California Holidays

Think California holiday and you'll probably think LA, San Francisco, San Diego, Palm Springs and a visit to the state would not be complete without including all of them. However, California has far more to offer than its four major cities. The state, which spans a large proportion of the western seaboard of the USA, appeals to those in search of the diversity and natural beauty offered by places such as Yosemite National Park, Death Valley, the Wine Country and the Big Sur coastline.

When it comes to big city fun, California's urban hotspots shine. Undeniably one of the world's great cities San Francisco is known for its sparkling bay, iconic crimson bridge, quirky neighbourhoods and trundling cable cars scaling the steep streets. Sprawling Los Angeles offers a wide range of attractions from the fun-filled theme parks of Disneyland and Universal Studios to the glitzy Beverly Hills shops and celebrity homes and the palm-fringed beaches of Santa Monica and Malibu. Located just north of the Mexican border San Diego is a large coastal city with a small town atmosphere where you'll find an array of fabulous beaches, an ideal climate and outstanding family attractions.

Nature looms large in World Heritage listed Yosemite National Park, a vast wilderness with miles of rivers, lakes, waterfalls, peaks and valleys while further south Death Valley National Park is an awe-inspiring land of volcanic craters, brilliantly-coloured rock formations and desolate salt flats. You can't get any lower than this in the western hemisphere and, in summer, you can't get much hotter. Other natural attractions include the impressive grandeur of the giant sequoia forests at Sequoia National Park; the forest-rimmed Lake Tahoe which straddles the border with Nevada and attracts outdoor enthusiasts year round; and Joshua Tree National Park where you can glimpse the curious flora and fauna of the Mojave Desert.

The spectacular beauty of the rugged coastline at Big Sur extends about 100 miles south from Monterey. Here, the Coastal Mountains dip directly into the Pacific Ocean to form some magnificent scenery with sea cliffs, rocky headlands and tiny beaches. Twisting Highway 1 hugs the mountain slopes and offers exquisite vistas at every turn and is one of the great road trips in the USA.

Southern California's warm Pacific waters attract sun worshippers and surfers alike. The counties of San Diego, Orange and Los Angeles are crammed full of great beaches for just about any beach activity you can think of. Some of the best beaches include Laguna Beach, Santa Monica, Newport Beach, Coronado and La Jolla. Head further north and the waters are cooler and sandy beaches are scarcer but the wildlife watching can be incredible, with seals, sea otters, whales and sharks all regular visitors to these waters.

Let's not forget the Wine Country as another great reason to visit. Napa and Sonoma in Northern California are two of the biggest and best wine producing regions in the world and travellers are welcomed to many of the vineyards for tastings and tours. If that weren't enough, the scenery is fantastic!

No matter what you want to see and do, a California holiday has it.

    Why visit California?
  • Great cities
  • Diverse natural scenery
  • Celebrated coastline
  • Favourable climate
  • Wonderful wine
  • Laid-back lifestyle


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Featuring a wide selection of tours across the USA, by rail, motorcycle, car or coach. Plus beach holidays, city stays and wonderful cruises.

Where to stay in California

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Essential facts about California
Local Time

GMT -8 hours.

Currency

US Dollar

Travel information

The flying time from the UK to Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego is about 11 hours, while Palm Springs is approximately 13 hours 30 minutes (via Phoenix).

Best time to go

California is a year round destination although the weather varies throughout the state. Much of California has a Mediterranean-like climate with warm, dry summers and mild wet winters. Further inland, summers are hot and dry, winters cool and wet. At higher altitudes, expect beautiful summers, snowy winters and striking colour in spring and autumn.

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