Day 1: London to San Francisco
Fly from London for your same day flight to San Francisco, the gateway to Northern California. With San Francisco being such a compact and walkable city, there’s no need to pick up a car from the airport, so make your way into the city centre to start your Californian experience. Stay 3 nights at the Hotel Carlton (or similar).
Day 2-3: San Francisco
San Francisco is a diverse and vibrant city that boasts a beautiful location along the Pacific Coast of California. Discover a multicultural variety of neighbourhoods that gives this city is quirky nature, from the Hispanic flair of the Castro District to bustling Chinatown. During your stay, be sure to book in advance to take a ferry ride over to the infamous Alcatraz Island, the former penitentiary to some of the most notorious federal criminals of the 20th Century; and another worthwhile experience to try out is to hire a bicycle and ride over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge for fantastic photo opportunities of the city skyline.
Day 4: San Francisco - Lake Tahoe (approx. 190 miles)
Pick up your Alamo car rental and head towards the South Shores of Lake Tahoe, a waterfront paradise where snow-capped mountains stand sentinel over emerald waters. Be sure to stop at Emerald Bay on route as the views across the Bay stretching out across the lake are incredible. Stay 3 nights at Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel (or similar).
Day 5-6: Lake Tahoe
Famous for its ski resorts such as Heavenly and Kirkwood as well as Las Vegas-style casinos, South Lake Tahoe is the ultimate year-round resort. With a great variety of watersports on offer such as parascending, water-skiing, jet skiing and sailing to name a few, sunny Tahoe days can be filled with adventure and exhilaration based around and on the lake. Be sure to book a tour on the M.S. Dixie II, an authentic paddle- to explore the hidden depths of the lake, taking you through.
Day 7: South Lake Tahoe – Yosemite National Park (approx. 180 miles)
Today, take a scenic drive through Mariposa County to Yosemite National Park with its spectacular collection of waterfalls, stunning mountain views and picturesque hiking trails, which you will have the opportunity to discover over the next few days. Stay 3 nights at the Yosemite View Lodge (or similar).
Day 8-9: Yosemite National Park*
With its meadows of wildflowers, cascading waterfalls, sheer granite rock formations and wildlife, Yosemite is a true natural wonder, and the perfect gateway for families, adventure-seekers and nature lovers. Enjoy a two hour valley floor tram tour (optional) of the Yosemite Valley, or why not experience the park on foot with a trek along the Mist Trail, or even hire bicycles for self-exploration. Be sure to head up to Glacier Point, the highest point in the park which benefits from the most spectacular views across the Valley.
Day 10: Yosemite – Monterey (approx. 145 miles)
Depart for one of the top road-trip experiences in the United States as you wind along the breathtaking Big Sur coastline on Highway One. Stay in a beachside hotel in Monterey and enjoy sweeping views of California’s coastline, and then explore the shops and attractions of iconic Fisherman’s Wharf and Cannery Row, where the world-class Monterey Aquarium is worth a visit. Sip handcrafted wines at tucked-away tasting rooms where the winemaker might just be the person pouring. Stay 1 night at the Marriott Monterey (or similar).
Day 11: Monterey – Santa Cruz (approx. 35 miles)
Spend your final day in Santa Cruz, a cool surf town that’s home to the world famous surf spot, Mavericks. A must see is the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk an oceanfront amusement park where can ride the Giant Dipper, a 1920’s wooden rollercoaster, grab a corn dog for a traditional treat, or simply soak up the atmosphere in the sunshine. Out of town, why not visit one of the wineries located in the scenic Santa Cruz Mountains or go shopping and stop for a bite in the charming town of Los Gatos. Stay 1 night at the Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Santa Cruz(or similar).
Day 12: Santa Cruz – London
Your Californian coast and mountains adventure comes to an end as you drive back to San Francisco Airport and return your car rental at the depot before checking in to catch your departure flight returning home. Or perhaps extend your stay – call our experienced travel advisors for more details and options.