60 days in Independence & California Itinerary

60 days in Independence & California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock United States trip planner
Make it your trip
Fly
1
Independence
— 20 nights
Fly
2
San Diego
— 8 nights
Drive
3
Palm Springs
— 5 nights
Drive
4
Santa Barbara
— 6 nights
Drive
5
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Carmel
— 2 nights
Drive
7
San Francisco
— 6 nights
Drive
8
Yosemite National Park
— 5 nights
Drive
9
Death Valley National Park
— 2 nights
Drive
10
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
— 3 nights
Fly

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Independence — 20 nights

Independence is the fifth-largest city in the state of Missouri. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum and Vaile Mansion. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Independence: Cockrell Mercantile Company (in Lee's Summit), Chillicothe (Chillicothe Main Street & Grand River Historical Society Museum) and Laclede (Gen. John J. Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site & Locust Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site). There's lots more to do: steep yourself in history at Bingham Waggoner Mansion & Estate, experience rural life at Shatto Dairy, relax and rejuvenate at Serenity on the Square, and wander the streets of Park Place.

To find traveler tips, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, use the Independence trip itinerary planner.

New York City to Independence is an approximately 5-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a train. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time, which is usually a -1 hour difference. Traveling from New York City in December, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit cooler in Independence, with lows of 28°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Tue) so you can catch the flight to San Diego.
Historic Sites · Museums · Parks · Wineries
Side Trips

San Diego — 8 nights

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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery and Mormon Battalion Historic Site. Explore San Diego's surroundings by going to San Diego Zoo Safari Park (in Escondido), Oceanside Pier (in Oceanside) and Carlsbad (South Carlsbad State Beach & The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch). There's lots more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Pacific Beach, appreciate the history behind The Unconditional Surrender, see the interesting displays at San Diego Model Railroad Museum, and stroll around La Jolla Shores Park.

For more things to do, maps, other places to visit, and more tourist information, use the San Diego route builder app.

You can fly from Independence to San Diego in 4.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a train. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 2 hours traveling from Independence to San Diego. Traveling from Independence in December, expect San Diego to be much warmer, temps between 68°F and 51°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 29th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Palm Springs.
Parks · Outdoors · Historic Sites · Beaches
Side Trips

Palm Springs — 5 nights

You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Coachella Valley Preserve and Indian Canyons. Go for a jaunt from Palm Springs to Palm Desert to see The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens about 32 minutes away.

To find reviews, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, read our Palm Springs trip planning website.

Traveling by car from San Diego to Palm Springs takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. In December, daytime highs in Palm Springs are 70°F, while nighttime lows are 48°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Santa Barbara.
Parks · Tours · Shopping · Nature
Side Trips

Santa Barbara — 6 nights

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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Santa Barbara Zoo and Camarillo Premium Outlets. Venture out of the city with trips to Hans Christian Andersen Museum (in Solvang), Pismo Beach (Pismo Pier, Price Anniversary House - Price Historical Park, &more) and Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum (in Simi Valley). There's lots more to do: stroll through Douglas Family Preserve, steep yourself in history at Old Mission Santa Barbara, take a leisurely stroll along Stearns Wharf, and take in nature's colorful creations at Alice Keck Park Memorial Gardens.

For ratings, traveler tips, more things to do, and more tourist information, read our Santa Barbara trip itinerary site.

You can drive from Palm Springs to Santa Barbara in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or take a bus. Traveling from Palm Springs in January, expect Santa Barbara to be slightly colder, temps between 66°F and 43°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 9th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to San Simeon.
Parks · Wineries · Tours · Historic Sites
Side Trips

San Simeon — 2 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.
On the 10th (Mon), stop by Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop, then take a leisurely stroll along San Simeon Pier, then step into the grandiose world of Hearst Castle, and finally take some stellar pictures from Ragged Point Overlook. Keep things going the next day: immerse yourself in nature at San Simeon State Park and then kick back and relax at Piedras Blancas.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, maps, and tourist information, use the San Simeon online trip maker.

