Your California beaches discovery begins as you fly from London for the same day flight into San Diego, America’s Finest City. Collect your Alamo car rental on arrival and drive on to your hotel. Make the most of your evening and head into the Gaslamp Quarter where the city comes alive with lively bars and restaurants. Stay 3 nights at the Handlery Hotel San Diego (or similar).
Visit colourful Coronado and be sure to stop by the legendary Hotel del Coronado. Explore the world famous San Diego Zoo in Balboa Park, ride the Manta mega-coaster and say hi to Shamu at SeaWorld San Diego in Mission Bay Park. Or head to stylish La Jolla home to designer boutiques and beautiful coastal waters perfect for a guided snorkel or kayak trip. Torrey Pines offers golfers the opportunity to play right on the ocean underneath the year-round San Diego sunshine. But little ones will love the rides and attractions at Legoland in Carlsbad.
Day 4: San Diego – Laguna Beach (approx. 73 miles)
After making the most of your San Diego visit, it’s time to head north as you take the scenic drive to Orange County and the surf town of Laguna Beach, where you will be spending the few days. Stay 2 nights at the Holiday Inn Laguna Beach (or similar).
Day 5: Laguna Beach
Home to delectable mansions and a strong surfing culture, Laguna Beach is a sun-kissed California gem. Park up your car and explore Laguna by foot, with a selection of boutiques, art galleries and sidewalk cafés lining the downtown streets. Head to historic Main Beach, featuring a vintage lifeguard tower overlooking an idyllic shore, and complete with volleyball nets, basketball courts and a meandering boardwalk that encourages family fun. Or why not stroll through rolling hills to ocean views at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, or rent paddleboards to enjoy the 7 miles of stunning Laguna coastline – the choice is yours.
Day 6: Laguna Beach – Newport Beach (approx. 11 miles)
Today, take the short drive to Newport Beach, where the rich and famous like to hang out. Feel the sand between your feet, as you soak up the sun-drenched beaches, and make the most of the fresh Californian seafood delights. Stay 2 nights at the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach (or similar).
Day 7: Newport Beach
Set around a stunning harbour, visitors and residents alike take to the waters of Newport Beach. Rent a Duffy Boat allowing for harbour and mansion exploration, or watch the body suffers in action at The Wedge, an impressive 20-foot wave monster. Or take the ferry across to Balboa Island to sample a Newport Beach delicacy, a chocolate-covered frozen banana. For those who like to stay on firm ground head to the boardwalk, a natural draw for bicyclists where beach cruiser bikes can be rented at several places on the Balboa Peninsula. For keen golfers, a round of golf at Pelican Hill is a must.
Day 8: Newport Beach – Anaheim (approx. 20 miles)
For a little action, head to Anaheim, home of America’s first theme park Knott’s Berry Farm where the old west meets rollercoasters. Then there’s the ever-popular and original Disneyland Resort where Tinkerbell magic is still going strong, whilst adrenalin-filled rides can be found at Disney’s California Adventure Park. What age, Anaheim promises theme park thrills and spills for ride enthusiasts and families alike. Stay 1 night at the Anabella Hotel (or similar).
Day 9: Anaheim – Huntington Beach (approx. 20 miles)
After the thrills and spills of Anaheim, it’s time for some beachside relaxation over the next couple days at Huntington Beach with its 8-miles of golden sands and quintessential SoCal lifestyle, where every day is a beach day. Stay 2 nights at the Hyatt Regency Beach Resort & Spa (or similar).
Day 10: Huntington Beach
Branded as ‘Surf City USA’, Huntington Beach is THE place to learn to surf, whether you’re a newbie or a pro, there’s a wave suit all. This casual beach town is perfect for sunsets and low-key shopping, dining and spending quality time on the beach. Be sure to experience making S’Mores, a California sweet treat around your own fire pit on the beach. Tour the Surfers’ Hall of Fame in Downtown or enjoy an old-fashioned burger or milkshake at the 1950s style Ruby’s Diner on Huntington Beach Pier. When the sun sets, head Downtown for drinks, live music and clubs.
Day 11: Huntington Beach – Long Beach (approx. 15 miles)
Carry on up the Orange County Coast as you head to your final destination of Long Beach, LA County’s second largest town, fronted by a picturesque harbour where you can find the Queen Mary dominate the skyline. Stay 3 nights at the the Queen Mary Hotel (or similar).
Day 12-13: Long Beach
Located only 20 miles from Downtown LA, Long Beach is a hidden gem with many attributes including the Aquarium of the Pacific, to the vintage shopping found at Retro Row. Perhaps visit or stay on the legendary Queen Mary, the historic ocean liner and World War II troopship. Catch a ferry to charming Catalina Island for a selection of watersports and quaint shops and restaurant options. Or step back in time with a trip to Rancho Los Alamitos – an elegant ranch house built back in the 1800’s. Whether you’re looking to relax, buy some last minute souvenirs or continue your Californian exploration then Long Beach offers something for everyone.
Day 14: Long Beach – London
You can plan to extend your stay, otherwise drop off your rental car at Los Angeles Airport where you will pick up your overnight flight returning you to London.