41 days in California Itinerary

41 days in California Itinerary

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Route & dates

41 days in California Itinerary

Start: San Francisco
Drive:  2​h 15​min
1
Carmel
— 1 day
Drive:  2​h 45​min
2
Cambria
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
3
Santa Barbara
— 2 nights
4
Los Angeles
— 2 nights
5
Palm Springs
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
6
Death Valley National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  3​h 15​min
7
Mammoth Lakes
— 2 nights
bus:  1​h 30​min
8
Yosemite National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 45​min
9
Truckee
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 15​min
10
Sacramento
— 2 nights
Drive:  4​h 45​min
11
Mount Shasta
— 2 nights
Drive:  2​h 30​min
12
Arcata
— 1 night
Fly:  4​h 15​min
13
San Francisco
— 19 nights
End: San Francisco

1
day
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. On the 12th (Thu), explore the landscape on two wheels at Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail, appreciate the extensive heritage of Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard, then immerse yourself in nature at Point Lobos, and finally stop by The Cheese Shop.

To see more things to do, photos, reviews, and tourist information, refer to the Carmel online holiday maker .

San Francisco to Carmel is an approximately 2.5-hour car ride. You can also fly; or take a bus. In December, plan for daily highs up to 19°C, and evening lows to 7°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 12th (Thu) early enough to drive to Cambria.

Things to do in Carmel

Trails Parks Outdoors

Side Trips

Monterey Peninsula Recreational Trail, Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard
Find places to stay Dec 12 — 13:
Highlights from your plan
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard ©
Pacific Grove Oceanview Boulevard
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
The Cheese Shop ©
The Cheese Shop

2
nights
Cambria

Cambria ©
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 13th (Fri): admire the majestic nature at Leffingwell Landing, then stroll through Piedras Blancas, then see the interesting displays at Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon Bay (Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary), and finally view the masterpieces at artifacts gallery. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 14th (Sat): identify plant and animal life at Sweet Springs Nature Preserve, then hike along Bluff Trail, and then immerse yourself in nature at Montana de Oro State Park.

For other places to visit, traveler tips, where to stay, and other tourist information, go to the Cambria visit planner .

Traveling by car from Carmel to Cambria takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and train; or do a combination of bus and car. Traveling from Carmel in December, Cambria is little chillier at night with lows of 0°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 14th (Sat) early enough to go by car to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Cambria

Parks Wildlife Outdoors

Side Trips

Los Osos, San Simeon
Find places to stay Dec 12 — 14:
Highlights from your plan

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.
Kick off your visit on the 15th (Sun): identify plant and animal life at Carpinteria Harbor Seal Preserve and Rookery, immerse yourself in nature at Carpinteria State Beach, then take a stroll through State Street Underpass, then look for all kinds of wild species at Douglas Family Preserve, and finally do a tasting at Margerum Wine Company. Here are some ideas for day two: learn more about the world around you at Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Cold Spring Tavern, then learn more about the world around you at Wildling Museum of Art and Nature, and finally take in the history at Old Mission Santa Ines.

For more things to do, where to stay, other places to visit, and tourist information, use the Santa Barbara online attractions planner .

Drive from Cambria to Santa Barbara in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Traveling from Cambria in December, expect a bit warmer with lows of 5°C in Santa Barbara. Cap off your sightseeing on the 16th (Mon) early enough to go by car to Los Angeles.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Solvang, Carpinteria
Find places to stay Dec 14 — 16:
Highlights from your plan
Carpinteria State Beach ©
Carpinteria State Beach
Douglas Family Preserve ©
Douglas Family Preserve
Old Mission Santa Ines ©
Old Mission Santa Ines

2
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.
Kick off your visit on the 17th (Tue): take a leisurely stroll along Santa Monica Pier, kick back and relax at Venice Beach and Boardwalk, then examine the collection at The Getty Center, then stop by LA Farmers' Market, and finally browse the different shops at The Grove. Here are some ideas for day two: make an unforgettable trip to Disneyland Park.

For more things to do, photos, where to stay, and tourist information, read Los Angeles route maker tool .

Drive from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles in 2 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or take a train. Traveling from Santa Barbara in December, plan for somewhat warmer nights in Los Angeles, with lows around 11°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 18th (Wed) to allow enough time to drive to Palm Springs.

Things to do in Los Angeles

Theme Parks Shopping Parks

Side Trips

Disneyland Park, Santa Monica Pier
Find places to stay Dec 16 — 18:
Highlights from your plan
Disneyland Park ©
Disneyland Park
The Getty Center ©
The Getty Center
Santa Monica Pier ©
Santa Monica Pier

2
nights
Palm Springs

Palm Springs ©
Palm Springs is a desert resort city in Riverside County, California, United States, within the Coachella Valley. Kick off your visit on the 19th (Thu): get engrossed in the history at Cabot's Pueblo Museum, look for gifts at Brandini Toffee, stroll through Indian Canyons Hiking Trails, then take in breathtaking views at Indian Canyons, and finally view the masterpieces at Motif. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: look for all kinds of wild species at South Lykken Trail, then skim along the rocks with a canyoning and rapelling tour, and then appreciate the extensive heritage of Las Palmas.

