California Explored

21 days
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Private Guided
Over the years, countless films, photographs and guide books have attempted to capture the size, beauty and diversity of California. But nothing lives up to the reality of driving along the state’s winding coastline, gazing out over Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point, cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge or spotting your favourite celebrity’s star on the Hol...
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Trip type
Private Guided
Lodging level
Standard - 3 star
Physical level
Trip pace
Full schedule

What's this trip about?

    Over the years, countless films, photographs and guide books have attempted to capture the size, beauty and diversity of California. But nothing lives up to the reality of driving along the state’s winding coastline, gazing out over Yosemite Valley from Glacier Point, cycling across the Golden Gate Bridge or spotting your favourite celebrity’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. From the towering redwoods and fruitful vineyards of the north to the golden beaches and relaxed surfer lifestyle of the south, our specialists will help you plan your trip to California so you can uncover the state’s many sides. We visit the region regularly – particularly behind the wheel of a car – and will plan your ideal trip to California around your personal tastes and interests.  

Compare to similar trips


Itinerary focusClassic Highlights
Group sizeIntimate group - 12 max
Age rangeNo age restrictions
Flights and transportN/A
Start CityLas Vegas
End CitySan Diego

Travel Themes

  • Cultural
  • National Parks
  • Nature & Wildlife


  • North America
  • United States


  • California
  • Death Valley National Park
  • Las Vegas
  • Los Angeles
  • Napa
  • Pacific Ocean
  • San Francisco
  • Sequoia National Park


  • Bird watching
  • Culture
  • Hiking
  • History
  • Mountaineering
  • Nature
  • Relaxing Retreat
  • Swimming
  • Wildlife viewing
  • Golfing

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Day 1 : Las Vegas

Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Las Vegas. Upon arrival into Las Vegas make your way to your hotel on the famous Las Vegas Strip, where the remainder of the evening is free for you to relax after your journey. You could hit the casinos or simply stroll along the Strip to take in all of its bizarre sights.

Day 2 : Las Vegas

Spend the day exploring the iconic spectacle that is Las Vegas. You may wish to visit the many themed casinos, sample the fantastic shopping or take in a show from some of the world's most famous performers. Alternatively, simply relax with a book by the swimming pool.

Day 3 : Death Valley National Park

Make your own way to the car hire depot, where your car will be ready to collect. All insurances, road maps and a sat-nav are included. Leaving the bright lights of Las Vegas, you drive for three hours to the barren but beautiful terrain of Death Valley National Park....

Day 4 : Bakersfield

Leave Death Valley and drive for four and a half hours towards the southern reaches of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and the small town of Bakersfield, which is your base for the evening. Watching the landscape transform from barren desert to mountains covered in sequoia trees, it feels like you've arrived in another country.

Day 5 : Sequoia National Park

Depart Bakersfield early this morning and head north to the mighty Sequoia groves of Sequoia National Park; a journey of around three and a half hours. Upon arrival at your hotel in the heart of the park spend the afternoon exploring the sights at your leisure. We rec...

Day 6 : Sequoia National Park

Enjoy a full day exploring Sequoia National Park, looking out for wildlife such as chipmunks, deer, coyotes and even black bears as you follow some of the park's trails. You can also visit Kings Canyon National Park, which tends to be quieter and offers a different landscape of vast canyons, caverns and rugged foothills.

Day 7 : Yosemite National Park

Continue your journey today as you drive three and a half hours further north to the spectacular scenery of Yosemite National Park, high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. This afternoon you may wish to explore the park's many walking trails whilst looking out for wildlife such as bobcats, monk deer and bald eagles.

Day 8 : Yosemite National Park

Spend the day exploring the iconic mountain scenery of Yosemite National Park. There are a number of activities available, including hiking, climbing and mountain biking. We recommend taking a guided walk to learn more about the park's geology, wildlife and history. I...

Day 9 : Napa

Leave Yosemite behind and head to the wonderful rolling vineyards of the Napa Valley; a journey of around four and a half hours. Arriving at your hotel in the town of Napa, the afternoon is free to relax and enjoy the scenery, either on foot or by bicycle. If you have time you could pay a visit to the Napa Valley Museum to learn about the culture and history of the area.

Day 10 : Napa

Enjoy a full day of exploring and sight-seeing in the picturesque Napa Valley. There are many wineries in the area where you can sample some of the region's produce. Taking a wine tour allows you to learn more about the process of wine-making. You could also pay a visit to Oxbow Public Market, which is home to a variety of food vendors selling anything from local cheeses to indulgent chocolates.

Day 11 : San Francisco

Leave the vineyards behind today and make your way west to San Francisco, which lies around an hour's drive away. After dropping off your hire car at the downtown depot, make your own way to your hotel in the heart of the city. Spend the afternoon exploring just some ...

Day 12 : San Francisco

You have a full day today to explore the great city of San Francisco. You may wish to visit vibrant Chinatown, relax in Golden Gate Park or take a tram through the city's steep streets to enjoy a seafood lunch at Fisherman's Wharf.

Day 13 : Monterey

Collect your hire car and drive two and a half hours south to the delightful oceanfront town of Monterey. After arriving at your hotel overlooking the bayside, spend the remainder of the day exploring the quaint local area. You could browse the shops, galleries and re...

Day 14 : Monterey

Enjoy a full day exploring Big Sur, Carmel, 17-Mile Drive and Monterey. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is well worth a visit if you're interested in learning about conservation and the local marine life. Taking the scenic 17-Mile Drive sees you pass gated mansions and luxu...

