43 days in California Itinerary

43 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California trip planner

Make it your trip
Fly to Los Angeles International Airport, Drive to Santa Barbara
1
Santa Barbara
— 6 nights
Drive
2
San Simeon
— 3 nights
Drive
3
Carmel
— 5 nights
Drive
4
San Francisco
— 6 nights
Fly
5
Crescent City
— 4 nights
Fly to San Francisco, Bus to Santa Rosa
6
Santa Rosa
— 5 nights
Drive
7
Yosemite National Park
— 5 nights
Drive
8
Death Valley National Park
— 2 nights
Drive
9
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
— 6 nights
Drive

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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.
Take a break from the city and head to Ventura to Ojai Paved Bike Path and Leadbetter Beach. Do some cultural sightseeing at Firestone Vineyard and SAARLOOSons. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Santa Barbara: Pismo Beach (Pismo Pier & Monarch Butterfly Grove), Hans Christian Andersen Museum (in Solvang) and Camarillo (Camarillo Premium Outlets & McGrath Family Farm). The adventure continues: make a trip to Santa Barbara Harbor, tour the pleasant surroundings at El Capitan State Beach, awaken your taste buds at some of the top wineries in the area, and soothe aching muscles at Salt Cave.

To see other places to visit, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the Santa Barbara trip builder tool.

Washington to Santa Barbara is an approximately 10-hour combination of flight and car. You can also drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 3 hours traveling from Washington to Santa Barbara. In May, plan for daily highs up to 71°F, and evening lows to 52°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 4th (Fri) to allow time to drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Parks · Wineries · Outdoors · Tours

Side Trips

San Simeon

— 3 nights
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.
Hearst Ranch Winery and Hearst Castle are good opportunities to explore the local culture. Get in touch with nature at Piedras Blancas and William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach. Change things up with a short trip to Salmon Creek Falls Trail in Big Sur (about 36 minutes away). There's lots more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Sand Dollar Beach, take in the waterfront at San Simeon Pier, get great views at Ragged Point Overlook, and admire the majestic nature at San Simeon State Park.

For maps, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, read our San Simeon road trip planning website.

You can drive from Santa Barbara to San Simeon in 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. When traveling from Santa Barbara in June, plan for much warmer days in San Simeon, with highs around 93°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 53°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Mon) early enough to drive to Carmel.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks · Outdoors · Beaches · Nature

Side Trips

Carmel

— 5 nights
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. Get a sense of the local culture at Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard and Wyland Gallery Carmel. Escape the urban bustle at Pebble Beach Golf Links and McWay Falls. Venture out of the city with trips to Big Sur (Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, Partington Point, &more). There's still lots to do: kick back and relax at Asilomar State Beach, make a trip to China Rock, snap pictures at Bixby Bridge, and admire the majestic nature at Point Lobos.

To find where to stay, ratings, photos, and tourist information, refer to the Carmel trip planning tool.

Getting from San Simeon to Carmel by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: do a combination of taxi, train, and bus. Traveling from San Simeon in June, you will find days in Carmel are colder (68°F), and nights are about the same (53°F). Finish up your sightseeing early on the 12th (Sat) so you can go by car to San Francisco.

Things to do in Carmel

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Beaches

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.
Explore hidden gems such as Crocker Art Museum and Inspiration Point at the Presidio. Get a sense of the local culture at Grace Cathedral and Walt Disney Family Museum. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around San Francisco: California State Railroad Museum (in Sacramento), Muir Woods National Monument (in Mill Valley) and Point Reyes Lighthouse (in Point Reyes National Seashore). Dedicate the 14th (Mon) to wine at some of the top wineries in the area. There's lots more to do: walk around Presidio of San Francisco, examine the collection at Cable Car Museum, contemplate the waterfront views at San Francisco Bay, and take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports.

To find other places to visit, where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, go to the San Francisco travel route planner.

Traveling by car from Carmel to San Francisco takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a bus. In June, daytime highs in San Francisco are 71°F, while nighttime lows are 55°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Fri) to allow enough time to fly to Crescent City.

