California has so much to see, that it’s hard to know where to begin! We’ve organised an itinerary that will take you to the best places in the Golden State. Follow our 2-week guide for a hassle-free trip of a lifetime.
How to get there?
To start your journey, the best option is to fly to Los Angeles. Much cheaper than flying into San Francisco or San Diego, flights from London to LAX as early as this month start from £199+ in comparison to around £800+ for flights to San Diego! Save money on your flights, to give you more spending money once you arrive.
Los Angeles - (3 days)
Known for its glamorous movie star culture, stunning sandy beaches and famous Hollywood sign, there is plenty to explore in Los Angeles. Start with a Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour that allows you to make your way around this lively city at your own pace. With over 70 stops you can start sightseeing right away, so make sure you keep an eye out for the world-famous Hollywood sign!
Stroll along the Hollywood Walk of Fame for a chance to see the stars that celebrate some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry. There are over 2500 stars spanning over 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard, so this might take some time! Grab something to eat on Sunset Boulevard for a relaxing end to your first day.
If you’re a film fanatic, you can take part on a movie locations tour that will take you to the most recognisable locations from iconic movies like The Dark Knight Rises and Blade Runner. For a more challenging experience, spend your second day hiking at Griffith Park for incredible views of the City and the Santa Monica mountains.
Spend the rest of your time in LA unwinding on Santa Monica beach, shopping at Rodeo Drive’s luxury stores or sampling the city’s nightlife, cocktail in hand!
Disneyland - (1/2 days)
If you’re staying in Los Angeles, a day trip to Disneyland in Anaheim is a must! Experience the magic of the two theme parks; meet your favourite characters before testing your bravery on exhilarating rollercoasters. A 2 - Day Disneyland California Hopper Ticket will give you two days of fun, so you can make the most of your time and explore every inch of the parks!
San Diego - (3 days)
Hire a car for the 2-hour drive to San Diego and discover the coastal city’s gems. Stop for a spot of lunch and try the San Diego special, a California Burrito (filled with meat, French fries, sour cream, and guacamole) with an ice cold beer on the side. Then visit the world famous San Diego Zoo, home to over 3700 animals, for a fun afternoon in the city.
Choose how you want to get around with a range of sightseeing tours including Segway tours, and a selection of cruises that promise to get you closer to nature with sea lion, dolphin and whale watching packages. Of course you can also explore the city on foot with a San Diego Highlights Tour that will teach you all about the city’s rich history, and why it is known as the birthplace of California.
Make the most of the rest of your time by relaxing on one of San Diego’s many beaches (Mission Beach, Coronado, La Jolla Shores) for a chance to experience some of the most popular white sandy beaches in California.
SeaWorld - San Diego (1 day)
If you’re planning on visiting SeaWorld as well as San Diego Zoo, the San Diego 3 for 1 Pass is ideal as it gets you unlimited entry to both, plus the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park! Get up close to the beautiful marine animals at SeaWorld. Watch spectacular shows and learn about their fantastic rescue program, or test your bravery on Manta; one of the park's scariest rides!
Stopover in LA - (1 day)
Head back to LA for a stopover before you carry on to San Francisco. If you're still craving more theme park fun while you're there, you can spend your day thrill-seeking at Universal Studios Hollywood. Afterwards set off on the 6-hour journey to San Francisco. This is the longest driving part of the trip, but there’s no chance of getting bored with the incredible views. Drive along The Pacific Coast Highway and savour the amazing sights along the way.
San Francisco - (3 days)
After arriving in San Francisco, spend your afternoon exploring the city known for its modern architecture and fog-clouded skyscrapers. The iconic Golden Gate bridge is simply breath-taking; possibly the most famous bridge in the world, walk along it at sunset for beautiful romantic views of the city.
Spend day 2 at a must see spot for all visitors, with the popular (and often sell out) Alcatraz tour. Known as ‘The Rock’ this notorious former prison is steeped in mystery drawing around one million intrigued guests each year. Take a tour of the island, explore the old prison cells and hear tales of how the most infamous American criminals plotted failed attempts to escape!
Continue the adventure with a once-in-a-lifetime helicopter experience that will take you on a 25-minute sightseeing tour. Feel your adrenaline rise as you glide over the San Francisco Bay, where you’re guaranteed to have the best view!
Spend the rest of your time with a spot of retail therapy at Union Square (a huge shopping district with the biggest Bloomingdales outside of New York), sampling the tasty cuisine in Chinatown or toasting the last day of your trip in one of the city’s trendy bars.
From here you can fly home from San Francisco International Airport, but keep in mind that flight costs will be a lot lower if you choose to head back to LA instead and fly home from LAX.
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