From wine tasting in the Napa Valley, to a helicopter tour of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, or a once in a lifetime whale watching cruise off the coast of San Diego, there’s so much diversity to a holiday in California that you’ll only have trouble choosing what to do. The state is the size of many entire countries, and with its glorious beaches and snow capped mountains, Holidays in California can be as much about living the glamorous city life as they can about enjoying the miles of unspoilt national parkland of the USA.
For a 5 star holiday experience, start with the Hollywood Walk of Fame and continue on to the tour at Warner Brothers Studios, before attempting some real life celeb spotting in the boutiques on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. You’ll enjoy checking out the Kodak Theatre - the location of the Oscars - and Chateau Marmont, a famous celeb hangout since the dawn of Hollywood –and still popular with the A-List today. Don’t miss the opportunity to take your own snaps of Hollywood’s iconic sign and for a perfect view of the sign and the city, head to Griffith Park Observatory.
Yosemite National Park offers the opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of California’s cities, and reconnect with the natural world. The park is a majestic open space with dramatic landscapes, towering cliffs, tumbling waterfalls and abundant flora and fauna. Although it’s a popular stop on the tourist trail, it’s also easy enough to find yourself completely alone, taking in one of the park’s memorable views. Yosemite is extremely well organised and clearly signposted. Start with a trail in Yosemite Valley, with dramatic views of the surrounding granite cliffs and the breathtaking Yosemite Falls. The park also boasts excellent visitor centres and a recreation of a native Indian Village, where you can explore how the early Yosemite inhabitants lived in centuries gone by.
Whether it’s a stylish pad on Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco or a country retreat in the Napa Valley, the only difficultly you’ll have will be in deciding where to base yourself for your Californian Holiday adventure. Why not combine a few days in the bright lights of Los Angeles with a lodge in Yosemite National Park for an altogether more down to earth experience. Or perhaps spend your luxury holiday lounging by the beach at Santa Barbara or California’s Old Spanish capital at Monterey. A great base is San Diego, California’s second largest city. Its waterfront location gives it a relaxed, welcoming vibe and its proximity to Mexico means it has some of the best Mexican food available this side of the border.
The ‘Golden State’ boasts year-round great weather, so there really isn’t a best time to visit in this case, unless you are planning a specific activity. Spring and summer are great for holidaying across the region, but the wine regions are best visited in the autumn, and if you plan on skiing in the Sierra Nevada, you should travel between December and February to guarantee great snow.
Time difference: GMT -8 hours
Currency: American Dollar.
Flight time from the UK (London): Approximately 11 hours.
Entry details (for British passport holders): The US Visa Waiver Programme (VWP) allows visits to the US for up to 90 days. All travellers must provide details online at least 72 hours prior to travel. This is known as an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA), and is mandatory to be able to enter the U.S. Charges also apply. While under the VWP, you may visit Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean and reenter the U.S. Your passport must be valid for the duration of your stay. Before you depart, check the latest travel advice at www.fco.gov.uk.
If you have prebooked a private or shared transfer or hired a car, all details will be in your travel documentation. You'll receive a call from the local representatives' office who will provide you with full contact details should you need assistance whilst in resort.
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