33 days in California Itinerary

33 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

33 days in California Itinerary

Start: Washington DC
Fly:  7​h
1
San Francisco
— 4 nights
Drive:  3​h 30​min
2
Mendocino
— 3 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
3
Ferndale
— 2 nights
Drive:  6​h 15​min
4
Carmel
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
5
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
— 3 nights
Drive:  5​h
6
Yosemite National Park
— 4 nights
bus + taxi:  3​h 30​min
7
South Lake Tahoe
— 2 nights
Drive:  5​h 45​min
8
Death Valley National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  5​h 15​min
9
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
Drive:  1​h 45​min
10
Los Angeles
— 5 nights
Fly:  8​h
End: Washington DC

4
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Castello di Amorosa and Ramini Mozzarella. Give yourself a bit of retail therapy at Ferry Building Marketplace and Union Square. Step out of San Francisco to go to Nicasio and see Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, which is approximately 50 minutes away. Next up on the itinerary: explore and take pictures at Alcatraz Island, browse the eclectic array of goods at Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, contemplate the long history of SS Jeremiah O'Brien, and snap pictures at Golden Gate Bridge.

To find photos, reviews, and tourist information, read our San Francisco tour builder tool .

Washington DC to San Francisco is an approximately 7-hour flight. You can also do a combination of subway, bus, and flight; or drive. The time zone difference when traveling from Washington DC to San Francisco is minus 3 hours. Traveling from Washington DC in September, expect San Francisco to be slightly colder, temps between 76°F and 58°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 17th (Mon) so you can go by car to Mendocino.

Things to do in San Francisco

#Shopping, #Historic Sites, #Parks

Side Trips

Nicasio Valley Cheese Company, Castello di Amorosa, Ramini Mozzarella
Find places to stay Sep 13 — 17:
Highlights from your plan
Ferry Building Marketplace ©
Ferry Building Marketplace
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Castello di Amorosa ©
Castello di Amorosa

3
nights
Mendocino

Mendocino ©
Mendocino is an unincorporated community in Mendocino County, California, United States. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Point Cabrillo Light Station and Point Arena Lighthouse & Museum. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Gallery Bookshop & Bookwinkle's Children's Books and Schooner Gulch State Beach. Change things up with these side-trips from Mendocino: Lula Cellars (in Philo) and Sea Ranch Chapel (in The Sea Ranch). There's still lots to do: stop by Mendocino Jams & Preserves, contemplate the long history of Ford House Museum, stroll through Pudding Creek Beach, and take in nature's colorful creations at Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens.

To find where to stay, other places to visit, reviews, and other tourist information, refer to the Mendocino trip app .

Drive from San Francisco to Mendocino in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of flight and bus. Traveling from San Francisco in September, expect nights in Mendocino to be slightly colder, around 52°F, while days are somewhat warmer, around 88°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 20th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Ferndale.

Things to do in Mendocino

#Parks, #Historic Sites, #Beaches

Side Trips

Point Arena, Fort Bragg, Sea Ranch Chapel, Lula Cellars
Find places to stay Sep 17 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens ©
Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens
Point Arena Lighthouse & Museum ©
Point Arena Lighthouse & Museum
Point Cabrillo Light Station ©
Point Cabrillo Light Station

2
nights
Ferndale

Ferndale ©
Ferndale is a city in Humboldt County, California, United States. Kick off your visit on the 21st (Fri): stop by Golden Gait Mercantile, then pick up some local products at Arcata Farmers' Market, then stop by Los Bagels, and finally look for gifts at Holly Yashi Store and Design Studio. Keep things going the next day: look for gifts at The Blacksmith Shop, take an in-depth tour of Ferndale Museum, then steep yourself in history at The Immortal Tree, then examine the collection at Chapman's Gem & Mineral Shop & Museum, and finally contemplate the long history of Fern Cottage.

For photos, traveler tips, more things to do, and other tourist information, read our Ferndale tour itinerary planner.

Traveling by car from Mendocino to Ferndale takes 3 hours. When traveling from Mendocino in September, plan for little chillier days in Ferndale, with highs around 69°F, while nights are about the same with lows around 51°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 22nd (Sat) to allow time to travel to Carmel.

