Venice Beach, Los Angeles, California

Classic California

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

Explore the very best of California over two incredible weeks!

14 Nights from £1,699pp
i
‘from’ prices are based on off peak travel, 2 people sharing a standard car, economy flights and 2-3* Hotels. All trips are completely bespoke so just tell your expert any requirements you have.

Do you have just two weeks to visit the very best that California has to offer? Then, take our Classic California road trip between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Along this popular road trip, you’ll drive to California’s best National Park, along California’s best road and through California’s premier wine region. This California road trip thrills everyone who takes it due to its world-class destinations, superb scenic drives, and famous Californian climate.

Key road trip highlights:

  • Visit all of California’s world-class destinations on this relatively short drive.
  • Explore the iconic Californian cities of San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles.
  • Travelling with kids? Then, this is a great road trip to consider; we will happily remove the stop in wine-obsessed Napa Valley should you wish to, we can then add an extra night to enjoy LA’s theme parks or shorten any of the drives.
  • Cruise along the world’s most scenic road – Highway 1 through Big Sur.
  • Discover the awe-inspiring natural wonders of Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park and the California coastline.
  • What’s included? Direct flights with a premier carrier like Virgin Atlantic, accommodation to your desired standard and length of stay, car rental and a detailed road trip pack.
Classic California route with The American Road Trip Company

Our Favourite Hotels

We’ll suggest properties to match your preferred budget, be it low-cost, mid-range or high-end luxury that you’re looking for. We can also mix it up so you’ll experience a range of standards and experiences along your road trip.

Harbor View Inn, Santa Barbara

Hotel:

Harbor View Inn

Location:

Santa Barbara

River Terrace Inn, Napa Valley, Napa Wine region

Hotel:

River Terrace Inn

Location:

Napa Valley

The Garland Hotel, Los Angeles

Hotel:

The Garland

Location:

Los Angeles

Tenaya Lodge, Yosemite National Park, California

Hotel:

Tenaya Lodge

Location:

Yosemite National Park

The Ahwahnee, Yosemite

Hotel:

The Ahwahnee

Location:

Yosemite National Park

Argonaut Hotel, San Francisco

Hotel:

Argonaut Hotel

Location:

San Francisco

Carmel Valley Ranch, Big Sur

Hotel:

Carmel Valley Ranch

Location:

Big Sur

Shutters on the Beach, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, California Road Trip

Hotel:

Shutters on The Beach

Location:

Los Angeles

Road Trip Itinerary

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.

1

First Stop: America's favourite city... San Francisco

Arrive in San Francisco for the beginning of your California road trip adventure. After taking a convenient cab from the airport to find your first hotel, why not enjoy an evening meal in one of the city’s excellent restaurants before settling in for the night so you’re ready and refreshed for two full days exploring this wonderful city by The Bay.

Location:

San Francisco, CA

Drive:

0 miles

San Francisco skyline, California Road Trip, Classic Highway 1
2

There's so much to see and do in San Francisco

Once the famous San Francisco fog lifts, one of America’s favourite cities will be revealed. Ride a cable car, climb the steep streets, and get into the vibe only this city offers. Packed with Victorian charm, remarkable restaurants, spectacular shopping and famous movie locations – this iconic city has it all.

Location:

San Francisco, CA

Drive:

0 miles

Painted Ladies, San Francisco, California, USA
3

A third day to explore The Golden Gate City

Alcatraz Island is often near the top of people’s to-do lists when visiting the west coast of America. Not only will you enjoy the unique experience of Alcatraz, but you’ll also take in spectacular views of San Francisco, Angel Island and the Golden Gate Bridge as you ferry across the Bay to this iconic tourist destination. Once you’re back on the mainland, you should grab a meal in Fisherman’s Wharf before riding a cable car back to your hotel.

Location:

San Francisco, CA

Drive:

0 miles

Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, California, USA
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 Road on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge. After crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, you drive through the rolling landscape of Marin County. Where you’ll find treasures, including Tiburon, Sausalito and Muir Woods National Monument. You’ll then continue until you reach Sonoma Valley and neighbouring Napa Valley.

Location:

Napa & Sonoma Valley, CA

Drive:

55 miles

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California West Coast, USA
5

A full day exploring California's premier Wine region

You don’t have to enjoy wine to fall in love with this pretty area. These two neighbouring valleys offer stunning scenery of perfectly manicured vineyards stretching across rolling hills that can be enjoyed by car, train or even by an early morning hot air balloon ride. Napa Valley & Sonoma Valley are also food utopias, with establishments like Thomas Keller’s French Laundry and the more affordable Gott’s Roadside burger joint. Additionally, you can drive along one of our favourite roads in California; The Silverado Trail parallels the St. Helena Highway, passing through a particularly scenic area of this gorgeous wine region.

Location:

Napa & Sonoma Valley, CA

Drive:

0 miles

Vineyards in Napa Valley, California wine region, USA
6

Onto beautiful Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada

Follow the speedy Interstate 80 and the iconic Lincoln Highway to find the beautiful blue waters of Lake Tahoe and the epic mountains that surround it. Spend the afternoon kayaking on the lake or relaxing on one of Tahoe’s lovely beaches. If you fancy a drive, you can circle Lake Tahoe along scenic highways in around two hours.

