36 days in California Itinerary

36 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California holiday maker

Make it your trip
Fly
1
San Francisco
— 4 nights
Drive
2
Napa
— 2 nights
Drive
3
Monterey
— 3 nights
Drive
4
Yosemite National Park
— 5 nights
Drive
5
Death Valley National Park
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Palm Springs
— 4 nights
Drive
7
San Diego
— 6 nights
Drive
8
Santa Barbara
— 5 nights
Drive
9
Los Angeles
— 3 nights
Fly

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San Francisco

— 4 nights

City by the Bay

San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Visiting Lands End and San Francisco Bay will get you outdoors. Do some cultural sightseeing at Musee Mecanique and Wine Tours & Tastings. Explore San Francisco's surroundings by going to Francis Ford Coppola Winery (in Geyserville), Armstrong Redwood State Reserve (in Guerneville) and Muir Woods National Monument (in Mill Valley). There's much more to do: visit a coastal fixture at Point Reyes Lighthouse, don't miss a visit to Ferry Building Marketplace, take a stroll through Bay Street, and take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

To see ratings, photos, maps, and more tourist information, you can read our San Francisco online route planner.

Melbourne, Australia to San Francisco is an approximately 19-hour flight. The time zone changes from Australian Eastern Standard Time to Pacific Standard Time, which is usually a -18 hour difference. Plan for a bit warmer temperatures traveling from Melbourne in August, with highs in San Francisco at 26°C and lows at 17°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Napa.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks · Tours · Wineries · Nature

Side Trips

Napa

— 2 nights

America's Wine Country

Located just 80 km (50 mi) north of San Francisco, Napa sits at the southern end of the scenic Napa Valley, one of the world's major wine regions.
Start off your visit on the 20th (Thu): do a tasting at Robert Mondavi Winery, then take in the exciting artwork at Mumm Napa, then indulge your taste buds at Castello di Amorosa, and finally shop like a local with Indian Springs Art Gallery. Keep things going the next day: do a tasting at VJB Cellars, look for all kinds of wild species at Safari West, and then learn about winemaking at V. Sattui Winery.

To find reviews, photos, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read Napa trip builder website.

Getting from San Francisco to Napa by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of subway and bus; or take a bus. While traveling from San Francisco, expect a bit warmer days and about the same nights in Napa, ranging from highs of 30°C to lows of 15°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 21st (Fri) to allow time to drive to Monterey.

Things to do in Napa

Wineries · Parks · Wildlife · Museums

Side Trips

Monterey

— 3 nights
Monterey is a city in the U.S. state of California, on the southern edge of Monterey Bay on California's Central Coast. Visiting Carmel River State Beach and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park will get you outdoors. Get some cultural insight at Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard and Old Fisherman's Wharf. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Monterey: Big Sur (McWay Falls & Pfeiffer State Beach). And it doesn't end there: kick back and relax at Asilomar State Beach, take a memorable tour with Tours, contemplate the waterfront views at Monterey Bay, and view the masterpieces at Wyland Gallery Carmel.

For traveler tips, reviews, ratings, and tourist information, read our Monterey route planning website.

You can drive from Napa to Monterey in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a bus. Traveling from Napa in August, you will find days in Monterey are slightly colder (24°C), and nights are about the same (16°C). Finish up your sightseeing early on the 24th (Mon) so you can travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Monterey

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Beaches

Side Trips

Yosemite National Park

— 5 nights
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.
Bring the kids along to Yosemite Falls and Vernal Fall. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Bodie State Historic Park and Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias. There's lots more to do: trek along Mariposa Grove, explore the wealth of natural beauty at Bridalveil Fall, stroll through Pacific Crest Trail, and explore and take pictures at Tioga Pass.

To see ratings, traveler tips, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Yosemite National Park tour builder tool.

You can drive from Monterey to Yosemite National Park in 5 hours. While traveling from Monterey, expect somewhat warmer days and slightly colder nights in Yosemite National Park, ranging from highs of 32°C to lows of 7°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Trails

Side Trips

Death Valley National Park

— 2 nights

Hottest, Driest, Lowest

Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Kick off your visit on the 30th (Sun): take a memorable drive along Artists Dr, then explore the activities along Badwater Basin, and then take in the dramatic natural features at Artists Palette. Here are some ideas for day two: take some stellar pictures from Dante's View, then explore the striking landscape at Zabriskie Point, and then contemplate the long history of Eureka Mine.

For where to stay, more things to do, and tourist information, read Death Valley National Park travel tool.

