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Yosemite National Park, Califiornia


America's Golden State

Tailor-made California holidays


California’s diversity makes it one of the most popular destinations in the US. From vibrant, contemporary cities to incredible natural landscapes, it's a place of adventure and excitement underneath warm sunny skies. National parks range from misty redwood forests in the north to sweeping deserts in the south while the viticulture of Napa Valley sets the tone for a state obsessed with fine food and drink. Whether you're seeking adventure or simply a good time, the Golden State has it all.

California's Cities

California's cities vary wildly in infrastructure and in feel. At the southern tip, San Diego boasts a vibrant downtown area, including the bustling Little Italy, home to outdoor cafes and authentic mediterranean restaurants. Its broad beaches are some of the best in the world, with white sand, rocky coastal formations and the sparkling Pacific Ocean on the doorstep. To the north, San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Bridge is the gateway to a hip, bohemian metropolis, characterised by Victorian-era buildings, quaint tramcars and the lively Fisherman's Wharf. In contrast, Los Angeles is the epitome of modern cool, home to the famous Rodeo Drive, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and Santa Monica, a place of carnival-esque amusements and contemporary art and culture.

City streets of Los Angeles California
Los Angeles

Spectacular Self-Drives

There's no better way to explore California than on an adventurous self-drive. The world-famous Route 66 finishes in Santa Monica, after winding its way from Illinois through the southern states, so if you're headed out to rediscover the open road, you'll cross the finish line here. Arguably more spectacular however is the Pacific Coast Highway, which is a true bucket list road-trip along California's longest state route. You'll see everything from the sandy beaches of Monterey Bay and the cliffside at Half Moon Bay to the rugged surf coast at Big Sur. Indeed, this twisting, cliff-hugging 100-mile route of sea, mountains and rocky coves was once described by novelist Robert Louis Stevenson as ‘the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world’.

Bixby Bridge across the Pacific Coast Highway California
Bixby Bridge, Pacific Coast Highway

National Parks

Because of California's unique topography, its national parks range from dense forest wilderness to vast expanses of desert. Yosemite National Park, sculpted by glaciers and criss-crossed by 800 miles of hiking trails, is like nowhere else on earth. Towering granite walls provide some of the USA's best rock-climbing - as featured in the heart-stopping docu-movie Free Solo - while at ground level bears, coyote and deer roam freely through the park's forest and meadow areas. Also well worth a visit is the Redwood National Park, home to the world's tallest living tree, Hyperion, standing proudly at 115.7m. In stark contrast, Death Valley National Park in southern California seems almost alien, where huge sand dunes and deep canyons bake under a sweltering hot sun. 

Death Valley National Park in California
Death Valley National Park

Food & Wine

Napa is firmly placed among the world's favourite wine regions, where a Mediterranean-esque climate offers the perfect environment to cultivate the finest grapes. Neighbouring Sonoma is a larger – and some say more laid-back – version, where wild, beach-lined roads lead to sweeping valleys home to wineries guaranteed to delight even the most seasoned oenophile. And, throughout inland California you’ll find rolling farmlands, which produce around 80% of the fresh produce America consumes. It's the reason why so many world-class restaurants can be found throughout the state, and it's the perfect excuse to pack a picnic and some local wine and head out to explore.

Napa Valley


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Top itineraries in California

Big Sur, California

California & the Pacific Coast Highway

12-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,225 pp incl. flights

A truly iconic USA fly-drive, the Pacific Coast Highway brings you between San Francisco and Los Angeles, calling into world-class vineyards, pretty coastal towns and sweeping golden beaches.

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California, USA

Highlights of the American West

14-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,790 pp incl. flights

Driving between San Francisco and Las Vegas, this curated road trip takes in the beauty of Yosemite National Park, austere Death Valley and the ever-spectacular Grand Canyon.

Best of the West: California & Las Vegas

16-day tailor-made self-drive from £3,400 pp incl. flights

Driving between San Francisco and Las Vegas, this tour combines the Pacific Coast Highway and Yosemite National Park with the deserts of Death Valley, vibrant San Diego and trendy Palm Springs.

Yosemite National Park, Califiornia

Highlights of Northern California

12-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,575 pp incl. flights

Northern California is a region of immense nature, world-leading wines and culture-packed cities, showcased in such icons as San Francisco, Sonoma and Yosemite National Park. Take in its headline acts on this fly-drive holiday.

