Tour Alcatraz and cycle across the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.
Go whale watching in Monterey, looking out for orca 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 and glamour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills in Los Angeles.
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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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.
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- 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.
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.
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.
Hawaii and California
Explore Maui's white-sand beaches.
Experience the heat of Kilauea Volcano.
Snorkel with sea turtles, whales and dolphins.
Between January and March you can also take a boat trip on the Pacific Ocean to see majestic humpback whales at sunrise.
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.
Admire the beaches, architecture and night life of Chicago.
Marvel at the epic scenery of the Grand Canyon.
Enjoy a hike through the beautiful Petrified Forest National Park.
Experience the excitement and bright lights of Las Vegas.
Soak up the atmosphere, relax on the beach or go shopping in Los Angeles.
Explore the beautiful cities of San Francisco, Portland and Seattle.
Drive along the scenic coastal highways of California and Oregon.
See magnificent giant redwood trees in northern California.
At low tide walk to Haystack Rock at Oregon's Cannon Beach.
Hike around the temperate rainforests looking for wildlife in Olympic National Park.
- 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.
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Some of our favourite travel guides
- What to do in Yosemite National Park: our highlights guide
- Self-drive holidays in California
- Driving California's Pacific Coast Highway
- Family holidays in California
What to do in Yosemite National Park: our highlights guide
Yosemite in California is one of America's most visited national parks. In order to get the most from your trip we highlight some of the finest trails and accommodation as well as recommending the best time to visit.View this travel guide
Self-drive holidays in California
Take a fly-drive along the California coast and explore some of the region’s most captivating towns, cities and national parks, from glamorous LA, home of the US film industry, to the dramatic geological spectacles of Yosemite National Park.View this travel guide
Driving California's Pacific Coast Highway
Experience some of California's most impressive scenery on a drive along its central coast on Highway 1, taking in the sights of San Francisco, Los Angeles and everything in between. USA specialist, Alex, discusses the route’s highlights, from laid-back beach communities to historic towns and vibrant cities.View this travel guide
Family holidays in California
USA specialist David picks some of his highlights for a family holiday in California. From enjoying the different cultures in San Francisco to whale watching in Monterey, touring the film studies in Los Angeles to exploring Redwood National Park, California has a range of experiences for all ages.View this travel guide