The Big Sur, Yosemite & San Diego Adventure
Welcome to California! This exciting new 15 night family friendly tour encompasses all the not to be missed highlights of the 'Golden State', including San Francisco, Yosemite, Anaheim , San Diego and the remarkably stunning Highway 1. Covering a variety of landscapes, these famous sights and familiar named places will become reality and forever etched into your memory. This is a tour full of bright lights, city fun, classic National Parks, stunning landscapes and the excitement of world renowned theme parks like Anaheim's Disneyland and Seaworld in San Diego.
- San Francisco - Meet Pier 39's resident Sealions at Fishermans Wharf
- Yosemite National Park
- Sequoia National Park & Kings Canyon
- Universal Studios & Disneyland Resort
- San Diego - Seaworld, Legoland & World famous zoo
- World class Monterey Bay Aquarium
- Hearst Castle
- Sandy Beaches of Santa Barbara
Fly Direct from London Heathrow to San Francisco with Virgin or the airline of your choice.
Arrive San Francisco early afternoon and take a taxi from the airport to your hotel (approx. 40 mins) where you will be spending the next three nights.
Surrounded by San Francisco Bay and The Pacific Ocean, the 'City by the Bay' as it's known is arguably the most friendly and beautiful in America. With many impressive areas like Downtown Union Square, home to fantastic shopping with it's famous cable cars and the attractions of Fisherman's Wharf among them, there is so much to do in this city and you have two whole days to do it all! Perhaps start by taking a tour of the city, which includes the experience of driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. Alternatively, you can explore the city on foot and take the cable car down to Fisherman's Wharf which is packed with shops and restaurants and also home to the city's playful resident sealions at Pier 39. For older children, be sure not to miss Alcatraz - the famous island prison a short boat ride across the bay. If you've time you could also visit 'Exploratorium' - the Museum of Science, art and human perception. With countless weird and wonderful 'hands on' activities to keep the kids fascinated, this leading Museum makes a great day out for all the family.
Yosemite National Park
After a leisurely breakfast, you will need to make your way to a convenient downtown location to collect your hire car before leaving the city and heading east to Yosemite National Park. As you drive through the stunning Yosemite Valley, you will marvel at one of the world's most amazing geological spectacles complete with three thousand foot cliffs, incredible waterfalls and oak, fir and cedar lined grassy meadows. There's plenty to keep the younger members of the family mesmerised too as deer, coyotes and black bears can often be seen here.
Arrive at your hotel by late afternoon in time to enjoy the a leisurely evening at your hotel, where the kids will be more than ready to take a plunge into one of the hotels pools. Stay for three nights.
With two full days to explore the jewel of the Californian wilderness, you can begin to enjoy all it's splendour by taking a slow drive through the park to see amazing scenery like El Capitan, Bridalveil Falls and Half Dome.
Be sure not to miss Mariposa Grove near the park's southern entrance, famed for it's giant sequoia trees. Also visit the historic village of Wawona, and enjoy the vast and fantastic view of the valley from Glacier Point overlook.
You could leave the car at Yosemite Village and instead ride the free shuttle that frequently loops around the valley, making in all the points of interest. Perhaps take a short hike or two to see some of the many waterfalls in the park, or hire bikes to take you around one of the bicycle paths on the valley floor. For the more adventurous you could join a horseback trip through the park or even learn to mountaineer.
Sequoia National Park
Leaving Yosemite you will today be heading further south to Sequoia National Park, which lies sprawled across the heart of the Sierra Nevada along with Kings Canyon National Park.
Your journey down through the mainly agricultural San Joaquin Valley will take you through several towns, home to many an ice cream parlour and a perfect place to break your journey en route. Both parks are home to the largest groves of giant sequoias in the Sierra Nevada. Bears, deer, and numerous smaller animals and birds depend on the parks' miles of wild habitat for year-round breeding and feeding grounds.
