60 days in Independence & California Itinerary

60 days in Independence & California Itinerary

Created using Inspirock United States trip planner

Make it your trip
Fly
1
Independence
— 20 nights
Fly
2
San Diego
— 8 nights
Drive
3
Palm Springs
— 5 nights
Drive
4
Santa Barbara
— 6 nights
Drive
5
San Simeon
— 2 nights
Drive
6
Carmel
— 2 nights
Drive
7
San Francisco
— 6 nights
Drive
8
Yosemite National Park
— 5 nights
Drive
9
Death Valley National Park
— 2 nights
Drive
10
Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park
— 3 nights
Fly

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Independence

— 20 nights
Independence is the fifth-largest city in the state of Missouri. Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Harry S. Truman Library and Museum and Vaile Mansion. Change things up with these side-trips from Independence: Cockrell Mercantile Company (in Lee's Summit), Laclede (Gen. John J. Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site & Locust Creek Covered Bridge State Historic Site) and Chillicothe (Chillicothe Main Street & Grand River Historical Society Museum). There's lots more to do: steep yourself in history at Bingham Waggoner Mansion & Estate, wander the streets of Park Place, don't miss a visit to Squirrel Cage Jail, and indulge in some personalized pampering at Serenity on the Square.

To find traveler tips, other places to visit, photos, and other tourist information, use the Independence trip itinerary planner.

New York City to Independence is an approximately 8.5-hour flight. You can also drive; or take a train. The time zone changes from Eastern Standard Time to Central Standard Time, which is usually a -1 hour difference. Traveling from New York City in December, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be a bit cooler in Independence, with lows of 28°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 21st (Tue) so you can travel to San Diego.

Things to do in Independence

Historic Sites · Museums · Wineries · Parks

Side Trips

San Diego

— 8 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 Fort Rosecrans Cemetery and The Unconditional Surrender. Explore San Diego's surroundings by going to Oceanside Pier (in Oceanside), Carlsbad (South Carlsbad State Beach & The Flower Fields at Carlsbad Ranch) and San Diego Zoo Safari Park (in Escondido). There's lots more to do: tour the pleasant surroundings at Pacific Beach, steep yourself in history at Mormon Battalion Historic Site, see the interesting displays at San Diego Model Railroad Museum, and stroll around La Jolla Shores Park.

For more things to do, maps, other places to visit, and more tourist information, use the San Diego route builder app.

You can fly from Independence to San Diego in 8 hours. Other options are to drive; or take a bus. Due to the time zone difference, you'll gain 2 hours traveling from Independence to San Diego. Traveling from Independence in December, expect San Diego to be much warmer, temps between 68°F and 51°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 29th (Wed) early enough to go by car to Palm Springs.

Things to do in San Diego

Parks · Outdoors · Historic Sites · Beaches

Side Trips

Palm Springs

— 5 nights
You'll explore the less-touristy side of things at Coachella Valley Preserve and Sunnylands Center & Gardens. Go for a jaunt from Palm Springs to Palm Desert to see The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens about 32 minutes away.

To find reviews, ratings, maps, and other tourist information, read our Palm Springs trip planning website.

Traveling by car from San Diego to Palm Springs takes 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. In December, daytime highs in Palm Springs are 70°F, while nighttime lows are 48°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 3rd (Mon) to allow enough time to drive to Santa Barbara.

Things to do in Palm Springs

Parks · Museums · Nature · Historic Sites

Side Trips

Santa Barbara

— 6 nights

The American Riviera

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.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Monarch Butterfly Grove and Camarillo Premium Outlets. Venture out of the city with trips to Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum (in Simi Valley), Hans Christian Andersen Museum (in Solvang) and Pismo Beach (Pismo Pier & Price Anniversary House - Price Historical Park). And it doesn't end there: meet the residents at Santa Barbara Zoo, identify plant and animal life at Douglas Family Preserve, kick back and relax at Surf Beach, and admire the landmark architecture of Santa Barbara County Courthouse.

To find ratings, maps, where to stay, and other tourist information, refer to the Santa Barbara itinerary planning website.

Traveling by car from Palm Springs to Santa Barbara takes 3.5 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of flight and bus; or take a bus. In January, Santa Barbara is a bit cooler than Palm Springs - with highs of 66°F and lows of 43°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 9th (Sun) early enough to drive to San Simeon.

Things to do in Santa Barbara

Parks · Wineries · Historic Sites · Tours

Side Trips

San Simeon

— 2 nights
When you arrive in tiny San Simeon, which lies halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, you can see why William Randolph Hearst chose this coastal locale for his famous hilltop castle.
Kick off your visit on the 10th (Mon): identify plant and animal life at Friends of the Elephant Seal Visitor Center and Gift Shop, take in the waterfront at San Simeon Pier, then step into the grandiose world of Hearst Castle, and finally get great views at Ragged Point Overlook. Keep things going the next day: immerse yourself in nature at San Simeon State Park and then look for all kinds of wild species at Piedras Blancas.

To find more things to do, traveler tips, maps, and tourist information, use the San Simeon online trip maker.

