15 days in California Itinerary

15 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California vacation maker

Make it your trip
Fly
1
San Diego
— 2 nights
Fly
2
Cambria
— 1 night
Drive
3
Carmel
— 3 nights
Drive
4
San Francisco
— 2 nights
Drive
5
Yosemite National Park
— 4 nights
Drive
6
Death Valley National Park
— 2 nights
Drive to McCarran International Airport, Fly to Washington

S M T W T F S
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1

San Diego

— 2 nights

America's Finest City

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.
You'll discover tucked-away gems like Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve and Cabrillo National Monument. Escape the urban bustle at Dolphin & Whale Watching and La Jolla Cove. Change things up with a short trip to Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage & Meditation Gardens in Encinitas (about 32 minutes away). There's more to do: get to know the resident critters at San Diego Zoo and stroll around Sunset Cliffs Natural Park.

For reviews, more things to do, where to stay, and tourist information, read our San Diego trip planner.

Washington to San Diego is an approximately 12-hour flight. You can also drive. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Pacific Standard Time (PST), which is usually a -3 hour difference. Prepare for somewhat warmer weather when traveling from Washington in December: high temperatures in San Diego hover around 68°F and lows are around 51°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 19th (Sun) early enough to catch the flight to Cambria.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks · Outdoors · Zoos & Aquariums · Wildlife

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 17 — 19:

Cambria

— 1 night
Cambria is a seaside village in San Luis Obispo County, California, United States midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles along California State Route 1 (Highway 1). Kick off your visit on the 20th (Mon): kick back and relax at Piedras Blancas and then enjoy the sand and surf at Moonstone Beach.

For more things to do, photos, and tourist information, refer to the Cambria itinerary website.

You can fly from San Diego to Cambria in 3 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of train, taxi, and bus. Plan for slightly colder temperatures traveling from San Diego in December, with highs in Cambria at 63°F and lows at 33°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Mon) so you can drive to Carmel.

Things to do in Cambria

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Wildlife

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 19 — 20:
Highlights from your trip

Carmel

— 3 nights
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. Relax by the water at Pfeiffer State Beach and Carmel River State Beach. Step off the beaten path and head to Asilomar State Beach and Point Lobos. Get out of town with these interesting Carmel side-trips: Big Sur (McWay Falls & Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park). There's more to do: get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour.

To find traveler tips, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Carmel online itinerary planner.

Getting from Cambria to Carmel by car takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: do a combination of taxi, train, and bus. Traveling from Cambria in December, plan for a bit warmer nights in Carmel, with lows around 43°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 23rd (Thu) to allow time to drive to San Francisco.

Things to do in Carmel

Outdoors · Parks · Beaches · Nature

Side Trips

Find places to stay Dec 20 — 23:

San Francisco

— 2 nights

City by the Bay

San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Start off your visit on the 24th (Fri): snap pictures at Golden Gate Bridge, head off the coast to Alcatraz Island, and then take in the waterfront at Fisherman's Wharf. Keep things going the next day: walk around Lincoln Park, then take a peaceful walk through Muir Woods National Monument, then trek along Lands End, and finally take in the pleasant sights at Lombard Street.

To find other places to visit, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our San Francisco trip maker website.

Drive from Carmel to San Francisco in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 59°F in December, and nighttime lows around 45°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 25th (Sat) so you can travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks · Nature · Historic Sites · Outdoors

Side Trip

Find places to stay Dec 23 — 25:

Yosemite National Park

— 4 nights
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.
Step out of the city life by going to Badger Pass Ski Area and Yosemite Valley Biking. Discover out-of-the-way places like Vernal Fall and Yosemite Falls. On the 28th (Tue), spend a scenic day exploring the area around Half Dome. The adventure continues: stroll through Cathedral Beach Picnic Area, explore the striking landscape of Pioneer Yosemite History Center, admire the sheer force of Bridalveil Fall, and take some stellar pictures from Yosemite, Tunnel View.

To find reviews, more things to do, other places to visit, and other tourist information, use the Yosemite National Park online day trip planner.

Traveling by car from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park takes 4 hours. Traveling from San Francisco in December, expect nights in Yosemite National Park to be cooler, around 14°F, while days are a bit cooler, around 46°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 29th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Winter Sports
Find places to stay Dec 25 — 29:

Death Valley National Park

— 2 nights

Hottest, Driest, Lowest

Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Kick off your visit on the 30th (Thu): take in breathtaking views at Twenty Mule Team Canyon, cruise along Artists Dr, explore the activities along Badwater Basin, take in the dramatic natural features at Devil's Golf Course, then explore the striking landscape at Zabriskie Point, and finally explore the stunning scenery at Golden Canyon.

For traveler tips, photos, and more tourist information, use the Death Valley National Park sightseeing planner.

Traveling by car from Yosemite National Park to Death Valley National Park takes 4.5 hours. Expect a bit warmer temperatures when traveling from Yosemite National Park in December; daily highs in Death Valley National Park reach 56°F and lows reach 33°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 31st (Fri) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Nature · Parks · Outdoors · Scenic Drive
Find places to stay Dec 29 — 31:

California travel guide

4
The Golden State
The country's most populous state, California includes landscapes that range from the forested northern coast to harsh southern deserts. Sandwiched right in the middle of the state is a fertile valley, home to farms, vineyards, and orchards. California's cities offer diverse attractions, from amusement parks and upscale shops to award-winning restaurants and innovative art galleries. Outside the state's big urban centers, places to visit include some of the nation's most rugged national parks, ancient forests, towering mountain peaks, and ski resorts. More than just a surfing destination famous for its beaches and winding coastal roads, California also boasts one of the world's largest economies, bolstered by the booming tech industries.