To see reviews, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, you can read our Palm Springs itinerary planner .

You can drive from Los Angeles to Palm Springs in 2 hours. Other options are to fly; or take a bus. In December in Palm Springs, expect temperatures between 24°C during the day and 10°C at night. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 20th (Fri) so you can go by car to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in Palm Springs

Parks Outdoors Tours

Side Trips

Cabot's Pueblo Museum, Canyoning & Rappelling Tours
Find places to stay Dec 18 — 20:
Highlights from your plan
Indian Canyons ©
Indian Canyons
Cabot's Pueblo Museum ©
Cabot's Pueblo Museum
Canyoning & Rappelling Tours

2
nights
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park ©
Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
On the 21st (Sat), take in the dramatic natural features at Zabriskie Point, explore the stunning scenery at Twenty Mule Team Canyon, then contemplate the long history of Harmony Borax Works, and finally contemplate the long history of Eureka Mine. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 22nd (Sun): take in breathtaking views at Mosaic Canyon, explore the activities along Salt Creek Interpretive Trail, then explore the fascinating underground world of Titus Canyon, and finally make a trip to Ashford Mill Ruins.

To see other places to visit, reviews, and more tourist information, go to the Death Valley National Park online trip itinerary planner .

Traveling by car from Palm Springs to Death Valley National Park takes 5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus, train, and car; or take a bus. Traveling from Palm Springs in December, things will get a bit cooler in Death Valley National Park: highs are around 15°C and lows about 0°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 22nd (Sun) to allow enough time to drive to Mammoth Lakes.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Parks Nature Historic Sites
Find places to stay Dec 20 — 22:
Highlights from your plan
Zabriskie Point ©
Zabriskie Point
Harmony Borax Works ©
Harmony Borax Works
Titus Canyon ©
Titus Canyon

2
nights
Mammoth Lakes

Mammoth Lakes ©
Mammoth Lakes is a town in Mono County, California, the county's only incorporated community. On the 23rd (Mon), hit the slopes at Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center, then get engrossed in the history at Mammoth Museum at the Hayden Cabin, then trek along Crystal Lake trail, and finally browse the exhibits of Eleven53 Interpretive Center. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 24th (Tue): fly down the slopes at June Mountain, stroll through Parker Lake Trail, and then stop by Footloose Sports in Mammoth Lakes.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, ratings, and more tourist information, refer to the Mammoth Lakes road trip tool .

Drive from Death Valley National Park to Mammoth Lakes in 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of car and bus. Plan for a bit cooler temperatures traveling from Death Valley National Park in December, with highs in Mammoth Lakes at 9°C and lows at -11°C. Cap off your sightseeing on the 24th (Tue) early enough to catcht the bus to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in Mammoth Lakes

Outdoors Parks Winter Sports

Side Trip

June Lake
Find places to stay Dec 22 — 24:
Highlights from your plan
Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center ©
Tamarack Cross Country Ski Center
June Mountain ©
June Mountain
Footloose Sports in Mammoth Lakes ©
Footloose Sports in Mammoth Lakes

2
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.
Start off your visit on the 25th (Wed): stroll through Panorama Trail, admire the sheer force of Vernal Fall, explore the world behind art at Yosemite Museum Gallery, then take your sightseeing to a higher altitude at Cathedral Beach Picnic Area, and finally take in the dramatic natural features at Glacier Point. On the next day, fly down the slopes at Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area.

To find traveler tips and other tourist information, read our Yosemite National Park travel planner.

Take a bus from Mammoth Lakes to Yosemite National Park in 1.5 hours. In December in Yosemite National Park, expect temperatures between 9°C during the day and -11°C at night. Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Thu) to allow enough time to travel to Truckee.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks Outdoors Winter Sports
Find places to stay Dec 24 — 26:
Highlights from your plan
Glacier Point ©
Glacier Point
Vernal Fall ©
Vernal Fall
Cathedral Beach Picnic Area ©
Cathedral Beach Picnic Area

2
nights
Truckee

Truckee ©
Truckee is an incorporated town in Nevada County, California, United States. Kick off your visit on the 27th (Fri): tour the pleasant surroundings at Diamond Peak Ski & Snowboard School, stroll through Sand Harbor, and then steep yourself in history at Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society. On your second day here, hit the slopes at Northstar California.

For maps, reviews, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Truckee trip planner.

The Route module can help you plan travel from Yosemite National Park to Truckee. Traveling from Yosemite National Park in December, you will find days in Truckee are slightly colder (5°C), and nights are about the same (-11°C). Finish up your sightseeing early on the 28th (Sat) so you can travel to Sacramento.