Traveling by car from Santa Barbara to San Simeon takes 3 hours. Alternatively, you can take a bus; or do a combination of train and bus. Traveling from Santa Barbara in January, you can expect nighttime temperatures to be little chillier in San Simeon, with lows of 37°F. Wrap up your sightseeing on the 11th (Tue) early enough to drive to Carmel.

Things to do in San Simeon

Parks · Wildlife · Historic Sites · Outdoors

Carmel

— 2 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. Start off your visit on the 12th (Wed): immerse yourself in nature at Point Lobos, then snap pictures at Bixby Bridge, and then admire the sheer force of McWay Falls. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: get up close to creatures of the deep with a dolphin and whale watching tour and then kick back and relax at Carmel River State Beach.

To find ratings, other places to visit, more things to do, and more tourist information, read Carmel trip itinerary builder.

Traveling by car from San Simeon to Carmel takes 2 hours. Alternatively, you can do a combination of taxi, train, and bus. Traveling from San Simeon in January, plan for a bit warmer nights in Carmel, with lows around 44°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 13th (Thu) to allow enough time to drive to San Francisco.

Things to do in Carmel

Outdoors · Parks · Tours · Wildlife

Side Trips

San Francisco

— 6 nights

City by the Bay

San Francisco is a top holiday destination featuring scenic beauty and great ethnic and cultural diversity.
Eschew the tourist crowds and head to Francis Ford Coppola Winery and Charles M. Schulz Museum. You'll find plenty of places to visit near San Francisco: Mumm Napa (in Rutherford), Castello di Amorosa (in Calistoga) and V. Sattui Winery (in St. Helena). Dedicate the 15th (Sat) to wine at some of the top wineries in the area. There's much more to do: take in nature's colorful creations at California State Capitol Museum, hike along Lands End, take in panoramic vistas at Coit Tower, and contemplate in the serene atmosphere at Grace Cathedral.

To find where to stay, ratings, other places to visit, and other tourist information, refer to the San Francisco itinerary planning site.

Drive from Carmel to San Francisco in 2.5 hours. Alternatively, you can fly; or take a bus. In January, plan for daily highs up to 59°F, and evening lows to 46°F. Finish your sightseeing early on the 19th (Wed) so you can travel to Yosemite National Park.

Things to do in San Francisco

Wineries · Museums · Parks · Tours

Side Trips

Yosemite National Park

— 5 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 off the beaten path and head to Tioga Pass and Cathedral Beach Picnic Area. Venture out of the city with trips to Bodie State Historic Park (in Bridgeport) and Mono Lake Vista Point (in Lee Vining). Spend the 22nd (Sat) exploring nature at Bridalveil Fall. There's lots more to do: look for all kinds of wild species at Nature Center at Happy Isles, take some stellar pictures from Washburn Point, admire the sheer force of Yosemite Falls, and take in the dramatic natural features at El Capitan.

For other places to visit, ratings, traveler tips, and tourist information, refer to the Yosemite National Park driving holiday planner.

Traveling by car from San Francisco to Yosemite National Park takes 4 hours. While traveling from San Francisco, expect a bit cooler days and much colder nights in Yosemite National Park, ranging from highs of 44°F to lows of 13°F. Cap off your sightseeing on the 24th (Mon) early enough to travel to Death Valley National Park.

Things to do in Yosemite National Park

Parks · Nature · Historic Sites · Wildlife

Side Trips

Death Valley National Park

— 2 nights

Hottest, Driest, Lowest

Extreme heat and dryness create extreme landscapes in Death Valley National Park.
Start off your visit on the 25th (Tue): don't miss a visit to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, steep yourself in history at Harmony Borax Works, cruise along Artists Dr, then contemplate the waterfront views at Badwater Basin, then take in the dramatic natural features at Devil's Golf Course, and finally take in the dramatic natural features at Zabriskie Point. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the next day: take in breathtaking views at Golden Canyon and then explore the stunning scenery at Natural Bridge Canyon.

For where to stay, more things to do, traveler tips, and tourist information, read our Death Valley National Park route planner.

Getting from Yosemite National Park to Death Valley National Park by car takes about 4.5 hours. Traveling from Yosemite National Park in January, you will find days in Death Valley National Park are somewhat warmer (58°F), and nights are much hotter (35°F). Finish your sightseeing early on the 26th (Wed) so you can drive to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park.

Things to do in Death Valley National Park

Nature · Parks · Outdoors · Historic Sites

Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

— 3 nights

A Land of Giants

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.
Kick off your visit on the 27th (Thu): stroll through Moro Rock Trail, delve into the lush surroundings at Giant Forest, and then cruise along Generals Hwy. Get ready for a full day of sightseeing on the 28th (Fri): take in breathtaking views at Kings Canyon National Park and then stroll through General Grant Tree Trail.

To find reviews and other tourist information, read Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park online holiday planner.

Traveling by car from Death Valley National Park to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park takes 7 hours. In January, daily temperatures in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park can reach 58°F, while at night they dip to 38°F. Finish up your sightseeing early on the 29th (Sat) so you can travel back home.

Things to do in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park

Parks · Nature · Outdoors · Trails

California travel guide

4.1
Specialty Museums · Wineries & Vineyards · Beaches
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.