Jump in your car, put on your sunglasses and feel the wind in your hair as you follow the gorgeous California coastline from San Francisco to San Diego.
Call in at the wildlife-rich marine sanctuary at Monterey and relax on the fabulous sands of Pismo Beach and Santa Barbara before indulging in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.
Some of the highlights included are:
- Uncover the secrets of Alcatraz Island in San Francisco
- Stand on the end of Pismo Beach’s pier and watch the sun set over the ocean
- Spend lazy days on the fabulous beaches of Santa Barbara
- Visit the abundant flower-filled gardens of San Diego
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- International flights
- 12 nights in 4-4.5* hotels & hand-picked local gems
- 9 days car hire
- San Francisco City Insiders & Alcatraz tour
- Hollywood City Pass
- Old Town Trolley Tour of San Diego
- Airport transfers in San Francisco
Need to know+
- Arrives: San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
- Time difference: GMT-8
- Visa requirements: British passport holders require an electronic travel authorisation (ESTA), available online
- Language: English
- Currency: US dollar (USD)
- Flying time from UK: around 11 hours direct
- Plug type: 2 flat pins
- Voltage: 120V
- A one-way fee applies for the car hire in this Journey in the months of July & August; please ask us for details
Fly from UK to San Francisco
Experience the sights and sounds of San Francisco and watch as the infamous island of Alcatraz, with its imposing prison, looms on the horizon as you cruise past the Golden Gate Bridge. Tour the island itself, where you’ll learn about its tumultuous history as a federal penitentiary, once incarcerating Al Capone. Take a ride up Frisco’s hills on the manually-operated cable cars and check out the sweeping views across San Francisco Bay. Finish off back down on Pier 39, home to a colony of lazy sea lions and numerous restaurants, bars, shops and boutiques.
Cruise along the rugged Californian coastline on your way to Monterey, where it’s all about marine life. There’s a world-class aquarium to explore, plus the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, protecting the region’s seals, whales and dolphins. Check out the mind bending Monterey Mirror Maze, or why not learn to surf or try out the area’s golf courses. Don’t miss buzzing Cannery Row, named after the John Steinbeck depression-era novel of the same name. The promenade now buzzes with locals and tourists discovering its galleries, restaurants and antique shops.
With a wide sandy beach, Pismo is a great place to break your California journey. Watch the sunset from the pier and if you’re lucky enough to be travelling between October and March, do not miss the swarms of migrating bright orange monarch butterflies found in the eucalyptus groves. The more energetic can try some sea kayaking or take a hummer through the sand dunes. Perhaps take a detour to eclectic Hearst Castle, filled with grand 1920s & 30s styles and a fine collection of art, and, Lady Gaga filmed her G.U.Y. music video here.
Wine, dine, shop and flop on the beach in pretty Santa Barbara. Check out the pretty stone façade of the hilltop Santa Barbara Mission, built in 1829 in the style of a Roman temple. The original was destroyed in the 1812 earthquake and this ‘new’ version of the mission has been designed to be earthquake proof. For a relaxing afternoon, take a wander among the beautiful landscapes of the Botanic Gardens with its 78 acres of blooming pathways and woodlands, offering fabulous views of the Santa Ynez Mountains in the distance.
See the best of Los Angeles with your Hollywood City Pass. Walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame, take your photo with the Hollywood sign and see if you can spot the stars. If you’re seeking some excitement, ride the roller-coasters in the amusement parks, or why not go behind the scenes of your favourite films with a tour of Universal Studios. Afterwards, maybe go down to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and see the handprints and footprints of stars past and present in the cement. For something more cultural, explore your artistic cultural side at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and try out the funky café.
See the sights of San Diego from the comfort of an old fashioned trolley. Chill out on La Jolla beach and wander the gardens, museums and theatres of Balboa Park. With a number of gardens to choose from, including the Japanese Friendship Garden, which offers bonsai and sushi classes on weekends, and the Rose Garden with its 1600 roses, as well as a carousel and a miniature train, there’s something for everyone here. The park is also home to San Diego Zoo, a pioneer of the cage-less, open air style, where the animals are housed in areas that resemble their natural habitats as closely as possible.
Depart San Diego and return to the UK
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