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Classic California

San Francisco, Napa Valley, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Monterey Bay, Big Sur, Santa Barbara & LA

Got two weeks and only want to see the very best of California? This is the road trip for you. A classic national park, two classic American towns and the classic Pacific Coast Highway. That’s why this trip is called “Classic California”. This trip is an amazing mix of different experiences, only a road trip holiday offers such freedom and variety.


Classic California 14 days

All of our American road trips can be tailored to meet your requirements. Do you have more or less than 14 days for your road trip? No problem, we can bolt on extra nights to allow more time to explore or shorten the number of destinations as required. Just let us know when requesting your quote.

California's best bits in just 2 weeks!


San Fran skyline

Day 1

America's favourite city - San Francisco

Arrive in California, and take a convenient cab from the airport to find your hotel in San Francisco. Enjoy an evening meal in one of the cities excellent restaurants before settling in for the night, so you are ready and refreshed for two full days exploring in this wonderful city on the bay.

  • Key location: San Francisco, CA
  • San Francisco, CA

The Painted Ladies

Day 2

So much to see and do in San Francisco

Once the fog lifts, one of America’s favourite cities will be revealed. Ride a cable car, climb the streets and get into the vibe that only this city can offer. Full of Victorian charm, famous movie locations and wealthy tech companies, this city has it all.

  • Key location: San Francisco, CA
  • San Francisco, CA

Alcatraz Island

Day 3

Another day in the Golden Gate City

A second full day to explore San Fran’s must-see places which will be listed in your personalised Road Trip Pack. These “must see” places include Coit Tower, Lombard Street, the Painted Ladies, Union Square and Alcatraz to name just a few. Whilst you’re in San Francisco you simply must experience some of the best Chinese food in the world, thanks to the large Chinese community that call this city home.

  • Key location: San Francisco, CA
  • San Francisco, CA

Golden Gate Bridge

Day 4

Cross The Golden Gate Bridge to find the area’s Wine Region

Spanning the headlands of San Francisco and Marin County, one of the world’s most beautiful bridges is a delightful experience whether you walk, bike or drive across. You can see stunning views by driving up Conzelman Rd on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Crossing the bridge will take you to the rolling landscape that is Marin County. Here you'll find treasures including Tiburon, Sausalito and Muir Woods National Monument. It’s one of the two places that claim to have invented the Mountain Bike. You’ll then continue on until you reach Sonoma Valley and neighbouring Napa Valley.

  • Key location: Napa Valley, CA
  • Napa Valley, CA
  • 56 Miles

Napa Valley Winies

Day 5

Wine Country cruising, great food and pretty vineyard tours

You don't have to like wine to enjoy this area. These two neighbouring valleys offer stunning scenery made up of perfectly manicured vineyards stretching across rolling hills that can be enjoyed by car or even on an early morning hot air balloon ride. This is food heaven too, with places like Thomas Keller’s French Laundry and the rather more affordable Gott’s Roadside burger joint. Additionally, you can take a drive along one of our favourite roads in California, The Silverado Trail parallels the St. Helena Highway passing through scenic wine country.

  • Key location: Napa Valley, CA
  • Napa Valley, CA

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe

Day 6

Sacramento and onto to beautiful Lake Tahoe

You’ll follow I-80 and the Lincoln Highway to find the beautiful blue waters of Lake Tahoe and the mountains that surround it. Spend the afternoon kayaking on the lake, skiing on the mountains or just relax on one of the lakes many lovely beaches. If you fancy a drive, then you can circle Lake Tahoe along scenic highways in around 2 hours.

  • Key location: Lake Tahoe, CA
  • Lake Tahoe, CA
  • 160 Miles

Majestic Yosemite Valley

Day 7

Majestic Yosemite National Park awaits

Today you’ll cruise through Gold Country to the curvy roads that approach Yosemite National Park. Once in Yosemite, you’ll have 2 days to experience nature at it’s most breathtaking.

