40 days in California Itinerary

40 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

40 days in California Itinerary

Start: Detroit
Fly:  7​h
1
San Diego
— 5 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
2
Los Angeles
— 7 nights
Fly:  5​h 30​min
3
Crescent City
— 4 nights
Fly:  3​h 15​min
4
San Francisco
— 6 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
5
South Lake Tahoe
— 5 nights
Drive:  1​h 15​min
6
Truckee
— 4 nights
Drive:  4​h
7
Yosemite National Park
— 8 nights
Drive + Fly:  8​h 45​min
End: Detroit

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.
Explore San Diego's surroundings by going to Lions, Tigers & Bears (in Alpine) and Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage & Meditation Gardens (in Encinitas). There's still lots to do: learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at San Diego Zoo, examine the collection at USS Midway Museum, kick back and relax at La Jolla Cove, and appreciate the history behind Cabrillo National Monument.

To see traveler tips, other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, use the San Diego online vacation planner .

Detroit to San Diego is an approximately 7-hour flight. You can also do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time to Pacific Standard Time, which is usually a -3 hour difference. Traveling from Detroit in December, expect San Diego to be much warmer, temps between 68°F and 51°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Los Angeles.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks Zoos & Aquariums Outdoors

Side Trips

Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage & Meditation Gardens, Lions, Tigers & Bears
Highlights from your plan
Lions, Tigers & Bears ©
Lions, Tigers & Bears
SeaWorld San Diego ©
SeaWorld San Diego
San Diego Zoo ©
San Diego Zoo

7
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.
Change things up with these side-trips from Los Angeles: Anaheim (Disneyland Park, Disney California Adventure Park, & more). Next up on the itinerary: get in on the family fun at Universal Studios Hollywood, see the interesting displays at The Getty Center, get a new perspective on nature at Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and make a trip to Santa Monica Pier.

To see reviews, where to stay, and more tourist information, read our Los Angeles travel itinerary planner .

You can drive from San Diego to Los Angeles in 2.5 hours. Other options are to take a bus; or fly. December in Los Angeles sees daily highs of 69°F and lows of 49°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Mon) to allow time to travel to Crescent City.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Theme Parks Fun & Games Museums

Side Trips

Anaheim, Santa Monica
Highlights from your plan
Disneyland Park ©
Disneyland Park
Disney California Adventure Park ©
Disney California Adventure Park
Universal Studios Hollywood ©
Universal Studios Hollywood

4
nights
Crescent City

Crescent City ©
Crescent City is the county seat and only incorporated city in Del Norte County, California. Get out of town with these interesting Crescent City side-trips: Redwood National Park (Redwood National Park, California Coastal Trail, & more) and Orick (Newton B. Drury Scenic Pkwy & Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park). There's much more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Enderts Beach, immerse yourself in nature at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park, and trek along Stout Grove.

Quickly create a custom-made itinerary for Crescent City using our trip planner.

Getting from Los Angeles to Crescent City by flight takes about 5.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight and bus; or drive. In January, Crescent City is a bit cooler than Los Angeles - with highs of 56°F and lows of 42°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 10th (Fri) early enough to travel to San Francisco.

Things to do in Crescent City

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Redwood National Park, Orick
Highlights from your plan
Redwood National Park ©
Redwood National Park
Tall Trees Grove ©
Tall Trees Grove
Trillium Falls Hike ©
Trillium Falls Hike

6
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Take a break from San Francisco with a short trip to Muir Woods National Monument in Mill Valley, about 48 minutes away. The adventure continues: step off the mainland to explore Alcatraz Island, snap pictures at Golden Gate Bridge, walk around Crissy Field, and wander the streets of Fisherman's Wharf.

To see photos, traveler tips, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the San Francisco road trip planner.

Traveling by flight from Crescent City to San Francisco takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or drive. Expect a daytime high around 59°F in January, and nighttime lows around 46°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 16th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to South Lake Tahoe.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Museums Tours

Side Trip

Muir Woods National Monument
Highlights from your plan
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Exploratorium ©
Exploratorium
Muir Woods National Monument ©
Muir Woods National Monument

5
nights
South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe ©
High in the Sierra Nevada mountains on the shore of one of America’s most scenic lakes, South Lake Tahoe captures the spirit of the outdoors and serves as a hub for tourism activities surrounding the lake.
Take a break from South Lake Tahoe with a short trip to Eagle Rock Hiking Trail in Homewood, about 42 minutes away. Next up on the itinerary: hit the slopes at Rock House Discount Ski & Snowboard Rentals, tour the pleasant surroundings at Rubicon Trail, trek along Mt. Tallac Trail, and take in the awesome beauty at Jobs Peak.

To see other places to visit, maps, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read South Lake Tahoe road trip planning site .

Getting from San Francisco to South Lake Tahoe by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of train, flight, and bus. When traveling from San Francisco in January, plan for little chillier days in South Lake Tahoe, with highs around 45°F, while nights are colder with lows around 19°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Tue) so you can go by car to Truckee.

Things to do in South Lake Tahoe

Parks Outdoors Trails

Side Trips

Lake Tahoe (California), Eagle Rock Hiking Trail, Inspiration Point Vista
Highlights from your plan
Emerald Bay State Park ©
Emerald Bay State Park
Magic Carpet Golf ©
Magic Carpet Golf

4
nights
Truckee

Truckee ©
Truckee is an incorporated town in Nevada County, California, United States. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Truckee: West Coast Falconry (in Marysville) and Granlibakken Ski and Sled Area (in Tahoe City). Next up on the itinerary: ski along the peaceful trails at Tahoe Cross Country, fly down the slopes at Tahoe Donner Downhill Ski Area, explore the landscape on two wheels at Truckee River Bike Trail, and trot along with Tahoe Donner.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Truckee trip itinerary site .

Getting from South Lake Tahoe to Truckee by car takes about 1.5 hours. January in Truckee sees daily highs of 41°F and lows of 16°F at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Sat) to allow enough time to travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Truckee

Outdoors Parks Winter Sports

Side Trips

Tahoe City, Pacific Crest Snowcats, West Coast Falconry
Highlights from your plan
West Coast Falconry ©
West Coast Falconry
Truckee Bike Park ©
Truckee Bike Park
Rainbow Bridge / Donner Summit Bridge ©

8
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.
Yosemite National Park is known for nature, trails, scenic drive, wildlife, and museums. Your plan includes some of its best attractions: stroll through Badger Pass Ski Area, take in the dramatic natural features at Glacier Point, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Cathedral Beach Picnic Area, and hit the slopes at Curry Village Ice Rink.

To see ratings, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Yosemite National Park travel itinerary planner .

You can drive from Truckee to Yosemite National Park in 4 hours. In January in Yosemite National Park, expect temperatures between 44°F during the day and 13°F at night. You will have some time to spend on the 2nd (Sun) before leaving for home.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Outdoors Nature
Highlights from your plan
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Mariposa Grove ©
Mariposa Grove
Tuolumne Meadows ©
Tuolumne Meadows

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