14 nights self-drive tour
Price from: £2899pp
San Francisco 2 nights
Napa Valley 1 night
Lake Tahoe 1 night
Yosemite National Park 2 nights
Monterey 1 night
San Luis Obispo 1 night
Santa Barbara 1 night
Los Angeles 2 nights
Huntington Beach 1 night
San Diego 2 nights
Day 1: Fly to San Francisco. On arrival make your way to your hotel.
Day 2 San Francisco: Hire a bike to pedal across the soaring Golden Gate Bridge, take a ride on a classic cable car, explore Fisherman’s Wharf and, if time allows, don’t miss Alcatraz.
Day 3 San Francisco/Napa Valley: Collect your hire car and head for the Napa Valley, a world-famous wine region. Be sure to visit a winery or two for a wine tasting experience amidst glorious scenery. Aside from wine, this is a highly regarded culinary region, and at Oxbow Public Market you’ll find all kinds of goodies to tantalise your tastebuds (59 miles).
Day 4 Napa Valley/Lake Tahoe: Take a stroll in downtown Napa to browse the interesting shops and unique art galleries. Later, head east for Lake Tahoe, which straddles the California-Nevada border. Dotted with small towns, there’s year-round charm on offer, along with outdoor activities aplenty (183 miles).
Day 5 Lake Tahoe/Yosemite National Park: Why not stroll along one of the many hiking trails before you set off for Yosemite National Park. (184 miles).
Day 6 Yosemite National Park: Known for its plunging waterfalls, giant sequoia trees, sheer granite cliffs, and more, you could easily spend weeks exploring the park’s natural wonders. Top sights you’ll want to capture on camera are El Capitan, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome and Glacier Point.
Day 7 Yosemite National Park/Monterey: Return westwards for lovely Monterey which lies along the curving sweep of its namesake bay. Explore Cannery Row, visit Monterey Bay Aquarium, set out on a whale-watching trip, or simply wander and watch the adorable otters as they dart in and out of the kelp (188 miles).
Day 8 Monterey/San Luis Obispo: Golf enthusiasts may want to book a round at Pebble Beach, or you may wish to amble around pretty Carmel. Today’s highlight is the unforgettable drive along twisting Highway 1 (the Pacific Coast Highway). You’ll find lots of stopping points along the way so you can soak up the views and may even spot migrating whales out at sea (135 miles).
Day 9 San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara: Head slightly inland and you’ll come across Hearst Castle, with its 165 rooms and 123 acres of gardens and pools, it’s as grand as the finest palaces of Europe. Continue along the coast to picture-perfect Santa Barbara, regarded as The American Riviera (94 miles).
Day 10 Santa Barbara/Los Angeles: Stroll State Street for excellent shops and dining, wander along Stearns Wharf or visit the classic Old Mission Santa Barbara. Later, leave the coast for the bright lights and big city allure of LA (95 miles).
Day 11 Los Angeles: Soak up the glitz and glamour of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, hike up to the Hollywood sign, chill out on the Santa Monica Pier, visit Disneyland or Universal Studios for thrilling rides, or enjoy a cocktail or two at a rooftop bar, keeping watch for A-listers.
Day 12 Los Angeles/Huntington Beach: A short drive brings you to the classic beach town of Huntington Beach, where surfing definitely sets the tone. It’s not all about surfing as the city’s also renowned for its craft breweries and craft distilleries, so that’s well worth raising a toast to (37 miles).
Day 13 Huntington Beach/San Diego: Before hitting the road again, take time to hang out on the landmark Huntington Pier and you’ll catch great views of the locals riding the waves. Continue your road trip along the cost to San Diego (93 miles).
Day 14 San Diego: This waterfront city is overflowing with exceptional dining and craft beer experiences, outdoor adventures, family fun, and great shopping. Explore diverse neighbourhoods like Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter, head to Balboa Park for a museum-filled day, enjoy a day at one of the beaches, such as La Jolla or Coronado, and don’t forget San Diego Zoo.
Day 15 San Diego: Return your car at the airport where your tour concludes.
Accommodation: 3*Plus Handlery Union Square, San Francisco; 4* River Terrace Inn, Napa Valley; 3* Hotel Azure, Lake Tahoe; 4* Tenaya Lodge, Yosemite NP; 3* Monterey Tides; 3* Apple Farm Inn, San Luis Obispo; 3* Inn by the Harbour, Santa Barbara; 3H Gateway, Santa Monica; 4* Kimpton Shorebreak, Huntington Beach; 3* Bahia Resort, San Diego.
Meals: Room only except Napa Valley where continental breakfast included.
Tour price: The price shown is based on the best value travel dates in low season and includes international flights to San Francisco and from San Diego, accommodation and 13 days fully inclusive compact 4 door car hire.
California Dreaming is also available with a motorhome rather than a car. The price shown includes return international flights, one pre-night at Hilton Garden Inn San Mateo, San Francisco and a C30 motorhome for 14 days. One way drop fee of US$400 payable locally.
14 night self-drive motorhome tour from £2199pp