13 days in California Itinerary

13 days in California Itinerary

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13 days in California Itinerary

Madrid
+3
Fly + shuttle + foot + bus:  21​h
Carmel
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive:  6​h
Yosemite National Park
— 5 nights
Drive:  5​h
Calistoga
— 1 night
taxi + Fly:  20​h 30​min
Madrid

3
days
Carmel

Carmel ©
Carmel-by-the-Sea, often simply referred to as 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. Take a break from the city and head to Point Lobos State Reserve and Monterey Bay. Get out of town with these interesting Carmel side-trips: Big Sur (McWay Falls & Partington Cove). Next up on the itinerary: enjoy the sand and surf at Carmel City Beach/Carmel River Beach, pause for some serene contemplation at San Carlos Cathedral, and take a memorable drive along Seventeen Mile Drive.

For ratings, more things to do, photos, and tourist information, go to the Carmel road trip website .

Madrid, Spain to Carmel is an approximately 21-hour flight. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 9 hours traveling from Madrid to Carmel. In October, daily temperatures in Carmel can reach 24°C, while at night they dip to 13°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 7th (Sun) to allow time to drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Carmel

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Big Sur, Monterey
Accommodations
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Point Lobos State Reserve ©
Point Lobos State Reserve
Pfeiffer State Beach ©
Pfeiffer State Beach
Carmel City Beach/Carmel River Beach ©

1
day
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 8th (Mon): enjoy the sand and surf at Moonstone Beach, learn about winemaking at Moonstone Cellars, and then look for all kinds of wild species at Elephant Seal Rookery.

For where to stay, maps, reviews, and more tourist information, you can read our San Simeon route app .

You can drive from Carmel to San Simeon in 2.5 hours. Another option is to take a bus. Traveling from Carmel in October, you will find days in San Simeon are slightly colder (18°C), and nights are about the same (13°C). On the 9th (Tue), wrap the sightseeing up by early afternoon so you can drive to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks Wildlife Beaches

Side Trip

Cambria
Accommodations
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Moonstone Beach ©
Moonstone Beach
Piedras Blancas Light Station ©
Piedras Blancas Light Station
Moonstone Cellars ©
Moonstone Cellars

4
days
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 in touch with nature at Panorama Trail and May Lake Trailhead. Get some cultural insight at Bodie and Bodie State Historic Park. There's much more to do: don't miss a visit to Olmsted Point, take in the dramatic natural features at Glacier Point, look for all kinds of wild species at Nature Center at Happy Isles, and take some stellar pictures from Tunnel View.

To see photos, more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, refer to the Yosemite National Park attractions planner.

You can drive from San Simeon to Yosemite National Park in 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi. Plan for much colder nights when traveling from San Simeon in October since evenings lows in Yosemite National Park dip to -1°C. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 14th (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Calistoga.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Outdoors Nature

Side Trips

Bodie, Bodie State Historic Park
Accommodations
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Bodie State Historic Park ©
Bodie State Historic Park
Panorama Trail ©
Panorama Trail
Lembert Dome ©
Lembert Dome

1
day
Calistoga

Calistoga ©
Indulgence is the name of the game in Calistoga.
Start off your visit on the 15th (Mon): learn about winemaking at Vincent Arroyo Winery, step into the grandiose world of Castello di Amorosa, then learn about winemaking at Robert Mondavi Winery, then learn about winemaking at V. Sattui, and finally do a tasting at Pride Mountain Vineyards.

To see more things to do, traveler tips, maps, and tourist information, use the Calistoga day trip planner.

Traveling by car from Yosemite National Park to Calistoga takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, bus, and ferry; or do a combination of taxi, bus, and subway. In October, Calistoga is somewhat warmer than Yosemite National Park - with highs of 28°C and lows of 9°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 15th (Mon) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Calistoga

Wineries Historic Sites

Side Trips

St. Helena, Robert Mondavi Winery
Accommodations
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Castello di Amorosa ©
Castello di Amorosa
Pride Mountain Vineyards ©
Pride Mountain Vineyards
Vincent Arroyo Winery ©
Vincent Arroyo Winery

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