18 days in California & Grand Canyon National Park Itinerary

18 days in California & Grand Canyon National Park Itinerary

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Route & dates

18 days in California & Grand Canyon National Park Itinerary

Start: Newark
Fly:  7​h
1
San Francisco
— Few hours
Drive:  3​h
2
Big Sur
— 5 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
3
Santa Barbara
— 1 night
Drive:  1​h 15​min
4
Malibu
— Few hours
Drive:  1​h
5
Los Angeles
— 4 nights
Drive:  7​h 30​min
6
Grand Canyon National Park
— 1 night
Drive:  6​h 45​min
7
Death Valley National Park
— 1 night
car:  6​h
8
Yosemite National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h
9
San Francisco
— 3 nights
Fly:  7​h
End: Newark

few
hours
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Start off your visit on the 16th (Fri): take a leisurely stroll along Fisherman's Wharf and then take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Twin Peaks.

To see photos, reviews, ratings, and tourist information, read our San Francisco online travel planner .

Newark to San Francisco is an approximately 7-hour flight. You can also do a combination of train and flight; or drive. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Pacific Standard Time (PST), which is usually a -3 hour difference. Traveling from Newark in August, expect San Francisco to be a bit cooler, temps between 73°F and 59°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Fri) so you can go by car to Carmel.

Things to do in San Francisco

Neighborhoods Parks Nature
Find places to stay Aug 16 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Twin Peaks ©
Twin Peaks
Fisherman's Wharf ©
Fisherman's Wharf

5
nights
Big Sur

Big Sur ©
A sparsely populated area with stunning views, Big Sur attracts artists and tourists traveling California’s scenic Highway 1.
You'll enjoy a bit of beach vacationing at Pfeiffer State Beach and Sand Dollar Beach. Get in touch with nature at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Partington Cove. There's much more to do: immerse yourself in nature at Limekiln State Park, stroll through Salmon Creek Falls Trail, shop like a local with Coast Gallery Big Sur, and explore and take pictures at Point Sur State Historic Park.

For reviews, where to stay, traveler tips, and more tourist information, read our Big Sur trip itinerary tool .

Getting from San Francisco to Big Sur by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight and taxi; or take a bus. In August, daytime highs in Big Sur are 70°F, while nighttime lows are 57°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 21st (Wed) so you can drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Big Sur

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trip

Sand Dollar Beach
Find places to stay Aug 16 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park ©
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Sand Dollar Beach ©
Sand Dollar Beach

1
night
Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara ©
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.
Start off your visit on the 21st (Wed): kick back and relax at Thousand Steps Beach, then look for all kinds of wild species at Douglas Family Preserve, then kick back and relax at Arroyo Burro County Beach Park, and finally take a memorable drive along State Street Underpass. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: trek along Cabrillo Bike Path, then examine the collection at Reagan Ranch Center, and then learn about winemaking at Margerum Wine Company.

Plan my trip to Santa Barbara with suggested itineraries provided by Inspirock.

You can drive from Big Sur to Santa Barbara in 5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of flight and bus; or fly. While traveling from Big Sur, expect somewhat warmer days and about the same nights in Santa Barbara, ranging from highs of 76°F to lows of 60°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Thu) so you can go by car to Malibu.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Outdoors Parks Beaches
Find places to stay Aug 21 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Douglas Family Preserve ©
Douglas Family Preserve
Reagan Ranch Center ©
Reagan Ranch Center
Margerum Wine Company ©
Margerum Wine Company

few
hours
Malibu

Malibu ©
Malibu is a beach city in Los Angeles County, California, situated 30mi west of Downtown Los Angeles. Kick off your visit on the 22nd (Thu): enjoy the sand and surf at Carbon Beach.

To see maps, other places to visit, more things to do, and tourist information, go to the Malibu online itinerary planner .

You can drive from Santa Barbara to Malibu in 1.5 hours. Another option is to do a combination of train and taxi. In August in Malibu, expect temperatures between 76°F during the day and 65°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Thu) early enough to drive to Los Angeles.

Things to do in Malibu

Beaches Parks Outdoors
Find places to stay Aug 22 — 23:
Highlights from your plan
Carbon Beach ©
Carbon Beach

4
nights
Los Angeles

Los Angeles ©
Surrounded by mountain ranges, forests, valleys, beaches, and deserts, the metropolitan area of Los Angeles is home to over 17 million people.
Discover out-of-the-way places like Manhattan Beach and La Brea Tar Pits and Museum. You'll explore and learn at Battleship USS Iowa BB-61 and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The adventure continues: see the interesting displays at Hollywood Bowl Museum, see the sky in a new way at Griffith Observatory, admire the masterpieces at The Broad, and take an in-depth tour of Skirball Cultural Center.

