemite National Park online journey maker .

You can take a bus from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park to Yosemite National Park in 7 hours. Expect a bit cooler weather when traveling from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in July: highs in Yosemite National Park hover around 83°F, while lows dip to 46°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 23rd (Tue) early enough to catcht the bus to Mammoth Lakes.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Bodie, Bodie State Historic Park
Highlights from your plan
Yosemite, Tunnel View ©
Yosemite, Tunnel View
Bridalveil Fall ©
Bridalveil Fall
Bodie State Historic Park ©
Bodie State Historic Park

4
nights
Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes ©
Mammoth Lakes is a town in Mono County, California, the county's only incorporated community. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve and Footloose Sports in Mammoth Lakes. Step out of the city life by going to Devils Postpile National Monument and Rainbow Falls. Venture out of the city with trips to Lee Vining (Mono Lake County Park & Tioga Rd). On the 27th (Sat), spend an exhilarating day on the slopes at Mammoth Mountain. There's still lots to do: contemplate the waterfront views at McLeod Lake and take an in-depth tour of Mammoth Museum at the Hayden Cabin.

To find ratings, photos, and tourist information, read Mammoth Lakes road trip planning website .

You can take a bus from Yosemite National Park to Mammoth Lakes in 1.5 hours. In July in Mammoth Lakes, expect temperatures between 83°F during the day and 46°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Sat) early enough to drive to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in Mammoth Lakes

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

Lee Vining
Highlights from your plan
Devils Postpile National Monument ©
Devils Postpile National Monument
Mammoth Mountain ©
Mammoth Mountain
Mono Lake Tufa State Natural Reserve ©

3
nights
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park ©
Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Zabriskie Point and Panamint Range. Get outdoors at Badwater Basin and Artists Dr. There's lots more to do: take in the dramatic natural features at Artists Palette, trek along Gower Gulch Loop, go deep underground at Eureka Mine, and don't miss a visit to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.

For more things to do, maps, ratings, and other tourist information, go to the Death Valley National Park tour planner.

You can drive from Mammoth Lakes to Death Valley National Park in 3.5 hours. Another option is to do a combination of bus and car. Expect somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Mammoth Lakes in July: highs in Death Valley National Park hover around 101°F, while lows dip to 73°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Tue) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Parks Nature Outdoors
Highlights from your plan
Zabriskie Point ©
Zabriskie Point
Artists Palette ©
Artists Palette
Badwater Basin ©
Badwater Basin

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