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California Road Trip Beach and Rocks

California Road Trip

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California Road Trip

Embark upon this fabulous California road trip. Visit the San Diego Zoo, head to the Griffith Observatory to enjoy spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean to Downtown L.A. Stroll down the iconic Santa Monica Pier, savour the delights of the Paso Robles Wineries and whilst in San Francisco, make a visit to the infamous Alcatraz Island.

To set you on your way, you’ll be flying direct to San Diego to enjoy the Californian lifestyle. From the towering redwood forests to the sun-kissed beaches, this 16-night California road trip is a classic!

San Diego

When you arrive in San Diego, you’ll pick up your car hire and drive straight to your first hotel, The US Grant, where you will stay for 2 nights.

California Road Trip US Grant Hotel Fpuntain and Building

Read The US Grant’s TripAdvisor reviews here

Taking a half-day guided tour of this Californian city will mean you get to see everything. We particularly recommend visiting the Gaslamp Quarter, 16 blocks of Victorian-style buildings that now house a variety of shops, galleries and trendy restaurants. In the evening, explore San Diego’s most popular nightlife venues.

Los Angeles

Head north from San Diego to LaLa Land. This 2-hour drive can take you through the beautiful La Jolla, thriving with sidewalk cafes and classy shopping.  Take the scenic route via Highway 1 to take a side visit to the California surf capital of Huntington Beach. When you arrive in sunny Los Angeles, you’ll be staying at the luxurious Montage Beverly Hills for 3 nights.

California Road Trip Montage Beverly Hills LA Building

Read the Montage Beverly Hills TripAdvisor reviews here

Start your day in legendary Beverly Hills, where cars with tinted windows pull up to Chanel and the other super-luxe boutiques dotted along Rodeo Drive. In the afternoon continue east to Hollywood for a stroll along the Hollywood Walk of Fame and visit Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, or the TCL Chinese Theatre as it is officially known now.

No trip to LA is complete without a trip to Anaheim to visit the original Disneyland or Universal Studios Hollywood. If you only have time for one though, Universal Studios with its movie-themed rides and back-lot tours is the one we’d pick.

Santa Monica

From Los Angeles, it’s just a short 30-minute drive to Santa Monica. Famed for its wide beach, signature pier topped with carnival rides and restaurants. There is outstanding shopping at Third Street Promenade and fancy Santa Monica Place shopping centre. In Santa Monica, you’ll be staying at the beach house-inspired, Shutters on the Beach for 2 nights.

Shutters on the Beach California Road Trip Santa Monica Beach and Hotel view

Read the Shutters on the Beach TripAdvisor reviews here

Santa Barbara

Heading north, you’ll drive through Malibu and journey on to one of California’s prettiest cities, the super-romantic Santa Barbara. Staying in the San Ysidro Ranch for 2 nights. You’ll be able to enjoy the incredible hospitality from this 500-acre upscale ranch that has been the honeymoon destination for guests such as John and Jackie Kennedy.

California Road Trip San Ysidro Ranch Green Scenery

Read the San Ysidro Ranch, California’s TripAdvisor reviews here

With the Santa Ynez Mountains as a dramatic backdrop and influences of the city’s Spanish colonial heritage, you can see why Santa Barbara is so popular amongst the rich and famous. Take it from the movie stars who sneak away to Santa Barbara all the time or just straight-up move there. Oprah, Brad, Ellen and many more A-listers have estates here, mainly down to the Old-World beauty that more than suits the city’s nickname, ‘The American Riviera’.

Paso Robles

Travelling from Santa Barbara to Paso Robles you can be assured the scenery is stunning. This is a real winner on your California road trip. The winery-lined backroads are a dream to drive down. If you are taking the scenic route along Highway 1, stop at Jack Creek Farms on Highway 46, just 12 miles from Paso Robles for an apple cider slush. When you arrive, you will be staying in Paso Robles’ finest boutique luxury hotel, the Hotel Cheval for the next 2 nights.

Hotel Cheval Stone Building California Road Trip

Read the Hotel Cheval TripAdvisor reviews here

With over 120 wineries and 40 varieties of wine, Paso Robles is still relatively unknown, even to the locals of California. Located midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, this city is close to mountains, beaches and deserts. It is home to one of the United States’ greatest wine growing areas and a growing number of hot spring resorts. Paso Robles is California’s fastest growing wine region, whilst still charming and modest, just like how Napa Valley used to be, it is likely to be like Napa in 10 years or so, so to see it at its best, be sure to see it soon.


From Paso Robles to Carmel, this drive is mainly over farmland. With little in the way of scenery, we suggest leaving mid-morning, meaning you’ll arrive just in time for a lovely lunch in the beautiful coastal town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. You’ll be staying in the elegant Carmel Valley Ranch for 2 nights.

Carmel Valley Ranch California Road Trip Inside Room View

Read the Carmel Valley Ranch TripAdvisor reviews here

The artsy town of Carmel-by-the-Sea (known as Carmel to the locals) is one that balances its rich heritage and new-found wealth. The Carmel Mission is one of California’s most beautiful, with shady trails that fan out into the lush Mission Trail Nature Preserve. Stroll along the white sands of Carmel Beach or explore the meadows at nearby Point Lobos State Reserve.

San Francisco

Driving from Carmel, take a detour on your way to San Francisco and visit Santa Cruz. This laidback beach town boasts both family fun and chic vibes. The boardwalk is a yesteryear-style esplanade lined with classic coasters, arcade games, corn dogs and a historic carousel, perfect for all the family. Head to downtown Santa Cruz and you’ll be worlds away from the boardwalk, with vintage and boho chic goodies, and relaxed restaurants focussing on organic, local produce. When you reach San Francisco, you’ll be staying in the five-star Fairmont San Francisco for the next 3 nights.

California Road Trip Fairmont San Fransisco White Outside Building

Read the Fairmont San Francisco TripAdvisor reviews here

End your trip in one of the world’s great cities. For a novel way to visit “the City by the Bay” park your car and explore by foot, bike, and the unique public transportation. Pedal bikes across the Golden Gate Bridge and back, explore the lush Presidio or head into Golden Gate Park to visit museums and row across a secret gem, Stow Lake. Continue along the flat Embarcadero to Fisherman’s Wharf and the Exploratorium science and learning museum.

Your California road trip is coming to an end and you’ll need to head to the airport to get ready for your flight back to London Heathrow.

With prices from £4750 per person, including flights and car hire. Give us a call today and you could be driving along this classic California road trip.

If you feel like you’re not ready to say goodbye to the sun-kissed beaches and rolling hills of California, why not extend your stay. Stay a little longer in any of the cities along the way, or a popular choice would be to hop on a plane and continue your holiday in the stunning islands of Hawaii. Here at Your Travel Group, we tailor-make everything to create your perfect holiday!

Read more about the USA here

Want to see more than California – Have a look at our West Coast America Road Trip here

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Dale took a great deal of trouble to use lateral vision in order to recommend the best route for us from Manchester (UK) to Florida. Several possibilities were discussed until he hit on the “Irish“ connection. This fitted the bill beautifully with only a short stopover in Dublin and with the added advantage of customs and immigration requirements dealt with in Ireland. What a star – thank you Dale.

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