Day 15 : Pismo Beach

Departing Monterey at your leisure, continue along the Pacific Coast Highway for around three hours to Pismo Beach. Hearst Castle is a good option to visit en route today - the stately home contains an excellent art collection and offers spectacular ocean views. Also stop by the Piedras Blancas Rookery, where you'll find hundreds of Elephant Seals basking on the beach.

Day 16 : Los Angeles

Drive an hour and a half south to Santa Barbara, formally a Spanish mission settlement. The town's history is prevalent throughout its quaint streets - you can visit historic sites such as the Old Santa Barbara Mission or the Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic P...

Day 17 : Los Angeles

No visit to Los Angeles is complete without seeing the famous Hollywood sign, high up in the Hollywood hills, or shopping with the stars in the upmarket Beverly Hills. Alternatively, you may wish to simply wander through the streets of Santa Monica, with its many boutique shops, fresh fish restaurants and lively bars.

Day 18 : San Diego

Departing Los Angeles this morning, drive for two and a half hours through the glorious scenery of Orange County to the delightful city of San Diego. Arriving at your hotel, you can spend the rest of the day enjoying San Diego's many attractions, whether you wish to r...

Day 19 : San Diego

Spend the day exploring San Diego. You could stroll through the gardens of Balboa Park, which is home to numerous museums and the city's famous zoo. We also suggest wandering the streets of the Gaslamp Quarter in the heart of downtown, which boasts numerous shops, restaurants and lively bars that come to life at night.

Day 20 : International return flight

There's time today for any last-minute shopping and sight-seeing in San Diego before you head to the airport in time to board your onward flight.

Day 21 : International return flight

Arrive home today to complete your journey.

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Dates & Availability

Price From $4,821
Price per day$230
Last Updated: 0/12/2022

Check Current Availability, prices, specials with Audley Travel.

The total tour cost includes the tour price (regular or promotional) and the compulsory local payment. The promotional price is subject to change. Check directly with the operator for the latest price offer. The tour operator requires you to pay only the tour price to purchase your travel. The compulsory local payment will be paid when you join the trip. All prices are based on double, twin or triple share occupancy. Solo passengers will be accommodated in a double, twin or triple room according to availability with a passenger(s) of the same gender. Single supplement only needs to be paid if the passenger does not want to share and requests their own room. Discounts can only be applied at the time of booking and cannot be added at a later date, regardless of any changes made to the original booking.

Prices may vary due to local taxes and trip seasonality. Click "Request Info" to inquire directly with the tour operator for the final trip price.

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Our trips don’t come off the shelf. There’s no set recipe. Each itinerary is tailor-made down to the finest detail, built around your tastes and interests. Quite simply, we listen to what you want and then carefully design an individual trip to match, working to your budget and with an absolute commitment to quality.

We have experts for each and every one of our destinations, with the knowledge that comes from having visited many times or even lived there. Our specialists will design a trip around you, show you the highlights from a different angle, and introduce you to places and experiences that others might miss.

Our flexibility promise

As the world adjusts to travel in times of uncertainty, we want you to be able to look ahead to your next trip knowing you can change your plans if needed. And, with specialists who are experts in their destinations and remain your single point of contact before and while you travel, we promise you can book with us in absolute confidence.

Our flexibility promise

Change your plans free of charge up to 30 days before departure

We’ll move your travel dates or switch the value of your booked trip to another destination at no expense to you up to 30 days before you’re due to depart. You’ll receive a 100% travel credit equivalent to the amount you paid toward your original booking.

Valid for new bookings made on or before October 31, 2020, for travel by Dec. 31, 2021. Travel dates may be moved to departures up to December 31, 2022. Excludes select cruises and airfare. Additional charges may be incurred based on changes to your trip such as accommodation and/or seasonality.

Full-refund guarantee on trips close to home

14-day cancellation policy for trips to the US, Canada or Caribbean

We want to help you navigate the uncertainty that remains around travel by giving you the flexibility to book a trip to any of our destinations in the United States, Canada or the Caribbean this year in complete confidence. With our 14-day cancellation policy, you can cancel your trip up to two weeks before you’re due to depart for any reason and receive a full refund, when you book your trip on or before October 31, 2020 for travel before December 14, 2021**.

Valid on new bookings within the US, Canada or Caribbean made on or before October 31, 2020 for travel by December 14, 2021. Certain policy variations may apply dependent on property selection and dates. Specific details will be provided by your specialist. Any portion of a new booking paid with an existing travel credit will be refunded in the form of a travel credit. Excludes flights and select properties.


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Talking face to face with your specialist can be an invaluable starting point for sharing thoughts and ideas as you begin to imagine your next trip. You can take as much time as you need to speak to your specialist and discuss all your plans with one of our video appointments. Just think of it as your own personal webinar — your specialist will share a wealth of insight, aided by images, maps and other visuals, to inspire you and provide advice for your trip, based on what you want to experience.

It's easy to arrange

  • Book a video appointment (we’ll ask you for a few details about your travel plans).
  • One of our specialists, who’s an expert in your chosen destination, will get in touch to arrange a time and date to suit you. If your travel companions are in different households, we’ll invite them to join, too, so you can all chat together.
  • Your specialist will send you a link to your video appointment by email. We suggest using a computer or laptop, which means there’s no software to download.
  • Settle down with a drink, click on the link to join the appointment and your specialist will be there to welcome you.

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