29 days in California Itinerary

29 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

29 days in California Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
1
San Francisco
— 5 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
2
Carmel
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h
3
San Simeon
— 1 night
Drive:  4​h 30​min
4
Los Angeles
— 5 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
5
San Diego
— 5 nights
Drive:  5​h 30​min
6
Death Valley National Park
— 3 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
7
Mammoth Lakes
— 6 nights
Fly:  3​h
End: San Francisco

5
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Museum-lovers will appreciate California State Railroad Museum and SS Jeremiah O'Brien. Get some cultural insight at Alcatraz Island and Musee Mecanique. Explore San Francisco's surroundings by going to Armstrong Redwood State Reserve (in Guerneville), Patrick Amiot (in Sebastopol) and Muir Woods National Monument (in Mill Valley). There's much more to do: snap pictures at Golden Gate Bridge, take in the spiritual surroundings of Grace Cathedral, appreciate the extensive heritage of Filbert Street Stairs, and take a stroll through Fisherman's Wharf.

For maps, ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, go to the San Francisco online route builder .

The Route module can give you travel options from your home to San Francisco. September in San Francisco sees daily highs of 76°F and lows of 58°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 7th (Sat) early enough to go by car to Carmel.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Historic Sites Nature

Side Trips

Safari West, California State Railroad Museum, Muir Woods National Monument, Patrick Amiot, Armstrong Redwood State Reserve
Find places to stay Sep 2 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Armstrong Redwood State Reserve ©
Armstrong Redwood State Reserve

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. Get in touch with nature at Point Lobos and Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. Explore hidden gems such as Dolphin & Whale Watching and Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard. Change things up with these side-trips from Carmel: Big Sur (McWay Falls & Pfeiffer State Beach). And it doesn't end there: enjoy the sand and surf at Carmel River State Beach, snap pictures at Bixby Bridge, and explore the activities along Monterey Bay.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, and other tourist information, refer to the Carmel online trip planner .

Drive from San Francisco to Carmel in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a bus. In September in Carmel, expect temperatures between 72°F during the day and 56°F at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 10th (Tue) early enough to go by car to San Simeon.

Things to do in Carmel

Outdoors Parks Beaches

Side Trips

Big Sur, Monterey, Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard
Find places to stay Sep 7 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park ©
Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
Carmel River State Beach ©
Carmel River State Beach

1
night
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.
Start off your visit on the 11th (Wed): contemplate the long history of Hearst Castle, look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery, and then stroll through Moonstone Beach.

To see reviews, other places to visit, maps, and tourist information, read San Simeon route builder tool .

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 September, plan for somewhat warmer days in San Simeon, with highs around 90°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 53°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Wed) to allow time to drive to Los Angeles.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Beaches Outdoors

Side Trip

Moonstone Beach
Find places to stay Sep 10 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Hearst Castle ©
Hearst Castle
Friends of the Elephant Seal ©
Friends of the Elephant Seal
Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach

5
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.
Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum and Petersen Automotive Museum. Visit Old Mission Santa Barbara and Santa Monica Pier for their historical value. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Los Angeles: Disneyland Park (in Anaheim) and Dolphin & Whale Watching (in Dana Point). And it doesn't end there: see the interesting displays at The Getty Center, learn more about the world around you at Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, explore the world behind art at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and get engrossed in the history at Autry Museum of the American West.

To find reviews, maps, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Los Angeles trip itinerary builder .

You can drive from San Simeon to Los Angeles in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and flight; or do a combination of bus and train. While traveling from San Simeon, expect slightly colder days and a bit warmer nights in Los Angeles, ranging from highs of 85°F to lows of 66°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 16th (Mon) so you can go by car to San Diego.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Museums Outdoors Theme Parks

Side Trips

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Santa Monica Pier, Old Mission Santa Barbara, Disneyland Park, Dolphin & Whale Watching
Find places to stay Sep 11 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Dolphin & Whale Watching
The Getty Center ©
The Getty Center

5
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.
Old Town San Diego State Historic Park and Oceanside Pier will appeal to history buffs. Do some cultural sightseeing at USS Midway Museum and San Diego Model Railroad Museum. Take a break from San Diego with a short trip to Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage & Meditation Gardens in Encinitas, about 30 minutes away. There's still lots to do: see majestic marine mammals with a dolphin and whale watching tour, enjoy the sand and surf at La Jolla Shores Park, pause for some photo ops at Cabrillo National Monument, and get to know the resident critters at San Diego Zoo.

To see reviews, ratings, and more tourist information, you can read our San Diego trip maker app .

You can drive from Los Angeles to San Diego in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or fly. Expect a bit cooler weather when traveling from Los Angeles in September: highs in San Diego hover around 79°F, while lows dip to 68°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Sat) so you can go by car to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage & Meditation Gardens, Oceanside Pier
Find places to stay Sep 16 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
La Jolla Shores Park ©
La Jolla Shores Park
Dolphin & Whale Watching
Old Town San Diego State Historic 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 Devil's Golf Course. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Zabriskie Point and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. There's lots more to do: take in the dramatic natural features at Artists Palette, take a memorable drive along Artists Dr, take some stellar pictures from Dante's View, and contemplate the long history of Harmony Borax Works.

To find reviews, more things to do, maps, and tourist information, use the Death Valley National Park trip planner .

Getting from San Diego to Death Valley National Park by car takes about 5.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of flight and bus; or do a combination of train, bus, and car. While traveling from San Diego, expect a bit warmer days and little chillier nights in Death Valley National Park, ranging from highs of 91°F to lows of 63°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 24th (Tue) to allow enough time to drive to Mammoth Lakes.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Nature Parks Scenic Drive
Find places to stay Sep 21 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Badwater Basin ©
Badwater Basin
Zabriskie Point ©
Zabriskie Point
Artists Palette ©
Artists Palette

6
nights
Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes ©
Mammoth Lakes is a town in Mono County, California, the county's only incorporated community. Appreciate the collections at Bodie State Historic Park and Yosemite Museum Gallery. You'll discover tucked-away gems like Glacier Point and Half Dome. Next up on the itinerary: admire the sheer force of Vernal Fall, hike along Mariposa Grove, stroll through Lembert Dome, and explore the striking landscape of Swinging Bridge Picnic Area Yosemite National Park CA.

To find reviews, photos, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Mammoth Lakes trip itinerary planner .

Getting from Death Valley National Park to Mammoth Lakes by car takes about 3.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of car and bus. Traveling from Death Valley National Park in September, expect nights in Mammoth Lakes to be much colder, around 38°F, while days are little chillier, around 74°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in Mammoth Lakes

Parks Nature Trails

Side Trips

Yosemite National Park, Bodie State Historic Park
Find places to stay Sep 24 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Yosemite Falls ©
Yosemite Falls
Bodie State Historic Park ©
Bodie State Historic Park
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point

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