Golden California Self Drive Itinerary

Explore California's incredibly scenic Pacific towns; little gems that dot the coast as you cruise down the Pacific Coast Highway 1. Cycle the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and see the noisy sea lions at Fisherman's Wharf, walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame and sip cocktails in celeb hangouts in Hollywood and Beverly Hills before taking a quick jaunt to Las Vegas for some exciting nightlife or a once-in-a-lifetime trip out to the Grand Canyon. Travel onto San Diego to experience life in this laid back west coast city; relaxing on the gorgeous beaches and toasting s'mores around a beach bonfire while you reminisce on your adventures, before flying home after your wonderful California self drive holiday.

Duration
12 days
Options
Private basis, Self-Guided
Start your journey
McWay Falls, Big Sur

Trip highlights

  • Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco
  • 17 Mile Drive's The Lone Cypress
  • San Diego's Old Town, the birthplace of California
  • California Pacific Highway 1
  • Vibrant Las Vegas
  • TCL Chinese Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Arrive in San Francisco, pick up your car and proceed to your hotel.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Park Central Hotel or Similar

You are free to enjoy this fascinating city today. Walk through the narrow crab markets of Fisherman's Wharf and enjoy sidewalk dining. Charming neighborhoods greet you at every turn with their elegant architecture. See Chinatown, the Japan Center, and the Embarcadero. Looming in the middle of the bay is the ominous island of Alcatraz, housing the infamous prison.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Park Central Hotel or similar

A full day to explore San Francisco, or the rolling hills of California's Wine Country, Napa Valley, where famed wineries welcome you for tours and tastings. Established in 1828, this fertile area is considered the premier wine growing region in the United States.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Park Central Hotel or similar

Drive south to Monterey where you can stroll along Fisherman's Wharf and Cannery Row. The 17-Mile Drive toll road along the Peninsula Coast from Pacific Grove to Carmel boasts magnificent seaside scenery. Visit Carmel Mission, founded in 1770.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hotel Pacific or similar

One of the most scenic drives of your journey today takes you along the California coast through the Big Sur peninsula to San Simeon. Make time to visit Hearst Castle or to take a hike along one of the many well maintained trails near Pfeiffer State Beach.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Seacrest Oceanfront Hotel or Similar

Drive down the coast to Solvang, a unique town founded by Danish immigrants. Solvang is a quaint village in the Santa Ynez valley surrounded by local wineries and famous for its bakeries and specialty shops. Drive by Malibu and Santa Monica to Los Angeles. If you plan to arrive in Los Angeles early, we suggest a visit to Universal Studios this afternoon before continuing to your hotel.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hilton Anaheim or similar

A full day at leisure. Today we suggest a full-day visit to Walt Disney's Magic Kingdom of Disneyland. Known as one of the top tourist attractions in Southern California, Disneyland attracts millions of visitors from all over the world and offers pleasures for young and old alike. Or, simply discover Los Angeles, including Hollywood and Beverly Hills.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Hilton Anaheim or similar

Today drive east through the Mojave Desert and the ghost town of Calico en route to the glittering Entertainment Capital of the World, Las Vegas. Once an oasis on the route to California, Las Vegas began as a Mormon settlement and boomed fleetingly during the silver rush. Today Las Vegas is one of the great gambling capitals of the world, with 24-hour entertainment and world-class dining.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Tropicana Las Vegas or similar

A full day at leisure for you to either take a short drive to Lake Mead and Hoover Dam, or see one of the great natural wonders of the world, the spectacular Grand Canyon, on an optional day trip by air. In form, glowing color, and geological significance, the Grand Canyon of the Colorado River is unsurpassed. The canyon is 277 miles long, averages 10 miles in width from rim to rim and is 5,700 feet deep.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Tropicana Las Vegas or similar

Drive south past Lake Elsinore to the picturesque town of Temecula. Enjoy famed rolling hills and vineyards on your way to San Diego, popular for its year-round sparkling weather and relaxed living.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Sheraton San Diego Hotel or similar

A full day to discover some of San Diego's attractions such as: Balboa Park, Old Town, SeaWorld, which is the largest park in the world devoted to marine life, Coronado Beach, the San Diego Zoo, and Seaport Village.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Sheraton San Diego Hotel or similar

Return your car at the San Diego airport before your return flight or drive north to Los Angeles to end your tour.