Location:

Lake Tahoe, CA

Drive:

160 miles

Emerald Bay after sunset, South Lake Tahoe, California, USA
7

Majestic Yosemite National Park awaits

The third drive of this classic California road trip will have you cruising through the rolling hills of old Gold Rush Country. Next, you’ll climb the curvy Sierra Nevada roads to find America’s premier National Park – Yosemite. Once in Yosemite, you’ll spend two days experiencing nature at its most breathtaking.

Location:

Yosemite NP

Drive:

175 miles

Half Dome at Yosemite National Park, California, USA, top 5 best national parks in california
8

Enjoy a second day in glorious Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park is over 1180 square miles of nature at its most sublime. The most visited area of the National Park is Yosemite Valley, where vast rock faces, crystal clear waters, staggering views and stunning waterfalls combine to make Yosemite Valley a real national treasure. Leave enough time to visit the must-see Glacier Point, which is best viewed during sunset, as it offers the best views in all Yosemite.

Location:

Yosemite NP

Drive:

0 miles

Yosemite National Park, California, Best of The West USA
9

Time to discover the Californian Coast

Monterey was once California’s capital; however, today, it is best known for its world-class Monterey Bay Aquarium 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” to Carmel-by-the-Sea. You’ll pass millionaire mansions, Pebble Beach Golf Club and a beautiful rugged coastline as you drive.

Location:

Carmel, CA

Drive:

195 miles

Humpback Whale in Monterey Bay, California, USA
10

A full day enjoying California's prettiest small town

If it’s good enough for Clint Eastwood and Dorris Day, it’s good enough for us. 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 few miles south of Carmel. Here, you can witness Seal Lions give birth to pups on beautiful beaches, sea otters frolic in the ocean, and whales slowly migrate through the 750-acre underwater State Natural Reserve. Point Lobos offers pure beauty that can be enjoyed through its many short hikes.

Location:

Carmel, CA

Drive:

0 miles

Main Beach in Carmel by the Sea, California, USA
11

Big Sur - California's iconic drive

Arguably, the most scenic 100 miles of this California road trip are along Highway 1 through the area known as Big Sur. Twisting roads curve around cliff faces and pass by gorgeous State Parks and spectacular vista points that look out over the vast Pacific Ocean. Further down the coast, you can opt to visit Hearst Castle, which perches on “The Enchanted Hill”. If you wish to visit here, please request an extra overnight stop in Cambria when we build your road trip. Next is Santa Barbara, further down the coast, built in a charming Mediterranean style; this upmarket town is one of the road trip’s highlights.

Location:

Santa Barbara, CCA

Drive:

235 miles

Pacific Coast Highway, Bixby Bridge, Big Sur, Highway 1, California
12

Continue along Highway 1 to 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 to Venice Beach, or shop your heart out on 3rd Street Promenade.

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Drive:

95 miles

Santa Monica pier in Los Angeles, California, USA
13

Spend the day enjoying Hollywood's attractions

Tinseltown is synonymous with glitz and glamour, and although many of the film studios have now moved on to other parts of Los Angeles, it’s still fun to visit the home of the Oscars and walk Hollywood Boulevard looking for the handprints of your favourite movie stars. The Griffith Observatory is just a short drive northeast of here, perched high on a hill overlooking The City of Angels. The landmark is well worth a visit, and it also offers excellent views of the legendary Hollywood sign.

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Drive:

0 miles

The Big Sur, California Coast, USA
14

A third day exploring LA LA Land

Beverly Hills offers the chance to see movie star homes on palm tree-lined streets and Rodeo Drive, where you can shop with the rich and famous. Alternatively, you can spend the day at a theme park like Disneyland or Universal Studios – the choice is yours. The next day, you’ll complete your classic California road trip experience by spending the morning by the pool or finishing any sightseeing before flying home to the UK from LAX.

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Drive:

0

Rodeo Drive Sign in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, California, USA

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Frequently Asked Questions

You’ll find answers to most of your questions right here. If you still need assistance, Feel free to get in touch, and we’ll be sure to get back to you promptly!

 

Can I Add Extra Nights To The Road Trips?

Not a problem. If you are lucky enough to have extra time to explore more places or add more rest days, then just let us know and we’ll adjust your trip to match your preferred timescale.

Must I Have Travel Insurance?

We strongly advise that you purchase travel insurance for your holiday to cover you against medical expenses, theft and other financial costs. Should you need to cancel before travelling, some insurance policies may pay out for any loss of funds that have been paid to us and which cannot be refunded under our cancellation policy.

Can I Do A One-Way Rental?

Many of our trips have a different end destination than the starting point, so this is not a problem. Please note a fee sometimes applies for one-way rentals between other regions or states, which will be paid to the supplier directly when collecting the vehicle. We’ll endeavour to inform you of this charge within your quote.

Am I Limited To Certain Hotels Or Chains?

No, far from it. We work with a range of properties from 3* to 5*, so we can adapt the trip to match most budgets. We have access to rooms in more than 800 hotels, motels, lodges and B&Bs across North America.

How Old Do I Need To Be?

The minimum age to rent a car is 21 in the United States or Canada, although, in addition, any drivers under 25 years of age will generally incur a surcharge.

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Our Trusted Partners And Providers

ARTCo customers can be confident that we only work with the very best service providers, such as Virgin Atlantic, British Airways and Alamo. Any payments made to us are fully protected via the government’s ATOL scheme (Flight packages) or Financial Failure Insurance (Non-Flight Packages).

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