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Coastal California Self-Drive Tour

10 days from $2,995pp

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Tour highlights

  • Tour Alcatraz and cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

  • Go whale watching in Monterey, looking out for orcas and humpback whales.

  • Drive along the Pacific Coast Highway with its dramatic views of the rugged coastline and the ocean.

  • Relax on the soft sands of Pismo Beach.

  • Enjoy the sparkle of Hollywood and Beverly Hills in Los Angeles.

Price includes:

  • Fully insured vehicle rental
  • All accommodations
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Travel that's shaped around you

We know that travel has the most meaning when it's created individually for you. Our specialists will only start designing your trip once they understand exactly what you want it to be. So, consider this idea simply as inspiration for your own experience.

Itinerary idea in detail

Private customized tour.

  • On arrival in San Francisco make your own way to your downtown hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax. You could begin to explore the city, perhaps taking a stroll in Golden Gate Park or exploring the brightly decorated streets of Chinatown.

  • Today you are booked on a tour of the legendary Alcatraz prison. The ferry to Alcatraz Island leaves from Fisherman's Wharf. After you arrive you will walk around the prison with your own personal headsets (with audio from ex-inmates) that tell you all about the history.

  • Another day to enjoy the City by the Bay. Cycle from Fisherman's Wharf across the Golden Gate Bridge to the beautiful small town of Sausalito, have lunch there and catch the ferry across the bay back.

  • This morning, pick up your rental car. Your first drive of the trip is a simple two-hour journey out of the city along the Pacific Coast Highway, through the undulating Santa Cruz Mountains and along the coastal highway to Monterey. The remainder of the day is free to explore the town at leisure; we can particularly recommend the scenic coastal drive around 17-Mile Drive, which passes through the pretty town of Carmel with its gated mansions and boutique shops.

  • Today you'll make your own way to the marina where you'll embark on an exciting three-hour small group whale watching expedition. The area becomes a feeding ground for blue whales, Risso’s dolphins, humpback whales, northern right whale dolphins and orcas. The rest of the day is yours to explore Monterey — you could visit the aquarium, which has a big focus on marine conservation and features interactive exhibits about the area's marine life, or you could browse the shops, galleries and restaurants of historic Cannery Row.

  • Departing Monterey, drive around three hours south along the beautiful Pacific Coast Highway, past small villages and along cliff edges to Santa Barbara. Spend the afternoon at leisure strolling the beach area or relaxing by the pool.

  • Complete your journey with a two-hour drive south to Los Angeles. En route, you can visit the beautiful coastal area of Malibu, where homes of the rich and famous cling to the cliff side. Continue to Los Angeles, where you'll drop your car off at the depot, before making your own way to your hotel. The rest of the day is free for you to start exploring the city — you could pay a visit to the Griffith Observatory in the Hollywood Hills for views over the city and the Hollywood sign.

  • Today you can explore Hollywood, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica. Enjoy exploring the stars' names on the Walk of Fame, do some shopping on Rodeo Drive or relax on Santa Monica Beach.

  • Tickets to go to Warner Brother Studios are included for today. Enjoy seeing where the magic of Hollywood is created at the world's busiest movie studio.

  • There's time this morning for some last-minute shopping and sightseeing before making your own way to the airport in time for your onward flight.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodations, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

What our clients say about us

Audley Travel Specialist Shannon

Contact a California specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to California will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily max temperature (°C) Monthly rainfall (mm)
San Francisco
 
Monterey
 
Santa Barbara
 
Los Angeles
 

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