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.
Los Angeles grabs the headlines for its glitzy Hollywood scene, but you’ll fall in love with all of southern California's golden sands, perfect for a stylish beach holiday. There’s no better way to discover it all than with a trip along Highway 1, whose dramatic twists and turns bring you along jagged cliffs to charming towns such as relaxed Santa Barbara, artsy Carmel and marine-loving Monterey.
Tear yourself away from the beaches and travel to legendary northern California. Start with San Francisco, where the iconic Golden Gate Bridge still towers over the landscape, as it has since 1937. Beloved for its at scene, laid-back attitude, and ideal holiday weather, San Francisco has it all. Nearby, one of the world's great wine regions – Napa Valley – has rightly found its place on the map, making luxury wine tours a romantic and indulgent way to travel through the hills and fields and get up close to local flavours and meet the producers of popular vintages. There's nothing like getting lost in the verdant arbors, tasting fresh sun-ripened grapes, and then retiring to a luxurious tasting cellar for a one-of-a-kind lesson on why California wine is some of the best in the world.
For an active holiday in California, there's nothing better than exploring the its rich wilderness. Yosemite National Park is a treasure trove of crisscrossing hiking trails that track granite cliffs, crashing waterfalls and verdant valley floors. Or come to Death Valley National Park, where you'll get a sense for just how vast the American landscape is—a seemingly empty desert by day is filled with vibrant life at night. Outdoorsy travellers will find plenty to love in California, where it's possible to experience snow, desert sun, ocean waves, mountain hikes and lush woods all in one day.
List of regions
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.