Full California Fly Drive
14 Nights From €1499 (Per Person)
Fly Drive Holidays
Los Angeles (California) - San Luis Obispo (California) - San Francisco (California) - Sacramento (California) - South Lake Tahoe (California) - Yosemite (California) - Bakersfield (California) - San Diego (California) - Los Angeles (California)
Envision a fireball sun sinking slowly below a vast ocean horizon with gorgeous beach laying at your feet. Stand in awe of a majestic three-tiered waterfall tumbling down a silver granite mountain face jutting out of a lush green landscape of towering redwoods. Hear crashing waves and barking seals along a rugged seacoast where the road appears to fall off into the ocean. Circle a lake so clear, blue and deep that its depths can only mirror a turquoise sky. Welcome to California, which has more than its share of natural beauty – carefully preserved in National Parks and preserves, World Heritage treasures, National Scenic Byways and state parks. Nearly half of the state of California is still covered with dense forests, and lush green agricultural fields spreading as far as the eye can see.
In between these wonderful landscapes, California has built massive urban areas teeming with people and freeways, yet touched with flowers and greenery. Diversity in these busy places is the name of the game, with every ethnic group, language and culture represented. How did it get that way? Over a third of the Native Americans in America when European explorers arrived were living in California. After the Spanish and the French arrived, waves of prospectors headed west for the Gold Rush. They all stayed, followed by settlers who flocked to California for the sunshine and climate. The state is packed with attractions, both natural and man-made, making it the perfect destination for a dream vacation.
A journey from the bright lights of Hollywood will take you up the fabled Pacific Coast Highway, where you’ll be treated to breathtaking coastal beauty. Like so many others, you too, will “leave your heart in San Francisco” before traveling west into the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Yosemite National Park where you’ll trade views of crashing waves for massive mountains. San Diego’s natural beauty is rivaled only by the number of attractions it offers, from theme parks and waterside recreation to arts and culture. Throw in Lake Tahoe and more and you’ll be seeing California’s best all in one trip. Leave for home knowing you’ve had the trip of a lifetime through the Golden State.
View Fly Drive USA - Tahoe to Tijuana in a larger map
Day 1: Arrive Los Angeles
Los Angeles is Hollywood and all the other wonderful Southern California things you’ve heard about! Make sure you visit the Getty Museum to enjoy the spectacular views overlooking Los Angeles as well as the great art collection. Take Sunset Boulevard from Hollywood to Beverly Hills and shop Rodeo Drive. You’ll be returning to Los Angeles at the end of your trip, so if relaxation and not exploration is in order today, take the afternoon off and find a great place for dinner.
Day 2: Los Angeles to San Luis Obispo
The sophisticated historic town of Santa Barbara will be a great place to stop between Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo. The 1786 Mission Santa Barbara still serves as a church. Farther up the coast, the town of Solvang looks like it came straight out of Denmark. You can opt for a “hummer” tour of the Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes National Wildlife Refuge or take an alternate route through the Central California wine region before reaching the start of the Pacific Coast Highway.
Day 3: Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco
Marvel at the rocky windswept cliffs of the Pacific Coast Highway as you drive up the San Luis Obispo North Coast Byway and the Big Sur Highway National Scenic Byway. San Simeon National Historical State Park, better known as Hearst Castle, was a 158-room “camp” built by William Randolph Hearst. As soon as you reach San Francisco, start getting to know the city on the Barbary Coast Trail, which connects 20 of the city’s most important historic sites. Visit Fisherman’s Wharf, Ghirardelli Square and Nob Hill, once an inaccessible backwater where four rich industrialists built their mansions high above the city. Be sure to take an evening trip to Alcatraz, an island with a story beyond belief.
Day 4: San Francisco
You can spend the day today exploring the Golden Gate National Recreation Area that stretches as far as the eye can see both north and south of the Golden Gate Bridge. The Presidio, a former Army base that houses the first fort built to defend the coast of California, has been transformed into one of California’s premier attractions. The John Muir Woods National Monument is a living tribute to the astounding conservation contributions of this visionary naturalist. You’ll also discover China Beach, Fort Point, Lands End and Cliff House, all part of the 31 attractions that make up the recreation area.
