8 days in San Francisco, Yosemite National Park & Santa Cruz Itinerary

8 days in San Francisco, Yosemite National Park & Santa Cruz Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California journey builder

Make it your trip
Fly
1
San Francisco
— 1 night
Drive
2
Yosemite National Park
— 3 nights
Drive
3
Santa Cruz
— 3 nights
Drive to San Francisco International Airport, Fly to Washington

S M T W T F S
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San Francisco

— 1 night

City by the Bay

San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Kick off your visit on the 17th (Tue): contemplate the waterfront views at San Francisco Bay, see the interesting displays at Musee Mecanique, and then examine the collection at Cable Car Museum. Here are some ideas for day two: trek along Lands End, admire the majestic nature at Marin Headlands, then take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, and finally contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Grace Cathedral.

For photos, ratings, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our San Francisco day trip planning tool.

Washington to San Francisco is an approximately 12-hour flight. You can also drive. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 3 hours traveling from Washington to San Francisco. Expect a bit cooler weather when traveling from Washington in August: highs in San Francisco hover around 73°F, while lows dip to 59°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Wed) so you can travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Trails

Side Trip

Yosemite National Park

— 3 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.
Get some historical perspective at Pioneer Yosemite History Center and Wawona Hotel, National Historic Landmark. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Glacier Point and Vernal Fall. And it doesn't end there: get great views at Yosemite, Tunnel View, cruise along Tioga Pass, take in the dramatic natural features at North Dome, and tour the pleasant surroundings at Nature Center at Happy Isles.

To see reviews, photos, and tourist information, use the Yosemite National Park trip site.

Traveling by car from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park takes 4 hours. Traveling from San Francisco in August, you will find days in Yosemite National Park are somewhat warmer (81°F), and nights are slightly colder (43°F). Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Sat) so you can travel to Santa Cruz.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Trails

Santa Cruz

— 3 nights
Santa Cruz remains synonymous with surfing, but this counterculture bastion offers plenty even if you don't plan to catch any waves.
On the 22nd (Sun), look for all kinds of wild species at Wildlife Areas, then take in the pleasant sights at West Cliff Drive, and then enjoy the sand and surf at Natural Bridges State Beach. On your second day here, don't miss a visit to Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard, enjoy the sand and surf at Asilomar State Beach, and then kick back and relax at Carmel River State Beach.

For photos, where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, use the Santa Cruz trip itinerary planner.

Drive from Yosemite National Park to Santa Cruz in 4.5 hours. Expect a bit cooler weather when traveling from Yosemite National Park in August: highs in Santa Cruz hover around 74°F, while lows dip to 57°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Tue) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Santa Cruz

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Tours

Side Trips