15 days in California Itinerary

15 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California tour planner

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Route & dates

15 days in California Itinerary

Start: Sydney
Fly + Drive:  22​h 45​min
1
Yosemite National Park
— 4 nights
bus + Drive:  5​h 45​min
2
Death Valley National Park
— 3 nights
Drive:  6​h 15​min
3
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h
4
Monterey
— 4 nights
+2
shuttle + foot + Fly:  19​h 30​min
End: Sydney

4
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.
Get outdoors at Yosemite Falls and Bodie State Historic Park. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Bridalveil Fall and Mono Lake Vista Point. Next up on the itinerary: admire the sheer force of Vernal Fall, take in the dramatic natural features at Glacier Point, get great views at Washburn Point, and take in the architecture and atmosphere at Yosemite Valley Chapel.

To see photos, maps, traveler tips, and more tourist information, you can read our Yosemite National Park route builder .

Sydney, Australia to Yosemite National Park is an approximately 23-hour combination of flight and car. You can also do a combination of flight, bus, and taxi; or do a combination of flight, subway, bus, and taxi. You'll gain 18 hours traveling from Sydney to Yosemite National Park due to the time zone difference. When traveling from Sydney in May, plan for little chillier days and cooler nights in Yosemite National Park: temperatures range from 21°C by day to 1°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 17th (Sun) so you can travel to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Nature Parks Historic Sites

Side Trips

Mono Lake Vista Point, Bodie State Historic Park
Find places to stay May 13 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Yosemite Falls ©
Yosemite Falls
Bodie State Historic Park ©
Bodie State Historic Park
Bridalveil Fall ©
Bridalveil Fall

3
nights
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park ©
Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Escape the urban bustle at Artists Dr and Zabriskie Point. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Dante's View and Devil's Golf Course. Go for a jaunt from Death Valley National Park to Death Valley Junction to see Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad Museum about 1h 05 min away. There's more to do: explore the striking landscape at Artists Palette and contemplate the waterfront views at Badwater Basin.

To see maps, more things to do, reviews, and tourist information, read Death Valley National Park online visit planner .

Traveling by combination of bus and car from Yosemite National Park to Death Valley National Park takes 6 hours. Traveling from Yosemite National Park in May, expect nights in Death Valley National Park to be warmer, around 15°C, while days are somewhat warmer, around 33°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 20th (Wed) to allow time to drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Nature Parks Scenic Drive

Side Trip

Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad Museum
Find places to stay May 17 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Artists Palette ©
Artists Palette
Artists Dr ©
Artists Dr
Dante's View ©
Dante's View

2
nights
San Simeon

San Simeon ©
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.
Kick off your visit on the 21st (Thu): contemplate the long history of Hearst Castle, pause for some serene contemplation at Santa Rosa Catholic Church, then take in the exciting artwork at Ephraim Pottery West Gallery, and finally kick back and relax at Piedras Blancas. On your second day here, tour the pleasant surroundings at Moonstone Beach, then admire all the interesting features of Moonstone Beach Dr, and then identify plant and animal life at Friends of the Elephant Seal.

Plan a San Simeon trip in moments using our itinerary builder.

Drive from Death Valley National Park to San Simeon in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of car, bus, and train. Traveling from Death Valley National Park in May, San Simeon is a bit cooler at night with lows of 10°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Fri) to allow time to drive to Monterey.

Things to do in San Simeon

Outdoors Parks Wildlife

Side Trip

Cambria
Find places to stay May 20 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Piedras Blancas ©
Piedras Blancas
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach
Friends of the Elephant Seal ©
Friends of the Elephant Seal

4
nights
Monterey

Monterey ©
Monterey is a city in the U.S. You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Pfeiffer State Beach. Step off the beaten path and head to Asilomar State Beach and The Old Monterey Jail. Change things up with these side-trips from Monterey: Big Sur (McWay Falls & Coast Gallery Big Sur). Next up on the itinerary: kick back and relax at Carmel River State Beach, see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour, get a taste of the local shopping with Wyland Gallery Carmel, and immerse yourself in nature at Point Lobos.

To plan Monterey vacation without wasting time, ask Inspirock to design an itinerary.

Getting from San Simeon to Monterey by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: take a train; or do a combination of car and bus. When traveling from San Simeon in May, plan for a bit cooler days in Monterey, with highs around 21°C, while nights are about the same with lows around 12°C. On the 26th (Tue), you'll have the morning to explore before heading back home.

Things to do in Monterey

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Big Sur, Carmel, Asilomar State Beach
Find places to stay May 22 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Asilomar State Beach ©
Asilomar State Beach
Carmel River State Beach ©
Carmel River State Beach
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park ©
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park

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