Skip to content
Please select your location:
Bixby Bridge, Pacific Coast Highway, California

Coastal California Self-Drive Tour

10 days from £3,625pp

Request a quote

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.

  • Enjoy the bustling beachside pier at Santa Monica and learn the basics of surfing with a professional instructor.

Price includes:

  • Scheduled international flights
  • Flight offers available
  • Fully insured vehicle hire
  • All accommodation
  • 24-hour support while you travel
Make an enquiry

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 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. With your experienced guide, cycle from Fisherman's Wharf across the Golden Gate Bridge to the beautiful small town of Sausalito, have lunch there, and then catch the ferry back across the bay.

  • 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, passing the Big Sur and many small coastal towns along the way. When you arrive in 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 Santa Monica, 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 stroll down the boardwalk from Santa Monica to Venice Beach to visit famed Muscle Beach and pick up some ice cream on Abbot Kinney Boulevard.

  • Surfing lessons are included for today's free day in Los Angeles. Even for a beginner, your instructor will guide you through the principles of surfing and once you feel confident with the movements you can take your board out into the water.

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

  • 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 Travel specialist Dani
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.

Request a quote

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
Santa Barbara
Los Angeles

Other tours you may be interested in