12 days in California Itinerary

12 days in California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock California Trip Planner

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Route & dates

12 days in California Itinerary

Start: Amsterdam
Fly:  18 h 15 min
1
San Francisco
— 3 nights
Drive:  4 h 15 min
2
Yosemite National Park
— 2 nights
Drive:  5 h 15 min
3
Carmel
— 2 nights
4
Carmel
— 4 nights
Drive:  2 h 15 min
End: San Francisco

3
nights
San Francisco

San Francisco ©
San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Head to Union Square and City Lights Booksellers & Publishersfor some retail therapy. Popular historic sites such as Alcatraz Island and Twin Peaks are in your itinerary. Venture out of the city with trips to Sacramento (The Chefs' Olive Mix, California State Railroad Museum, & more). There's much more to do: explore the engaging exhibits at The Exploratorium, browse the different shops at Ferry Building Marketplace, tour the pleasant surroundings at California Academy of Sciences, and see the interesting displays at Musee Mecanique.

To find traveler tips and more tourist information, use the San Francisco holiday planner.

Amsterdam, The Netherlands to San Francisco is an approximately 18.5-hour flight. You'll gain 9 hours traveling from Amsterdam to San Francisco due to the time zone difference. In May, daytime highs in San Francisco are 23°C, while nighttime lows are 13°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 7th (Sun) so you can go by car to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in San Francisco

Museums Childrens Museums Shopping

Side Trip

Sacramento
Find places to stay May 4 — 7:
Highlights from your plan
California State Railroad Museum ©
California State Railroad Museum
Alcatraz Island ©
Alcatraz Island
Musee Mecanique ©
Musee Mecanique

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 8th (Mon): hunt for treasures at El Portal Market, then look for gifts at Yosemite Museum Gallery, and then take in the dramatic scenery at Bridalveil Fall. On the next day, don't miss a visit to Olmsted Point, take a memorable drive along Tioga Pass, and then contemplate the waterfront views at Gaylor Lake.

For where to stay, traveler tips, and tourist information, you can read our Yosemite National Park trip itinerary planner.

You can drive from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park in 4.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of bus and taxi; or do a combination of flight, bus, and taxi. Traveling from San Francisco in May, expect nights in Yosemite National Park to be colder, around 0°C, while days are a bit cooler, around 20°C. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 9th (Tue) so you can go by car to Carmel.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Nature Parks Outdoors

Side Trip

El Portal Market
Find places to stay May 7 — 9:
Highlights from your plan
Bridalveil Fall ©
Bridalveil Fall
Tioga Pass ©
Tioga Pass
Gaylor Lake ©
Gaylor Lake

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. Start off your visit on the 10th (Wed): hike along Scenic Road Walkway, then explore and take pictures at Lovers Point, and then take in the spiritual surroundings of Carmel Mission. On the 11th (Thu), you'll have a packed day of sightseeing: stroll through Mission San Juan Bautista, then enjoy the sea views from Point Pinos Lighthouse, and then stroll through Carmel River State Beach.

For other places to visit, more things to do, ratings, and other tourist information, use the Carmel trip itinerary maker.

Drive from Yosemite National Park to Carmel in 5.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi and bus. Traveling from Yosemite National Park in May, plan for somewhat warmer nights in Carmel, with lows around 12°C. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Thu) to allow time to travel to Carmel.

Things to do in Carmel

Parks Outdoors Historic Sites

Side Trips

Pacific Grove, Mission San Juan Bautista
Find places to stay May 9 — 11:
Highlights from your plan
Scenic Road Walkway ©
Scenic Road Walkway
Mission San Juan Bautista ©
Mission San Juan Bautista
Point Pinos Lighthouse ©
Point Pinos Lighthouse

4
nights
Carmel

Carmel ©
Visiting Point Lobos State Reserve and Limekiln State Park will get you outdoors. For shopping fun, head to The Cheese Shop or Carmel Bay Company. Change things up with these side-trips from Carmel: McWay Falls (in Big Sur) and National Steinbeck Center (in Salinas). See even more of Carmel: wander the streets of Ocean Avenue, contemplate in the serene atmosphere at San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission, trek along Scenic Road Walkway, and enjoy the sand and surf at Carmel River State Beach.

For other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, go to the Carmel travel itinerary planner.

On the 15th (Mon), you'll have the morning to explore before heading back home.

Things to do in Carmel

Parks Nature Outdoors

Side Trips

Big Sur, National Steinbeck Center
Find places to stay May 11 — 15:
Highlights from your plan
Point Lobos ©
Point Lobos
McWay Falls ©
McWay Falls
Scenic Road Walkway ©
Scenic Road Walkway

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