From San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and the beautiful beaches of San Luis Obispo County to the dramatic cliffs of Yosemite National Park, California holidays are an adventure waiting to happen. There’s a lot of natural beauty here, as well as vibrant cities nestled along the coast, and the magic of Universal Studios Hollywood.
Whether you see yourself wandering sunny vineyards and sipping on delicious wine, hiking rugged mountains, or feeling the warm West Coast sun on your skin as you watch the surf roll in, your California holiday will be a welcome journey.
Considered the Jewel of the Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe’s aquamarine waters are waiting to be discovered. Head south and visit the breath-taking and rugged terrain of Yosemite National Park. Further south still, you’ll find Death Valley National Park’s surreal landscape, from its imposing sand dunes to the expanses of its low lying salt flats.
California Holidays - Witness the West Coast
With rolling waves, golden sand and waterside cities, there are few places that are quite as renowned as California’s West Coast. Drive the Pacific Coast Highway and find yourself travelling a road that sits between mountains on one side and a rugged and wild coastline on the other in the Big Sur region. Visit the coast’s dynamic cities, like Los Angeles, San Francisco and Santa Cruz. Wander quaint seaside towns that pair stunning Pacific Ocean vistas with eateries and boutiques and a small town feel.
The best way to explore this breath-taking coast is undoubtedly by road, so why not hire a car and set out on a self drive Postcards of California tour? Starting from San Francisco, make your way to Los Angeles and discover a whole world of beauty in between.
Great sample itineraries
Get inspired by our selection of popular itineraries for California holidays. With so many options for your California holiday package, we recommend you talk to one of our Destination Specialists to make the perfect tailor made holiday just for you.
West Coast America Escorted Tour
Pacific Coast Highway Motorcycle Tour
Our favorite hotels
Whether you are planning a family holiday in California or an adventurous California multi centre holiday, let us help you find the perfect accommodation. Browse our favourite places to stay in California - we are here to help you find the perfect hotel.
Post Ranch Inn
The Lodge At Pebble Beach
Auberge Du Soleil
California is a state filled with sunshine and adventure. Beautiful coastline with hidden beaches, rustic coves and wide, golden sand beaches, nine National Parks and vibrant cities; with countless activities and incredible landscapes, California is here to be explored.
Learn to surf in 'Surf City' Huntington beach, paddleboard or kayak across the glistening waters of Lake Tahoe, explore National Parks and hug a Redwood tree, ride a cable car in San Francisco, sip wine while riding through the rolling hills aboard a train, go behind the scenes at Universal Studios Hollywood™ ... shall we go on?
Taste your way around the Wine Regions
Explore the lesser crowded north coast of Mendocino, cycle through the vineyards of Sonoma, ride the Napa Valley wine train and taste wines from the southern part of the state where the rolling hills meet the desert.
Theme Parks of California
From the adrenaline rush of a roller coaster to a beachfront carousel, there are theme parks for all ages in California; where will you choose?
Explore more than 1100 miles of coastline
What comes to mind when you think of California are the golden sandy beaches, but there are also hidden coves, dramatic cliffs and quaint seaside towns to enjoy.
With nine great National Parks California has the most and if there was a competition to find an iconic image of the parks of America, the giant redwood tree would be a serious contender.
"If you are planning on driving along the Pacific Highway 1, we would recommend you travel from north to south for some of the best views."
"California’s coast is absolutely beautiful, but don’t forget to explore the rest of the state. You don’t want to miss inland California’s national parks and the beautiful mountainous landscapes."
Events & Festivals
Festivals and events are wonderful to include during your California holidays, offering a glimpse into the country’s authentic culture and traditions.
BNP Paribas Open
Each March, the Indian Wells Tennis Garden plays host to the BNP Paribas Open tennis tournament. Unfolding over a week each March, the tournament sees some of the biggest names in tennis compete for the title of BNP Paribas champion.
California Artisan Cheese Festival
The perfect festival if you’re a cheese lover, the California Artisan Cheese Festival is held in Santa Rosa over a weekend each March. Boasting experts cheesemongers to guide you through, the festival will give you the chance to sample delicious and rare artisan cheeses, and learn about the process of cheesemaking through interactive seminars.
Hoes Down Harvest Festival
In celebration of the end of the harvest season, the Full Belly Farm in Capay Valley brings together many of the area’s small organic farms for the Hoes Down Harvest Festival. The festival runs annually on the first weekend of each October. Get a taste of rural life in California as you indulge in delicious locally-grown produce. Learn about the various aspects of farming during the festival’s many workshops, and have a dance to the local country music.
Get a flavour of the local culture through your palate during your California holiday. Here are a few of our favourite Californian dishes.
More of a philosophy than a particular dish, the term California cuisine refers to an approach to cooking food. It’s ingredient-driven cooking, rather than recipe-driven. Just like farm to table food, California cuisine focuses on using fresh and sustainable ingredients that are produced in California and prepared simply with the less-is-more flavour philosophy.
California’s Mexican influence is evident in menus across the state. From the West Coast’s fish tacos to the French fry-filled california burrito, Cal-Mex food can be found across the state, but is most popular in southern California.
Made popular by San Francisco’s gold miners in the mid 1800s, sourdough bread became a favourite in this region. The city’s local bacteria lends to the bread’s unique taste, which is why San Francisco’s sourdough is particularly celebrated.
With a coastline that spans 1,100 miles, it’s little wonder that California’s fresh seafood is some of the best. Along the coast, you’ll find no shortage of eateries serving up delicious dishes, such as clam chowder, Dungeness crab and the Italian-American stew of cioppino.
Our California destinations
Types of California holidays
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The Hayes & Jarvis Way
We've been tailor making holidays for 65 years. With over 60 destinations to choose from, talk to us and we'll listen to your travel ideas to create unforgettable holiday experiences.