Holidays, hotels & fly drives to California
The Golden State of California is one of the main holiday destinations in North America. With warm, dry and sunny summers, fabulous beaches and surf, it’s long been a favourite vacation choice of Americans too.
International gateways are Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego and twin centre holidays with Hawaii can easily be arranged from these airports. If you enjoy the glitz and glamour of the film and stage, spend some time around Los Angeles and visit the film sets and Hollywood. Visit the locations of films such as Top Gun, Star Wars and Jurassic Park. You can also easily twin California with Hawaii for a two centre holiday.
For wildlife and wilderness there are 30 national or state parks including stunning mountains, forests and canyons. Snow creates a scenic atmosphere six months of the year around Lake Tahoe, Mammoth and parts of Yosemite. Some of natures wonders include the Palm Springs desert oases, giant trees of Sequoia and the Shasta Cascade (which covers 20% of the state and offers waterfall safaris and exploration above and below ground in the Lassen Volcanic National Park). Yosemite National Park in northern California is the most popular wilderness destination in the States and has superb mountain vistas along the Sierra Nevada range. Some of the main view points and areas of interest include El Capitan, Half Dome, Yosemite Falls and the giant Sequoia trees. The park is lovely all year round but spring is the best time to visit the waterfalls and wildflowers are in full bloom. Summer and warm and great for hiking holidays. In winter you can do snow shoeing and warm yourself at night around campfires.
Giant Redwood trees are the tallest trees on the planet and two species (the Coastal Redwood and the Giant Sequoia) can be found in California. Tourists visit all year round to drive the ‘Avenue of the Giants’ a 31 mile stretch of the old scenic highway 101 in the Humboldt Redwood State Park. Here is a dense forest of over 51,000 acres home to the largest virgin redwood trees in the world. They stretch up to over 300 ft in the air and are 3000 years old – protected now as a World Heritage Site. There is a house built completely from a 40 ton log of a fallen tree and a ‘drive through’ tree.
For food and wine lovers, there are gourmet restaurants all around California, but make sure you include a visit to the Napa Valley and Sonoma winelands, where you can dine on board the ‘wine train’ or take a hot air balloon trip. From Napa it’s an easy drive to Lake Tahoe, an outdoor activity centre on the North California – Nevada border. The lake is surrounded by the spectacular High Sierra Mountains. This is an alpine resort area with skiing, hiking, casinos and sailing. Ski here January to March and enjoy the best water sports June to September. Lake Tahoe was the location for Hollywood films such as The Godfather and The Bodyguard.
If you have plenty of time, why not cross America from Coast to Coast? Many tours start or end in California and take in a lot of the highlights along the way.
Self drive holidays are popular in California, if you have a couple of weeks we would suggest a loop from San Francisco, through Napa, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Death Valley and Las Vegas maybe and then over to Los Angeles and Santa Monica on the western end of Route 66, then up the Pacific Highway stopping for some beach time and surf along the way! There are also a good number of escorted tours to California, ask us to search for the best one to suit your requirements.