Things to do in San Francisco

Museums · Parks · Tours · Wineries

Side Trips

Crescent City

— 4 nights
Crescent City is the county seat and only incorporated city in Del Norte County, California. Get some cultural insight at Trees of Mystery and Battery Point Lighthouse. Step out of the city life by going to Redwood National Park and Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park. Venture out of the city with trips to Luffenholtz Beach County Park (in Westhaven-Moonstone), Redwood Highway (in Eureka) and Wilson Creek Beach (in Klamath). The adventure continues: tour the pleasant surroundings at Stout Grove, identify plant and animal life at Northcoast Marine Mammal Center, and don't miss a visit to Tour-Through Tree.

For reviews, more things to do, maps, and tourist information, read our Crescent City road trip website.

Traveling by flight from San Francisco to Crescent City takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. Traveling from San Francisco in June, expect Crescent City to be a bit cooler, temps between 61°F and 50°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Tue) so you can travel to Santa Rosa.

Things to do in Crescent City

Parks · Outdoors · Nature · Trails

Side Trips

Santa Rosa

— 5 nights

Where Everything Comes Together

Located less than an hour's drive north of San Francisco, Santa Rosa serves as a convenient hub for travelers on their way to the world-famous Napa Valley wine country.
Get outdoors at Armstrong Redwood State Reserve and Safari West. Step off the beaten path and head to Charles M. Schulz Museum and VJB Cellars. Explore Santa Rosa's surroundings by going to Castello di Amorosa (in Calistoga), St. Helena (Orin Swift Cellars & V. Sattui Winery) and Mumm Napa (in Rutherford). Dedicate the 24th (Thu) to wine at some of the top wineries in the area. Next up on the itinerary: learn about winemaking at Dry Creek Vineyard and soar above the sights with a balloon tour.

To find where to stay, more things to do, maps, and tourist information, use the Santa Rosa tour itinerary planner.

Traveling by combination of flight and bus from Crescent City to Santa Rosa takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can drive; or take a bus. When traveling from Crescent City in June, plan for much warmer days and about the same nights in Santa Rosa: temperatures range from 83°F by day to 51°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 27th (Sun) to allow time to travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Santa Rosa

Wineries · Tours · Wildlife · Parks

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.
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Nevada Falls Loop and Bodie State Historic Park. Get outdoors at Cooks Meadow Loop and Washburn Point. Get out of town with these interesting Yosemite National Park side-trips: Mono Lake County Park (in Lee Vining) and Lewis Creek Trail (in Fish Camp). There's much more to do: admire the sheer force of Bridalveil Fall, take some stellar pictures from Yosemite, Tunnel View, trek along Mariposa Grove, and explore the striking landscape at Glacier Point.

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

Traveling by car from Santa Rosa to Yosemite National Park takes 5 hours. Traveling from Santa Rosa in June, expect slightly colder with lows of 43°F in Yosemite National Park. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Fri) so you can 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 3rd (Sat): don't miss a visit to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, contemplate the long history of Harmony Borax Works, explore and take pictures at Artists Dr, contemplate the waterfront views at Badwater Basin, then explore the striking landscape at Devil's Golf Course, and finally explore the striking landscape at Zabriskie Point. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Funeral Mountains, get great views at Dante's View, and then get great views at Father Crowley Vista Point.

For traveler tips, ratings, photos, and other tourist information, you can read our Death Valley National Park road trip app.

Traveling by car from Yosemite National Park to Death Valley National Park takes 4.5 hours. Traveling from Yosemite National Park in July, expect nights in Death Valley National Park to be much warmer, around 73°F, while days are a bit warmer, around 101°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 4th (Sun) early enough to go by car to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Nature · Parks · Scenic Drive · Outdoors

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

— 6 nights

A Land of Giants

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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Kings Canyon National Park and General Grant Tree Trail. Visiting Generals Hwy and Lakes Trail in Sequoia National Park will get you outdoors. Step out of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park with an excursion to Whiskey Flat Trail in Kernville--about 4h 30 min away. The adventure continues: hike along Zumwalt Meadow Trail, tour the pleasant surroundings at Moro Rock Trail, explore the activities along Kern River, and steep yourself in history at General Sherman Tree.

For traveler tips, ratings, and tourist information, refer to the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park travel planner.

Drive from Death Valley National Park to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in 7 hours. Plan for a bit cooler nights when traveling from Death Valley National Park in July since evenings lows in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park dip to 66°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Sat) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Parks · Outdoors · Trails · Nature

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.