Day 5: Sacramento
Nearly 150 years after the famous California Gold Rush, you can still discover gold in Sacramento, now a very cosmopolitan state capital proud of its heritage. Old Sacramento brings you back to the era of the 49ers, with living history guides and all. Tour the State Capitol to learn more about the fascinating history of California, governed at various times by Mexico and the Russians, and once its own Republic.
Be sure to explore the California State Railroad Museum and the former Governor’s Mansion.
Day 6: South Lake Tahoe
Today, it’s up and over the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Lake Tahoe where you’ll happen upon a crystal blue lake sunk deep into the mountain valley, with water so clear you can see objects 75 feet below. The lake is ringed by majestic mountains that are snow covered most of the year. The Scenic Drive around the east side of the lake is one of the most beautiful in America.
Day 7: South Lake Tahoe
Travelers have been awed by the solace and natural beauty of Lake Tahoe since John Freemont arrived in 1844. Always known for its spectacular scenery, Lake Tahoe began life in earnest as a playground for the rich and famous when socialites from San Francisco built summer homes and “cottages” around the lake in the early 1900s. The world discovered Lake Tahoe during the Winter Olympic Games in 1960, when skiers, bobsledders, skaters and all the rest of the winter sport’s elite converged on Olympic Valley. Today you can explore this heritage and enjoy hiking in the wonderful landscape.
Day 8: Yosemite
Yosemite National Park is truly one of the world’s great natural treasures. Make sure you see the Mariposa Grove of Giant Sequoias as you zigzag your way north from Fish Camp to reach the Tioga Road/Big Flat Road National Scenic Byway which traverses the Park. From a scenery standpoint, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Day 9: Explore Yosemite
Take one more day to explore this natural wonderland of massive redwood trees, spectacular waterfalls, and lush growth forests.
Day 10: Bakersfield
Enjoy a bit of Bakersfield as you stop for a driving break between Yosemite National Park and San Diego. Once a big city neighborhood, Bakersfield has transformed into an arts and cultural destination over the past two decades. Check out the great Mexican food or authentic Basque cuisine!
Day 11: San Diego
A great way to get familiar with San Diego is by taking the 59-Mile Scenic Drive, following the seagull signs that mark the route. It takes you past most of San Diego’s major attractions, including the Cabrillo National Monument where Spanish explorers landed in 1542, Old Town – the most historic part of San Diego, and wonderful Balboa Park. A short side trip takes you to Mission San Diego De Alcala, the first of the 21 missions that comprised the El Camino Real along the California coast.
Day 12: Explore San Diego
You’ll want to spend the day today exploring Balboa Park, the nation’s largest cultural park and one of America’s truly great cultural resources. Fifteen major museums, several gardens, restaurants, performing arts venues and the San Diego Zoo are all congregated together in a beautifully landscaped setting that originally housed the Panama-California Exposition of 1915. It was the first of two Expos that created many of the cultural institutions as well as the stunning architecture still extant today.
Day 13: San Diego to Los Angeles
There are so many major attractions in Los Angeles that it’s hard to know where to begin! Take a walking tour of Grauman’s Chinese Theater or a behind-the-scenes peek at Universal Studios, check out the view from the Getty Center, or visit the Armand Hammer Museum, the California Heritage Museum, Autry National Center Museum of the American West, Aquarium of the Pacific, Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens, or Museum of Contemporary Art Grand Avenue. Or take a tour of Beverly Hills and the Movie Stars’ Homes, walk in the stars’ footsteps on Hollywood Boulevard, or take the ultimate road trip down the Sunset Strip.
Day 14: Explore Los Angeles
Enjoy another day in Tinsel Town! If you feel like venturing farther afield, spend the day at Disneyland in nearby Anaheim, or take a wine country tour of Napa and Sonoma.
Day 15: Depart Los Angeles
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