Want to sit on the dock of the bay, wiggle your toes in the sand, be bronzed by the sun and sip a cool drink while watching a spectacular sunset? Experience the glamour and glitz of Hollywood and Sunset Boulevard? Welcome to California, where visitors have been chasing dreams since Juan Cabrillo arrived in 1542. The water is blue, the sun is out, the gardens are lush and – unlike the experience of the early explorers, your accommodations are unique and luxurious. Get ready for a journey that lets you laze your way through Northern and into Southern California, while staying in the best and finest along the way. Contrast the hustle and bustle of San Francisco with the Spanish-inspired beach town of Santa Barbara and the grandeur of Yosemite National Park with the arty towns of Monterey and Carmel. Treat yourself to the spa, luscious dinners, plenty of surf and sand and everything in between. Enjoy - surf's up, sun's out, life's flowing!
- Los Angeles
- Yosemite National Park
- San Francisco
- Santa Barbara
Surrounded by San Francisco Bay and the Pacific Ocean, the 'City by the Bay' is arguably the most friendly and beautiful in America and there is certainly something here for everyone. Perhaps begin by driving over the Golden Gate Bridge on a city tour or explore the city on foot and visit Fisherman's Wharf, home to the city's playful resident sea lions at Pier 39 or Union Square for world-class shopping and dining. Be sure not to miss Alcatraz - the famous island prison a short boat ride across the bay. If you fancy getting out of the city for a few hours, visit Muir Woods and the great sequoias, relax in bohemian Sausalito or take a hot air balloon over the Wine Country.
Yosemite National Park
"165 miles"Yosemite National Park is breath-taking and has so much to offer its visitors. Make sure to look out for Half Dome and El Captain, two of the huge granite cliffs in the park, depicted in many photographs. You could also drive to Mariposa Grove to see the sequoia trees , visit the historic village of Wawona, enjoy the fantastic view of the valley from Glacier Point Overlook and hike back down the 8 mile trail to the valley floor. You could hike to one of the many waterfalls in the park; apart from Yosemite Falls, there are several other major falls including Ribbon, Bridalveil and Vernal Falls. Or you could hire a bike to take you around the valley floor, join a horseback trip or even learn to mountain bike.
Monterey / Carmel
"187 miles"Think Monterey, think picnics on gorgeous, uncrowded beaches and jaw-dropping views of beautiful coastline. The town is full of fabulous seafood restaurants; definitely make sure to try the famous clam chowder at Fisherman's Wharf. Nature buffs can explore the bay by kayak for a close up look at sea lions, seals and otters. Monterey is an ideal destination to go whale watching and the Monterey Bay Aquarium is a must with children. The 'alternative' seaside village of Carmel, with its arty shops and tasting rooms boasting many varieties of hand-crafted wines from the surrounding California wine country, is only 17 miles south and well worth the journey along the winding coastal roads.
When you arrive in Pismo Beach, you'll find that this classic California beach town has it all; from gorgeous surf to fabulous wineries. Stroll along the beach boardwalk or the 1,200 foot pie, enjoy farm to table dining, fresh seafood and local produce. Hit the beach, where you can swim, surf, kayak or just soak up the sun. Discover California's largest dune complex, stretching 17 miles along the coast or visit the famous Hearst Castle in San Simeon.
"82 miles"Known as the 'American Riviera', the beautiful coastal town of Santa Barbara, nestled against the Santa Inez Mountains, has the sophisication of a city with the feel of a small community. Founded in 1782 as one of a series of missions along the California coast, the lovely Spanish-Moorish architecture still stands throughout Santa Barbara today. Meander down cobbled streets and paseos into fragrant courtyards lined with unique boutiques and galleries. Complete your visit by basking in the Southern California sun on East Beach, one of the best beaches in the country, or by touring Santa Barbara's wine country.
Los Angeles / Santa Monica
Most visitors to LA stay somewhere in the city but we think instead of doing that, you should go straight up to Santa Monica and start relaxing on the beach where Cabrillo began his California journey. You can pretty much count on sun, since the area enjoys 340 days of sunshine a year and a constant gentle ocean breeze. You can count on pristine, as the city of Santa Monica cleans and rakes the sand daily. Have a cool drink and hit the boardwalk. Tomorrow's plenty of time for exploring.
Attractions in Los Angeles abound! Driving to get to them in Los Angeles is a way of life – and a glamorous one at that. So roll down the windows and head out on one of the fabulous scenic drives around the city. Cruise the Sunset Strip; check out the entertainment hot spots on Hollywood Boulevard, or journey through the city's historic, cultural and architectural roots along Wilshire Boulevard. Los Angeles is a city of suburbs that includes Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica and Anaheim, stretching east into the California desert. Enjoy classic boardwalk fun on the historic Santa Monica Pier, visit "the Mouse" at Disneyland, window shop on Rodeo Drive, and take in any number of LA's fabulous museums and attractions. The view from the Getty Center, sitting high above the city, is as spectacular as the art collection inside.
- Direct return flights from London (Please ask about other departure airports)
- 14 nights hotel accommodation and room tax
- Fully insured compact car hire (larger vehicles are available)
- A detailed travel pack with driving instructions and maps
Daily departures throughout the year.