41 days in California Itinerary

41 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California holiday planner

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

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San Diego

— 7 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.
Point Loma and Old Point Loma Lighthouse are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Visiting La Jolla Shores Park and Coronado Beach will get you outdoors. Change things up with these side-trips from San Diego: Oceanside Pier (in Oceanside), Carlsbad (South Carlsbad State Beach & Carlsbad Village) and Old Town Temecula (in Temecula). There's still lots to do: stroll the grounds of Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery, stroll through Pacific Beach, stop by Little Italy, and appreciate the extensive heritage of Old Town San Diego State Historic Park.

To find other places to visit, traveler tips, and tourist information, refer to the San Diego road trip planner.

Indianapolis to San Diego is an approximately 7.5-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a bus. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 3 hours traveling from Indianapolis to San Diego. Prepare for much hotter weather when traveling from Indianapolis in November: high temperatures in San Diego hover around 73°F and lows are around 57°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 28th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Palm Springs.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks · Outdoors · Historic Sites · Nature

Side Trips

Palm Springs

— 6 nights
Escape the urban bustle at Indian Canyons and San Jacinto Mountain. Shop till you drop at El Paseo Shopping District and Motif. Explore Palm Springs' surroundings by going to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park (in Borrego Springs), Lake Skinner (in Winchester) and Wine Tours & Tastings (in Temecula).

To find reviews and tourist information, read our Palm Springs trip itinerary planning tool.

Getting from San Diego to Palm Springs by car takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. When traveling from San Diego in November, plan for a bit warmer days in Palm Springs, with highs around 79°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 55°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Sat) to allow enough time to drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Palm Springs

Parks · Nature · Museums · Outdoors

Side Trips

Santa Barbara

— 6 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.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum and State Street Underpass. Visiting Monarch Butterfly Grove and Ostrich Land will get you outdoors. Explore Santa Barbara's surroundings by going to Camarillo Premium Outlets (in Camarillo), Solvang (Hans Christian Andersen Museum, Lucas & Lewellen Vineyards, &more) and Pismo Pier (in Pismo Beach). There's still lots to do: awaken your taste buds at some of the top wineries in the area, enjoy the sand and surf at Leadbetter Beach, learn about wildlife with up-close encounters at Santa Barbara Zoo, and admire the landmark architecture of Santa Barbara County Courthouse.

To find ratings, reviews, and tourist information, read Santa Barbara travel planning website.

You can drive from Palm Springs to Santa Barbara in 3.5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of flight and bus; or take a bus. Expect slightly colder evenings in Santa Barbara when traveling from Palm Springs in December, with lows around 41°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 10th (Fri) early enough to drive to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Parks · Wineries · Shopping · Tours

Side Trips

Death Valley National Park

— 2 nights

Hottest, Driest, Lowest

Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
On the 11th (Sat), steep yourself in history at Harmony Borax Works, take in the dramatic natural features at Devil's Golf Course, explore the activities along Badwater Basin, then take a memorable drive along Artists Dr, then explore the stunning scenery at Golden Canyon, and finally take in the dramatic natural features at Zabriskie Point. Keep things going the next day: don't miss a visit to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, contemplate the waterfront views at Salt Creek Interpretive Trail, then take some stellar pictures from Dante's View, and finally take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Funeral Mountains.

To find ratings, where to stay, reviews, and tourist information, use the Death Valley National Park itinerary website.

Traveling by car from Santa Barbara to Death Valley National Park takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of train, bus, and car. In December, Death Valley National Park is little chillier than Santa Barbara - with highs of 56°F and lows of 33°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 12th (Sun) so you can travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Trails

Yosemite National Park

— 6 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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Mariposa Grove and Bodie State Historic Park. Escape the urban bustle at Sentinel Dome and Tioga Pass. Change things up with these side-trips from Yosemite National Park: Mono Lake County Park (in Lee Vining) and Ascent Spa (in Fish Camp). And it doesn't end there: explore the striking landscape at El Capitan, tour the pleasant surroundings at Cathedral Beach Picnic Area, get great views at Washburn Point, and explore the wealth of natural beauty at Bridalveil Fall.

For traveler tips, photos, and other tourist information, go to the Yosemite National Park trip itinerary planner.

Drive from Death Valley National Park to Yosemite National Park in 4.5 hours. Expect slightly colder temperatures when traveling from Death Valley National Park in December; daily highs in Yosemite National Park reach 46°F and lows reach 14°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Sat) so you can travel to Monterey.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Historic Sites

Side Trips

Monterey

— 5 nights
Monterey is a city in the U.S. state of California, on the southern edge of Monterey Bay on California's Central Coast. Escape the urban bustle at Carmel River State Beach and Asilomar State Beach. Visit Pfeiffer State Beach and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park for some beach relaxation. Explore Monterey's surroundings by going to Big Sur (McWay Falls & Bixby Bridge). And it doesn't end there: tour the pleasant surroundings at Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail, shop like a local with Wyland Gallery Carmel, don't miss a visit to Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard, and immerse yourself in nature at Point Lobos.

For other places to visit, where to stay, maps, and other tourist information, read Monterey online travel planner.

Traveling by car from Yosemite National Park to Monterey takes 5 hours. When traveling from Yosemite National Park in December, plan for somewhat warmer days in Monterey, with highs around 62°F, while nights are much hotter with lows around 43°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 23rd (Thu) so you can catch the flight to Napa.

Things to do in Monterey

Outdoors · Parks · Nature · Tours

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.
Kick off your visit on the 24th (Fri): shop like a local with Indian Springs Art Gallery, step into the grandiose world of Castello di Amorosa, then learn about winemaking at V. Sattui Winery, and finally explore the galleries of Mumm Napa. Keep things going the next day: savor the flavors at Food & Drink.

To find photos, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Napa sightseeing planner.

Traveling by flight from Monterey to Napa takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from Monterey in December, expect a bit cooler with lows of 35°F in Napa. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 25th (Sat) to allow time to drive to San Francisco.

Things to do in Napa

Wineries · Tours · Museums · Shopping

Side Trips

San Francisco

— 6 nights

City by the Bay

San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Step off the beaten path and head to Walt Disney Family Museum and Wine Tours & Tastings. Head to Onedome and Patrick's of Bodega Bay Salt Water Taffyfor some retail therapy. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around San Francisco: Healdsburg museum and historical society (in Healdsburg), Point Reyes Lighthouse (in Point Reyes National Seashore) and Armstrong Redwood State Reserve (in Guerneville). Next up on the itinerary: stroll through Lands End, examine the collection at Musee Mecanique, contemplate the waterfront views at San Francisco Bay, and explore the world behind art at Legion of Honor.

Inspirock's itinerary builder makes planning a San Francisco trip simple and quick.

Getting from Napa to San Francisco by car takes about 1.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and subway; or take a bus. Plan for somewhat warmer nights when traveling from Napa in December since evenings lows in San Francisco dip to 45°F. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 31st (Fri) to allow enough time to fly back home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks · Museums · Nature · Tours

Side Trips

California travel guide

4
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.