Things to do in Ferndale

#Shopping, #Museums, #Historic Sites

Side Trips

Arcata, Chapman's Gem & Mineral Shop & Museum, The Immortal Tree
Find places to stay Sep 20 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Arcata Farmers' Market ©
Arcata Farmers' Market
The Immortal Tree ©
The Immortal Tree
Fern Cottage ©
Fern Cottage

2
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. Visit Mission San Antonio de Padua and Cannery Row for their historical value. Head to The Cheese Shop and Gallery by the Sea Carmelfor some retail therapy. Venture out of the city with trips to Big Sur (Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park & McWay Falls). And it doesn't end there: admire the majestic nature at Point Lobos, take in the exciting artwork at Carmel Art Association, stroll through Carmel River State Beach, and stop by The Pilgrims Way Books and Secret Garden.

To see more things to do, photos, maps, and tourist information, use the Carmel holiday planner .

Drive from Ferndale to Carmel in 6.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly. Expect a daytime high around 72°F in September, and nighttime lows around 56°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 25th (Tue) early enough to go by car to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

Things to do in Carmel

#Parks, #Beaches, #Outdoors

Side Trips

Monterey, Big Sur, Mission San Antonio de Padua
Find places to stay Sep 22 — 25:
Highlights from your plan
Carmel River State Beach ©
Carmel River State Beach
Mission San Antonio de Padua ©
Mission San Antonio de Padua
Cannery Row ©
Cannery Row

3
nights
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park ©
With mountain peaks reaching past 4,250 m (14,000 ft) and trees stretching to over 75 m (250 ft) high, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks present nature on a grand scale.
General Sherman Tree and Manzanar National Historic Site will appeal to history buffs. Discover out-of-the-way places like Gus's Fresh Jerky and Eastern California Museum. Go for a jaunt from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park to Lone Pine to see Museum of Western Film History about 54 minutes away. There's lots more to do: take a peaceful walk through Giant Forest, cruise along Generals Hwy, and take in the dramatic natural features at Moro Rock.

For where to stay, maps, ratings, and tourist information, use the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park road trip planning tool .

You can drive from Carmel to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in 5 hours. Other options are to do a combination of bus and car; or do a combination of bus, flight, shuttle, and car. Traveling from Carmel in September, you will find days in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park are somewhat warmer (90°F), and nights are about the same (59°F). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 28th (Fri) early enough to drive to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

#Nature, #Parks, #Historic Sites

Side Trips

Independence, Museum of Western Film History, Gus's Fresh Jerky
Find places to stay Sep 25 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Giant Forest ©
Giant Forest
General Sherman Tree ©
General Sherman Tree
Gus's Fresh Jerky ©
Gus's Fresh Jerky

4
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.
Step off the beaten path and head to Glacier Point and Tunnel View. Explore Yosemite National Park's surroundings by going to Footloose Sports in Mammoth Lakes (in Mammoth Lakes) and Bodie State Historic Park (in Bridgeport). There's still lots to do: take in the dramatic scenery at Yosemite Falls, trek along Tuolumne Meadows, don't miss a visit to Pothole Dome, and cruise along Tioga Pass.

To see where to stay, ratings, maps, and tourist information, use the Yosemite National Park trip itinerary builder app .

Drive from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park to Yosemite National Park in 5 hours. Traveling from Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park in September, you will find days in Yosemite National Park are a bit cooler (74°F), and nights are cooler (38°F). Wrap up your sightseeing on the 2nd (Tue) early enough to travel to South Lake Tahoe.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

#Parks, #Nature, #Outdoors

Side Trips

Bodie State Historic Park, Footloose Sports in Mammoth Lakes
Find places to stay Sep 28 — Oct 2:
Highlights from your plan
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Bodie State Historic Park ©
Bodie State Historic Park
Footloose Sports in Mammoth Lakes ©

2
nights
South Lake Tahoe

South Lake Tahoe ©
High in the Sierra Nevada mountains on the shore of one of America’s most scenic lakes, South Lake Tahoe captures the spirit of the outdoors and serves as a hub for tourism activities surrounding the lake.
Kick off your visit on the 3rd (Wed): take in the architecture and atmosphere at St Theresa Catholic Church, then look for gifts at Bear Valley Cross Country and Adventure Company, then explore the historical opulence of Vikingsholm, and finally look for gifts at Grass Roots Natural Foods. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: stop by Tahoe Fly Fishing Outfitters, look for gifts at Shoreline Of Tahoe Store, and then view the masterpieces at Marcus Ashley Fine Art Gallery.

