Experience the thrills of The Golden State on this breath-taking fly-drive holiday on which you will see the best that California has to offer.
Give yourselves time to relax on this leisurely fly-drive holiday through California. Start in iconic San Francisco before collecting your car and driving over the Golden Gate bridge into the wine producing area of Sonoma. From here it is up into the mountains for Lake Tahoe and Yosemite before returning to the coast to drive the Pacific Coastal Highway. Marvel at Big Sur, the aquarium in Monterey, the colourful cottages of Carmel and much more as you make your way south to Los Angeles.
This itinerary is flexible and can be tailor-made to suit you; if you want to add extra days in one area, extend the holiday or maybe change the direction of travel. Talk to one of our experts about how to make this holiday the perfect one for you.
We used Frontier Travel to book our honeymoon. We were given all the information we needed and everything ran seamlessly. We had a fantastic time, the hotels and lodges were perfect. Thank you for organising such a brilliant trip!
Itinerary (17 Nights)
Here’s a day-by-day guide to your itinerary. Feel free to ask us to add other days or ideas and excursions by contacting us directly, so we can give you the best price.
Fly from the UK and arrive into San Francisco. There is so much to do...
Fly from the UK and arrive into San Francisco. There is so much to do and see it is hard to know where to start. Old favourites such as the cable cars and Alcatraz will always attract, but there is also the Museum of Modern Art to be seen, Fisherman’s Wharf to be marvelled at and possibly the best way of all is to take one of the myriad ferries that crisscross the bay. Where to stay in the city is always a big discussion point. Frontier America can offer some delightful boutique downtown hotels, but it is also worth considering staying over the Golden Gate Bridge at Cavallo Point, once an army barracks, or the Casa Madrona Hotel and Spa on the National Register of Historic Places in Sausalito.
3 nights in San Francisco
San Francisco to Sonoma County
Time to collect your car and start the adventure by driving over the Golden Gate...
to Sonoma County
Time to collect your car and start the adventure by driving over the Golden Gate Bridge into the pretty community of Sausalito and on to Sonoma County. Sonoma and its neighbour Napa Valley produce much of California’s renowned wine. Frontier America can arrange a wine-tasting tour for you allowing you to leave your car at your hotel – a wise precaution perhaps. Sonoma County is full of surprises: do visit Swede’s Feeds for an extraordinary collection of pots and sculptures, the Arts Guild of Sonoma (a showcase for local art) or Sonoma Valley Airport where you can take a ride in a 1942 open cockpit biplane, a Boeing Stearman, or a WWII Warhawk (Thursday to Sunday only – see www.vintageaircroft.com for details).
2 nights in Sonoma County
Sonoma County to Lake Tahoe
It is nearly 4 hours to your next stop at Lake Tahoe, so you might...
to Lake Tahoe
It is nearly 4 hours to your next stop at Lake Tahoe, so you might want to consider stopping in Sacramento, the state capital, for lunch en-route. You could even have lunch aboard one of the river cruises. Lake Tahoe is huge – it takes about 40 minutes to drive from north to south, it also forms the state boundary between California and Nevada. The northern part is arguably the more beautiful, it is certainly quieter and where you stay will reflect your preference; there are beautiful properties in both. If you stay in South Lake Tahoe and fancy a flutter, it is very simple to cross the border. Wherever you stay, do be sure to visit the glorious Emerald Bay; the many ski resorts in the area offer all kinds of activities during the summer months including zip lines, gondola rides, mountain biking and of course just lovely leisurely walks.
3 nights in Lake Tahoe
Lake Tahoe to Yosemite National Park
One of the many highlights of this holiday is bound to be Yosemite National Park....
to Yosemite National Park
One of the many highlights of this holiday is bound to be Yosemite National Park. Renowned throughout the world for its scenery, it lives up to, or exceeds, its reputation. You will be staggered by the sheer size of El Capitan which has attracted hard core climbers for decades; most of us will be happy to just stand and marvel. But this is just one of the many miraculous sights of the park. We have allowed three days but you might well want more by the time you have visited the Ansel Adams Gallery, hiked some of the paths and perhaps joined one of the Rangers for their very informative talks about the history and geology of the park.
3 nights in Yosemite National Park
Yosemite National Park to Monterey, Big Sur & Carmel
Time to say “goodbye” to the mountains and return to the coast. Yosemite to Monterey...
Yosemite National Park
Monterey, Big Sur & Carmel
Time to say “goodbye” to the mountains and return to the coast. Yosemite to Monterey is a 3 – 4 hour drive. Monterey is an interesting town, known to many as the home of John Steinbeck. If you are a fan, do take the multi-sensory tour of the National Steinbeck Center, if not perhaps the aquarium is more to your taste. Monterey is an interesting old fishing and canning town and well worth spending two or three nights in the area be it in Monterey itself, Carmel just to the south or one of the ultra-luxurious resorts on Big Sur. The Post Ranch Inn alone is worth the journey to California!
3 nights in Carmel
One of the best drives in the world today as you drive south, and it...
One of the best drives in the world today as you drive south, and it is important to do it from north to south to get the best views, along the Pacific Coast Highway towards Los Angeles. We suggest a break of journey in or around Santa Barbara which will also give you time to explore Hearst Castle. The holiday finishes in Los Angeles where you can choose to stay on the beach at Santa Monica, in Hollywood or in downtown LA. The choice, as always on a Frontier America holiday, is yours.
3 nights in Los Angeles
J Smith - Travelled New York to Toronto
I have just returned from a tailor made holiday made possible by Jeannette Dembrey. This was the first time I had ever organised such a major holiday and as it was a gift for my children after my retirement it was really important to get things right. I went to quite a few agencies but Jeannette was way better than any of the people who I spoke to. She was so professional and wanted me to get the best from the money I could afford. The holiday was absolutely amazing and everything went like clockwork. Jeannette had thought of everything even the connections between places and the things we would do in each town. We stayed in 6 hotels altogether starting in New York and ending in Toronto. I am amazed at how smoothly it went. Even my son who has travelled all over the world was impressed with the way things had been organised. I cannot praise Jeannette enough for her professionalism. Thank you Jeannette. I would recommend you to anyone with the satisfaction of knowing that you did an amazing job. Thank you.