  • Key location: Yosemite NP
  • Yosemite NP
  • 180 Miles

Lush Yosemite Valley

Day 8

Enjoy a full day in glorious Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is over 1180 square miles of nature at it’s very best. The most visited area of the Park is Yosemite Valley. Vast rock faces, crystal clear waters, staggering views and stunning waterfalls combine to make Yosemite a real national treasure. Leave enough time to visit Glacier Point, which is best viewed during sunset and it offers the best views in Yosemite.

  • Key location: Yosemite NP
  • Yosemite NP

Monterey Bay

Day 9

Over to the Pacific Coast and the Monterey Peninsula

Monterey was once California’s capital, however, today its best known for the world-class Monterey Bay Aquarium that presides on Cannery Row. This town was also famous for its whaling and sardine industry, it now focuses on marine education and preservation through the world-class Monterey Bay Aquarium. In the early evening, cruise along the famous “17-Mile Drive” on your way to Carmel-by-the-Sea. You’ll pass millionaire mansions, Pebble Beach Golf Club and a beautiful rugged coastline along the way.

  • Key location: Monterey, CA
  • Carmel, CA
  • 199 Miles

Classy Carmel Beach

Day 10

Spend a full day exploring the prettiest small town in America

Carmel offers two world-class beaches backed by a small town made up of beautiful homes, quaint streets and fabulous restaurants. The wild and wonderful Point Lobos is just a couple of miles south of Carmel. Here you can see Seal Lions give birth to pups on beautiful beaches, sea otters frolicking in the ocean and whales slowly migrating through the 750 acre underwater State Natural Reserve. Point Lobos offers pure beauty that can be enjoyed through the many short hikes, a wonderful afternoon indeed.

  • Key location: Carmel, CA
  • Carmel, CA

Bixby Bridge - Big Sur

Day 11

Big Sur - The drive of your life

The classic All-American drive down California’s Highway 1 is at its most dramatic when it passes through the 90 miles of coastal road that is known as Big Sur. Twisting roads curve around the steep cliff faces, occasionally passing gorgeous State Parks and spectacular vista points that look out over the vast Pacific Ocean. Further down the coast, Hearst Castle perches on “The Enchanted Hill”. If your keen to visit here then an overnight in Cambria is key as there's a lot to see. Onwards to Santa Barbara, built in a charming Mediterranean style - thus making it one of the Central coasts best highlights.

  • Key location: Big Sur, CA
  • Santa Barbara, CA
  • 236 Miles

Santa Monica Pier

Day 12

Continue down Highway 1 to Malibu and Los Angeles

Spend the morning in sunny Santa Barbara, after lunch you’ll continue driving south along the Pacific Coast Highway passing Malibu’s beaches and coastal homes until you reach Santa Monica in Los Angeles. Santa Monica with its “Baywatch” beaches and old-fashioned Pier is a worthy finish to the day. Hire a bike and cruise the boardwalk down to Venice Beach or shop your heart out on 3rd Street Promenade.

  • Key location: Beach Cities, LA
  • Los Angeles, CA

Stars of a different kind

Day 13

Spend the day enjoying iconic Hollywood

Tinseltown is synonymous with glitz and glamour, and although many of the studios have now moved onto other parts of the city, it's still fun to visit the home of the Oscars and walk Hollywood Boulevard looking for the handprints of your favourite movie stars. Just a short drive northeast of here lies the Griffith Observatory, perched high on a hill overlooking the city. The landmark is well worth a visit and is great for views of the legendary Hollywood sign.

  • Key location: Hollywood, LA
  • Los Angeles, CA

Rodeo Dr - Beverly Hills

Day 14

A third day to explore LA LA Land

Beverly Hills offers the chance to see movie star homes with sky-high fences on palm tree-lined streets. Close by is the amazing Getty Center, this is a firm favourite of the team at The American Road Trip Company and your personalised Road Trip Pack will help explain how to visit this attraction and all the other essential places to see in La La Land. The next day you’ll fly home from Los Angeles International after spending the morning finishing off any sightseeing.

  • Key location: Beverly Hills, LA
  • Los Angeles, CA

Check out some of the other tours that explore this region

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