Traveling by car from Santa Barbara to San Simeon takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. Traveling from Santa Barbara in January, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be little chillier in San Simeon, with lows of 37°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Tue) early enough to drive to Carmel.
Parks · Wildlife · Historic Sites · Outdoors

Carmel — 2 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. Start off your visit on the 12th (Wed): immerse yourself in nature at Point Lobos, then snap pictures at Bixby Bridge, and then admire the sheer force of McWay Falls. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour and then kick back and relax at Carmel River State Beach.

To find ratings, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Carmel trip itinerary builder.

Traveling by car from San Simeon to Carmel takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, train, and bus. Traveling from San Simeon in January, plan for a bit warmer nights in Carmel, with lows around 44°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to San Francisco.
Outdoors · Parks · Tours · Wildlife
Side Trips

San Francisco — 6 nights

San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Francis Ford Coppola Winery and Grace Cathedral. You'll find plenty of places to visit near San Francisco: Castello di Amorosa (in Calistoga), V. Sattui Winery (in St. Helena) and Charles M. Schulz Museum (in Santa Rosa). Dedicate the 15th (Sat) to wine at some of the top wineries in the area. There's much more to do: take in the exciting artwork at Mumm Napa, examine the collection at California State Railroad Museum, contemplate the waterfront views at San Francisco Bay, and trek along Lands End.

To see more things to do, maps, photos, and more tourist information, read San Francisco online trip maker.

You can drive from Carmel to San Francisco in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a bus. In January, daily temperatures in San Francisco can reach 59°F, while at night they dip to 46°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 19th (Wed) so you can travel to Yosemite National Park.
Wineries · Museums · Parks · Tours
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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Tioga Pass and Bodie State Historic Park. Change things up with a short trip to Mono Lake Vista Point in Lee Vining (about 5 hours away). The adventure continues: tour the pleasant surroundings at Cathedral Beach Picnic Area, explore the striking landscape of Swinging Bridge Picnic Area Yosemite National Park CA, take some stellar pictures from Yosemite, Tunnel View, and take in the dramatic scenery at Vernal Fall.

To see where to stay, traveler tips, maps, and more tourist information, use the Yosemite National Park online trip builder.

Traveling by car from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park takes 4 hours. While traveling from San Francisco, expect little chillier days and cooler nights in Yosemite National Park, ranging from highs of 44°F to lows of 13°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 24th (Mon) to allow time to travel to Death Valley National Park.
Parks · Nature · Historic Sites · Wildlife
Side Trips

Death Valley National Park — 2 nights

Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Start off your visit on the 25th (Tue): don't miss a visit to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, steep yourself in history at Harmony Borax Works, cruise along Artists Dr, then contemplate the waterfront views at Badwater Basin, then take in the dramatic natural features at Devil's Golf Course, and finally take in the dramatic natural features at Zabriskie Point. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in breathtaking views at Golden Canyon and then explore the stunning scenery at Natural Bridge Canyon.

For where to stay, more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Death Valley National Park route planner.

Getting from Yosemite National Park to Death Valley National Park by car takes about 4.5 hours. Traveling from Yosemite National Park in January, you will find days in Death Valley National Park are somewhat warmer (58°F), and nights are much hotter (35°F). Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Wed) so you can drive to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.
Nature · Parks · Historic Sites · Outdoors

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park — 3 nights

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.
Kick off your visit on the 27th (Thu): stroll through Moro Rock Trail, delve into the lush surroundings at Giant Forest, and then cruise along Generals Hwy. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 28th (Fri): take in breathtaking views at Kings Canyon National Park and then stroll through General Grant Tree Trail.

To find reviews and other tourist information, read Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park online holiday planner.

Traveling by car from Death Valley National Park to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park takes 7 hours. In January, daily temperatures in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park can reach 58°F, while at night they dip to 38°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sat) so you can catch the flight back home.
Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Trails

California travel guide

4.1
Specialty Museums · Wineries & Vineyards · Theme Parks
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.