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Bixby Bridge, Pacific Coast Highway

Coastal California family road-trip

15 days from £3,195pp

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Tour highlights

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

  • Enjoy an action-packed day of family fun at Universal Studios Hollywood.

  • Relax and play on the endless stretches of sandy beach, in sunny San Diego.

  • Cycle around the bay in San Francisco and over the famed Golden Gate bridge with an experienced guide.

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

Price includes:

  • Scheduled international flights
  • Vehicle suited to your family
  • Age-appropriate activities
  • Family-friendly accommodation
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

Includes international flights from a choice of UK airports, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  • Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to San Francisco. On arrival in San Francisco, make your way to Fisherman's Wharf to begin your California road trip. Fisherman's Wharf is an ideal base for your time in San Francisco as there are many easily accessible restaurants, family-friendly museums and, of course, the playful sea lions that bask in the sun at Pier 39.

  • Today, you are booked on a tour of the legendary Alcatraz prison. The ferry to Alcatraz Island leaves from Fisherman's Wharf. You'll sail across the bay, marvelling at a different view of the city. Once you arrive, you will walk around the prison with your own personal headset, listening to audio from ex-inmates that tells you all about the history of the island. On certain days, there is the possibility of children joining the Junior Ranger programme led by national park staff.

  • Another day to enjoy beautiful San Francisco. With your experienced guide, you'll have your family's bikes fitted to size in their shop, before cycling from Fisherman's Wharf around the Bay and across the Golden Gate Bridge. Once over the bridge, you'll be in the quaint bayside town of Sausalito for a well-earned post-cycle lunch.

  • This morning, pick up your rental car, and you'll be heading down the coast. Your first drive of the trip is a 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 recommend the Monterey Bay Aquarium, which showcases the native marine life along the Pacific Coast.

  • Make your way to the marina, where you'll embark on an exciting three-hour shared whale-watching expedition. The area becomes a feeding ground for blue whales, Risso’s dolphins, humpback whales, northern right whale dolphins, and orcas, depending on the season. The whole family will enjoy this exhilarating trip out on the water, learning about marine mammals.

  • Departing Monterey, drive three hours south along the rugged Pacific Coast Highway, passing Big Sur and many small coastal towns along the way. There are some really lovely small hikes in the forest and ocean-side coves that are great for stretching everyone's legs and having a picnic along the way. When you arrive in Pismo Beach, be sure to watch out for surfers on the pier.

  • Start your morning by heading to Pismo Beach itself, perfect for exploring the sandy shores, playing in the waves, and building sandcastles. In the afternoon, begin the drive down to Santa Barbara, which takes around an hour and a half. Once in the bustling town of Santa Barbara, take the hop-on, hop-off tram around town to get your bearings and enjoy an ice cream on Stearns Wharf!

  • We love starting the day by wandering down the tree-lined State Street and enjoying a delicious breakfast in one of the local bistros. In the afternoon, you'll head out onto the water in a kayak to get up close to the wildlife in the Santa Barbara Harbor. Your experienced guide will show you the paddling basics before you take to the water and double kayaks are available for adults and children to share.

  • A change from the coast to the city, as you drive two hours south to Los Angeles and the glittering lights of Hollywood. For a scenic view of the iconic Hollywood Sign and the surrounding hills, drive up to the Hollywood Bowl Overlook. It's a great spot for taking family photos and soaking in the views of the city. Spend the afternoon playing in the pool at the hotel and taking some well deserved relaxation time.

  • Today's tickets to Universal Studios Hollywood will create lasting memories for the whole family. Be prepared to snap photos with characters, conquer thrilling rides together, and enjoy delicious themed snacks. Immerse yourself in the world of Hollywood movies and entertainment for the day.

  • Continuing your family's coastal road trip with a two-hour drive down to sunny beachside San Diego. Take a stroll along the Coronado Ferry Landing, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the San Diego skyline and watch boats sail by.

  • Spend a day building sandcastles, flying kites, or simply relaxing on the pristine shores of Coronado Beach. The wide expanse of soft sand and gentle waves make it an ideal spot for family fun by the sea. If your family is looking for more active pursuits, take a walk around Balboa Park and explore the many museums, galleries and attractions there.

  • Start your day by visiting the USS Midway Museum. Explore the historic aircraft carrier and learn about its fascinating history through interactive exhibits, restored aircraft, and informative tours. Everyone will enjoy climbing aboard the massive ship, exploring the flight deck, and seeing the various aircraft up close.

  • You'll have most of the day to enjoy San Diego before your onward flight. Take some time to soak up the sunshine, collect last-minute souvenirs and take as many photos as you can. Make your own way to the airport for your flight home.

  • Arrive home today to complete your journey.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodation, 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 specialist Ewan
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
Pismo Beach
Santa Barbara
Los Angeles
San Diego

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