For reviews, maps, photos, and tourist information, read our South Lake Tahoe online holiday planner .

Traveling by combination of bus and taxi from Yosemite National Park to South Lake Tahoe takes 3.5 hours. In October, daytime highs in South Lake Tahoe are 64°F, while nighttime lows are 31°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 4th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in South Lake Tahoe

#Shopping, #Historic Sites, #Museums

Side Trip

Bear Valley Cross Country and Adventure Company
Find places to stay Oct 2 — 4:
Highlights from your plan
Grass Roots Natural Foods ©
Grass Roots Natural Foods
Vikingsholm ©
Vikingsholm
St Theresa Catholic Church ©
St Theresa Catholic Church

2
nights
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park ©
Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Cerro Gordo Mines and Badwater Basin. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Eureka Mine and Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad Museum. There's much more to do: take in the dramatic natural features at Zabriskie Point, admire the sheer force of Darwin Falls, cruise along Artists Dr, and get great views at Dante's View.

To find other places to visit, photos, and more tourist information, go to the Death Valley National Park vacation planner.

Traveling by car from South Lake Tahoe to Death Valley National Park takes 6 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus; or do a combination of bus, flight, and taxi. Traveling from South Lake Tahoe in October, you will find days in Death Valley National Park are a bit warmer (79°F), and nights are warmer (52°F). Cap off your sightseeing on the 7th (Sun) early enough to go by car to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

#Nature, #Parks, #Historic Sites

Side Trips

Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad Museum, Cerro Gordo Mines
Find places to stay Oct 4 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
Zabriskie Point ©
Zabriskie Point
Cerro Gordo Mines ©
Cerro Gordo Mines
Badwater Basin ©
Badwater Basin

2
nights
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.
Deepen your sense of the past at sights like State Street and Old Mission Santa Barbara. You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at The Sacred Space and Wine Tours & Tastings. Explore the numerous day-trip ideas around Santa Barbara: Bart's Books (in Ojai) and Camarillo Premium Outlets (in Camarillo). There's more to do: browse the eclectic array of goods at Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market and get a sense of history and politics at Santa Barbara County Courthouse.

To see ratings, other places to visit, where to stay, and more tourist information, go to the Santa Barbara trip planner .

Traveling by car from Death Valley National Park to Santa Barbara takes 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car, bus, and train; or take a bus. Expect a daytime high around 77°F in October, and nighttime lows around 53°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 10th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Los Angeles.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

#Shopping, #Tours, #Historic Sites

Side Trips

Camarillo Premium Outlets, Bart's Books, The Sacred Space
Find places to stay Oct 7 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
The Sacred Space ©
The Sacred Space
Old Mission Santa Barbara ©
Old Mission Santa Barbara
Camarillo Premium Outlets ©
Camarillo Premium Outlets

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.
Head to Amoeba Music and The Grovefor plenty of shopping. Explore Los Angeles' surroundings by going to Santa Monica (Third Street Promenade & Bergamot Station). Pack the 13th (Sat) with family-friendly diversions at Universal Studios Hollywood. There's much more to do: hunt for treasures at Melrose Trading Post, stop by Studio City Farmers Market, wander the streets of Abbot Kinney Boulevard, and take in the waterfront at Santa Monica Pier.

For reviews and tourist information, go to the Los Angeles route planner .

Getting from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles by car takes about 2 hours. Other options: take a train; or take a bus. Traveling from Santa Barbara in October, Los Angeles is a bit warmer at night with lows of 62°F. You will have some time to spend on the 15th (Mon) before leaving for home.

Things to do in Los Angeles

#Shopping, #Theme Parks, #Nightlife

Side Trip

Santa Monica
Find places to stay Oct 10 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Amoeba Music ©
Amoeba Music
Santa Monica Pier ©
Santa Monica Pier
Bergamot Station ©
Bergamot Station

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