Spend the day exploring Sequoia with it's many paths leading through forests and meadows. Be sure to visit the Giant Forest Museum where everybody can learn about the lifecycle of the Sequoias and also Lodgepole Village, host to fascinating geological displays and film shows. Leave plenty of time to see Kings Canyon, with it's maze like canyons and isolated lakes as it's often much less busy than it's neighbour. There are many other activities you can do in these areas, including fishing, canoeing and kayaking.
An early start today as you have a longer journey onwards towards the bright lights and excitement of Los Angeles. Perhaps break your journey in the oil town of Bakersfield, the unlikely home to one of the liveliest country music scenes in the country! Arrive Los Angeles late afternoon, in time to check into your hotel which will be your base for your 3 night stay in this amazing city.
Otherwise known as the'City of Angels', Los Angeles is a sprawling city of distinctive neighbourhoods, and the undisputed entertainment capital of the world. During your stay you will be conveniently based in Anaheim, just 35 miles southwest of the city and perfectly placed to enjoy all the magic and fun of Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure. Also nearby are the thrills and spills of the white knuckle roller coasters of Knoots Berry Farm, an excellent alternative theme park. you to enjoy the convenience and excitement of Hollywood's Walk of Fame, Universal Studios Hollywood, City Walk, Dodger Stadium, Disney Studios, Warner Brothers Studios, Beverly Hills and many other attractions.
There is so much to see in this exciting city so don't forget to leave time for the rest! Start with a tour of Hollywood, including Beverly Hills and a chance to see the exclusive homes of some of the top movie stars. Visit Hollywood Boulevard and Mann's Chinese Theater where you can stand in your favourite stars footsteps, before taking a stroll down boutique lined Rodeo Drive. Also, visit the Hollywood Bowl and have your picture taken at the famous Hollywood sign on Mt. Lee.
Departing Los Angeles this morning after breakfast, your relatively short drive will bring you to the beautiful city of San Diego, just 30 minutes north of the Mexican border. San Diego is the birthplace of California and a centre for ocean science, the Navy and also a hub of Mexican-American culture. Both a modern metropolis and a popular year round resort, the city is spread over more than 20 miles and has many attractions including Mission Bay Park, once a shallow wasteland, and now a 4,600 acre aquatic park which includes Sea World. Along with Legoland California, this wonderful theme park is one of the cities main attractions, along with the world famous San Diego Zoo situated in the true oasis of Balboa Park. The Old Town preserves the areas rich Spanish-American heritage while downtown supports the business community, a convention centre, theatres, great shopping and exciting nightlife.
Before you leave San Diego today, make the most of you final opportunity to explore the city this morning by taking the hop on hop off San Diego Trolley around the city. Visit Colorado Island with its charming cottages, quaint shops and the stunning Del Coronado Hotel, made famous by the film 'Some Like it Hot'. Depart after lunch for Santa Barbara with it's Spanish influence and wide sandy beaches.
Spend a leisurely day in this charming resort, home to the outstanding and world class Monterey Aquarium a must for children of all ages! Also visit the fascinating Maritime Museum. Enjoy a meal and a stroll along Cannery Row, made famous by John Steinbeck where the galleries and restaurants have replaced the original canneries. Along Fisherman's Wharf, art galleries, handicraft shops and the Wharf Theatre have super-ceded the commercial fishing activities of the early 20th century. Enjoy Santa Cruz, which fronts onto fine swimming and surfing beaches at the north end of Monterey Bay. Take a stroll along the historic boardwalk with its 1911 carousel and 1924 roller coaster. At the south end of Monterey bay is the historic town of Monterey.
After breakfast and time for some last minute souvenir shopping in Monterey, you will head a little further north to San Francisco airport to drop off your car and board your overnight flight home.
- Return Flights from London (Please ask about other departure airports)
- 16 nights accommodation and room tax
- Fully Insured Compact Car Hire for 2 Drivers
- A travel pack containing a day by day itinerary, driving instructions, maps & suggested excursions
Daily Departures 19 May to 30 September.
We can also offer this itinerary in a wide range of other accommodation types, including superior hotels, character properties such as lodges and small inns.