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Balboa Pier in Orange County, California

California tours

With so much to see and do in such a vast area, a trip to California needs careful planning. Self-driving is the most popular way of touring the state’s many highlights. You can opt for a leisurely cruise down the coast along Highway 1 or to take in as much of the landscape as possible on a road trip of epic proportions.

Our specialists can advise on the best options and how you can combine the sites and attractions that interest you the most. Below, we’ve put together some itinerary ideas featuring routes that we know work particularly well, based on our own travels.

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Audley Travel Specialist Shannon

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Our recommended tours in California

These itineraries are designed to give you some suggestions for what is possible when you travel in California, and they showcase some of the routes that we’ve found work particularly well. Treat them simply as inspiration, because your trip will be created uniquely for you by one of our specialists based on your particular tastes and interests.

  • La Jolla, San Diego

    San Diego short break

    • Stay on Coronado Island, one of the top places to walk to and relax on the beach.

    • Kayak along the California coastline taking in the natural caves and marine wildlife.

    • Explore the USS Midway Museum.

    • Enjoy a variety of small shops and restaurants on Coronado Island.

    5 days from $1,355pp

  • Cheshire Cat Facade

    Cheshire Cat Inn break

    • The B&B has four private onsite cottages with fully equipped kitchens.
    • The inn is situated a short walk from the main retail district in Santa Barbara.
    • A huge variety of fresh, homemade dishes for breakfast.
    • An ideal location for exploring, only five minutes to the beach and 20 minutes to the Old Mission.
    • Each room is unique, with either views over mountains and beach or fireplaces and Jacuzzi baths.

    7 days from $2,080pp

  • Napa Valley vineyard

    California Explored

    • Discover the lavish lifestyles of the rich and famous in Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

    • Explore the beaches and pretty towns along the Pacific coastline.

    • Watch for wildlife and get close to nature in Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.

    • See the salt flats of Badwater in the desolate Death Valley National Park.

    • Enjoy wine tasting in the glorious vineyards of the Napa Valley.

    20 days from $4,260pp

  • Venice Beach, Los Angeles

    Best of the West

    • Explore the glamour of Hollywood and chic Beverly Hills in Los Angeles.

    • Follow walking trails and see incredible geological formations in California and Arizona’s national parks.

    • Drive the iconic Pacific Coast Highway for dramatic views over the ocean and rugged coastline.

    • Soak up the electric atmosphere of Las Vegas.

    20 days from $4,385pp

  • Redwood National Park

    Northern California Self-Drive

    • Explore beautiful, cosmopolitan San Francisco.

    • Go wine tasting in the Sonoma Valley.

    • Go hiking at Mount Shasta.

    • Discover the beauty and tranquility of Crater Lake National Park.

    • See the enormous redwood trees in Redwood National Park.

    13 days from $4,835pp

  • Post Ranch Inn - Jade Pool

    Post Ranch Inn break

    • Enjoy dinner with stunning ocean views at the award winning Sierra Mar restaurant.
    • The hotel only has 39 rooms for a cosy feel with exquisite service.
    • Enjoy the serene natural beauty of the area with a guided hike or in house stargazing.
    • The style of the hotel is both elegant and natural, combining organic materials modern design.
    • The best views over the Pacific ocean can be enjoyed from the cliff top basking pools.

    7 days from $8,820pp

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