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Top places to stay in California

Fairmont San Francisco lobby

Fairmont San Francisco

Grand & elegant hotel

One of the original luxury landmark hotels to be built atop Nob Hill, the Fairmont San Francisco delivers breathtaking views, superb personal service and oodles of old-world luxury.

Suite, Argonaut, San Francisco

The Argonaut, San Francisco

Contemporary hotel

This early 20th century red-brick and wood-beamed fruit cannery warehouse has been skilfully transformed into a boutique, nautically-themed hotel that offers a waterfront location, seafood specialities and complimentary wine tasting every evening at five.

Le Meridien Delfina, Santa Monica

Le Méridien Delfina, Santa Monica

Contemporary hotel

Watch scorching sunsets silhouette palm trees over one of the world’s most famous beaches as your accommodation is firmly planted among Santa Monica’s exclusive bars and restaurants, the haunts of LA’s rich and famous.

The Inn at Death Valley

The Inn at Death Valley

Historic resort

With its gourmet, bistro-style restaurant, 18-hole golf course, spring-fed pools and a small spa, this historic inn is the ideal base from which to explore California's Death Valley.

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Where to go in California

The curious traveller could explore California for years and still discover new favourite spots. Glamorous Los Angeles, glowing desert sands and idyllic beaches tempt many south; head north to lose yourself in the vineyards of Napa Valley and Sonoma, and the vibrant creative scene of San Francisco.

Greater Palm Springs

Southern California

Southern California, or SoCal to locals, embodies the quintessential west coast lifestyle of sunshine, surf and laid-back living. Take in its best bits, showcased in the cities of LA and San Diego and Palm Springs' spectacular surrounds.

Golden Bridge, San Francisco, California

Northern California

From vibrant San Francisco to the stunning Yosemite National Park, Northern California hosts an eclectic mix of urban and rural life. Embark on an epic road trip along the Pacific Coast Highway, hike through mighty redwood forests and sip fine wines in Napa and Sonoma.

What to do in California

Explore California’s coastal surf, mountains, rolling vineyards and glittering cities on our range of luxury holidays designed to inspire the curious traveller.

Surfing in California

Adventure holidays

Explore the John Muir woods, try your hand at surfing, immerse yourself in the urban jungle of Los Angeles, drive the Pacific Coast Highway… there is no shortage of stimulating holidays in California.

Napa Valley

Food & Wine Holidays

Fresh, seasonal local cuisine is a highlight of any west coast holiday, as are world-class vintages experienced on a tour of California wine country. From citrus groves to seafood, Asian influences and some of the best tacos outside Mexico, there is plenty to satisfy any traveller’s tastebuds.

Yosemite National Park in California

Nature Holidays

There is possibly no more diverse region in the world than California, and our nature holidays immerse you in the vastness of Yosemite National Park, Lake Tahoe, the wine regions and more.

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When to go to California

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California, generally speaking, is known for its excellent weather. Hot summers and a lack of humidity make for a busy high season in coastal areas while deserts become stifling. Autumn is always a good choice as crowds die down and good weather prevails as, with winter, comes a sprinkling of rain and the deserts’ best weather.

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California articles

  • Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California

    Trip report: Northern California

    Reporting from the road, former Wexas marketing executive Claire Benktander drove from San Francisco to the wine regions of Napa and Sonoma. Read her review for an insight into this spectacular road trip.

  • Mittens, Monument Valley, Utah

    America's Best Literary Road Trips

    From Kerouac to Steinbeck, follow the routes of these classic authors for some inspiration on the USA's finest road trips.

  • Seal basking on rocks in Californian Harbour

    Where to see Sea Lions & Seals on the Pacific Coast Highway

    Arguably one of the most overlooked draws of Highway One, the abundant sea lion and seal population is both fascinating and adorable. If you don't know where to look to find them, follow our guide to the best places to spot California's favourite marine life.

  • American road

    Exploring California by car

    Wexas USA specialist George Clissold picks out the ultimate introductory self-drive trip to California, taking in city greats, prestigious wine regions and UNESCO-listed natural wonders.

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Meet our California experts

Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0636

Meet the team

Why book with Wexas Travel?

At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0636 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

Learn why Wexas is the leader in creating luxury holidays. What is tailor-made travel?

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Every step of the way

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