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Northern California Self-Drive

14 days from £4,285pp

What is tailor made? Customised itinerary | Every trip is unique | Flexible accommodation options | Designed to your budget

Itinerary highlights

  • 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.

Price includes

Scheduled international flights
Fully insured vehicle hire
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  • San Francisco
  • Sonoma
  • Trinidad
  • Mount Shasta
  • Crater Lake National Park
  • Redwood National Park
  • Mendocino

Itinerary idea in detail

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

Day 1 San Francisco

International outbound flight , San Francisco

Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to San Francisco. Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to San Francisco.

Day 2 San Francisco

San Francisco

Enjoy a full day exploring San Francisco. You may wish to take a boat trip out on the bay, visit Chinatown with its quirky shops and decorative gate, take a stroll along Fisherman's Wharf and see the sea lions at Pier 39 or take a trip on one of the city's iconic cable cars.

Day 3 San Francisco

San Francisco

Take a boat trip out to the former prison island of Alcatraz. Here you can enjoy an audio tour of the old prison, learning about the lives of former inmates and ways in which they attempted to escape. Afterwards, you may wish to cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge, have lunch at Fisherman's Wharf, or take a ferry to the lovely bayside suburb of Sausalito.

Day 4 Sonoma

San Francisco , Sonoma

Collect your hire car and drive around north over the Golden Gate Bridge to the rolling vineyards of Sonoma County, around an hour away. This afternoon you could visit some of the area's vineyards to sample locally produced wines and indulge in an al fresco lunch.

Day 5 Sonoma


The nearby town of Napa is the departure point of the Napa Valley Wine Train. This classic train winds its way through the vineyards of the valley, stopping at some of the most interesting and historic and serving up a gourmet feast en route. Start with some sparkling wine and light breakfast before stopping at one of California's premier sparkling wine producers, rejoin the train for your lunch starter before visiting a 150 year old vineyard . The main course of lunch follows, before the final stop at a chateau dating back to the 1880s. Finish the day with a pudding as you roll back towards Napa.

Day 6 Trinidad

Sonoma , Trinidad

Journey north along the beautiful coastline of northern California to Trinidad. The drive takes around five hours, but there are many scenic state parks to stop at on the way. Highlights include Point Arena Lighthouse, the Victorian town of Mendocino with its pastel-painted buildings, and the Avenue of the Giants trees in Humbolt Redwoods State Park. Trinidad itself is home to beautifully rugged driftwood-strewn beaches, ideal for a secluded sunset stroll.


Day 7 Mount Shasta

Trinidad , Mount Shasta

Leave Trinidad behind this morning and drive for around four and a half hours north to Mount Shasta. Along the way you pass through the beautiful scenery of Trinity National Forest and Whiskeytown National Recreation Area, where you could stop for a stroll and a picnic. Once at Mount Shasta you may have time to follow one of the many walking trails. We like the loop trail that takes in several waterfalls along the McCloud River. There's also the Panther Meadow Loop, which follows the spring water through the alpine meadows.

Day 8 Crater Lake National Park

Mount Shasta , Crater Lake National Park

There is time to relax and enjoy the area's natural beauty this morning before you make your way north, through dramatic mountain scenery, to Crater Lake National Park in southern Oregon. The journey takes around three hours and takes you through the Winema National Forest.

Day 9 Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Enjoy a full day at this dramatic volcanic lake, where the bright blue waters contrast sharply with the verdant rocky scenery. We recommend taking a boat trip to Wizard Island in the middle of Crater Lake. This miniature cinder cone supports a variety of plant and animal life. You can also follow one of the park's many walking trails, which range from 20 minute strolls to more challenging three hour hikes through wildflower meadows and old-growth forest.

Day 10 Redwood National Park

Crater Lake National Park , Redwood National Park

Leaving Oregon behind, travel five hours south back into California, arriving into Redwood National Park. The journey takes you through the Rogue River National Forest and the Cascade Mountains provide an impressive backdrop. You may wish to stop to explore the caves at the Oregon Caves National Monument, which are tucked into a wooded canyon south of Grants Pass. Driving through Redwood National Park, you're surrounded by giant trees as you wind along the coastline.


Day 11 Redwood National Park

Redwood National Park

Spend the day on a guided tour to learn about the enormous redwood trees of Redwood National Park. Some of the trees here can grow up to 100 m (328 ft) in height and are over 2,000 years old. Your guide will talk about the trees and their history, as well as the park's wildlife - look out for herds of elk, which thrive in these coastal forests.


Day 12 Mendocino

Redwood National Park , Mendocino

Drive for around two and a half hours to the pretty Victorian town of Mendocino on the coast. Here you can explore its old painted houses and art shops, as well as cafes and wineries. You may wish to visit the nearby Montgomery Woods State Park to admire more ancient redwoods, or head to Mendocino Bay for incredible coastal views.

Day 13 International return flight

Mendocino , International return flight

Make your way south along the coast and back to San Francisco - a drive of around three hours. Once at the airport you can drop off your hire car before boarding your onward flight.

Day 14 International return flight

International return flight

Arrive home today to complete your journey.

Audley Travel specialist Samantha
Dave, an Audley Travel specialist

Contact a 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. Your dedicated specialist will take the time to understand your preferences and build them into an itinerary to match, working to your budget. He or she will keep perfecting it until you’re completely happy and ready to book.

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When to go

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San Francisco
Crater Lake National Park