20 days in California Itinerary

20 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

20 days in California Itinerary

Start: Washington DC
+2
train + bus + Fly:  7​h 30​min
1
San Diego
— 3 nights
2
Los Angeles
— 4 nights
Fly + Drive:  4​h 15​min
3
Yosemite National Park
— 6 nights
Drive:  4​h 30​min
4
Monterey
— 1 night
Drive:  2​h 15​min
5
San Francisco
— 5 nights
Fly:  7​h
End: Washington DC

3
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.
Visiting San Diego Zoo and La Jolla Cove will get you outdoors. When in San Diego, make a side trip to see Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage & Meditation Gardens in Encinitas, approximately 46 minutes away. There's still lots to do: admire the majestic nature at Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve, see the interesting displays at Maritime Museum of San Diego, stroll around Balboa Park, and pause for some photo ops at Cabrillo National Monument.

For traveler tips, photos, maps, and more tourist information, refer to the San Diego travel itinerary planner.

Washington DC to San Diego is an approximately 7.5-hour combination of train and flight. You can also do a combination of subway, bus, and flight; or drive. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time (EST) to Pacific Standard Time (PST), which is usually a -3 hour difference. Traveling from Washington DC in December, things will get a bit warmer in San Diego: highs are around 68°F and lows about 51°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 30th (Mon) early enough to drive to Los Angeles.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks Outdoors Museums

Side Trip

Self Realization Fellowship Hermitage & Meditation Gardens
Find places to stay Dec 27 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
San Diego Zoo ©
San Diego Zoo
Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve ©
La Jolla Cove ©
La Jolla Cove

4
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.
Get outdoors at Topanga State Park and El Pueblo de Los Angeles. Visit Santa Monica Pier and Hollywood Walk of Fame for their historical value. Step out of Los Angeles with an excursion to Disneyland Park in Anaheim--about 36 minutes away. Pack the 2nd (Thu) with family-friendly diversions at Universal Studios Hollywood. Next up on the itinerary: examine the collection at The Getty Center, stroll the grounds of Hollywood Forever Cemetery, steep yourself in history at Angels Flight Railway, and see the sky in a new way at Griffith Observatory.

To find out how to plan a trip to Los Angeles, use our trip itinerary maker.

Traveling by car from San Diego to Los Angeles takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or fly. In December, daily temperatures in Los Angeles can reach 69°F, while at night they dip to 49°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 3rd (Fri) to allow time to travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Theme Parks Historic Sites Museums

Side Trips

Santa Monica Pier, Disneyland Park
Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 3:
Highlights from your plan
Disneyland Park ©
Disneyland Park
Santa Monica Pier ©
Santa Monica Pier
Topanga State Park ©
Topanga State Park

6
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.
Take a break from the city and head to Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area and Elizabeth Lake, Yosemite National Park. There's lots more to do: take in the dramatic natural features at Glacier Point, take some stellar pictures from Washburn Point, tour the pleasant surroundings at Panorama Trail, and get engrossed in the history at Parsons Memorial.

Take the guesswork out of planning a Yosemite National Park vacation by using our trip itinerary maker.

You can do a combination of flight and car from Los Angeles to Yosemite National Park in 4.5 hours. Other options are to drive; or do a combination of flight and bus. Expect colder temperatures when traveling from Los Angeles in January; daily highs in Yosemite National Park reach 44°F and lows reach 13°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Thu) early enough to drive to Monterey.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Outdoors Trails
Find places to stay Jan 3 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Elizabeth Lake ©
Elizabeth Lake
Mariposa Grove ©
Mariposa Grove

1
night
Monterey

Monterey ©
Monterey is a city in the U.S. On the 10th (Fri), admire the majestic nature at Point Lobos, then kick back and relax at Asilomar State Beach, and then don't miss a visit to Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard.

For other places to visit, maps, ratings, and other tourist information, refer to the Monterey trip planner.

Traveling by car from Yosemite National Park to Monterey takes 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car, flight, and shuttle; or do a combination of car and flight. While traveling from Yosemite National Park, expect a bit warmer days and much warmer nights in Monterey, ranging from highs of 62°F to lows of 44°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 10th (Fri) early enough to go by car to San Francisco.

Things to do in Monterey

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Pacific Grove, Point Lobos
Find places to stay Jan 9 — 10:
Highlights from your plan
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard ©
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard
Asilomar State Beach ©
Asilomar State Beach

5
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Get outdoors at Alcatraz Island and Presidio of San Francisco. Deepen your sense of the past at sights like Golden Gate Bridge and Grace Cathedral. Step out of San Francisco with an excursion to Muir Woods National Monument in Mill Valley--about 48 minutes away. The adventure continues: take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Twin Peaks, steep yourself in history at City Lights Booksellers, make a trip to Jack Kerouac Alley, and take a leisurely stroll along The Embarcadero.

To find where to stay, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the San Francisco holiday planner.

Getting from Monterey to San Francisco by car takes about 2.5 hours. Other options: fly; or do a combination of bus and train. January in San Francisco sees daily highs of 59°F and lows of 46°F at night. Wrap up your sightseeing by early afternoon on the 15th (Wed) to allow enough time to travel back home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Historic Sites Parks Nature

Side Trip

Muir Woods National Monument
Find places to stay Jan 10 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Golden Gate Bridge ©
Golden Gate Bridge
Muir Woods National Monument ©
Muir Woods National Monument

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