To see maps, more things to do, and tourist information, you can read our Los Angeles online travel route planner .

Drive from Malibu to Los Angeles in an hour. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and tram; or take a bus. Traveling from Malibu in August, expect nights in Los Angeles to be about the same, around 66°F, while days are a bit warmer, around 84°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Grand Canyon National Park.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Museums Childrens Museums Historic Sites

Side Trips

Manhattan Beach, Norton Simon Museum
Find places to stay Aug 22 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
The Getty Center ©
The Getty Center
Manhattan Beach ©
Manhattan Beach
Battleship USS Iowa BB-61 ©
Battleship USS Iowa BB-61

1
night
Grand Canyon National Park

Grand Canyon National Park
The size, shape, and color of Grand Canyon National Park combine to leave an impression on visitors as deep as the canyon itself.
For maps, ratings, more things to do, and tourist information, read our Grand Canyon National Park holiday planning website .

You can drive from Los Angeles to Grand Canyon National Park in 7.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of flight and shuttle. The time zone difference when traveling from Los Angeles to Grand Canyon National Park is 1 hour. Expect a bit cooler evenings in Grand Canyon National Park when traveling from Los Angeles in August, with lows around 50°F. You will leave for Death Valley National Park on the 27th (Tue).

Things to do in Grand Canyon National Park

Outdoors Parks Trails
Find places to stay Aug 26 — 27:

1
night
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park ©
Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Start off your visit on the 27th (Tue): take an in-depth tour of The Ranch at Furnace Creek, explore the striking landscape at Zabriskie Point, and then take in the awesome beauty at Panamint Range. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take some stellar pictures from Aguereberry Point and then explore the stunning scenery at Mosaic Canyon.

To see reviews, traveler tips, and other tourist information, use the Death Valley National Park online travel planner .

Traveling by car from Grand Canyon National Park to Death Valley National Park takes 7 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of shuttle and bus. You'll gain 1 hour traveling from Grand Canyon National Park to Death Valley National Park due to the time zone difference. Prepare for a bit warmer weather when traveling from Grand Canyon National Park in August: high temperatures in Death Valley National Park hover around 98°F and lows are around 70°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Wed) to allow time to travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Parks Nature Museums
Find places to stay Aug 27 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Zabriskie Point ©
Zabriskie Point
The Ranch at Furnace Creek ©
The Ranch at Furnace Creek

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 29th (Thu): identify plant and animal life at Nature Center at Happy Isles, then admire the sheer force of Vernal Fall, then take in the dramatic natural features at Sentinel Dome, and finally take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Cathedral Beach Picnic Area. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 30th (Fri): get answers to all your questions at Yosemite Conservation Heritage Center, then take in the dramatic natural features at Glacier Point, and then hike along Panorama Trail.

For reviews, where to stay, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Yosemite National Park trip planner .

Traveling by combination of car and bus from Death Valley National Park to Yosemite National Park takes 6 hours. Traveling from Death Valley National Park in August, expect nights in Yosemite National Park to be colder, around 43°F, while days are little chillier, around 81°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 30th (Fri) so you can go by car to San Francisco.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Nature Wildlife
Find places to stay Aug 28 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Vernal Fall ©
Vernal Fall
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Sentinel Dome ©
Sentinel Dome

3
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
On the 31st (Sat), explore the striking landscape of Muir Woods National Monument, then walk around Lincoln Park, then examine the collection at Cable Car Museum, and finally head off the coast to Alcatraz Island. Keep things going the next day: kick back and relax at Stinson Beach, snap pictures at Golden Gate Bridge, and then trek along Lands End.

To find reviews, more things to do, maps, and other tourist information, read our San Francisco road trip app .

You can drive from Calistoga to San Francisco in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a train. While traveling from Calistoga, expect slightly colder days and about the same nights in San Francisco, ranging from highs of 73°F to lows of 59°F. On the 2nd (Mon), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can travel back home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trips

Stinson Beach, Muir Woods National Monument
Find places to stay Aug 30 — Sep 2:
Highlights from your plan
Muir Woods National Monument ©
Muir Woods National Monument
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Lands End ©
Lands End

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