Tailor-made California holidays
Known as the Golden State, California’s variety makes it one of America’s most rewarding states to visit; there’s a lot more to it than stunning beaches and the glitz and glamour of Los Angeles. 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.
Best seen from that age-old tradition – the all-American road trip – California is home to some of America’s best known self drives, including the finish line of the iconic Route 66. After spotting celebrities in Los Angeles’ Hollywood Hills and Venice beach, head along Highway 1 to Big Sur. This twisting, cliff hugging 100-mile route of sea, mountains and rocky coves was described by novelist Robert Louis Stevenson as ‘the greatest meeting of land and sea in the world’. From here, head onwards to San Francisco, home to the emblematic Golden Gate Bridge, intriguing neighbourhoods such as Haight-Ashbury and sea views dominated by the former prison, Alcatraz. An hour north takes you to those famous wine regions, but if luxe Napa towns don't take your fancy, 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.
With palm trees and year-round sun, you’d be forgiven for spending all your time on the coast, but be sure to head inland too. Here you’ll find rolling farmlands, which produce most of the fresh produce America consumes, along with some of the most sought after wines in the world. You’ll also come across the gemstone lakes and subalpine wilderness of the World Heritage-listed Yosemite National Park, criss-crossed by hundreds of mountain trails.
Special offers in California
Exclusive - Receive $300 Spa or shipboard credit per suite
Enjoy a journey through the legendary Panama Canal, calling on storied places like Cartagena and anchoring along the stunning coastline of Cabo San Lucas
Exclusive - Receive $500 Spa or shipboard credit per suite
Take advantage of special fares and on board credit for you to use in the spa, gift shop or that special vintage bottle of wine.
Exclusive - Save over £3,700 per suite
Enjoy the stunning scenery of Alaska before sailing down the west coast and visiting the iconic city of San Francisco before arriving at Los Angeles.
Top itineraries in California
Discover the beauty of Yosemite National Park, austere Death Valley, the bright lights of Vegas, spectacular Grand Canyon and everything in between on this curated road trip.
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.
There's no better way to explore the USA than by car. The driving is easy with inexpensive fuel and excellent roads that link vibrant cities with wide-open spaces, spectacular countryside and breathtaking coastlines.
Top places to stay in California
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For a self-drive, California really is in a league of its own. Enjoy a classic road trip in Golden State sunshine, and travel at your own pace on a truly bespoke holiday.
When to go to California
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.
A rundown of the top-ten destinations for 2019, curated by our specialists. There's everything from South African safaris in KwaZulu-Natal to Antarctic Cruises and Californian road trips.
Wexas Travel’s Claire Benktander recently drove from San Francisco to the wine regions of Napa and Sonoma. Read her review for an insight into this spectacular road trip, taking in dramatic coastlines, redwood forests and vineyards, paired with, of course, world-class food and wine.
From Kerouac to Steinbeck, follow the routes of these classic authors for some inspiration on the USA's finest road trips.
Wexas USA specialist Patrick Griffin brings us off the beaten track of California to give his expert recommendations on the Golden State's wines and desert enclaves.
Meet our California experts
Speak to a tailor-made specialist on 020 7590 0636