Traveling by car from Yosemite National Park to Death Valley National Park takes 4.5 hours. When traveling from Yosemite National Park in August, plan for a bit warmer days and much warmer nights in Death Valley National Park: temperatures range from 43°C by day to 24°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 31st (Mon) to allow time to drive to Palm Springs.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Scenic Drive

Palm Springs

— 4 nights
Your inner history buff will appreciate Sunnylands Center & Gardens and Indian Canyons. Discover out-of-the-way places like Coachella Valley Preserve and Palm Springs Art Museum. Venture out of the city with trips to Temecula (Briar Rose Winery & Wilson Creek Winery) and Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (in Borrego Springs).

For traveler tips, ratings, other places to visit, and more tourist information, you can read our Palm Springs tour itinerary maker website.

Getting from Death Valley National Park to Palm Springs by car takes about 5 hours. Other options: do a combination of car, bus, and train; or take a bus. Plan for a bit warmer temperatures traveling from Death Valley National Park in August, with highs in Palm Springs at 49°C and lows at 31°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Fri) early enough to drive to San Diego.

Things to do in Palm Springs

Parks · Nature · Museums · Outdoors

Side Trips

San Diego

— 6 nights

America's Finest City

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.
Escape the urban bustle at Coronado Island and Point Loma. Your itinerary includes some good beach time at La Jolla Shores Park and Pacific Beach. You'll find plenty of places to visit near San Diego: Old Town Temecula (in Temecula), San Diego Zoo Safari Park (in Escondido) and South Carlsbad State Beach (in Carlsbad). There's still lots to do: kick back and relax at Coronado Beach, take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, pause for some photo ops at Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, and take in the waterfront at Seaport Village.

Quickly create a custom-made itinerary for San Diego using our trip planner.

You can drive from Palm Springs to San Diego in 2.5 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or do a combination of bus and train. When traveling from Palm Springs in September, plan for colder days and slightly colder nights in San Diego: temperatures range from 30°C by day to 23°C at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Thu) early enough to drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Beaches

Side Trips

Santa Barbara

— 5 nights

The American Riviera

Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains, Santa Barbara is a solid vacation destination with its wide beaches, renowned wineries, and some of California's finest shopping and dining options.
Head to Camarillo Premium Outlets and Paseo Nuevo Shops & Restaurantsfor some retail therapy. Get a sense of the local culture at State Street Underpass and Santa Barbara County Courthouse. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Santa Barbara: Ostrich Land (in Buellton), Hans Christian Andersen Museum (in Solvang) and Pismo Beach (Pismo Pier & Monarch Butterfly Grove). The adventure continues: admire nature's wide array of creatures at Santa Barbara Zoo, take a leisurely stroll along Stearns Wharf, learn about winemaking at Summerland Winery, and go for a walk through Santa Barbara Harbor.

To find maps, photos, where to stay, and tourist information, you can read our Santa Barbara trip planner.

Drive from San Diego to Santa Barbara in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a train. Plan for little chillier nights when traveling from San Diego in September since evenings lows in Santa Barbara dip to 17°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 15th (Tue) early enough to drive to Los Angeles.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Shopping · Parks · Wineries · Tours

Side Trips

Los Angeles

— 3 nights

City of Angels

Surrounded by mountain ranges, forests, valleys, beaches, and deserts, the metropolitan area of Los Angeles is home to over 17 million people.
Kick off your visit on the 16th (Wed): tour the pleasant surroundings at Newport Beach, see the interesting displays at Mission San Juan Capistrano, and then get a taste of the local shopping with The Grove. On the 17th (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: take in the spiritual surroundings of St.John Vianney Chapel, get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour, and then kick back and relax at Crystal Cove.

To see where to stay, ratings, other places to visit, and tourist information, use the Los Angeles trip itinerary site.

Traveling by car from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Traveling from Santa Barbara in September, expect Los Angeles to be a bit warmer, temps between 34°C and 22°C. On the 18th (Fri), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Shopping

Side Trips

California travel guide

4.1
Specialty Museums · Wineries & Vineyards · Beaches
The Golden State
The country's most populous state, California includes landscapes that range from the forested northern coast to harsh southern deserts. Sandwiched right in the middle of the state is a fertile valley, home to farms, vineyards, and orchards. California's cities offer diverse attractions, from amusement parks and upscale shops to award-winning restaurants and innovative art galleries. Outside the state's big urban centers, places to visit include some of the nation's most rugged national parks, ancient forests, towering mountain peaks, and ski resorts. More than just a surfing destination famous for its beaches and winding coastal roads, California also boasts one of the world's largest economies, bolstered by the booming tech industries.