Things to do in Truckee

Parks Outdoors Winter Sports

Side Trips

Incline Village, Thunderbird Lodge Preservation Society
Find places to stay Dec 26 — 28:
Highlights from your plan
Sand Harbor ©
Sand Harbor
Northstar California ©
Northstar California

2
nights
Sacramento

Sacramento ©
The capital city of America's most economically significant state, Sacramento is an important stop for any politico.
Start off your visit on the 29th (Sun): explore the world behind art at Crocker Art Museum, then identify plant and animal life at Effie Yeaw Nature Center, then engage your brain at Aerospace Museum of California, and finally stop by Westfield Galleria at Roseville. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: get engrossed in the history at California State Indian Museum, take in the exciting artwork at The Artery, see the interesting displays at Old Sacramento Schoolhouse Museum, then examine the collection at California State Railroad Museum, and finally see the interesting displays at California State Capitol Museum.

To see maps, more things to do, traveler tips, and other tourist information, read our Sacramento trip planner .

You can drive from Truckee to Sacramento in 2 hours. Traveling from Truckee in December, you will find days in Sacramento are somewhat warmer (17°C), and nights are warmer (3°C). Finish up your sightseeing early on the 30th (Mon) so you can travel to Mount Shasta.

Things to do in Sacramento

Museums Parks Wildlife

Side Trips

Aerospace Museum of California, Westfield Galleria at Roseville, The Artery, Effie Yeaw Nature Center
Find places to stay Dec 28 — 30:
Highlights from your plan
Crocker Art Museum ©
Crocker Art Museum
California State Railroad Museum ©
California State Railroad Museum
California State Capitol Museum ©
California State Capitol Museum

2
nights
Mount Shasta

Mount Shasta ©
Mount Shasta is a city in Siskiyou County, California, at about 3600ft above sea level on the flanks of Mount Shasta, a prominent northern California landmark. Start off your visit on the 31st (Tue): look for gifts at The Weed Store, examine the collection at Siskiyou County Museum, then get impressive views of Mount Shasta, and finally take an in-depth tour of The McCloud Heritage Junction Museum. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: stroll through Castle Lake, glide through natural beauty at Mt. Shasta Nordic Center, and then get impressive views of Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

To find maps, other places to visit, where to stay, and other tourist information, you can read our Mount Shasta trip maker site .

Traveling by car from Sacramento to Mount Shasta takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly. In December, Mount Shasta is slightly colder than Sacramento - with highs of 8°C and lows of -2°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 1st (Wed) so you can travel to Arcata.

Things to do in Mount Shasta

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

The McCloud Heritage Junction Museum, Siskiyou County Museum, The Weed Store
Find places to stay Dec 30 — Jan 1:
Highlights from your plan
Mount Shasta ©
Mount Shasta
Castle Lake ©
Castle Lake
Mt. Shasta Nordic Center ©
Mt. Shasta Nordic Center

1
night
Arcata

Arcata ©
Arcata, originally Union Town or Union, is a city adjacent to the Arcata Bay portion of Humboldt Bay in Humboldt County, California, United States. Start off your visit on the 2nd (Thu): look for all kinds of wild species at Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, then enjoy the sand and surf at Moonstone Beach, then tour the pleasant surroundings at College Cove, and finally enjoy the sea views from Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse.

To find reviews, ratings, photos, and more tourist information, you can read our Arcata trip planner.

You can drive from Mount Shasta to Arcata in 4 hours. Expect a bit warmer temperatures when traveling from Mount Shasta in January; daily highs in Arcata reach 15°C and lows reach 5°C. Finish your sightseeing early on the 2nd (Thu) so you can travel to San Francisco.

Things to do in Arcata

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trip

Trinidad
Find places to stay Jan 1 — 2:
Highlights from your plan
Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary ©
Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse ©
Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse

19
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
We've included these beaches for you: Bodega Head and Pinnacle Gulch Coastal Access Trail. Satisfy your inner culture vulture at Alcatraz Island and Sebastopol Center for the Arts. Explore San Francisco's surroundings by going to Armstrong Redwood State Reserve (in Guerneville), Sonoma Coast State Beach (in Sonoma) and Hagemann Ranch Trout Fishing (in Bodega Bay). Spend the 19th (Sun) exploring nature at San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. And it doesn't end there: make a trip to Ferry Building Marketplace, buy something for everyone on your list at Ghirardelli Square, browse the eclectic array of goods at Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, and savor the flavors at Castello di Amorosa.

For more things to do, traveler tips, maps, and other tourist information, read San Francisco trip builder site .

Use the Route module to find suitable travel options from Arcata to San Francisco. January in San Francisco sees daily highs of 17°C and lows of 9°C at night. Cap off your sightseeing on the 21st (Tue) early enough to travel back home.

Things to do in San Francisco

Parks Outdoors Beaches

Side Trips

Half Moon Bay, Bodega Bay, Santa Rosa, Fitzgerald J V Marine Reserve, Muir Woods National Monument
Find places to stay Jan 2 — 21:
Highlights from your plan
Armstrong Redwood State Reserve ©
Armstrong Redwood State Reserve
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Muir Woods National Monument ©
Muir Woods National Monument

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