22 days in California Itinerary

22 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California trip maker

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Route & dates

22 days in California Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
Drive:  2​h 15​min
1
Carmel
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
2
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
3
El Portal
— 5 nights
Drive:  4​h
4
Lone Pine
— 3 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
5
Death Valley National Park
— 3 nights
Drive:  5​h 30​min
6
San Diego
— 4 nights
Drive:  8​h 30​min
End: San Francisco

3
nights
Carmel

Carmel ©
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. Explore hidden gems such as Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park and Pfeiffer State Beach. For shopping fun, head to Pezzini Farms or Pacific Grove Certified Farmers' Market. You'll find plenty of places to visit near Carmel: Big Sur (McWay Falls & Coast Gallery Big Sur), Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park (in Felton) and Boardwalk's Cocoanut Grove (in Santa Cruz). The adventure continues: kick back and relax at Lovers Point, stroll through Capitola Beach, grab your bike and head to Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail, and look for all kinds of wild species at Bird Rock Vista Point.

For traveler tips, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, read our Carmel trip tool .

San Francisco to Carmel is an approximately 2.5-hour car ride. You can also fly; or take a bus. In July, plan for daily highs up to 24°C, and evening lows to 15°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Mon) so you can go by car to San Simeon.

Things to do in Carmel

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Big Sur, Pacific Grove, Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park, Capitola Beach, Bird Rock Vista Point
Find places to stay Jul 17 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park ©
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail ©

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.
On the 21st (Tue), enjoy the sand and surf at Moonstone Beach, take a memorable drive along Moonstone Beach Dr, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery. Here are some ideas for day two: enjoy the sand and surf at Piedras Blancas, take a leisurely stroll along San Simeon Pier, then contemplate the long history of Hearst Castle, and finally take in the exciting artwork at Ephraim Pottery West Gallery.

To find photos, traveler tips, other places to visit, and tourist information, go to the San Simeon trip itinerary planner.

Getting from Carmel to San Simeon by car takes about 3 hours. Other options: do a combination of bus and car. When traveling from Carmel in July, plan for much warmer days and about the same nights in San Simeon: temperatures range from 40°C by day to 15°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to El Portal.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Outdoors Wildlife

Side Trip

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

5
nights
El Portal

El Portal ©
El Portal is a census-designated place in Mariposa County, California. Discover out-of-the-way places like Yosemite, Tunnel View and Yosemite Falls. Give yourself a bit of retail therapy at El Portal Market and Casto Oaks Fine Wine and Arts. Step out of El Portal with an excursion to Bodie State Historic Park in Bridgeport--about 1h 55 min away. There's still lots to do: explore the striking landscape at Sentinel Dome, get great views at Washburn Point, pause for some serene contemplation at Yosemite Valley Chapel, and explore the wealth of natural beauty at Bridalveil Fall.

To find maps, ratings, photos, and tourist information, read our El Portal road trip tool .

Traveling by car from San Simeon to El Portal takes 5 hours. July in El Portal sees daily highs of 41°C and lows of 18°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 27th (Mon) to allow enough time to travel to Lone Pine.

Things to do in El Portal

Parks Nature Historic Sites

Side Trips

Yosemite National Park, Casto Oaks Fine Wine and Arts, Bodie State Historic Park
Find places to stay Jul 22 — 27:
Highlights from your plan
Sentinel Dome ©
Sentinel Dome
Bridalveil Fall ©
Bridalveil Fall
El Capitan ©
El Capitan

3
nights
Lone Pine

Lone Pine ©
Lone Pine is a census designated place (CDP) in Inyo County, California, United States. Discover out-of-the-way places like Giant Forest and Kings Canyon National Park. Get outdoors at Moro Rock and General Grant Tree Trail. When in Lone Pine, make a side trip to see General Sherman Tree in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, approximately 4 hours away. Next up on the itinerary: fly down the slopes at Diamond Peak.

To find ratings, photos, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Lone Pine tour builder site .

Traveling by car from El Portal to Lone Pine takes 4 hours. July in Lone Pine sees daily highs of 43°C and lows of 17°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 30th (Thu) so you can go by car to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in Lone Pine

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park, Diamond Peak
Find places to stay Jul 27 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Giant Forest ©
Giant Forest
Moro Rock ©
Moro Rock
Kings Canyon National Park ©
Kings Canyon National Park

3
nights
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park ©
Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Get outdoors at Badwater Basin and Zabriskie Point. Explore hidden gems such as Dante's View and Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad Museum. There's more to do: explore the striking landscape at Artists Palette and explore and take pictures at Artists Dr.

To plan Death Valley National Park vacation without wasting time, ask Inspirock to design an itinerary.

You can drive from Lone Pine to Death Valley National Park in 2 hours. Traveling from Lone Pine in July, plan for somewhat warmer nights in Death Valley National Park, with lows around 26°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Sun) early enough to drive to San Diego.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Parks Nature Scenic Drive

Side Trip

Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad Museum
Find places to stay Jul 30 — Aug 2:
Highlights from your plan
Artists Palette ©
Artists Palette
Zabriskie Point ©
Zabriskie Point
Artists Dr ©
Artists Dr

4
nights
San Diego

San Diego ©
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.
For shopping fun, head to Las Americas Premium Outlets or Liberty Public Market. Get in touch with nature at Lions, Tigers & Bears and Del Mar City Beach. Take a break from San Diego with a short trip to Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas, about 36 minutes away. And it doesn't end there: take a tour by water with Boat Tours & Water Sports, fly like a bird with a parasailing or paragliding tour, explore and take pictures at Mission Beach Boardwalk, and enjoy the sand and surf at Torrey Pines State Beach.

To see more things to do, where to stay, reviews, and other tourist information, you can read our San Diego road trip planning tool .

Drive from Death Valley National Park to San Diego in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of car, bus, and train. When traveling from Death Valley National Park in August, plan for cooler days in San Diego, with highs around 30°C, while nights are about the same with lows around 23°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 6th (Thu) to allow time to travel back home.

Things to do in San Diego

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Lions, Tigers & Bears, Moonlight State Beach, Del Mar City Beach
Find places to stay Aug 2 — 6:
Highlights from your plan
Lions, Tigers & Bears ©
Lions, Tigers & Bears
Windansea Beach ©
Windansea Beach
Moonlight State Beach ©
Moonlight State Beach

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